One important rising composer who’s doing genuinely visionary work in microtonal music, helping to integrate sounds from the Middle East into jazz and rock, is Tehran-based multi-instrumentalist Salim Ghazi Saeedi. His latest album namoWoman is an often otherworldly creation. It’s considerably more raw and roughhewn than, say, recent albums by David Fiuczynski and Hafez Modirzadeh, both artists to which he compares favorably. Aside from the fact that Saeedi plays all the instruments on the album – guitars, keys, basses and drums – what’s most amazing about it is how through-composed it is. Thematic variations recur frequently but always change shape, melodically and dynamically. It’s a dark, bracing, uneasy roller-coaster ride.
Saeedi’s main axe is the guitar, which he multitracks using two basic tones: a ringing, watery timbre that he typically uses to deliver plaintive, judiciously picked microtonal phrases and ringing sustained lines, along with a gritty, crunchy, distorted tone that often takes centerstage with a sneering, occasionally comedic flair. That tone, and its bombastic allusions and head-on assaults, poses the question of whether this is heavy metal, or jazz, or Persian art-rock. Ultimately, the answer is all of the above.
Saeedi’s unorthodox use of both piano and bass is also extremely clever. Saeedi leans heavily on the piano’s lowest keys, whether to anchor the music in a murky, overtone-spiced ambience, or for basslines. By contrast, Saeedi utilizes the bass’s entire sonic spectrum, frequently bowing eerily elegant viola melodies in the upper registers. A few of the tracks have trebly-toned, judiciously played electric bass along with the occasional electronic keyboard motif. All this contrasts with the savage, distorted guitar lines: whether or not that dichotomy is deliberate or not (two sides of the same coin, maybe, one profound and the other profane?), it’s inescapable.
Throughout the nine-part suite, Saeedi establishes individual voices within the arrangements, with all kinds of melodic interweaving and conversations: piano ripples respond to bass bubbles, cello-flavored lines hand off to the guitar, or to the drums. Without knowing it, you wouldn’t necessarily guess that guitar is Saeedi’s primary axe, considering how graceful, dexterous and propulsive his bass work is; his piano lines are terse, imaginative and serve an important part of the musical backbone. If there’s any criticism of this, it’s that Saeedi swings on the guitar and especially the bass but not the drums: a percussionist with a proficiency equal to Saeedi’s on those two instruments could have been useful here. Then again, percussionists capable of playing such eclectic compositions are hard to find anywhere, let alone in traditional Persian music.
Bluesy allusions give way to suspenseful not-quite-minor, not-exactly major Persian intervals; rhythms tend to be straight-up but not always, one interlude bouncing along on a tricky groove that would be perfectly at home in Macedonia or Greece. Pensive, moody guitar echoes until it’s bludgeoned out of the picture as the distorted roar takes over, and then recedes, a constant game of good cop vs. bad cop with an occasional exchange of roles. There’s simple, insistent staccato guitar riffage straight out of the Pantera playbook, and also spacious, distantly anguished David Gilmour-inflected phrasing. The High Romantic, the gothic, the gypsy and the jazz – think Cecil Taylor in extreme deep space mode – mingle and echo and at their most cohesive, haunt the hell out of you. Little flourishes like a jaunty melodica vamp, hints of surf rock and Mediterranean psychedelia lighten the darkness while enhancing the surrealism of it all. Who is the audience for this? Middle Eastern metalheads; fans of Persian music who need a jolt of energy, and any fan of loud, dark sounds laced with fearless humor. There is no one in the world who sounds anything like Salim Ghazi Saeedi: where he takes these ideas in the future promises to be a pretty wild place.
January 10, 2013 Posted by delarue | jazz, middle eastern music, Music, review, Reviews, rock music | album review, art-rock, classical rock, heavy metal, iranian music, jazz rock, metal music, metal rock, middle eastern jazz, middle eastern music, Music, music review, orchestrated rock, persian music, prog rock, progressive rock, rock music, Salim Ghazi Saeedi, Salim Ghazi Saeedi namowoman, Salim Ghazi Saeedi namowoman review, Salim Ghazi Saeedi review, symphonic rock, world music | Leave a comment
In this age of independent music, do we really need labels at all? If you want to sell more than downloads and unload physical product in a country where you don’t live, or probably won’t be visiting soon, a label can be useful. And good branding never hurts – Norton does garage rock; Tzadik does every shade of klezmer and sometimes the Middle East; and Ripple Music have carved themselves a niche as purveyors of tasty, retro 70s stoner rock. Considering how much great stuff these guys have put out over the last year, the answer’s yes, these guys actually fill a need, unlike the parasitic corporate labels.
Ripple Music went for cred right off the bat by signing Poobah, whose 1972 proto-metal classic Let Me In they reissued last year. And they wasted no time scoring midwestern acid rock cult favorites the JPT Scare Band, who just played their first gig in 35 years if you can believe it. In this age where virtually everything audible online is free, and most commercial radio stations won’t go near good original music, how does a label stay in business? Like a drug dealer. They turn you on to their product for free and then let you decide, heh heh. Their freebie right now is a first anniversary sampler available for free at their bandcamp site, featuring bands whose material they’ve released or reissued, often on vinyl as well as digitally, in the past year, along with previews of a couple of upcoming releases. It’s a cool mixtape for 7-11 parking lots.
As usual with this kind of stuff, the more fun the bands let themselves have, the better the music is (which applies to pretty much any style when you think about it). “70s rock preservationists” Stone Axe are a mighty good choice to open the album with Riders of the Night, a period-perfect, LOL Spinal Tap party scenario. They’re “busy blowing smoke rings around the midnight sun,” and the guitars do the same. Surprisingly, Mighty High, Brooklyn’s funniest self-described regressive rock act don’t go as hard for the comedy as they usually do, although their track, Don’t Panic – It’s Organic, is smoking. Imagine it’s 1973, Blue Oyster Cult is trying to channel Chuck Berry and kicking out the best guitar solos on the entire compilation, evil chromatic Deniz Tek style.
The JPT Scare Band’s contribution, It’s a Jungle, really is a time trip. It has the feel of a vinyl rip – that sidewinding, trebly, melodic bass and those Spooky Tooth metalfunk hooks are killer. And is that a qanun (Arabic hammered dulcimer) slapping the lo-fi synth upside the head? Surprisingly, Poobah is represented by one of the less ferocious tracks from Let Me In, although this one shows off the rhythm section: it’s not just Jim Gustafson guitar pyrotechnics. But Venomin James’ Bullet Juice delivers buckets of evil via a delicious Sabbath-style chromatic riff and a razorwire wah solo that leaves you wanting more. And Mos Generator’s moonshine-running anthem Stone County Line injects fresh blood into a bunch of hallowed 70s moves, with some blunt instrument Bill Ward-ish drums.
There are a couple of ringers here. Modern Day Moonshine offer a soulfully shuffling update on the Grateful Dead’s Cumberland Blues, while Bay Area songwriter Kevin Beadles’ Sharkskin sounds like a metal spoof done as bluesy, swinging, late 70s Rhodes piano pop. It wouldn’t be out of place on a Tubes album. There’s also Tripdavon’s By the River, which merges southern slide guitar rock and blues overtones; riff-heavy Scottish band Iron Claw, which would fit in fine with the Nazareth catalog; and Vancouver band Fen’s Queen of the Mountain, pensive and apprehensive with lots of dynamic shifts – these guys sound like they used to listen to grunge but left it behind. There are a couple of duds, but what do you expect for nothing? Get it while it’s still available.
July 26, 2011 Posted by delarue | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | 70s rock, acid rock, fen band, fen band vancouver, free download, free mp3, heavy metal, iron claw band, jpt scare band, kevin beadles, metal bands, metal music, metal rock, mighty high band, modern day moonshine, mos generator, poobah band, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, ripple music, ripple music compilation, ripple music first anniversary sampler, ripple music free sampler, ripple music mixtape, seventies rock, stone axe band, stoner music, tripdavon, venomin james | 4 Comments
Today we’ll be completely out of commission until early evening, at which point we’ll do our best to get back to business and open up the floodgates. In the meantime, as we do every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Thursday’s album is #705:
The MC5 – Kick Out the Jams
Here’s one you know. We’re trying to steer clear of the stuff on the web’s two most popular “best albums” lists, but this one pretty much everybody agrees on. It works whether you consider this metal, proto-punk, garage rock or the avant garde (it’s a bit of all of them). The MC5’s 1968 debut kicks off with frontman Rob Tyner screaming “Motherfuckers!” and ends with the drony proto-noiserock epic Starship. In between we get a practically punk version of an old folk song and then the title track – an urgent message to self-indulgent hippie musicians to keep things tight – as well as the completely nonsensical but deliriously fun Rocket Reducer No. 62, the lumpen, proletarian Come Together and Borderline, the searing bluesmetal anthem Motor City Is Burning (which nicks a page from fellow Detroiter John Lee Hooker’s book) and I Want You Right Now, one of the first attempts to blend metal and funk. Guitarists Fred “Sonic” Smith and Wayne Kramer kick up a cataclysm while Dennis Thompson, one of the most exhilarating rock drummers ever, adds extra firepower to the river of molten sludge. Here’s a random torrent.
February 24, 2011 Posted by theamyb | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | best albums, best albums all time, best albums alltime, best albums ever, best albums list, best albums lucid culture, best music, best music ever, best obscure albums, best obscure albums all time, best obscure albums alltime, best obscure albums ever, best rock albums, best rock albums all time, best rock albums alltime, best rock albums ever, best underrated albums, dennis thompson, detroit bands, fred sonic smith, greatest albums all time, greatest albums alltime, greatest albums ever, greatest obscure albums, greatest rock albums all time, greatest rock albums alltime, greatest rock albums ever, hard rock, heavy metal, MC5, mc5 kick out the jams, metal music, metal rock, most underrated albums, most underrated albums all time, Music, proto metal, proto punk, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, rob tyner, stoner metal, stoner music, top albums all time, top albums alltime, top albums ever, wayne kramer | Leave a comment
“You have to be stoned to listen to this” is usually an insult. We don’t ordinarily advocate for or against the use of one substance or another – that should be an individual choice, and a legal one. But if the phrase “strange haze” has any kind of special meaning for you, Strange Haze’s album Riffin’ for Rent is the kind that you really ought to hear after indulging. If your dad still gets stoned, smoke him up and then try to convince him that this band was around when he was doing it all the time. He just might believe you.
Strange Haze (formerly known as Whooping Crane) should have been the band in Almost Famous. Hilariously satirical, sometimes cruelly, sometimes fondly, the Brooklyn rockers’ stoner shtick works as well as it does because they’re such excellent musicians. When’s the last time you heard a metal band with a drummer who can swing like crazy? Everybody knows that you have to have chops to play metal really well, but these guys don’t just know their early 70s stoner music, they know soul, and Stones, and Sabbath, and Skynyrd, and probably a bunch of bands from that era who were quickly forgotten because they weren’t as good. That’s what Strange Haze sound like. They’ll riff on a single chord for what seems minutes on end, and yet there’s something fresh and unselfconsciously fun about it. They know every cliche in the book and aren’t afraid to employ them wherever they’d be the most ridiculous. Likewise, their lyrics, delivered in a deadpan, period perfect faux-bluesy drawl, are beyond hilarious.
The opening track is She’s a Knockout, which sounds like the MC5 as done by Grand Funk Railroad. It’s about a girl “who was born in the heart of the whooping crane,” with an irresistible multiple-tracked bluesmetal solo out. Track two, Tomm Tapp starts out as sludgy but swinging riff-metal in the Poobah vein and adds honking harmonica for, you know, that authentic bluesy feeling – and suddenly goes all starlit and rapt for a second before the bludgeoning begins again. “Can you see the fork in the road? Close your eyes before they explode!” They follow that with Hang Loose, six minutes of wah funk, Sabbath style with some woozy southern overtones: “Summer of love don’t tell no lies ’cause we’re underneath the firefly…smoking the kingsized ultralights, still looking kinda tight.”
One Hit Sally is a tribute to a girl convinced that her smoke-filled room is more interesting than anything that could possibly exist outside it, pulsing along on a Stax/Volt bass groove with grand guignol art-rock guitar flourishes. The perfectly titled Voomp! keeps the funky groove going (if you remember early 70s Texas “hard rock” band Bloodrock, this is that kind of thing). The funniest song on the album is Straight Dope, playfully taking a 60s soul riff, adding more of that honking harmonica and a priceless lyric:
Walked down to the marble garden with a buckskin bottle of wine
Sometimes I get so drunk I can sing just like a child
The bonus track that you can get from their bandcamp site is That’s More Like It, working both sides of the Atlantic for a riff-loaded hash buzz, then a skunkweed heartland metal vibe: “Make you crawl like an armadillo, armageddon in an armchair!” In addition to this one, Strange Haze will be on the Soda Shop’s upcoming free compilation coming out Feb 22.
February 16, 2011 Posted by delarue | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | classic rock, early 70s metal, early metal, heavy metal, heavy metal parody, heavy metal spoof, joke band, metal music, metal parody, metal rock, metal spoof, michael lo, musical satire, proto metal, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, satirical band, satirical music, seventies metal, seventies rock, stoner metal, stoner music, strange haze, strange haze band, strange haze riffin for rent, strange haze riffin for rent review, whooping crane band, whooping crane riffin for rent, whooping crane riffin for rent review | 1 Comment
Jersey City rockers Hoodless pride themselves that they can replicate 99% of their new album Music for Jerks live, and a lot of it actually sounds like it could be live in the studio. If you like metal but can’t stand the tunelessness and unoriginality of all the post-grunge corporate metal acts of the last ten years, Hoodless are for you. The one band they evoke, again and again, if from a distance, are Van Halen, but without the over-the-top ridiculousness (just imagine how awesome VH would have been if, say, Mark Anthony, or anybody BUT David Lee or Sammy was the singer…). Some of the songs here follow the grunge formula of quiet verse/loud chorus, but they’re not grunge – the vocals aren’t slurred or stupid and the twin guitars of Paul Allan and Finn are definitely metal, dry 80s style Charvel-through-a-Peavey grit. Most of the songs are short (three or four minutes, tops) and riff-oriented: there isn’t a lot of soloing, but when they cut loose the playing is choice.
The first cut, Touch and Cry is simple and characteristically catchy: it goes doublespeed after the verses are over, Van Halen meets Pantera without buffoonery of either one. Waiting and then Innocent do the soft/loud contrast effectively, the first with repeater-pedal guitar, the second with an eerie, echoey PiL vibe on the verse. Down, a darkly majestic 6/8 ballad, follows the same pattern, with echoes of Black Angel by the Cult. GAPO, whatever that stands for, has a spacious, early 70s style stoner metal feel, with a memorable descending progression, a trick ending and solid bootkick Bill Ward style drums. The sixth track, Say It Loud juxtaposes thrash with new wave, hair metal as done by Anthrax, maybe, and finally a nice NWOBHM blues-tinged solo. Run Away works a catchy twin guitar chorus hook, some tasty chromatic riffage and something about how “the cannibal masses can’t run away.” Be My Whore is memorably abrasive and as funny as you would think, with “my fingers down your throat.” ?!?!? Underground reaches for a majestic, rhythmically tricky British metal majesty and nails it in four minutes or less; the concluding track, Why So Serious runs variations on a classic Led Zep style hook. Make the sign of the horns and raise your lighter.
September 30, 2010 Posted by delarue | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | album review, anthrax band, cult band, heavy metal, heavy metal music, heavy metal rock, hoodless, hoodless band, hoodless music for jerks, hoodless music for jerks review, hoodless review, led zeppelin, metal music, metal pop, metal rock, Music, music review, new metal, nu-metal, pantera band, paul allan guitar, pop metal, rock music, stoner metal, stoner music, thrash metal, van halen | Leave a comment
OK, we’re a little behind with this but we have not been idle: new NYC concert calendar coming August 1, the 1000 best albums of all time, not to mention 72 albums and two concerts to review. At least. In the meantime here’s this week’s version of what Billboard should be paying attention to: we try to mix it up, offer a little something for everyone, sad songs, funny songs, upbeat songs, quieter stuff, you name it. If you don’t like one of these, you can always go on to the next one. Every link here will take you to the song. As always, the #1 song of the week is guaranteed a spot on this year’s best 100 songs list at the end of December.
1. The Larch – Sub-Orbital Getaway
A masterpiece of catchy paisley underground rock dressed up in a skinny tie and striped suit. From the Brooklyn band’s best album, the brand-new Larix Americana.
2. Devi - When It Comes Down
The psychedelic rockers are giving away this live showstopper as a free download. Doesn’t get any more generous than this!
3. People You Know - Glamour in the Hearts of Many
Go Gos soundalike from the fun, quirky Toronto trio.
4. Wormburner – The Interstate
Long, literate highway epic: it’s all about escape. What you’d expect from a good band from New Jersey (they tore up Hipster Demolition Night this month).
5. The Fumes – Cuddle Up the Devil
Not the Queens ska-rock crew but an Australian band very good at hypnotic pounding Mississippi hill country blues a la RL Burnside or Will Scott. They’re at the Rockwood 8/26-27
6. The Alpha Rays - Guide to Androids
Ziggy-era Bowie epic warped into an early 80s artpop vein from these lyrical London rockers.
7. Fela Original Cast – Water No Get Enemy
A Fela classic redone brilliantly, from the Broadway show soundtrack – then again, it’s what you’d expect from Antibalas.
8. Iron Maiden – God of Darkness
This is the first Iron Maiden – bluesy British metal from 1969!
9. Darker My Love – Dear Author
Faux psychedelic Beatles – funny in a Dukes of Stratosphear vein. Free download.
10. Megan McCullough Li - Blood in the Water
Solo harp and vocals – creepy!
July 29, 2010 Posted by delarue | blues music, lists, Music, rock music, world music | 60s music, african music, afrobeat, alpha rays, Antibalas, australian blues, best songs of the week, blood in the water, blues, blues band, blues metal, blues music, bluesmetal, classic rock, dance rock, darker my love band, darker my love dear author, devi band, devi when it comes down, electric blues, fela original cast, first iron maiden, fumes cuddle up the devil, glam rock, glamrock, harp music, harpist, harpist songwriter, heavy metal, highway rock, hill country blues, iron maiden, iron maiden god of darkness, larch band, larch larix americana, larch sub-orbital getaway, Megan McCullough Li, Megan McCullough Li blood in the water, metal music, metal rock, Music, music for harp, new wave, new wave music, paisley underground, power pop, power trio, powerpop, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, punk pop, retro music, rock anthem, rock ballad, rock music, sixties music, solo harp, songwriter with harp, soundtrack music, top ten songs, top ten songs of the week, water no get enemy, world music, wormburner, wormburner interstate | Leave a comment
Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch, creator of the Small Beast concert series at the Delancey – New York’s most cutting-edge, exciting and important rock event – played his final set at the club Monday night, since he’s moving to host another Small Beast in Dortmund, Germany. Sharing a characteristically rich bill with Wallfisch were ”cemetery and western” crooner Mark Sinnis, cello rockers Blues in Space and Wallfisch’s longtime co-conspirator Little Annie Bandez.
All of these acts get a lot of ink here. Sinnis played a terse duo show on acoustic guitar, backed by the reliably extraordinary Susan Mitchell on gypsy-tinged violin. His trademark Nashville gothic material went over as well with the crowd gathered at the bar as the blast of air conditioning flowing from the back of the upstairs space did. The two mixed up creepily quiet and more upbeat songs from Sinnis’ new album The Night’s Last Tomorrow along with older ones like the hypnotic, vintage Carl Perkins-flavored That’s Why I Won’t Love You.
Blues in Space featured composer/frontman Rubin Kodheli playing electric cello, accompanied by eight-string guitar and drums. Hearing their swirling, chromatically charged, metal-spiced instrumentals up close (the band set up on the floor in front of the stage) was like being inside a cyclotron, witnessing the dawn and decay of one new element after another. And yet the compositions were lushly melodic, especially an unselfconsciously catchy new one which was basically just a good pop song arranged for dark chamber-rock trio. Kodheli fretted afterward that he wanted to take special care not to sound “bombastic,” something he shouldn’t worry about. A little bombast actually wouldn’t have hurt.
After Blues in Space, Wallfisch made the long wait for his set worthwhile. Small Beast is his baby, and as much passion as he put into it, it obviously wasn’t easy to let it go. As much as he didn’t hold back – the guy is one of the most charismatic frontmen in any style of music – he also didn’t go over the top, letting his songs speak for themselves. And they spoke volumes: his glimmering solo piano arrangement of the Paul Bowles poem Etiquette, and his closing number, Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man, equal parts seduction and anguish. “One and a half years, it seems like a lifetime ago,” he mused, which makes sense: in that short span of time, Small Beast in its own way took its place in the history of music in New York alongside CBGB, Minton’s and Carnegie Hall.
In between, Little Annie joined him for flickering, torchy, regret-steeped versions of Jacques Brel’s If You Go Away (interrupted by a posse of drunken tourists barreling down the stairs and past the stage, oblivious to the moment), the reliably amusing anti-trendoid anthem Cutesy Bootsies, a genuinely wrenching requiem for a suicide titled Dear John, and an apt encore of It Was a Very Good Year. Annie is reliably hilarious; tonight she was just as preoccupied. And who can blame her (she goes on tour with Baby Dee in late summer/early fall).
As for the future of Small Beast, the Delancey’s Dana McDonald has committed her ongoing support (she’s no dummy – being known for running a club that books smart music is always a plus, no matter how much more moronic the world of corporate and indie rock gets). Vera Beren – a rare bandleader who can match Wallfisch pound for pound in terms of charisma – hosts next week’s Beast on July 12, featuring her band along with ambient, minimalist synth goths Sullen Serenade and ornate, artsy Italian/New York 80s-style goth band the Spiritual Bat.
July 7, 2010 Posted by delarue | concert, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | annie bandez, art-rock, atmospheric music, baby dee, Blues in Space, botanica band, cabaret, cabaret music, cello metal, cello music, cello rock, classical rock, dana delancey, dana mcdonald, delancey bar, goth music, goth night new york, goth night nyc, goth rock, gothic music, gothic music new york, gothic music nyc, gothic rock, heavy metal, instrumental metal, instrumental rock, leonard cohen, little annie, little annie bandez, mark sinnis, metal music, metal rock, noir cabaret, paul bowles, paul wallfisch, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, rubin kodheli, small beast, spiritual bat, sullen serenade, susan mitchell violin, vera beren | Leave a comment
Beefstock is sort of Bonnaroo for great obscure New York bands, an annual two or three-day spring music festival in the Catskills. We’ve covered the previous two – the backstory is here. In the beginning, it was skewed more toward jam bands, but in recent years it’s become more and more diverse. As with all festivals, it’s impossible to take everything in, and the quality of the bands at this one – arguably the best Beefstock ever – was frustratingly good. Standing around watching music for seven or eight hours at a clip gets exhausting, so, apologies in advance to the acts who played who aren’t covered here. With breaks for food, wine, more wine (Beefstock requires a lot of refueling!), checking email (there’s no cell service at the festival site, the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY) and general socializing, this is simply one perspective on this year’s festivities.
A later-than-expected departure from Manhattan meant missing the early Friday night performances. By eight in the evening, Fred Gillen Jr. was wrapping up a characteristically tuneful, invigorated set of socially aware acoustic rock with his new drummer. If memory serves right, this was their first show together, and they rocked, concluding with a spirited version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Liza Garelik Roure and her husband Ian Roure, who would play Saturday night in their band the Larch, followed with a duo set showcasing songs from the band she fronts, Liza and the WonderWheels, and these proved more richly tuneful and emotionally diverse than ever (their upcoming cd ought to be awfully good). “Trailer punk” band Mr. McGregor followed them, including in their set an inspired, rocking Joe Maynard cover and a resonant ode to grilled cheese.
Girl to Gorilla were good at last year’s Beefstock. This time around they absolutely and colossally kicked ass, with a clanging, careening set that was part southwestern gothic, part paisley underground psychedelia, all of it with a snotty punk sense of humor. The electric violin wailing over the din of the guitars is the icing on the cake with this band, the violinist contributing some intense harmony vocals on a couple of numbers as well. One song sounded like the Dream Syndicate. The catchy, minor-key Evil Man was like a cross between True West and Ninth House. The equally catchy Waste of My Time was followed by a new wave-flavored one, a ska-punk number, a Steve Wynn-style riff-rocker and more menacing, jangly stuff. They encored with an aptly wired cover of Koka Kola by the Clash.
The next band, Black Death also absolutely and colossally kicked ass. To say that they sounded like the UK Subs but with better lyrics doesn’t give them enough credit. They jokingly describe themselves as not stupid enough to be metal but not good enough to be punk while they combine the best elements of both styles, punk fearlessness and heavy metal fun. Their Les Paul player gave a free clinic in good bluesmetal solos while their frontguy roared his way through one ferocious, pounding number after another with both his voice and his guitar. Maybe appropriately, their biggest audience hit, I Like Pussy, had a death metal feel. They closed their set with a Balkan death metal waltz and encored with the blasting Live Free or Die (not the Bill Morrissey comedy-folk hit recently resurrected by Hayes Carll) with a deliciously long, bluesy guitar solo.
Following Black Death was a Plastic Beef spinoff, Live and Let Diane (an inside joke), with backbeat drum monster/Beefstock impresario Joe Filosa showing off the same kind of casual cool brilliance on the mic that characterizes his work behind the kit. By now, the wine had kicked in, the really nice guy behind the bar had given one of us a generous glass of Jameson’s on the house, and it was time to call it a night or miss out on a lot of the next day’s fun.
An account of Day Two continues here.
April 15, 2010 Posted by delarue | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | beefstock, beefstock 2010, beefstock festival, black death band, clash cover, dream syndicate, full moon resort, full moon resort big indian ny, full moon resort catskills, full moon resort oliverea, full moon resort woodstock, girl to gorilla, hayes carll, heavy metal, ian roure, joe filosa, joe maynard, larch band, live and let diane, live free or die, liza and the wonderwheels, liza garelik, liza garelik roure, metal music, metal punk, metal rock, mr. mcgregor band, music festival, music festival catskills, music festival new york, music festival ny, Ninth House band, paisley underground, plastic beef, punk metal, punk rock, rock music, southwestern gothic, steve wynn, True West band, uk subs | 1 Comment
Sasha Dobson, a jazz/pop singer who’s now playing guitar as well, has become one of the few NYC artists to get any press in the NY Times, and she’s earned it: she’s what Norah Jones should aspire to be in a couple of years. Dobson has paid her dues playing small clubs over the past several years and sings in a lower register than Jones, but still invites the inevitable Norah comparisons since she’s moved away from jazz toward a more pop style. Her stage persona is more confident, more world-weary and decidedly more mature, perhaps appropriately so. She has a fondness for minor keys and rhythms like bossa nova and tango which are well suited to her sultry delivery. Now if only she could stick to doing her own, surprisingly compelling original material instead of covering the likes of hacks like Richard Julian (who duetted with her on one of his songs and added absolutely nothing: to paraphrase Billy Preston, nothing plus nothing makes nothing).
Van Hayride, the headline act, shares a rhythm section with Dobson, the only conceivable reason (other than careless booking) for them to have followed on the bill: But segue or no segue, they were tremendous, and had the audience in hysterics throughout their completely over-the-top set. Van Hayride features the hardest working man in country music, Jack Grace as frontman plus the piano player from his country band along with guitarist Steve Antonakos (what NYC band is this guy NOT in???), doing country covers of Van Halen songs. These guys are smart: they know that 99% of heavy metal is comedy, and that Van Halen were its finest Borscht Belt practitioners. Grace does a spot-on David Lee Roth parody: during one song, he lay on the floor, the mic just out of his reach, as if so wasted that he lacked the eye/hand coordination to reach out and grab it. “Where’s my mic tech,” he growled. On another song, he slumped backwards against the drum kit, his head up against the kick drum. He put the mic everywhere but where it should be, and made his bandmates laugh to the point where they were screwing up. Which is all part of the act. Van Hayride is a thorough reminder of A) how moronic Van Halen’s lyrics were, B) how even stupider Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing was and C) how absolutely necessary Van Hayride is. And it’s a good thing it’s these guys doing it. Grace is the consummate showman, whether fronting this unit or his own far more serious yet still gutbustingly funny band, and he’s never lacked for excellent players behind him. Antonakos plays Eddie Van Halen’s lines pretty much note for note, albeit without the fuzzy distortion or garish flourishes. Van Hayride are in a four-way tie for funniest New York band, along with Tammy Faye Starlite in all her many incarnations; cover band hellions Rawles Balls, whose most recent shows have turned into bacchanalian karaoke sessions; and Cocktail Angst, the Spinal Tap of lounge bands.
To fully appreciate Van Hayride, it helps to know the source material (Doug Henwood, I know you’re out there): there’s a certain target audience here, specifically those who were subjected to the stuff on FM radio in the early 80s (Van Hayride proudly declares that they’re a “David Lee Roth only” Van Halen cover band). But judging from the response of the crowd in the club – a broad cross-section of ages and locales – you don’t have to be a Van Halen fan (or hater) to get a kick out of this. Next time they play, you might as well jump (”So that’s what the song’s about?” Grace asked quizzically as they reached the end). Van Hayride plays every Sunday in May at 10 at Banjo Jim’s.
May 8, 2007 Posted by delarue | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | banjo jim's nyc, chanteuse, cockail angst, comedy band, comedy rock, concert review, country music, david lee roth, heavy metal, heavy metal music, heavy metal parody, heavy metal rock, homeboy steve, homeboy steve antonakos, Jack Grace, jazz chanteuse, jazz singer, jazz-pop, metal music, metal rock, Music, norah jones, parody band, pop music, rawles balls, rock music, sasha dobson, Spinal Tap, tammy faye starlite, tenacious d, Van Halen cover, van halen cover band, van halen parody, van halen parody band, van hayride | 5 Comments
Welcome to Lucid Culture, a New York-based music blog active since 2007. You can scroll down for a brief history and explanation of what we do here. To help you get around this site, here are some links which will take you quickly to our most popular features:
If you’re wondering where all the rock music coverage here went, it’s moved to our sister blog New York Music Daily.
Click here for our front page, where you’ll find the ten most recent writeups.
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A big hit in 2008-2009, the 666 Best Songs of All Time page
This link will take you directly to the most recently updated NYC Live Music Calendar, which has also migrated to New York Music Daily.
Our archives since day one
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ABOUT LUCID CULTURE
April, 2007 – Lucid Culture debuts as the online version of a somewhat notorious New York music and politics e-zine, which then ceases publication. After a brief flirtation with blogging about global politics, we begin covering the dark fringes of the New York rock scene that the indie rock blogosphere and the corporate media find too frightening, too smart or too unfashionable. “Great music that’s not trendy” becomes our mantra. For a glimpse of the early years, here’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek interview with one of Lucid Culture’s founders.
2008-2009 – world music, jazz and classical become an integral part of coverage here. Our 666 Best Songs of All Time list becomes a hit, as do our year-end lists for best songs, best albums and best New York area concerts.
2010 – Lucid Culture steps up coverage of jazz and classical while rock lingers behind.
2011 – one of Lucid Culture’s founding members creates New York Music Daily, a blog dedicated primarily to rock music coverage from a transgressive, oldschool New York point of view, with Lucid Culture continuing to cover music that’s typically more lucid and cultured.
2012-13 – Lucid Culture eases into its current role as New York Music Daily’s jazz and classical annex.
2014 – still going strong…thanks for stopping by!
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