Deli Magazine Reviews

A collection of short reviews that have appeared either at www.thedelimagazine.com or in The Deli Magazine's quarterly print magazine. 

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3/25/2010 Midnight Masses 


Citing influences like Nick Cave, Nina Simone, and The Zombies, Midnight Masses proudly plant their genre flag in "Gospel Gothic Soul" soil. They have a gazey, chamber music feel--moody like Joy Division. Creative like TV on the Radio. Fun like The Animals. Poetic like The Doors. Sexy like Massive Attack. Soft like Bon Iver. Soulful like Oscar Brown Jr. Pulling from his background (one part religious, one part rock and roll) and the life altering event of the death of his father, vocalist Autry Fulbright leads Midnight Masses with a spiritual fervor that comes through clearly in the music. It comes through in the tremolo of Fulbright's voice, lyrically, and with the great care put into song and performance. Midnight Masses are less evangelical, more transcendental--as though the music itself symbolizes their spiritual connection. TV on the Radio's influential antennae can be heard on their EP, Rapture Ready, which was co-produced by Gerard Smith (TVOTR's bassist.) They just finished up a residency at Union Pool in February and have an upcoming show at the Bowery Ballroom (already sold out) on April 1st. Do keep an eye out for new show listings at http://www.myspace.com/midnightmassesandtheendofdays--good things come to those who pay attention.


10/20/2009 - Freelance Whales

Queens-based fivesome, Freelance Whales, channel the atmospheric pengs of progressive Canadian indie pop (ala Stars, Broken Social Scene, et al) and tread the sentimenterra firma on which Saddle Creek set up camp—with stylings of their own peculiar design. Those Freelance Whales will even build compositions upon Southern Americana foundations boasting a certain gravitas of banjo twang. On par with 21st century notions of music and all it entails, this freewheelin’ five make use of a broad range of instruments—from glockenspiel to telephones; from cello to korg synth.

Their debut album Weathervanes is now available online at iTunes or CDBaby, or more notably, at live shows such as the upcoming FREE Deli mag CMJ Party this Saturday at The Delancey. Freelance Whales take the stage downstairs at 4:45pm. Of Weathervanes, The Freelance Whales say: “If you've ever fallen in love with a ghost, or if you, yourself, are a revenant of some kind, we hope you enjoy it.”


7/26/2009 - Joan As Police Woman

Joan As Police Woman (fronted by New York’s Joan Wasser) came back home from their European tour for “one show and one show only” on Saturday night and boy was New York ever grateful to have them. Antony & the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, et al have been lucky enough to share the stage with Ms. Wasser, and if you were at the 92Y in Tribeca last night, you were among the lucky roomful of people who got to see her in the U.S.A. this summer. Saturday’s fortunate were treated to a glowing evening of metropolitan cavewoman soul (and a couple of covers during the encore from their new covers album, COVER.) Another Deli favorite, Holly Miranda and her band played a great opening set and wowed the unfamiliar like they do so well.

From Joan As Police Woman’s website: "The general feeling these days," Joan claims, "is trust no-one, all the media is lying to you...there's such a sense of distrust in the air. For me, the most subversive you can be these days is to be totally honest, and to really laud beauty".

For that, Ms. Wasser, a standing ovation from The Deli Magazine and a great big thanks for having us out.


7/22/09 - Emilie Simon

Emilie Simon, a noted Parisian and mistress of her own breed of French electronica has a new album due out very soon (exact date TBA). This fall marks her third year as a New York resident and the release of her second album on domestic turf. Blending traditional sounds and structures with electronic tones—utilizing new technology to create the art itself, rather than just a machine with which to refine or amplify it—is more than a fetish or a motif for Simon; it’s a means of advancing our modern, changing relationship to music and its iterative phases. And melding the 1950s futuristic, flying cars and Jetsons kitsch into it is, let’s face it, kind of cool. Simon even took that obvious yet admirable step of covering Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” What Janelle Monae is doing with hip hop in Atlanta, Emilie Simon is doing with pop in New York from a French perspective. Simon will be playing Highline Ballroom Thursday, July 24th, and we’re really hoping that she shows up in a green jumpsuit riding a jet-powered scooter. Alexa Wilding and Reni Lane are slated to open.


6/28/2009 - The Dig

Deli Recommends: The Dig

Familiar faces to the Deli, The Dig, are a group in which we have quite a bit of faith. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if before too long, they are wooed into a record deal and booked into some big-time tour. Until then, they are our city’s very own and we are prepared to take full advantage of that. This Tuesday the 30th, they’ll be playing a set of their regular tight, shiny rock of the indie kind at the Bowery Ballroom with As Tall As Lions. Since The Dig shows never fail to be spot-on, we recommend that you join us there for those hard-driven, expertly controlled rock beats and riffs in tribute mostly to dangerous women. On Myspace, they are http://www.myspace.com/thedigisup.


6/15/2009 - Alyson Greenfield

Alyson Greenfield treads in the footsteps of female powerhouses like Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco , Annie Lennox, and even Sinéad O’Connor—a group diverse enough to reflect Greenfield’s versatility. Her recent album Tuscaloosa, named for a town she once called “home,” showcases Greenfield’s unharnessed creativity from piano driven alterna-rock with octave hopping vocal twists to 80s-style synth backed pieces and even occasional sidesteps to a verse or two of poetic spoken word. Greenfield’s earthy, liberal lyrics hint at her literary and academic background and penchant for telling a story. See http://www.myspace.com/alysongreenfield for  streaming tracks and upcoming tourdates.


Comment from the Artist: 

Wow Paolo!


This is really great!  I really appreciate this.  And I love everything
Erin wrote.  She really tapped into what I'm trying to do!

Thanks again for having your awesome magazine and including me in it!  I
really hope to actually meet you in person sometime soon!

Sincerely,

Alyson Greenfield
www.myspace.com/alysongreenfield
www.alysongreenfield.com
alyson@alysongreenfield.com

 

6/13/2009 - Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay, when unleashed from the power pop rock dazzlers The Hold Steady (he’s the zany Zappa-gone-maestro keyboard/accordion player) is even weirder. His solo album Major General, released January first of this year, features Nicolay ranting over Big Top indie pop rock (and slightly creepy at times) instrumentals in a way such that Hitchcock himself, were he still around today, might take a step back or two at the sight and sound of it. Okay, maybe Franz Nicolay is not that crazy, but weird enough to be at home in a Tim Burton flick or to make Nick Cave furrow his bushy brows, which actually makes a little sense out of a guy in a gypsy-klezmer band (Guignol). With a handlebar ‘stache as the pinnacle of his self-aggrandizing musical antics, Nicolay belts out tunes like a one-man cast of a deranged Off-off Broadway musical. Welcome to New York. [http://www.franznicolay.com]


6/8/2009 - Rock & Roll Monkey and the Robots

Calling all fans of The Germs, The Mummies, The Cramps and for those with an affinity for soiled-clothes CBGBs-era nostalgia: four-piece fuzzed-out howlers, Rock ‘n’ Roll Monkey & the Robots remember the old way to do it and they aren’t afraid to reach back with their long, extend-o robot arms. Reverb and distortion-heavy, the Robots play their guitars and drums in punk/freak rock fashion, but their tamer, sillier lyrics (see band name) set them apart and make them slightly more kid-friendly. Hear a few tracks from their album Back to Beatsville (and they mean it) at http://www.rocknrollmonkey.com.


5/25/2009 The Narrative

Dispersed throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island, The Narrative still find the means to join forces, rock out, and tour the tri-state area. Comparable to Omaha’s Saddle Creek slew, The Narrative are the East Coast’s torch bearers of indie emo-pop. Melodramatic though they may be, The Narrative still maintain an amount of earthy realism in their overall sound and presentation. With male and female layered vocal duets, guitar delay, and lots of high hat, they have a full sound with sonic depth—this is a good thing. Currently, they’re taking their Postal Service-style (but maybe a bit more forlorn and coming from the same room) modern indie pop to the road. Catch them this Wednesday, May 27th or on June 24th at The Delancey and give a little listen on myspace.


5/17/2009 - Ezra Furman & The Harpoons

Beantown boys Ezra Furman & the Harpoons are taking over Pianos for a four-show residency and their harp-filled folk party anthems are likely to having that joint thumping quite a bit more than the calmer, wispier acts often booked there. Furman sings with intentionally loose, shaky vocals in the general fashion of Lou Reed or Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes). Their residency starts June 9th and ends June 30th.


5/13/2009 - Chris Garneau

In a not-quite-falsetto, wispy voice singing with careful deliberation, Chris Garneau carves a unique place for himself in our sonic receptacles. He sings over lush organ tones and dramatically drawn-out string and orchestral parts with a brooding romance about them. Garneau sings with the intensity like that of Antony of The Johnsons’ fame but sans Antony’s famous vibrato and sustain. Garneau has a more staccato—quick and quickly withdrawn—style of singing. His new album “El Radio” (set to be released July 7th) features a theatrical collection of tunes ranging from the circus-themed “Dirty Night Clown” to quiet, thoughtful songs like “Things She Said” and “Pirates Reprise.” “El Radio” even includes eighteenth century style piano melodies (think Shumann or Grieg, maybe?) on tracks like “Fireflies” and “Les Lucioles en re Mineur.” Garneau’s creative arrangements and perpetually interesting concoctions of sounds that show no hesitation in mixing sleepy violins with finger snaps, hand claps and a toy piano display a certain fearlessness and at very least, possess a level of intrigue. Before he flies away to China for a summer tour, catch the man in action at Bargemusic (yes, that is indeed music on a boat!) in Brooklyn on Thursday, May 21.


5/3/2009 - Telly

Telly is an independent rock singer/songwriter that plays atop the flannelled shoulders of chart-topping 90s alt rock giants that depending on birth year and location, we might or might not recall. His vibrato-laden male vocals aren’t quite as beefy as Temple of the Dog, as silly as Barenaked Ladies, as melodramatic as Live, or as pop-soaked as the Gin Blossoms, but they’re all in the same hard-swinging arena. Over top of noodly acoustic guitar lines and inventive drum and bass accompaniment, his lyrics depict an average, confused modern guy struggling to balance big dreams and those burdensome ever-compromising notions of reality. If anything is apparent in listening to Telly and his jams, it’s that Telly loves to jam, his audience loves to hear him jam, and that makes for a good rocking, American beer kind-of-time. Telly will be jamming at The Red Lion on May 29th. A selection of his songs can he heard on his website at http://www.tellyjams.com.

 
5/1/2009 - Audio Fiction

Audio Fiction are a gift from the Emerald Isle who now call New York City home, and we’ll gladly claim them as our own, thanks. Their sound is a mash up of alt. rock and power pop backing a pseudo-cabaret style of female-fronted vocals. Citing their influences as “80s and 90s retro rock,” it comes as no surprise that Audio Fiction commonly get compared to the likes of Blondie, The Pretenders, and No Doubt. However their up-tempo rock rhythms and adrenaline soaked live shows seem a bit closer to pop-rock acts like Metric, and Save Ferris. While their lyrics don’t always escape a few rock and roll clichés, alluding to high lit heroes like Oscar Wilde absolve them from any doubt of the thought and talent that clearly goes into their songwriting. Visit Audio Fiction at their website, http://www.audiofictionband.com, or better yet, visit them in person at one of the copious live shows they play here at home in New York.  

4/23/2009 - Neil Nathan

Free stuff alert! New York folk-pop-rock man, the fabulous Neil Nathan, is giving away free advance copies of his debut LP “The Distance Calls” to the first 25 people who buy advance tickets to his show at the Bowery Ballroom this Saturday. Buy those here and bring your receipt to the merch table to get that free CD. And you’re going to want it, oh yes, you will. Saturday’s show will also serve as Neil’s video release party for his new “Do Ya” video. Neil’s softer, folkier version of E.L.O.’s hit ended up making it into an episode of “Californication” with David Duchovny awhile back. Along with those sweeter soulful tunes like his cover of “Do Ya,” Neil Nathan can bring a roomful of sleepy-eyed folks from their martini-sipping derrieres to drenched-in-liquor rock positions, all in a day’s work. Vocal tones and groove are a bit Matthew Sweet-ish but with a flair of Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Scissor Sisters fabulousness—and it packs bit of a punch. Try before you buy here or read Neil’s music blog here.

 

4/13/2009 - Eric Margan & The Red Lions

Eric Margan & the Red Lions play orchestral pop sometimes served with a drizzle of jazz, other times with a dollop of big-band style swing, and some of the softer lovelorn laments that Margan and his Red Lions do so well have a hint of folk in them. Suave, playful songs like “The Blues Will Have to Do” vaguely scented with a flamboyant parfum de Rufus Wainwright and whiffs of a more demure, but just as excitable Brian Setzer give Margan, the Lions, and their music an infectious sort of charm. Take a tune like “You Are A Ghost” with the swagger of Andrew Bird and lounge-style piano followed by smoky, baritone vocal duet of “Bay of Naples” and Margan marks himself as a likely candidate for the next go-around of college girl swoonfests. If his music is any indication, Margan  is a classy fellow, but he doesn’t do it on his own. His miniature but mighty orchestra that includes woodwind, brass, and string players along with his core bandmates the Red Lions, (Jim Bertini on drums, Scott Kellerhouse on bass, and Zachary Seman on keys) bring life to Margan’s compositions—and who doesn’t look a little classier standing in front of an orchestra? The group’s debut record “Midnight Book” was released this past St. Patrick’s Day and is available for purchase on their website, at http://www.myspace.com/theredlions, or from a pair of live human hands at one of their upcoming shows.  

 

4/5/2009 - Barnaby Bright

Husband-wife team Rebecca and Nathan Bliss are the core of Brooklyn band Barnaby Bright (holy alliteration, Batman!) and their love for each other and remarkably fairytale-like history constitute the foundation of much of their music. Rebecca’s smooth, melodic vocals are reminiscent of Karen Carpenter or Shelby Flint yet rooted in her operatic training and Nathan’s incorporation of his jazz background into Garfunkel-y acoustic compositions bring diverse styles together to the folk in the road: a marriage of minds and hands and music. After each having released an e.p. independently of the other, their first joint venture and full length album, Wake The Hero, will be released this month. To suckers for folk inspired indie music with a flair for dark romance and a tinge of drama (similar effect to the Delgados or the Dears): pick up some fresh, home-grown sonic pleasure at the Living Room on April 21st where the Bliss’s and the rest of their band (Sasha Groschang, Craig Akin, Mark Marshall, and Sean Dixon) for Barnaby Bright’s first official CD release party. Listen here: http://www.myspace.com/barnabybright.

 

3/23/3009 - Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus are reverb, fuzz, and delay. They are punk and post punk, shoegaze and sweat-stained. They can thrash around like McKaye and Minor Threat and throw a Dylan-esque harp part right in the thick of it all. That’s right—and they do it with their heads held high. They sing like they’re as batty as Shane MacGowan and rock like nothing in the world ever breaks. These things have earned Titus Andronicus a spot in the Deli’s Best of NYC 2008 list. Be proud, gentlemen, be proud.

 

Sprung from heart of quaint Glen Rock, New Jersey, Titus Andronicus have made a second home for themselves here in New York. Their current line-up is five members strong including Andrew Cedermark on guitar, keyboard, and vocals, Ian Graetzer on bass, Eric Harm on drums, Ian O'Neil on guitar and vocals, and Patrick Stickles on vocals, guitar, keyboard, and harmonica. This past January marked the release of their first full-length album, “The Airing of Grievances” followed by a tour around Europe and the U.S. Since Titus Andronicus “never sing about love, only hate…have no hope for the future, [and] believe only in nothingness” (quoted from their website,) naming themselves after a gory Shakespearean tragedy is fitting, even if a bit morose for punk.

 

One of Titus Andronicus’ European road blogs starts out, “There are depths of misery on tour that will forever remain untold, never to be understood by another.” If old Willie Shakespeare were around today, Titus Andronicus (the band, not the play) would probably be dramatic enough to make him proud. This is clearly not, however, “tear in my beer” music. The music might come from lonely, depressed places, but by the time it hits the stage, you’re more likely to spill Guinness on your shirt and headbutt your neighbor (intentional or not) than to sit and sulk in the corner about life and crap like that. For more on Titus Andronicus, give www.titusandronicus.net or www.myspace.com/titusandronicus a little loving click.

 

3/20/2009 - My Brightest Diamond

My Brightest Diamond offer some of the greatest talent around today with classically trained art rockers led by Shara Worden—proud owner of an opera degree. Their craft defies genre and time alike: a blend of lush, sweeping orchestrations played with expert control and atop a bed of rock beats. Their recent album “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth” is highly recommended listening. Look for shiny odds and ends from My Brightest Diamond lying about in the rough such as a small collection of Edith Piaf covers and a Nina Simone cover on the recent “Dark Was The Night” charity compilation. Visit www.myspace.com/mybrightestdiamond for tracks and show listings.

 

3/20/2009 - The Menahan Street Band

The Menahan Street Band is an r&b/dub/soul collaboration project that includes members of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and the Budos Band as well as a common producer for all three groups, Thomas Brenneck. Brenneck also happens to be the originator of The Menahan Street band, and something tells me he’s got a huge collection of Stax records by his nightstand. Lead vocalist Charles Bradley isn’t entirely dissimilar to a young, smoked-up James Brown in the mood to slow dance. Moving hips in their neighborhood and yours…go to www.daptonerecords.com/menahan-street-band.html to find out when and where and hit the stream player at www.myspace.com/dunhamrecords for a little taste.

 

2/2/2009 - Crystal Stilts

So that’s where Ian Curtis’ ghost went. The Crystal Stilts represent Brooklyn’s morose, rockin’ freshly undead population—or that’s the impression their music gives. Bathed in a thick coat of Joy Division and glittered with a blend of the Smiths and Cramps-style zombie surf, the Crystal Stilts are bringing back an air of goth in music but (thankfully) leaving the adjunct fashion trends behind.

A few of their songs (and tourdates) on their Myspace page and a free download of their very own theme song ( found at Stereogum) should tide you over until their debut album Alight of Night is released on the Slumberland label at the end of the month.

The Crystal Stilts will be off to the West-coast for a bit after their October 25th show at the Yard (a perfect pre-Halloween fix)—so see them soon or prepare to wait for their imminent return with the rest of New York’s slothenly creatures of the night.  

 

1/26/2009 - Jean on Jean

Jean on Jean (who is no Jean at all, but a solo Molly from beloved Brooklyn beat masters, Out Hud) retains just the faintest scent of the Out Hud sweat and lacquer in her new work by shedding the heavy dubs and electronics and making room for more vocals in a more traditional mix. She now proffers a distinct sound that might lead one to believe her to be the shy little sister of The Flaming Lips with her Lips-y acoustic strumming, hand claps, xylophone, and endearingly deadpan vocals. Like one of the late great Bob Ross’ clouds, Jean on Jean has carved a happy little niche for herself in our dear Brooklyn community. Check Jean on Jean’s Myspace page to hear a couple of her songs and to find updated show listings.

 

1/1/2009 - I'm In You - War Dreams

Citing “manmade and natural disasters, sexual longing, unemployment, man's inhumanity towards man, and the difficulty of playing guitar well,” as their major influences, Brooklyn band I’m In You play progressive metal and rock somewhere between the hard instrumentals of Pelican and the deliberate chaos and hungered vocals of Black Heart Procession. Their mission is to deconstruct, or “deconstroy” as they say, the structure and false pretenses of much of music as we know it. Instead, they let inherent curiosity, wanderlust, and their anthropologic interests lead the way. Experimental guitar playing and complicated time changes get plenty of love here. Head over to Myspace for more info: http://www.myspace.com/iminyou.

 

1/1/2009 - William Brittelle

Mentored by Television guitarist Richard Lloyd and Pulitzer prizewinning classical composer David Del Tradici, William Brittelle is back in New York after completely reinventing his musical self upon damaging vocal chords at a 2004 Knitting Factory performance. This time, he’s letting loose some shockingly new sounds. Inventive in respects as similar to John Cage as to Liszt or Thelonius Monk, Brittelle’s cutting edge performance art consists of lip synching over abstract layered vocal and electronic recordings. Brittelle’s music is better left to experiencing than describing. His new album Mohair Time Warp was just released in 2008 on New Amsterdam Records. Find more on his schmancy flash website at: http://www.mohairtimewarp.com/ or listen to a few tracks on Myspace at: http://www.myspace.com/williambrittelle

 

1/1/2009 - Corey Dargel

Corey Dargel writes electronic pop similar to what we’ve heard from The Postal Service and as love mushy as we’d expect out of The Cure, but Dargel’s method of creation and his inspiration for songs is wholly unique. His recent album, Other People’s Love Songs, getting rave reviews so far, is a collection of songs inspired by love between two people who Dargel may or may not know very well. “All Other Sounds (For Brian from Molly),” for example, tells the story of a writer (Molly) falling in love with a saxophonist from the Army Corps (Brian)—real people that Dargel interviewed and wrote a song about. With Other People’s Love Songs, Dargel tells thirteen stories of regular, non-famous folks who have fallen in love. In a time of being humble and getting back to basics, Dargel’s art strikes an appropriate, comforting chord.  His website designed as a companion to the album can be found at: http://www.otherpeopleslovesongs.com. 

 

1/1/2009 - Marykate O'Neil

Marykate O’Neil’s music takes the next gentrified step in the world from pop-folky singer-songwriters like Beth Hart and Catie Curtis. O’Neil plays catchy acoustic chord-driven melodies perfect for those who weren’t quite ready for the 90s to end and long to get back to that music-because-it’s-fun-to-do sound. Her fourth solo record to date, Underground, which was recorded in O’Neil’s apartment and mixed by Brad Jones is due to be released on February 3rd. Watch for Marykate O’Neil and her band The Delta Salinity Report frequenting The Living Room every week in February, or check out her Myspace page for more info: http://www.myspace.com/marykateoneil


1/1/2009 - Dorie Colangelo

Think of slow, deliberate, meaningful acoustic folk with raspy vocals sounding something like Melissa Etheridge having just woken up from a nap—or Nico without an accent. Salt and pepper it with Southern soul and Dorie Colangelo keeps a dying genre alive in a remarkably pleasant fashion. She has an intuitive sense of timing—the kind of timing that transforms a written piece of music into communication between living, breathing people. Her expert-sounding debut record (though Colangelo is a veteran performer) that was just released this past year was mixed by Mark Turrigiano and engineered by Phil Maniatty at Stone Groove Studio. Between Colangelo’s songwriting and performing, her band, and the production team for her first record, there are clearly some talented people involved with this group. Visit her Myspace page to hear a few tracks and see her touring schedule: http://www.myspace.com/doriecolangelo.


12/30/2008 - Michna

Adrian Michna aka DJ Eggfooyoung creates minimalist lo-fi electronic dance music that could work well in a sweaty jam-packed warehouse just as easily as it could in a swanky, highfalutin night club. Michna is carving out a home for himself somewhere in between the famous French duo Air and a couple of sleepy robots playing Space Invaders. Recently making cameos in acclaimed music magazines like Fader, Remix, and DJ Concept, Michna is on the climb to notoriety and high society of the DJ kind. For show listings and a sample of the wares, check out Michna on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/eggfooyoung


12/22/2008 - Audio Fiction

Audio Fiction are a gift from the Emerald Isle who now call New York City home, and we’ll gladly claim them as our own, thanks. Their sound is a mash up of alt. rock and power pop backing a pseudo-cabaret style of female-fronted vocals. Citing their influences as “80s and 90s retro rock,” it comes as no surprise that Audio Fiction commonly get compared to the likes of Blondie, The Pretenders, and No Doubt. However their up-tempo rock rhythms and adrenaline soaked live shows seem a bit closer to pop-rock acts like Metric, and Save Ferris. While their lyrics don’t always escape a few rock and roll clichés, alluding to high lit heroes like Oscar Wilde absolve them from any doubt of the thought and talent that clearly goes into their songwriting. Visit Audio Fiction at their website, http://www.audiofictionband.com, or better yet, visit them in person at one of the copious live shows they play here at home in New York.


12/6/2008 - Clare and the Reasons

Are you feeling the season yet? Whether the weather tickles your fancy or makes you envious of creatures that get to sleep in all day in the name of “hibernation,” winter is assuredly here—lights and snow and the whole shebang. So to celebrate (or protest) the season, I highly recommend seeing two great Brooklyn bands with fittingly wintery sounds. Lucky for us, they’re playing in the same place on the same night. First up, Clare and the Reasons—who sound suited to score modern day Cary Grant films (if there was such a glorious thing) with lead singer Clare Muldaur Manchon’s babydoll voice that is similar to Martha Wainwright, but with less folk and more jazz. If one of the Andrews sisters was around today melding pop of the times with jazzy harmonies of the 50s, I imagine it’d sound a little something like Clare and the Reasons’ song “Pluto.” Add a slower tempo, sweeping Andrew Bird-like classical instrumentation, and lyrics sung in French, and you have their follow-up track, “Pluton.” Second at bat is the intensely talented Shara Worden with My Brightest Diamond. Read more on these queens and kings of avant dream pop noir here (Charlie Davis’ recent feature article) or here (my review of their recent album). To the show: Le Poisson Rouge @ 158 Bleecker ((212) 228-4854) on Saturday, December 13th, doors at 7:30pm. 

 

11/26/2008 - Ivana XL

Ivana XL plays fairly stripped-down indie folk—a hybrid concoction reminiscent of Emily Haines’ solo stuff and that raw sincerity that first made us love Cat Power. Sure, it’s melancholy, tear-in-your-beer lamenting for the most part, but how often can you attribute adjectives like “adorable” and even “fun” to the same heartbroken tune? Ivana XL is worth a moment of your time, and the holiday season is the perfect time for an introduction. So far, she has a “demo style cd” that you can buy from her Myspace page. Saturday evening is just about the time that I’ll be looking to put a halt to the Thanksgiving festivities and start my own holiday. Seeing Ivana XL at Pianos just might be the way to go. She’ll also be playing at Zebulon in Brooklyn on December 2nd and the Cake Shop on December 29th.

 

11/18/2008 - Apache Beat

Brooklyn five-some Apache Beat play brooding, energetic indie rock with a touch of primordial hedonism and lead vocals of the femme fatale persuasion—you know, like the first time you heard Annie Lennox or Chrissie Hynde and thought to yourself, “yes, she could probably kick my ass.” Apache Beat has already amassed a rather hefty load of press clippings and general buzz including landing a spot in NME’s “Top Ten Bands of CMJ 2008”—a particularly remarkable feat considering that they haven’t yet put out a full length album. That debut album is in the works, though, and is due out this spring—lookout! Check out the premiere of their new video for their single “Tropics” over at Pitchfork or listen to a few others on Apache Beat’s Myspace page.

 

10/28/2008 - The Albertans

Bringing out the “hipster” in “hippie,” The Albertans are a seven-piece band that play indie-pop with heavy traces of that happy-go-lucky vibe of 1960s-style flowery acoustic folk. Along with the standard rock band instrumentation of a guitar, drums, bass, and vocals, The Albertans add a ukulele, harmonica, trumpet, tambourine, keys and I can swear I heard a banjo or a dobro in there, too. Bordering on silly minstrel-like lead vocals with the girls singing back-up, one might think that this is an outfit not to take seriously, but oh contraire, neighbor. Somehow this group actually pulls all of their respective elements together nicely to form a shiny new form of indie pop—safe to listen to when your roommates are home. If you’re out and about on All Hallows Eve, stop by Goodbye Blue Monday at 1087 Broadway in Brooklyn to check out The Albertans. I wonder if they’ll be playing scary music!

 

10/21/2008 - Fiasco

More math, less metal: an oversimplified, yet apt summation of Fiasco. They boast complicated time changes and finger-picking faster than Billy the Kid or that dude who lent his hand to the Addams Family as “Thing.” Eye-popping seems to be the desired effect, here. There’s an element of silliness here, too. Pitchfork says they sound “like the Ventures covering Rachmaninoff,” but I say they sound closer to a Zappa record on fast-forward played backwards. In a world of begging, borrowing, lending, and stealing, these guys are about as original of a group as you’ll find today.

Their new record Native Canadians is available for purchase either by ordering direct from their record label (send an email to orders@impose-records.com) or you can also get it from Insound. Plenty of chances to see them out at CMJ, too. They’re at the Knitting Factory this Friday, October 24th, the Cakeshop on Saturday the 25th, and they’re playing the Todd P. / Panache Halloween party on the 31st

 

10/20/2008 - T.K. Webb & The Visions

TK Webb & The Visions are a Brooklyn-based four piece that play ain’t-no-messing-around hard rock with a kiss of stoner rock. They would’ve fit quite well into my regular 1994 delinquent youth playlist of Soundgarden, AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Black Sabbath. Hard drums, heavy rock guitars, smoke-affected vocals just like Steven Tyler used to sing—rock and roll lives! Check out a couple TK Webb & The Visions tracks on their myspace page, and get ready for the real thing when they return home later this week. They’re finishing up a tour with the Secret Machines right now, but you can do your part to welcome them back to Brooklyn this Friday, October 24th at The Music Hall of Williamsburg by showing up in dirty, ripped jeans, your favorite Pantera shirt, and hoisting a tall boy in the air to drinking and rock and roll just like when you were underage.


10/8/2008 - Cause Co-Motion

Now on tour in support of the Crystal Stilts, Cause Co-motion bring old school punk rock spiced with early 60s rock and roll back to the dinner table (or deli counter) with their own quirky, ethereal flair: yet another win for Brooklyn. Imagine if the Kinks had all had musical love children, and they taught those kids everything they knew, but those kids grew up really in love with early CBGBs era punk rock. There’s lots of high-end reverb, punk snares, catchy hooks that make up the meat and potatoes of each song, and rebel without a cause deadpan vocals. In other words, it’s fast, it’s dirty, it’s fun, it sounds like they routinely record in a studio made entirely of steel, and your grandmother is guaranteed to hate it. Catch their CMJ premiere at Piano’s on October 23rd and/or sample the wares at their Myspace page.


10/3/2008 - The End of the World

Following in the footsteps of barroom giants, The Walkmen, Brooklyn band The End of the World bridges that gap between the grunge of old and contemporary indie rock. Lead vocalist Stefan Marolachakis sings with a controlled, somewhat imbibed-sounding sense of urgency while the rest of the band complement his talents by playing with resoundingly less restraint.  

Even with the light distortion and fast-strummed electric guitars erecting a sonic foundation of static and energy in songs like “Hawks,” The End of The World still stakes claim to a pretty sound with Marloachakis’s vocals and smooth-climbing chord changes without losing that edge.

Along with a 2005 ep and a 2006 debut LP, The End of the World will be releasing their second full-length album on November 4th on Flameshovel and Pretty Activity Records.  Mark that date—a new indie album could make for a nice treat for yourself after braving those long lines at the polls.

Have a little sip at http://www.myspace.com/theendoftheworld.

 

10/1/2008 - Vulture Realty

Electronic duo Vulture Realty (formerly of Baltimore, currently of right here right now) are circling pretty low under the radar, but something tells me that won’t be the case for long. There seems to be a growing thirst for disco-grown kaleido-pop and Vulture Realty is prepared to quench it with their own combination of dizzying loops, tinny synth, multiple layers of vocal harmonies, and organ parts of pcp days past. Replace that angel dust with uppers, give video game theme songs just as much influential weight as Bowie’s wardrobe, and plant some of those cheeky Of Montreal dimples onto the new kids in town, and we have the latest bud to blossom in New York’s fabu-scene.

Their four-song debut ep We Are Vultures (produced by “glam-disco-rockers” Apes & Androids and released on the Brooklyn-based seedling Normative Music Company) is free and available to download on their website http://vulturerealty.org. Or you can buy it at Amazon and as they say, “feel better about our crackling, retarded economy.”