A couple months ago, CultureCatch posted a One-Take acoustic performance by Anna Rose. It's good in its own intimate way, but it doesn't come close to suggesting the power she wields when playing with her band -- power that was on full display at Rockwood last week.
Singing and, for a while at least, playing rhythm guitar, Rose was backed by a tight trio of lead guitarist Tyler McDiarmid, bassist Jamie Bishop, and drummer Jordan Pearlson. The general mood of the evening was set on the first song, an ominous, droney tune with a minor-chord progression over which McDiarmid played a bright arpeggio figure and Rose's low-register, bluesy, vibrant vocals cut through. After a bridge that expanded the chord palette, McDiarmid unleashed a wah-wah solo, but everything was concise. The next song was the one in that One-Take, "Show Me Your Hands," but here built on a gritty blues-rock riff. The band's cohesiveness showed in the stop-time tacet at the end of each verse.
Check out my new radio show -- Dusty Wright's Dusty Roads -- for David Lynch's new music charity website! Just click on link or image above.
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno has led a multi-faceted life. To modern rock fans he's perhaps best known as the imaginative producer of U2's, David Bowie's, and Talking Heads' most adventurous work, and secondarily remembered as an early and eccentric member of Roxy Music. To new age and techno fans, he's the de facto inventor of the ambient music genre. Pop fans can thank him for the best work by James, Coldplay, and Ultravox. Punk fans owe him one for No New York's introduction of the four most iconic No Wave Bands. Read more »
Power pop albeit a big punky from the Seattle-based singer/songwriter Michael Benjamin Lerner AKA Telekinesis from his fourth release Dormarion (Merge). Begs to be played loud.
"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child."
With New York theater currently awash with revivals, often with movie-star cast members and big, big budgets, it can appear that new original, innovative, and inspirational non-musical works will not be taking center stage in the theater district anytime soon. So we give thanks to Off-Off Broadway's La Mama, and playwright Jill Campbell's spectacular Chemistry of Love, for waking me up to the fact that new and engaging permutations of stagecraft are still a possibility. Read more »
A promising young musician visits New York for a week to headline a tribute concert. He bonds with a young woman interning at the performance space, and they run around the city being chatty, artistic, and physically beautiful together. These would be the makings of a light and romantic film, except that the young man portrayed is musician Jeff Buckley in his early twenties and the concert he's been called for honors his father, prolific and renowned musician Tim Buckley, who breezed away from Jeff's mother before Jeff was born and died at age 28 without knowing his first child. Read more »
"Love is the white light of emotion. It includes many feelings which, out of laziness and confusion, we crowd into one simple word. Art is the prism that sets them free…"
Diane Ackerman (born 7 October 1948), American author, poet, and naturalist.
In 1930, still dripping from the bath he took in the stock market crash, P. G. Wodehouse (evidently known to his friends as "Plum") decamped for Hollywood. There he'd spend just a little over a year lounging in the pool, collecting huge checks, hobnobbing with some Broadway and Brit folk he knew, and, basically enjoying himself. He caused something of a scandal when he told an interviewer that he made a fortune for just writing "titles" for movies. Nevertheless, possibly out of frustration, maybe out of boredom, he concocted the non-Jeevesian comic tour de force Hot Water, one of the most infernally complicated, trivial, lighter-than-air, insignificant, and completely delightful comic novels I've ever read. It's important to note that there is no Jeeves here. Read more »
Shot on an iPhone, here is a wonderfully engaging video "Collider" -- a damn catchy postpunk pop rock single -- from the UK outfit Hero & Leander's debut Tumble (out on June 25th) that mugs Oh OK's choreographed videos at probably 1/1000th of the budget.
Marla Mase: Speak [Deluxe] (True Groove)
I have rarely been as excited -- or intimidated -- about writing a review. For a writer to suggest that he is speechless would not simply be an oxymoron, but also a quick route to ending his career. So I will speechify, knowing that my words are unlikely to match the feeling behind them: extreme admiration, bordering on awe.
With few exceptions (Zappa, The Church, some folk music), I have never been a fan of "spoken word" or "talk-sung" songwriting. [N.B. I am not including rap and its relatives here, since they are a different kettle of fish.] To my ears, almost all such writing comes across as either "forced," unintentional parody, or downright cringe-worthy. A writer needs to have a particularly special gift to put across this type of writing in a meaningful and listenable -- to say nothing of compelling -- way. Marla Mase has that gift. In spades. Read more »
Spring has arrived -- flowers and music in full bloom. Some of it only hints at what might be as summer approaches. Until then, here are few things I'm carting around in my wheelbarrow. Dig it.
Happy accident as I had no prior knowledge of Mr. Malone prior to listening to his new album, but no worries. Here's a wonderful folk-rock tune from this Austin-based singer/songwriter's second long-player. He recorded this set of confessional musings in a haunted 15th century castle in Denmark, each song in a different room. He calls his music "sexy, dirty, sad songs about the human condition." This remains my favorite track; and the video below is pretty bloody "sexy" too. Read more »
Today is the second annual International Jazz Day. Last year I put together a list of albums for the occasion. This time around, a dozen of my favorite jazz compositions.
James P. Johnson: "Carolina Shout" Read more »
In the documentary The Kill Team, Oscar-nominated director Dan Krauss tells the story of a young U.S. soldier who attempted to prevent the war crimes being committed by his platoon and was instead charged with those crimes. Without resorting to over-the-top propaganda, The Kill Team follows whistleblower Adam Winfield during his trial and simultaneously tells the story of the events that led up to that trial. Krauss uses footage taken by soldiers in Afghanistan to paint the landscape where it was possible for soldiers to kill Afghani civilians, plant guns on them, and call it a win for America.
Krauss encourages his subjects, who include Winfield as well as two soldiers who participated in murdering Afghani civilians, to speak freely. Read more »
Pippin has always been a musical where the theatricality and the score compensate for some obvious story issues. So, introducing a circus motif to tell the Pippin story, as Diane Paulus has done in her new, often dazzling revival, proves to be an inspired concept. The result is a musical loaded with treats; the first act soars with razzle-dazzle highlights; Act Two loses some of the momentum, but the love story that develops involving Pippin and the widow, Catherine, does charm. It all culminates in a finale that is properly grand. However muddled the line between the troupe of performers and the characters they play becomes, Pippin nevertheless entertains wonderfully, thanks to its staging and the popular Stephen Schwartz score.
Pippin was a huge hit when it premiered on Broadway in 1972 but has never been revived on Broadway. As directed by Bob Fosse, it was a triumph of imaginative staging, and Schwartz's score also made major contributions, but the staging and the score camouflage the fact that, at times, the story isn't all that involving. Read more »