Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 5/15/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Sunday’s album is #625:

The Act – Too Late at 20

Before Nick Laird-Clowes had the easy-listening radio hit Life in a Northern Town with his chamber-pop band the Dream Academy, he fronted this ferocious, sharply literate, Elvis Costello-influenced two-guitar new wave rock band with David Gilmour’s kid brother Mark playing lead. Their lone 1981 album is a masterpiece of catchy tunes, snarling guitar and restless lyricism. “I belong to the ones that got away,” Laird-Clowes asserts on the album’s best track, the resolute escape anthem Long Island Sound – but by the end, it’s hard to tell whether he’s singing “I belong” or “I’m alone.” That moment is characteristic here. Zero Unidentified is about as exhilarating as a three-minute song can get: it won’t take no for an answer. Get It While You’re Young has an uneasy undercurrent beneath the ecstatic two-guitar powerpop intensity, while The Art of Deception salutes the cheaters amongst us, Clash-style. There’s also the sizzling, upbeat Sure Fire; the reggae-tinged, cynical Protection and Skip the Beat; and the surprisingly tender Touch and Go. Only one dud amongst all this fun. Issued on the same label that would put out Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot out the Lights only a few months later, it’s been out of print for decades. Here’s a random torrent via Powerpop Criminals.

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May 15, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 8/10/09

It’s not like we typically go a whole weekend without putting up one kind of review or another here: an unjustly obscure, brilliant cd, a killer show that too few people noticed. In addition to having seen amazing shows by the Moonlighters on Friday night, a completely drunken baby shower on Saturday plus a last-minute Mark Sinnis show Sunday night at the always comfortable Spikehill, we’re sitting on a ton of great albums. All kinds of new stuff coming up momentarily.  In the meantime, as we do every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Monday’s song is #352:

The Act – Zero Unidentified

Fiery, gorgeously melodic new wave rock anthem from the British band’s lone and absolutely classic 1982 album Too Late at 20. In mathematics, zero is defined as unidentified, and frontman Nick Laird-Clowes (later of the Dream Academy) wants to keep it that way – he won’t take no for an answer. “Let’s get together tonight!” The link here is a homemade digitized version of the whole album.

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

Top Ten Songs of the Week 2/2/09

So you thought there wouldn’t be any hit parade this week, huh? This is the late edition. All these links are for the individual songs with the exception of #1, which is on an album you should own.

 

1. The Brooklyn What – No Chords

We’re going to keep hitting you with great songs by this kick-ass band, just like what we’d be doing with the Clash if this was 1978 and the blogosphere existed back then. This one’s a quiet, funny, brutally satirical number about gentrification and trendoids from their new cd The Brooklyn What for Borough President. They play 2/20 at Red Star at 11; the intriguing and fun Delusions of Grand St. open the night at 9.

 

2. The Megitza Quartet – Boleritza

Haunting, gypsy-flavored instrumental suite from this kick-ass Chicago band. 

 

3. The Quavers – Ride You Home – trippy and creepy with a weird trip-hop feel. Here’s a free download

 

3. The Dream Academy – Mordechai Vanunu

An old song from 1985 (occasionally we might feature something this old if it’s worth it and we just discovered it, as we did in this case), basically just frontman Nick Laid-Clowes and his acoustic guitar doing a tribute to the great Israeli peace activist who was behind bars at the time for divulging Israel’s atom bomb secrets. 

 

4. Brian Kramer – Pause

The excellent blues guitarist is appropriately oldschool: Press pause and then rewind. Who says white guys can’t play blues. 

 

5. The 4th Street Nite Owls – Jerry the Junker

One of the first and best of the oldtimey revival bands here in town, still going strong. This is an update on the Minnie the Moocher theme.

 

6. Anistar – Longa Nikriz

Long, haunting balkan/klezmer dance from this amazing multistylistic band. They’re at le Poisson Rouge on 2/5.

 

7. Alec Berlin – My Baby Likes to Eat

So politically incorrect it’s hard to believe it exists at all. Don’t listen if you can’t handle humor that pokes fun at women and lesbians. It’s all in good fun. He’s at Arlene’s on 2/11.

 

8. The Tarantinos NYC – Monte Carlo Nights

A total ripoff of the surf classic Man of Mystery, but with that swirling organ it’s irresistible: this is a band that by rights shouldn’t even exist at all, but somehow they make it work.

 

9. Red Rocket – Red Rocket

Delicious noir soundtrack jazz from this Irish group, a side project of the similarly inclined Rocket who play Barbes on 2/25.  

 

10. Erin Hill – Blue Slide

Psychedelic pop with a singer who plays concert harp. Sounds absolutely nothing like Joanna Newsom

February 3, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Song of the Day 1/29/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s is #545:

The Act – Get It While You’re Young

This catchy, warmly anthemic track from this fiery two-guitar British band’s lone, brilliant 1982 album Too Late At 20 still rings true more than 25 years later. Frontman Nick Laird-Clowes would go on to Zager and Evans Hall of Fame infamy a couple of years later with the Dream Academy and Life in a Northern Town. He makes movie music now, a considerable improvement. The album was never issued on cd; scour the dollar bins at your local vinyl emporium. The link above is a homemade mp3 download.

January 29, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment