Tag Archives: Lower East Side

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Jerry Joseph Pulls No Punches at Mercury Lounge on Sunday Night

May 1st, 2017

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons – Mercury Lounge – April 30, 2017


Jerry Joseph isn’t one to sugarcoat: As longtime friend Widespread Panic bassist (and sometime bandmate) Dave Schools has put it, his music can be “an absolute emotional slaughterhouse.” Which is not to call it dour—a Jerry Joseph show is a master class in old school, highly emotional rock and roll energy—just that when you experience it you’re often in for a scorched-earth kind of evening, no-holds-barred, no-punches-pulled, no-edges-filed-down, no phony sanctimony. He’s an iconoclast, for sure, and the less he seems to care about how some take to his abrasive sentiments, the more his music deepens and becomes more soulful. It can sound ferocious and cynical, tender and fragile, world-wise and world-weary. And he’s crazy prolific. Each time Joseph returns to New York City he’s got new songs that sound of a piece with everything he’s done over a 30-plus-year career—and yet don’t repeat himself.

One of Joseph’s masterstrokes was finding bandmates who could be an extension of this personality and translate it into feral rock—jammy and shape-shifting. The Jackmormons, now again a trio after a stretch as a quartet, returned to Mercury Lounge Sunday night for a rare local long-play, meaning it wasn’t over and done within a tight hour and had ample room to stretch out, welcome friends and do what they do best: rough-scuffed folk rock played at times with Crazy Horse–like abandon and paint-stripping guitar. Whether it was the anthemic, gospel-y “Think on These Things” to open or the roiling “Soda Man” or a long, gnarly jam out of Bob Marley’s “Positive Vibration” that burrowed its way into the metal-scraping “Brother Number One,” every tune took its time, unhurried, and yeah, with incendiary guitar solos, chunky bass and crashing drums but none of it out of place or feeling extra. A lot of bands jam because they want to expand a song with improvisational solos or groupthink, but Jackmormons jams seem to go long because the emotional weight of a lot of this material commands a full workout. As an audience member, you’d rather be drained instead of left too heavy.

This show was a benefit for Joseph’s forthcoming trip to Iraq to work with refugee, cultural and educational organizations—a very Jerry Joseph think to do—and summoned some extra friends to accompany Joseph, bassist Steven James Wright and drummer Steve Drizos. Among them were the sage Mookie Siegel, dappling the music with heavenly organ and piano, and the ace Jamie McLean, bringing a red-meat blues-rock sensibility as a foil for Joseph’s own teeth-bared guitar playing. Especially remarkable was how well both of them became an extension of the Jackmormons, a trio that at times couldn’t seem to possibly hold more personality, and yet, there they were as part of the band, deep in its thrall. Potent stuff, you’d say with a chuckle, like calling an erupting volcano “potent stuff.” —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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A Double Dose of the Wild Reeds in New York City This Week

May 1st, 2017

Individually they’re known as Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva, but collectively the three are known as the Wild Reeds (above, performing “Patience” for KRCC FM), the L.A. band deftly mixing straight-up rock, ethereal folk and twangy country, all beneath three distinct voices joined in harmony. Their second full-length, The World We Built (stream it below), came out last month. NPR Music compares the trio to Crosby, Stills & Nash, adding that the album “is underpinned by brash guitar textures, harmonium and a killer rhythm section. The Wild Reeds grasp the wonder of song.” In New York City this week, they play tomorrow at Rough Trade NYC and on Wednesday at Mercury Lounge. Nashville, Tenn., rock five-piece Blank Range open both shows.

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Marty Stuart Pays Homage to California Country at Bowery Ballroom

April 27th, 2017

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives – The Bowery Ballroom – April 26, 2017


Marty Stuart is old school country good—it’s right there in the title of his band. Raised in Mississippi, entranced with the likes of Buck Owens and Marty Robbins, Stuart came to renown as a guitarist with Lester Flatt and Johnny Cash before he broke out as a solo artist, favoring a high-energy country, roots and Americana sound that feels classic but not overly nostalgic. The essence of his 18th album, the outstanding Way Out West, is also right there in the title: Stuart loves the mythology of the American West, the panoramic dreams and wide-open-desert terrors it can evoke and the range of moods that music flavored with these things can inspire.

Lest it seem like Stuart and his crackerjack band will get lost in the cinematic sweep of things, however, they definitely don’t: They’re as fun, foot-stomping and down-to-earth good a country band as any New York City can attract. Over an hour and a half at The Bowery Ballroom last night, they plumbed the best of Way Out West and served up hefty helpings of Stuart chestnuts and roots-music staples, from ancient stuff like “I Know You Rider,” “Orange Blossom Special,” “Country Boy Rock & Roll” and Robbins’ “El Paso,” to ripping, surf-leaning instrumentals like “Mojave” and “Torpedo,” newer tunes like the honky-tonk “Whole Lotta Highway” and Stuart classics like “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’.” They’re storytellers, string-benders, good-time Charlies who can acquit a twangy reworking of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and make it feel like a deep cut from a Best of the Bakersfield Sound compilation.

Stuart is the proverbial “name on the door,” but it’s the Fabulous Superlatives who get at least as much of the spotlight, claiming at least one solo vocal or instrumental performance apiece. Among them, Kenny Vaughan, Harry Stinson and Chris Scruggs (yep, grandson of Earl) cover guitar, bass, drums and plenty of other things, but, like Stuart, are best described as multi-instrumentalists for how seamlessly—and how musically—they inhabit whatever they’re playing or singing. That’s key: Beneath the wisecracks and convivial joy, the foursome exhibit a deep trust and abiding gratitude for this music and their ability to play it so magnificently. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Shura – The Bowery Ballroom – April 25, 2017

April 26th, 2017

Shura - The Bowery Ballroom - April 25, 2017

Photos courtesy of Nick Delisi | www.nickdelisi.com

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Sweet Crude Bring Uniquely New Orleans Sound to Mercury Lounge

April 26th, 2017

Sweet Crude—a collection of friends and relatives: Jack Craft, Sam Craft, Stephen MacDonald, Alexis Marceaux, Dave Shirley and Skyler Stroup—are a uniquely New Orleans band, a six-piece with lyrics written in a mix of English and Cajun French, working in tune with five-part harmonies, tribal rhythms and pop hooks. According to the-Times Picayune, “The musicians of Sweet Crude are bilingual because the music is, and not the other way around. Writing in Cajun French connects Marceaux and the Crafts to their heritage, but it also opens up an expansive other world of sound; a whole other dictionary to play rhyming games with, for one.” Their debut full-length, Sweet Créatures (stream it below), came out just last week. And Consequence of Sound calls it: “An alluring indie pop record filled with playful rhythms and a genuine love for the Louisiana city. Touring North America in support of their new music, Sweet Crude (above, performing “Mon Esprit” for New Orleans Live) play Mercury Lounge on Friday night. The NOLA five-piece Motel Radio open the show.

(And if you find yourself in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, see Sweet Crude open for Lake Street Dive at the Civic Theatre on 5/6.)

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Fenech-Soler and Knox Hamilton Play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday

April 25th, 2017

With infectious electronic indie-pop tunes, Fenech-Soler have risen out of the ashes of the MySpace era like a millennial phoenix. Hailing from Northampshire, England, they’ve consistently created catchy, captivating songs, releasing six EPs and three full-length albums since their first single, “Lies,” debuted in 2009. Two of the group’s founding members departed last year, leaving behind brothers Ross and Ben Duffy, who have been able to breathe new sonic life into Fenech-Soler, experimental enough to incorporate the essence of the band’s original sound while creating a distinctive new one to set them apart. On their third LP, Zilla (stream it above), released earlier this year, the brothers Duffy have also taken on a new image thanks to the interactive 360° video for “Conversation” (above), beautifully blending together technology and their appearance. And to support the new album, Fenech-Soler have hit the road with the Little Rock, Ark., pop outfit Knox Hamilton (below, performing “Work It Out” for Jam in the Van), known for a melting pot of influences. Their debut full-length, The Heights (stream it below), is filled with rhythmic sounds, lively drumbeats and upbeat lyrics sure to remind you of summertime adventures. See them together on Friday night at The Bowery Ballroom. —Karen Silva | @ClassicKaren

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Don’t Miss Juliana Hatfield on Thursday Night at Mercury Lounge

April 24th, 2017

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Juliana Hatfield has had a long, distinguished career in alternative rock, doing time with the Lemonheads, Blake Babies, Some Girls, Minor Alps and the Juliana Hatfield Three in addition to her much-acclaimed work as a solo performer. And despite thinking her songwriting career was on hiatus, or perhaps even finished, she found herself inspired by last year’s presidential election: “All of these songs just started pouring out of me. And I felt an urgency to record them.” As a result, Hatfield (above, her video for new single “Short Fingered Man”) has a new album, Pussycat, out on Friday, and she celebrates its arrival with a pair of shows this week at Mercury Lounge—the first on Wednesday night, which is already sold out, and then again on Thursday. Singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson opens each performance.

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Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Bowery Ballroom – April 20, 2017

April 21st, 2017

Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Bowery Ballroom - April 20, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Sheryl Crow – The Bowery Ballroom – April 19, 2017

April 20th, 2017

Sheryl Crow - The Bowery Ballroom - April 19, 2017

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Miracle Legion Return to Say Goodbye at The Bowery Ballroom

April 20th, 2017

There are many paths to Miracle Legion fandom. Perhaps you found them via ’80s college radio stations that featured the band’s jangly guitar rock on heavy rotation. Or better yet, you lived near their hometown of New Haven, Conn., close to their touring circuit and the college-radio airwaves repping Connecticut’s finest. Or maybe you found out about the group because of their involvement with the fantastic and criminally underrated ’90s Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete, in which former Miracle Legion members starred as the semifictional band Polaris and wrote the show’s theme song, “Hey Sandy.” Or maybe it was Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy’s solo work that he’s been putting out at a steady rate ever since. Maybe a random interview with Marc Maron plugging Mulcahy’s solo album Dear Mark J. Mulcahy made you do the research and realized all these projects were connected. There are hints that fans have been along for the journey all along: a successful 2015 Record Store Day release of The Adventures of Pete & Pete soundtrack followed by a Polaris tour. Now the original band that started it all is back on tour, for the first time this millennium, with a recently released live album, Annulment (stream it below). Expect some new fans to find them along the way and begin their own journey backward into an impressively consistent catalog of songwriting that’s stood the test of time. And be there when Miracle Legion (above, performing “Screamin’” live for Paste Studios two weeks ago), playing their final shows as a band, return to Manhattan for the first time in 20 years, tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Singer-songwriter Elvis Perkins opens the show. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

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Sam Outlaw Brings a Taste of California Country to Mercury Lounge

April 19th, 2017

Former ad-sales executive Sam Morgan has been doing business as the California-country singer-songwriter Sam Outlaw (above, performing “Love Her for a While” for WFUV FM) since his debut studio album, Angeleno (stream it below), arrived in 2015, featuring cameos from My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster and Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, among others. “As an album, Angeleno holds up time and time again,” said American Songwriter. “For anyone who feels similarly disenchanted about country music, Outlaw’s songs—closely bound to tradition, endlessly romantic—are the perfect remedy.” His second full-length, Tenderheart (stream it below), came out last Friday. Vulture makes comparisons to Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams and James Taylor, adding: “Tenderheart is the sound of Angeleno’s budding artist finding his voice and crafting a work as great as his killer country nom de plume. Two years after shaking his life up to chase a dream of country stardom, Sam Outlaw is sitting on one of the genre’s best albums of the year. It’s never too late to heed your calling.” Check out Sam Outlaw live at the early show Thursday night at Mercury Lounge. Virginia singer-songwriter Dori Freeman opens.

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Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 Provide Easter Treats

April 17th, 2017

Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – The Bowery Ballroom – April 16, 2017

Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – The Bowery Ballroom – April 16, 2017
Chaz Bundick, performing as Toro Y Moi, plays a palette of dyed-egg pastel colors: yellows, pinks and muted purples of groove. Twin brothers Jared and Jonathan Mattson, performing as the Mattson 2, are an oversized, slightly psychedelic rabbit of instrumental music. Together, they’re appropriately called Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2, and they proved to be a perfect Easter treat last night for a sold-out Bowery Ballroom. More or less playing from their recently released album, Star Stuff, the trio met somewhere in the middle of their styles, which turned out to be a rather large and fertile musical space.

Although Bundick provided vocals on several songs, the set felt largely like instrumental music, relying more on mood than lyrics. And for the most part, that mood was decidedly jubilant. The stage was lit like a dance club—shafts of color through clouds of smoke, and the music pulsed with that energy. Bundick swapped between his synthesizer and a Hohner bass pretty much every other song, creating a checkerboard of sound, a playful push and pull between styles. That space between Bundick and the Mattsons was filled with modern jazz, Santana disco, drum-heavy free-form, psychedelic boogaloo and power-trio rage.

Every show has an arc and Sunday night was a one-way trajectory, each song sounding more focused and better than the previous, a constant build to an ecstatic conclusion, the album tracks thoughtfully arranged to optimize the live performance. When the end was finally reached, Bundick announcing, “No encore, we mean it,” they’d pretty much played it all, there were no Easter eggs left to uncover. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Little Hurricane – Mercury Lounge – April 13, 2017

April 14th, 2017

Little Hurricane - Mercury Lounge - April 13, 2017

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Dance with Louis Futon at Tomorrow’s Late Show at Mercury Lounge

April 14th, 2017

“Don’t let their punny name (and boyish good looks) fool you, the Philly-based duo of Tyler Minford and Logan Zoghby make seriously good music—a refreshingly funky blend of R&B, jazz and more electronically inclined elements,” raved Interview a couple of years back. Minford has since gone solo, creating official remixes for big names like Mos Def, Logic, G-Eazy, Future and Wiz Khalifa. But he insists that “genres don’t define me.” An eponymous EP (stream it below) arrived two years ago. “Philly producer Louis Futon has dropped off his self-titled EP, and simply put—it’s quite good,” said Hypebeast. “The electronic producer delivers on four original and undeniably entertaining tracks, as three remixes also join the party.” He’s been working on new material, and you can see him at the late show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge. NYC singer-songwriter Sam Setton opens.

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Another Chance to See Big Wild Live in New York City

April 12th, 2017

Composer, DJ, engineer and producer Jackson Stell has been making hip-hop-influenced beats since his teenage years in Massachusetts, but he didn’t begin doing it under the name Big Wild until he’d relocated to the sunny climes of the Golden State in his twenties. Things began to take off for him once in Los Angeles—thanks to the release of several well-received singles—and the electronic musician toured with the likes of Odesza, Tycho, Pretty Lights and Bassnectar. Earlier this year, Big Wild (above, his video for “Aftergold”) released his first EP, Invincible (stream it below). “Critics have been lauding title track and first single ‘Invincible’ as being distinctly his own: lush and soaring, lithe chimes crowded out by fat brass on the chorus, hits of keys and burgeoning strings filling the in-between and the punch of Ida Hawk’s vocals atop it all,” according to Exclaim. “The track is good—really good—but second single ‘I Just Wanna’ throws down like no other, its slow, thick beat, chopped, repetitive vocals, blown-out synth breakdown and piano flourishes making it impossible to overlook.” So don’t overlook Big Wild when he plays The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. Tennyson and IHF (Imagined Herbal Flowers) open the show. (Saturday’s appearance at Music Hall of Williamsburg is already sold out.)