Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Song of the Day 5/17/10

The best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Monday’s song is #73:

True West – Shot You Down

Best song on the iconic “paisley underground” psychedelic rockers’ best album, Drifters, 1983, a pounding post-Television style revenge anthem. “And it feels so good to be alive.”

May 17, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beefstock 2010 Day One

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 | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 7/20/09

We do this every Tuesday. You’ll see this week’s #1 song on our Best 100 songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. Every link here except for one will take you to each individual song.

1. Livia Hoffman – All My Imaginary Children

Bitter, brittle and brilliant. And unreleased – you’ll have to see this one live, assuming the underground rock legend keeps coming out of her lair to play it. It’s a fan favorite.

2. Mickey Wynne – All Quiet on the Eastern Frontier

Absolutely spot-on, darkly bluesy critique of war profiteering, Bush and Tony Blair-style. Roger Waters would approve.

3. Sabrosa Purr – One Weak Moment

Hypnotic and sad in a Sparklehorse kind of way

4. Billy Magee – The Happy Song

NOT. But it’s funny. He’s from the Statues of Liberty.

5. The Hellblinki Sextet – Indelicate Brew

Deliciously ominous oldtimey noir cabaret from this excellent, totally original Asheville, North Carolina band.

6. Romashka – Shimdiggy

Characteristically fiery balkan dance instrumental. They’re at Pier One on the upper West on 8/9 at 7 PM.

7. Skelter – Lucifer Sam

Classic Pink Floyd cover, not quite up to the True West version but pretty awesome anyway.

8. Mazarkabul – Behind the Veil

Classic Turkish metal. And here’s a cover of Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden.

9. Lisa Burns – When You Walk in the Room

Irresistible Jackie DeShannon cover, totally retro 60s style.

10. The Whiskey Daredevils – Mickey’s Big Mouth

Barroom rock. “A six of Mickey’s Big Mouth and a half ounce of weed. I’ve got Mickey’s Big Mouth on ice, a buck ninety nine!” Scroll down the page and you’ll see it.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 5/23/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Saturday’s song is #431:

True West Hollywood Holiday

Suspense story set to ferocious Telecaster clang and crash from the leaders of the 80s’ so-called “Paisley Underground,” 1983. The Sacramento band spun off of Steve Wynn’s earliest pre-Dream Syndicate band the Suspects and in their brief lifespan with the original lineup released two classic vinyl albums plus a third posthumously that was excellent as well. Lots of reissued stuff out there, plus the surviving members reunited for some live dates in 2008. Let’s hope they keep it up.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment