Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Top Ten Songs of the Week 3/30/09

We do this every Tuesday, in the spirit of Kasey Kasem. Each of the links here will take you to the individual song, a mix of stuff we’ve either stumbled upon or have playing in heavy rotation here in Lucid Culture-land. Some of these songs will end up on our Best Songs of 2009 list the last week of December, stay tuned…

 

1. Elisa Flynn – Timber

Big, towering, haunting yet blackly amusing anthem, first cut on her absolutely killer new cd Songs About Birds and Ghosts. She’s at Sidewalk on 4/8 at 9. This is the video.

 

2. La Sovietika – Aladino

Completely unique: “the Caribbean Dance Rock Sound,” as the band puts it, funk meets 1970s Fania meets soukous, like what Vampire Weekend might sound like if they could swing and had soul.  

 

3. Jah Roots – Spliff and My Lady

In case you didn’t already guess, this is reggae. Great tune, similar to Payday by Israel Vibration.

 

4. Jessie Kilguss – Gristmill

Menacing, brooding noir cabaret. She’s at Trash on 4/22

 

5. The Hsu-nami – Snake Skin Shuffle

Artsy metal instrumental like Iron Maiden with an erhu (Chinese fiddle)! They’re at the Passport to Taiwan Festival at Union Square on 5/24.

 

6. The Parkington Sisters – Let Go

Minimalist countrypolitan chamber pop with sweet harmonies – absolutely unique.  

 

7. Des Roar – Not Over for Me

Oldschool R&B song like the Pretty Things except with powerful modern amps.

 

8. The Moody Blues – Driftwood

Live version, early 80s vintage. In case you weren’t aware how good a guitarist Justin Hayward is.

 

9. No More Tears – Keep It Real

Hip-hop from the Dirty Jerz: “Keep it real girl, what do you want, I got liquor, I got blunts.” The least subtle pickup lines ever rapped. Beyond funny.

 

10. Cudzoo & the Faggettes – 14K Fetus

Completely sick faux oldtimey harmony from the self-styled “prettiest girls with the filthiest mouths.”

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 3/9/09

We do this every Tuesday, in the tradition of Kasey Kasem for the acts we’ll probably never see, or didn’t get the chance to review when they were in town, or just discovered somewhere because they’re cool or they’re funny, or just reviewed and can’t stop listening to them. Enjoy. All the links below will either take you to the song or to the band’s site.

 

1. The Oxygen Ponies – Love Yr Way

 

I sold my soul for education

Every day I pay the debt

My entire generation

Better find a tourniquet…

When they hang this message bringer

Blood will rain down through the floor

 

Opening cut on the long-awaited Harmony Handgrenade album, coming in May.

 

2. Escarioka – La Nueva Era

Fast, furious, spooky ska en Espanol sounds like Maldita circa 1995! They’re doing a benefit on 3/21 at 7 PM at Revolution Books 146 W. 26th between 6th and 7th Ave.

 

3. Lorrie Doriza – Girl in the Basement

Noir cabaret with a touch of Kate Bush and a little gospel in the voice.

 

4. Graham Bonnet – Whisper in the Night

This histrionic bellower used to front wanky late 70s metal acts like Rainbow and the Michael Schenker Group. Believe it or not, this is a youtube clip of an actually serviceable cover of the classic, haunting Roy Wood song from ELO’s first album. Who knew he had it in him.

 

5. The War on Drugs – A Needle in Your Eye 16

Philly band. This song has an anthemic nuevo Dylan/Byrds feel – imagine if Simon Joyner could sing. They’re at Union Hall on 3/30.

 

6. Jonathan Coulton – Tom Cruise Crazy

A song that needed to be written. He’s at Symphony Space on 3/27 at 9ish. 

 

7. Mames Babaganush – Kojak Cecek

The Copenhagen klezmer rockers’ motto is “klezmer killed the radio star.” This wild Balkan instrumental has a delirious Gogol Bordello feel to it.

 

8. Wheeler’s Cloud – It’s a Fact Jack

Steely Dan ripoff – funny – right down to the percussion.

 

9. I’ll Be John Brown – Cover Song

This is sort of Golden Shower of Hits for country bands. They’re at Ace of Clubs on 3/26.

 

10. Des RoarThe Watchers

They nick the classic blues Baby Please Don’t Go and turn it into evil garage rock. And here’s a sweet live clip for their classic Ted Bundy Was a Ladies Man. The band is at Vanishing Point on 5/2.

March 10, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review – Des Roar at Mercury Lounge, NYC 10/20/08

Discover this powerful, exciting, loud two-guitar band now before some douchebag site like flavorpill does. If you don’t, you’ll have to fight your way through the crowds to see them. They packed the Mercury Lounge on a Monday night: if this had been the weekend, no question the show would have sold out. You heard it here first: Des Roar are the Next Big Thing, which is awfully nice to see because they’re good and will get even better. Live, they don’t come across as snide and dismissive as the songs on their myspace would have you believe, but their energy was still good. They didn’t talk to the audience much. It looked like they were trying to pack as many songs as possible into their too-brief, barely 40-minute set, and, besides, they look like a crew who know how much a little mystery adds to a performance.

 

They started the show trying to get their amps to howl with feedback, but that didn’t really work (the volume was too low, which was actually ok because the sound levels were perfect). Then they launched into a percussive classical melody, working their way deliberately up the scale until frontman Ben Wolcott lit into the deliciously evil riff that kicks off their best song, Ted Bundy Was a Ladies Man. It’s a genuine classic, a sarcastic, black humor-driven lyric set to an evilly catchy, pounding minor-key melody, this time capped by a long, bloodcurdling scream from their drummer. They ended the song with the same big climb they used to start it. And then segued into another, and another, oldschool punk rock style.

 

The fourth song of the set was an imaginative, pounding, minimalist reworking of the old blues classic Baby Please Don’t Go, sounding like White Hassle gone completely punk – Wolcott has something of Marcellus Hall’s deadpan sarcasm and jaundiced view of romance. Finish What You Started, from the band’s myspace, was sung by the drummer, with a sort of 90s Britrock feel like Blur with distorted guitar. She proved to be an excellent singer with a strong, soul-inflected voice, adding a whole new dimension to the music. When in Rome, bopping along on a fast Motown bassline, came off as something of a Strokes parody and the audience loved it.

 

The rest of the set was hook-driven, mostly mid- to uptempo stuff blending elements of punk, blues and even some 60s-style soul. The rhythm section kept it tight and simple, lead player Alan O’Keeffe was tasteful and incisive when he needed to be and Wolcott stayed within himself: no preening, posing or bleating in this band.

 

Sensing the need to get the crowd to scream for an encore, O’Keeffe tried to get a clap-along going before their last song had even finished, but there was no need: the sound guy knew what was up, so they wrapped up the set with an aptly snarling, midtempo cover of the Jesus & Mary Chain’s Kill Surf City. Des Roar’s next show is at 9 PM on Nov 12 at Fontana’s: you might want to show up a little early. 

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | , , , , | 2 Comments