Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Top Ten Songs of the Week 2/9/09

Here’s this week’s hit parade. All of the links here lead to the individual song except for #9 which you’ll have to see live since the band hasn’t recorded it yet. But it was so good we had to include it anyway.

 

1. The Brooklyn What – We Are the Only Ones

Yet another smash from the Brooklyn What’s sprawling, multistylistic, funny and furious debut cd. This one’s absolutely right for the here and now: a call to the cool kids to overthrow everything that’s keeping everybody down and start something new. What’s this make, six #1 hits from the album, by our reckoning? If this was 1978, that would be the case. They’re at Red Star on 2/20 at 11.

 

2. Botanica – Who You Are

Absolutely gorgeous, majestic, wickedly sardonic art-rock anthem from this era’s greatest art-rock band. They’re at Joe’s Pub on 3/21 at 7, early, after getting back from a whirlwind European tour.

 

3. Edison Woods – Finding the Lions

Warm, reassuring, hypnotic art-rock ballad with gorgeous harmonies from one of New York’s most unique and captivating groups, equal part classical and rock. They’re at Galapagos on 2/19.

 

4. King Khan & the Shrines – Live Fast Die Strong

This band is completely insane but they’re a lot of fun. Bizarre, completely over-the-top funny garage rock, like Emmett Kelly sharing the stage with Jesse Bates’ Flying Guitars, recorded live at a record store. 

 

5. Pearl & the Beard – Vessel

Disquieting, dark, slow and artsy with melodica, cello and guitar. They’re at Union Hall on 2/18.

 

6. The JD Allen Trio – iD

Is it id or ID or…? Typical of this guy. He makes you think. From his latest, magnificent jazz trio album I Am I Am (reviewed here recently), this is as catchy as it is haunting.

 

7. The Latin Giants of Jazz – Trip to Mamboland

This is serious oldschool stuff, essentially what’s left of Tito Puente’s band playing a sizzling, upbeat salsa gem that sounds like something Machito could have done but with better production values.

 

8. The Dirt Luck Outlaws – Whiskey Song

Punkabilly, cowpunk, country punk, whatever you call it, it’s a lot of fun. This is one of those songs that every band is tempted to write and it’s a good thing these guys did. 

 

9. The Disclaimers – The Damage Is Done

Typical Disclaimers song: killer tune, killer hooks, sardonically brooding lyric and a gorgeously jangly two-guitar tune by rhythm player Dylan Keeler.

 

10. Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers– Sugarbaby

Hypnotic Howlin Wolf style blues as done by one of the legends of Lower East Side noir glam rock. It always brings down the house when they play it live. They’re at the Mercury on 2/20.

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February 10, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., music, concert, New York City | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Concert Review: The Disclaimers at Spikehill, Brooklyn NY 2/6/09

Supposedly it’s a big blogosphere faux pas to review too many shows by one band because it smacks of fandom. Well, dammit, we ARE fans of the Disclaimers. They’re one of those killer bands whose songs are so catchy and so intelligent, and who put on such an intense live show that everybody wonders why they’re not famous. Woops, that’s 80s thinking: it’s been a long time since a major label signed a good band (last time we said that about a band, their independently produced cd got a great distribution deal – here’s hoping lightning strikes twice). This band has everything: tunes, tight musicianship and two charismatic frontwomen in Naa Koshie Mills and Kate Thomason. Thomason set the place on fire last time out; last night was Mills’ turn to steal the spotlight, immaculate in a two-tone black-and-white pencil dress and coordinated stockings (black on the left, white on the right), in addition to a real flower hair accessory to match her co-lead singer and also a big ostrich feather. She also sang and played violin, trombone and keyboards, a pretty good average for somebody who was so under the weather that she had to go off mic and clear her throat when she wasn’t crooning in that effortlessly breathy style of hers.

 

The rest of the band kicked ass too. Keyboardist/guitarist Dan Sullivan didn’t have his Leslie pedal with him, but he still wailed when it came time for his solo in the best song of the night, the scorching, sarcastic janglerock anthem Tiptoe. They’ve rearranged a lot of their songs lately:  Below the Belly of the 7 Train, their opener, now has a macabre organ intro from Sullivan, and a lot of dynamics – they don’t just barrel through it anymore. They did another one that had a beautiful Elvis Costello keyboard pop ballad feel, another equally gorgeous new jangly garage rock song called The Damage Is Done and even a Springsteen cover, a stunningly successful version of No Surrender. When Thomason sang “No retreat, baby, no surrender,” it was as much cajolement as defiance: disbelief was simply not an option. They closed with a typically fiery, snidely powerful version of their usual closer, Get Out of My Nightmares, fueled by Mills’ usual frenetic staccato violin crescendo at the beginning and then at the end. The place wasn’t as jampacked as it was last time they played here but there was a decent crowd, the sound was pristine as always and the crowd was into it. And maybe because of the depression or the cold night, Bedford Avenue was pretty much clear of trendoids and tourists. A sign of things to come? Let’s hope so.

February 7, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment