Issue Project Courtyard Great Lineup to End Summer

Issue Project
The Issue Project courtyard on a beautiful afternoon was a perfect site to hear a selection of music by three different musicians. Greg Jamie's pure unadorned set was sandwiched between two experimental improvisational sets by Sacred Harp from Virginia and Honne Wells with Juan Comas.

Sacred Harp @ Issue Project

Sacred Harp’s compositional arrangements with instruments, amplification, and accouterments created a trance, not for sleeping or contemplating but a welcome space from ear to head.

The instrumental set featured finger picking on a classical guitar, bowing of an electric, and anything but typical on a sitar. Utilizing a looping percussion of scrubbed strings was an effective background for a guitar instrumental.

Greg Jamie @ Issue Project
Greg Jamie's solo set consisted of songs from his newly formed outfit Blood Warriors and one song off a 7” collaboration with Honne Wells. Going solo is a rare occasion for a man that fronts two bands. So his apparent shyness was charming to watch. Playing guitar, and harpsichord and hearing his straightforward vocals were delightful.

Honne Wells and Juan Comas

The sun was setting as Honne Wells and Juan Comas was on stage, and the quietness of the night took hold, guiding the sound to resonate off the concrete and bricks. Starting with a five-minute compositional movement that struck time like a broken clock tower. Guitar string pings applied in various measures broke up the composition and were contrasted by Honne Wells grunting low vocals.

This spectacular collaboration is something to witness. The guitar, slide guitar, banjo, mouth harp, stomping, and vocals are melded together to create unique sounds that are unfamiliar and offsetting. Familiarity is not their forte but creating dramatic and mesmerizing tension is.

Flicker Set Here

Blood Warrior from [dog]and[pony] on Vimeo.


Langhorne Slim / Crackerfarm Films it Best

Can't wait for Be Set Free by Langhorne Slim, due September 29th on Kemado Records! Here's a great clip by Crackerfarm with a brief interview, some crazy live footage, and a sweet acoustic rendition of the song "So Glad That I'm Coming Home." For personal reasons, I especially love the handsome young man with the big white specs loving the live show.


Brief Excursion To After The Jump Fest

Get Haunted

When I say briefly it was, but I was happy to catch Get Haunted, and I’m Turning Into and the tail end of The Octagon. Get Haunted is a bit of Buddy Holly, Rockabilly, speed strum bottleneck, and a pounding drum kit. Their shoes were waxed, and a tuxedo shirt and sharp glasses set the stage for fancy footwork and great showmanship. So refreshing to not hear we’re from Brooklyn. Although the group hasn’t had many shows, they are obviously not new to music or performing. The banjo and drum were the details, but the soaring outcomes of Kevin on the slide guitar shredded the joint. The drummer Sarah kept a rudimentary beat, finesse did not apply, but enthusiastic smiles and downright pounding did! Lead singer and banjo strummer Joey Macrino had awesome dance moves and an outstanding command of the stage vocally and personally. Although all the songs were full of life, one outstanding exception was that they were dedicated to Blood Warrior. The song had levels of intrigue and several time changes that built to a frenetic beat. This made the New York debut for this three-piece from New London, Connecticut, one to remember for them and me.

I'm Turning Into

I'm Turning Into is a multi-instrumentalist threesome of rotating players adept at playing and singing. Fast-paced punky rock mixed with experimental vocal loop effects and fast rhythmic drumming. They played the ultimate upbeat song, “Would It Matter.” Other songs showed off how well they could play, whether it was a long and dynamic jam excursion, “Nonlocal,” or unusual vocal arrangements with perfectly intact harmonies interspersed with yodel-like howling and human beatbox. Some performance quirks are due to instrument changes, but they have a lot to offer. Edd Chittenden, Jhon Grewell, Steve Tarkington guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Check this out on myspace you won't be disappointed.

Blood Warriors

Got to get me some balls and learn the subway system and try to brave the night. Now that I live part-time in the city, I thought this would be easier, but it presents other difficulties. Besides seeing some music, I wanted to show my support to the Bloggers from After The Jump Fest who worked so hard to put this event together. Although some of the groups on the fest roster have garnered some press, it usually starts with one curated blog post, download, live review, or pictures. 

Although I would have loved to stay later to especially see Blood Warrior. I got to hang out, talk, and take pictures of Greg Jamie and Kristen Kellas-Jamie, two members of BW, a few hours before their 10:00 o’clock set. I have seen Greg Jamie with o’death and was lucky to catch him for Tonic's official last night doing a special guest appearance with Honne Wells. Blood Warrior finished their first small tour making their last stop after the Jump Fest. Featuring the great vocal styling of Greg Jamie with the spirited chorus, some shakers, and drunken drum beats sound like a patchwork folk collage. My Flickr Set Here Photographer Maryanne Ventrice documented the whole Fest at Prefix Day #3


Max Vernon New Video Entry

To say I'm obsessed with Max Vernon is an understatement. I'm always searching and waiting for new songs and they have been coming at a record pace for free download The Sixtyone. But it has been long nine-month wait for a new home video entry until now. It is a cover song completed for the celebration of Morrisey's fiftieth birthday, and part of a compilation released by The Music Slut called TMS Hearts Moz.
Enjoy "The Headmaster Ritual"


The Beets / The Virgins / Animal Collective DJ @ Santos

The Virgins / Crowd shot

Santos Party House is an amazing place. The atmosphere is immediately welcoming. It has the most fabulous sound system. Few can compete because this place was specifically designed for musicians and listeners. Also, a great place to hold a benefit for a good cause to save a neighborhood Indie video store Cinema Nolita.

The Santos Party House sticks to a schedule. To my dismay, I took my sweet time and strolled the four blocks to arrive around 9:00, only to see The Beets on stage playing their final song to an appreciative, engaged crowd.

The Beets

I caught them at CMJ in 08 and loved their set. So I approached them after the set with apologies and asked them a few questions about the upcoming tour with Vivian Girls and their feelings about playing at Santos. My lead-in should read; The Beets Had A Sound Check!! Seriously that is a big deal, and in this place, sound checks are worth doing because it works. They have played outdoors at DIY events, beaches, rooftops, and unofficial all-age shows. Although that is a great way to see music, it is not always the best way to hear it. The sweetest thing to watch was all the patrons complimenting the band on their set. I Informed them that they were the lead in the picture at the Brooklyn Vegan segment "What's Going On Monday". As they embark on a tour with Vivian Girls starting August 25th, they have a very positive experience to draw on. I love the mix of all-girl and all-boy bands on the same bill.

The Virgins

I rarely see groups like The Virgins. I came out to see The Beets and usually concentrate more on emerging talent. I thoroughly enjoyed their fantastic seamless set. Tight and focused is what I have to say. The frontman and lead singer, Donald Cumming was barefoot, wearing optical leggings and a tee. His long, lean body is in constant motion showing off his less-than-fluid geeky ballet gestures. It was endearing. The guitarist broke out, occasionally exaggerating a long strum with an extended arm or an occasional knee dip.

They played a mashed-up disco/ new york / new wave with edgy, catchy hooks. At first, I felt everything sounded repetitive, but they scaffolded and built energy with the electric leads, some Reggie beats, and funk. I liked when Cumming's sang alone and pulled out an unexpected harmonica. Slowly the others weighed in. The very enthusiastic female crowd, including me, took it all in. They have a great European fall tour doing major festivals with one detour in Texas at Austin City Limits.

Animal Collective DJ Set

Animal Collective DJ (Avey Tare and Geologist) set started out with little fanfare. It's possible that during a restroom break, I might have missed the introduction. When I returned, they were busy in the DJ loft to the right of the stage. The surroundings were transformed, and the large disco ball rotated in the center of the space with fog and laser lights. They started with a long psychedelic song with animal-like screams sporadically interspersed between rhythms. The twisted remix of standards like "Rock Lobster" (pretty sure) and Abba's "Take A Chance On Me" was catching on, and the groove was setting in. Suddenly, their set was hijacked by an unexpected appearance of The Film director Abel Ferrara and crew. They took the stage and played raw rock & roll, with Abel having a propensity for course street grime rap. the stage became crowded with all the female hosts connected with Cinema Nolita, including the lead singer of The Virgins.

Animal Collective sat this one out, checking cell phones and sitting on the stairs to the upper loft. After the three-song set, they began again. Still trying to figure out how it turned out, I left after the next song I knew it would take some time for a groove to set in again.

Flickr Set


Novice Theory / Aria Orion; September @ Galapagos

Novice Theory accordian center stage

Two Noteworthy bands I reviewed last year are embarking on some dates to showcase their new projects. I guarantee a night of invigorating music and edgy performance at the beautiful Galapagos art space in Brooklyn on September 1st. So mark your calendars. I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to attend. It would be wonderful if some of my readers take the dive.
Novice Theory, AKA Geo Wyeth, has been performing solo and now has a new band, songs, and a new EP to be released in September. Aria Orion Jules Gimbrone's multi-sensory ensemble with new band and songs and Geo Wyeth on drums. Leyna Marika Papach's solo violin performance.

Aria Orion Live at Monkeytown 5.15.09 with a film by Elliot Montague and Stephen Remington. Jules Gimbrone, composer (vocals/guitar), Geo Wyeth (Drums, vocals accordion ), Daniel Arnnow (Bass), Batya Sobel (oboe).


Langhorne Slim "Say Yes"

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim's "Say Yes" was featured on KCRW's Top Tunes of the day. "Say Yes" is a song from the third Langhorne slim release called Be Set Free, produced by Decemberists' Chris Funk. Release date September 29th on Kemado Records.
Yes is the greatest word in the English Language, full of possibilities. In this song, Langhorne explores the anticipation within a love relationship by singing / I prefer it when you say yes /. This upbeat song brings it on strong when it slows down, and Langhorne bellows in a higher soulful range, singing / I could not believe its true /. The recorded version adds nice orchestrated touches of full strings, bells, guitar, stand-up bass, and drums.
Below is an awesome live black-and-white video entry. Kudos to the videographer.


When Hate Becomes Public Discourse

I’ve always wondered how the word gay became an acceptable negative. Words have consequences with sometimes unintended associations. What started out as banter between straight males has infiltrated the broader culture of negative. It is now commonly used as a negative descriptor to describe music, clothes, movies, etc. It rarely refers to a person’s sexuality, but the innuendo is implied.

The recent publicized suicides of young people due to being bullied in school only point out how toxic this banter can be. Those colors you used are gay, that song you sang in the school play was gay, that club you belong to is gay, and those sneakers are gay, or only a few examples. It is the tone and the caviler way they are commonly thrown about.
This has been on my mind for a while. I work with young people and have witnessed this phenomenon grow at a rapid pace. It is often kids mimicking what is acceptable in the culture at large. It is only getting worse.

What prompted me to write about this is the coverage of the health care debate and how, within a month, what was never acceptable to say or view has infiltrated the public airwaves. Words and images are cheapened and co-opted for political gain. The ugliness is being spread and will become commonplace. It will infect our society with repercussions that we will regret.


Anti Folk Fest Sets of Max Vernon/ Clinical Trials

Max Vernon is colorful, flamboyant, and fashionably overstated, much like his outstanding music and songwriting. In one of his YouTube video entries, he was asked about a harsh email from his mother where she wrote, listening to your music is like eating nine courses of foie gras, and no one wants that many courses of foie gras. It was an interesting comparison, with apologies to follow. A loving and caring mother was concerned about Max’s appeal to a broader audience. Max Vernon, I believe, can create timeless and great pop songs, and maybe he will someday. But for the last year, he has been recording smart, politically topical, catchy, gender-bending, not neutral material. Max Vernon is true to himself.

Charmingly relevant and bright, he works it from the visual and cerebral to the sonic. That was clear at his set during the Anti Folk Fest at the Sidewalk Cafe. The talent is apparent but what comes through is a genuine performing style that is relaxed and personal. His set was quite beautiful. I'm glad he came with his keyboard placing himself front and center even though I saw a piano on the side of the stage. He didn't go for the easy listen, in fact, he chose to play his most challenging material. I knew I was in for a treat when he opened with “Diamond Dust,” a song with many twists and turns vocally and on keys. He introduced "All I Need" by saying something to the effect, "this song describes my love life." Then he invited us to sing along to the chorus; / you’re not all I need / you’re not all I need / you’re not even close /,  but I like you, I like you. Although I like to sing, I wouldn't miss one minute of hearing Max Vernon’s spectacular interpretation. He added some yodeling extras splicing his highest pitch and intertwining it with his awe-inspiring low register.

"Love At Last," dedicated to Michael Jackson, is a brand new song that he had never played live, and it was awesome!!! The new material added an edge of enthusiasm. Playing keys combining Rhythm and Blues circa (mid 60's), back alley honky tonk, and classical. The chorus has a celebratory atmosphere mixed with the somber fate of a fallen Icon; Hallelujah / best friend though we hardly knew you / don’t it feel good to finally be loved at last / till the bullet rips through you.

He ended the set with a Morrissey cover featured on TMS (The Music Slut) compilation dedicated to Morrissey's fiftieth birthday, "Head Master Ritual."

Max Vernon can capture attention through his incredible music gift, but I realized tonight how well he can translate his talent live.

Max Vernon Flickr Set

Clinical Trials
I always arrive early to events. So I was surprised to hear about a very impressive rock band Clinical Trails. Fronted by a female singer and guitarist, Somer Bingham, accompanied by an all-male group on bass, keyboards, and heavy-hitting drums. It was so cool and disconnected to be sitting in a lovely cafe and watching and hearing such a rip-you-to-shreds set. At one point, Somer asked if anyone had an A string. Her vocals are a cross between Joan Jett, Patty Smith, and Pj Harvey but her performance persona has a rock-in-your-face attitude disguised in a beautiful he-she image. Gorgeous and riveting. Check their site for upcoming dates. The Trash bar is a perfect choice.

Clinical Trials Flickr Set


Free Range Drink Up Buttercup @ Santos Party House

Santos Party House has a nice vibe, and I love the space. The stage is wide and deep, which offers a lot of room for the performers. It has just enough space for the audience, not too big or small. Its square shape appeals to my feng shui sensibilities.

It was a fun, relaxed atmosphere at The Santos Party House, presented by Adult Swim. Our two hosts, Dave Willis (voice of Carl and Meatwad) and Dana Snyder (voice of master shake and Granny on squidbillies) had a prime-time audience familiar with the shtick and inside jokes ready to dive to pick up random objects being thrown from the stage. The early bird crowd was feisty for 7:30 so when Drink Up Buttercup was introduced, I was surprised that they seemed unfamiliar with what they were about to experience.

The light hues and added fog worked so glowingly with Drink Up Buttercup's electrifying over-the-top set. The larger stage area let Ben Money out of the cage to strut, stagger and pluck in free-range mode. His bass was never in the horizontal position. "Honey Honey" sounded great with an Afrobeat that slowed down only to re-energize in full force. It didn't take long before DUB's enthusiastic infection spread. They announced the last song, but after it was finished, the audience demanded more.

Oakley Hall Had a pretty long setup and sound check for their very short set. They are a country-tinged band with gospelesque vocals with some nice instrumentation. I especially liked one of the songs where the bass and vocals compete sonically. They ended with a multi-layered vocal that made me think I heard a full church choir. Unfortunately, It ended before it began.

Marnie Stern and company were a delight. A wild veteran punk hybrid of sorts where instrumentation is important, but the raw is magnified. Marnie's high-pitched yelps were spliced perfectly between her faced-paced guitar leads using both hands up the fret. The sound is less nuanced than typical guitar leads. Her confident attitude is striking, and she enjoys playing her instrument. Malia James played the bass and applied rhythms in a reactive style. The drummer Jim Sykes deserves major Kudos! Keeping time with unstructured rhythms is an art form. I was instantly taken with the sound and spirit of Marnie Stern.

A crazy unexpected highlight of my night was a campy, kitschy visit outside the venue by a rocking mini bus on wheels blasting music and filled with an energetic dancing crowd. It was the I Got A Heart On promotion for the new independent movie Paper Heart. The bus stayed in place for about twenty minutes. When the driver started the engine, the bus pulled away from Lafayette Street "Day O" (the Beetle Juice version) accompanied the sweaty dancing bodies! How Fitting.
Drink Up Buttercup OCM Flickr Set Marnie Stern OCM Flickr Set
Paper Heart Bus OCM Flickr Set