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JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 7/22/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Friday’s album is #557:

The Jam – Setting Sons

Maybe someday in 2013 when this list is finally finished, we’ll move this 1979 punk rock classic a little higher…or maybe into the alltime top 10, where it probably deserves to be. This might be the best rock bass record ever made, Bruce Foxton growling and punching his way through one fiery, melodic riff after another. The best of all of them might be the one in Private Hell, frontman/guitarist Paul Weller’s searing, sarcastic account of a day in the life of a yuppie shopper. There’s also the ripping, mod-punk Girl on the Phone; the rueful, metaphorically-charged Thick As Thieves; the scorching, anti-imperialist Little Boy Soldiers and The Eton Rifles; the alienation anthems Burning Sky and Wasteland; the populist Saturday’s Kids; the best version of Smithers-Jones, done with a string quartet here; and a punked-out cover of the old Motown hit Heat Wave. Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler still tour, with a new guitarist; Weller sadly and unexpectedly lost his touch as a songwriter when the band broke up in 1984 and never got it back. Here’s a random torrent via Mod 64.

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July 22, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 3/29/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Tuesday’s album is #672:

The Dog Show – “Hello, Yes”

Ferociously literate oldschool R&B flavored mod punk rock from this Lower East Side New York supergroup, 2004. Everything the Dog Show – who were sort of New York’s answer to the Jam – put out is worth hearing, if you can find it, including their debut, simply titled “demo,” along with several delicious limited edition ep’s. Frontman Jerome O’Brien and Keith Moon-influenced southpaw drummer Josh Belknap played important roles in legendary kitchen-sink rockers Douce Gimlet; Belknap and melodic bassist Andrew Plonsky were also LJ Murphy’s rhythm section around the time this came out. And explosive lead guitarist Dave Popeck fronted his own “heavy pop” trio, Twin Turbine. O’Brien’s songwriting here runs the gamut from the unrestrained rage of Hold Me Down, the sarcasm of Every Baby Boy, the gorgeous oldschool East Village memoir Halcyon Days – which just sounds better with every passing year – and the tongue-in-cheek, shuffling Everything That You Said. Diamonds and Broken Glass is a snarling, practically epic, bluesy kiss-off; White Continental offers a blistering, early 70s Stonesy let’s-get-out-of-here theme. Too obscure to make it to the sharelockers yet, the whole album is still streaming at myspace.

March 29, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 6/1/10

Happy summer! Brand-new June live music calendar coming momentarily. In the meantime, our best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Tuesday’s song is #58:

The Jam – That’s Entertainment

Paul Weller famously said that he wrote this in twenty minutes after coming home from the pub, pissed and pissed off. Too bad he hasn’t done that in the last twenty-five years. The best version of this one is the one with the organ and the horns on the 1983 Dig the New Breed album (although the studio recording with the acoustic guitar and all the backward masking isn’t bad either). The link above is a live acoustic British tv appearance from that era.

June 1, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 5/30/10

The best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Sunday’s song is #60:

The Jam – Private Hell

The vapidness of idle upperclass life illuminated with surprisingly sympathetic savagery in this punk rock classic from Setting Sons, 1979. Bruce Foxton’s incendiary, crackling bassline is one of the best ever.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 9/10/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s song is #321:

The Jam – Down in the Tube Station at Midnight

Evocative account of an encounter with a gang of neo-Nazis from All Mod Cons, 1978, back in the day when the London tube was a lot more dangerous. Bruce Foxton’s bass scurries along like a tube train…or a bunch of thugs who’ve just left their prey – a guy on the way home to his wife with his takeaway curry – lying in a pool of blood.

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

Concert Review: The Dog Show at Sidewalk, NYC 6/8/07

You just had to laugh. A loud rock band onstage at this usually sedate folkie joint, just blazing, playing to pretty much an empty room. On a Friday night. And it was the Dog Show. Sound incongruous? Not when you consider that most New Yorkers don’t go out on the weekend anymore, not with Humvee limos full of Wall Street trash and their trust-funded spawn overflowing the bars, clogging the streets and screaming into their cellphones. Maybe the Dog Show expected this, considering that they didn’t rehearse for this gig. Not that it showed: this was one of the most rousing, passionate shows we’ve seen this year. It was especially notable for the fact that this was frontman Jerome O’Brien’s first-ever gig playing bass and singing lead (he usually plays rhythm guitar in this unit). It’s not easy singing and playing bass at the same time, and O’Brien is a real hard hitter on his four-string Fender. But he wailed, playing well up in the mix with a dirty, growly tone. Guitarist Dave Popeck seemed to be in a particularly mischievous mood tonight, playing licks from Stairway to Heaven and Beatles tunes in between songs. Lately he’s been playing lead in this project, but he handled the additional chordal work with aplomb, in fact using it as a springboard for some particularly pathological soloing. Tonight the Dog Show sounded like an unhinged version of the Jam, right down to drummer Phil McDonald’s spirited mod beats.

On the catchy, riff-driven I Do It for You, I Do It For Me from their album Hello, Yes, the band began the first couple of verses with just the rhythm section. By the third time around, Popeck was fleshing out the song using strategically placed sheets of feedback. He took a careening, bellicose solo on the next number, I Heard Everything That You Said. On the angry, sarcastic 6/8 blues Diamonds and Broken Glass, the band brought the song way down to just the drums after another Popeck solo, then took a long, rather puckish climb out. They wrapped up the set with Hold Me Down (another song from the Hello, Yes album), Popeck blasting out a wah-wah solo. It was as if Jimmy Page decided to swing Paul Weller around until his capillaries began to pop. The small crowd screamed for an encore and the band obliged with the gorgeously anthemic, politically charged, Who-inflected Masterplan, including an all-too-brief breakdown into total noise mid-song. Right before the final climactic hook, O’Brien took a percussive, crescendoing walk up the scale and when there was nowhere else to go, Popeck slammed into the gorgeous, haunting riff that opens the song. This is the kind of show where people who weren’t there will someday say they were in the house. Even the sound, usually dodgy at this venue, was exceptionally clear. Somebody give that sound guy a raise.

June 9, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Concert Review: The Dog Show Live at Club Midway 5/24/07

An aggressive, ballistic performance. The Dog Show is basically frontman/guitarist Jerome O’Brien backed by a rotating cast of A-list New York musicians. As with the great jazz groups of the 1950s, this band shifts shapes depending on who’s playing: with one cast of characters, they can sound like the Stones playing early Elvis Costello; with a different crew, they sound more like the Animals. This unit featured the players on their landmark album Hello, Yes, which was the last recording ever made at Jerry Teel’s legendary Fun House studios. This incarnation bears a very close resemblance to the Jam, mod beats and melodies fueled by pure punk energy and O’Brien’s corrosive, literate lyricism.

The rhythm section had come out of semi-retirement for this show and played like they’d never left. Although the drums were too high in the sound mix, this was a blessing in disguise: Josh Belknap played joyous, rolling thunder all night. You could have closed your eyes and believed that Keith Moon was behind the kit. Bassist Andrew Plonsky was also way up in the mix, playing his dexterous, melodic lines with a growly, trebly tone, defying any conventional wisdom about having to have calloused fingers to play well. Lead guitarist Dave Popeck, whose regular gig until recently was fronting the power trio Twin Turbine, was unfortunately way back in the mix for most of the show. Those lucky enough to figure out what he was doing by watching his fingers fly up and down the fretboard were, until the end of the show, the only people in the house who could have appreciated his searing leads. O’Brien cut loose in front of the band, delivering each line as if it was his last.

The entire set was songs from the Hello, Yes album, opening with Broken Treat, sounding very much like something from All Mod Cons. They followed it with a scorching version of the Stonesy White Continental. On the next song, a particularly terse version of the 6/8 blues Diamonds and Broken Glass, the band came way down on the third chorus, putting O’Brien’s bitter lyric front and center. It’s a dismissive slap at an ex-girlfriend’s “man who can open you up like a can,” building to the chorus:

There’s a diamond inside
For every tear you ever cried
And broken glass is all you’ll ever find
When you’re living a lie

Popeck, finally audible in the mix, followed with a brief, blistering, trebly solo, then the band brought it down again for a final refrain. Later in the set, on the bouncy I Heard Everything That You Said, Popeck built the tension to the breaking point on the chorus with sheets of guitar feedback. Then, on the gorgeously evocative Halcyon Days, a series of scenes from a happier era on the Lower East Side – now overrun with luxury housing and tourists from the outlying counties – Popeck let loose with his most pathological, Stoogoid solo of the night. The band built to an extended, pummeling crescendo out of the chorus on the next song of their tantalizingly brief set, Every Baby Boy. While the sound in the club was uncharacteristically muddy, the passion and intensity of the show made up for it.

One of the later bands on the bill had cancelled, but instead of giving the Dog Show a chance to stretch out and give their fans a little extra, the club pushed them back an hour. Which backfired: when the announcement was made, the audience trickled out for food or cheaper drinks elsewhere, returning just as the Dog Show were about to take the stage for real.

May 25, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments