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.

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

CD Review: Edison Woods – The Wishbook Singles [so far]

The marvelous New York chamber-rock band Edison Woods is releasing a new single every month. There are four of them so far and they are without exception exquisite. Edison Woods’ modus operandi is taking simple, catchy melodies and embellishing them with rich, atmospheric orchestration and beautiful harmonies from the keyboard duo of Julia Frodahl and Johanna Cranitch. Their miminalist approach is most striking in that they typically break chords up into arpeggios, utilizing the spaces between as an integral part of the arrangement as well.

 

The first of the singles, the Gardener is ambient and almost rubato with its gentle vocals and pensive, deliberate melody, methodically building while seemingly random melodic fragments twinkle in the background. Finding the Lions has a warm reassurance, a theme that recurs throughout their work. It’s a slow, calm, hopeful number in the band’s favorite time signature, 6/8, with some nice call-and-response with the organ: “Gonna find the parade, gonna wear those colors, gonna marry the lion…If I can’t hide from myself, they can’t hide from me, one day I’ll find the parade.”

 

Dance Me to the End of the World is another one in 6/8, a slow, sweet lullaby, essentially a soul song with the chords broken up into their separate components. There’s a warmly glimmering piano solo with just a hint of disquiet. The latest of the singles is Dear Heaven, a haunting consolation:

 

 

I can only imagine your mornings here

Do you hear my prayers?

Did I offer you flowers?

 

 

Frodahl inquires, concerned. The songs builds into a strikingly intense chorus with incisive, distorted guitar, up to the hushed harmonies of the refrain, “Sad, sad, sad.” There’s also a devious trick ending with the clarinet. This makes great late-night listening: headphones are very highly recommended. All the songs are available at itunes or at the band’s own site. Edison Woods play Galapagos on Feb 19.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment