Singer-songwriter and guitarist Tim Darcy is perhaps most known for fronting the energetic post-punk Montreal quartet Ought. But recently he’s begun crafting more introspective music as a solo artist, earning comparisons to David Byrne and Lou Reed in the process. His debut full-length, Saturday Night (stream it below), came out this past winter. “Saturday Night is a confident debut from a creator who’s best when he seems uncomfortable,” said Exclaim. “So long as he keeps evading his comfort zone, Darcy’s songwriting should remain potent for years to come.” Pitchfork rang in, too: “On the one hand, Saturday Night does exactly what you expect a solo record from a member of a raucous rock band to do: It’s more off the cuff and rougher around the edges, and showcases a more introspective side than the day job normally allows. On the other hand, it’s an assault on that very idea. Over its 11 songs (including one hidden one), Darcy slowly dismantles the confessional crooner archetype until he’s just messing around with the raw materials, transforming himself from singer-songwriter to sound sculptor.” His new tour just kicked off yesterday, and you can catch Tim Darcy (above, performing “Still Waking Up” for KUTX FM) live in Brooklyn tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC.
Tag Archives: Lou Reed
Kevin Morby – The Bowery Ballroom – May 24, 2017
Kevin Morby’s upcoming album, City Music, is an ode to this country’s metropolises, especially New York City. Fulfilling a “dream come true,” he played a packed Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night, featuring many songs from the new record and filling them with the tangled, contradictory energy of the city. Morby opened with the title track, singing, “Oh that city music, oh that city sound,” two guitars jostling like taxis down an avenue, the music setting the audience in that liminal space between sway and dance before finally kicking into a double-time, double-energy finish that pushed things over the edge. The rest of the show seemed to teeter like this, Morby and the band itself like a city between night and day, romance and stoicism, dreams and reality.
Morby got his start in Woods and it felt appropriate that his band was made up of musicians who either came from other groups or are on their way to solo careers, including Nick Kinsey (Kinsey) on drums, Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) on lead guitar and Cyrus Gengras on bass. Together they were formidable, as equally comfortable creating hypnotic soundscapes as they were unleashing full-on guitar jams. The highlights featured all facets and more, like “Destroyer,” “Harlem River” and “I Have Been to the Mountain,” each opening into a variety of surprises, funky or thoughtful or full-on psychedelic. As inspired as the band was, Morby’s songs stood on their own and “Beautiful Strangers,” played solo “for Manchester,” resonated with every lyric.
I couldn’t have been the only one in the sold-out room who picked up on shades of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed in Morby’s songwriting and voice as he sang songs about New York City, like “Parade” and the album-closing “Downtown’s Lights,” in New York City. So, it was not a surprise, but no less satisfying when he covered a song by each, closing the set solo on a Dylan-birthday tribute of “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” and finishing the three-song encore with a cover of Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll.” For the latter, Morby brought out Sam Cohen on third guitar, creating an appropriately city-sized noise to end the night. —A. Stein | @Neddyo
Tags: Aaron Stein, Bob Dylan, Bowery Ballroom, City Music, Cyrus GengrasHand Habits, Kevin Morby, Kinsey, Live Music, Lou Reed, Lower East Side, Meg Duffy, Music, New York City, Nick Kinsey, Review, Sam Cohen, Velvet Underground, Woods
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The Landlady Holiday Spectacular – Mercury Lounge – December 8, 2014
I walked into Mercury Lounge last night to a festive holiday party already in progress. There were blinking lights, multiple trees and decorations throughout the room, a jar labeled FREE CANDY offered candy canes, and Santa Claus had just hopped off the stage to lead the room in “Silent Night.” Far be it from me to call Santa a liar, but the Landlady Holiday Spectacular would turn out to be anything but a silent night. In fact, with a makeshift second stage set up on the side of the room, there was almost no pause in the music for three-and-a-half hours, with brass bands big and small to indie-rock quartets to bluegrass trios, folk duos, large Afrobeat ensembles and almost anything else you could imagine. The sets were quick: two to four songs each, so if you didn’t like what you were hearing, you didn’t have to wait long, but that was rarely the case. It would take too long to even try to list the proceedings, probably about a dozen bands played in all, but there were Zula mixing Latin rhythms in an indie rock thing, the Westerlies adding Christmas songs to originals arranged for two trombones and a trumpet, the avant drum-and-guitar duo Star Rover expertly going post-post-rock, and Zongo Junction getting everyone boogieing down with their big, funky Afrobeat.
The audience constantly rotated between the front and the side, where little impromptu groups would spring up in between the more established ones, like when Rubblebucket’s Kal Traver joined the man of the hour, Adam Schatz, on a nice bluesy sax-and-vocals duet. Although the room was full, at times it felt like there were more musicians in the crowd than paying customers, a constant stream of saxophones and guitars fighting their way one of the stages. If this party were a movie, Schatz, who amazingly made the evening work while sitting in on sax with almost everyone, would’ve filled the director, producer and lead-actor roles. Still, by the time his band, Landlady, took the stage there was a risk that it would be anticlimactic after all that had already come. Not to worry, there wasn’t a chance of that happening. They opened with “Under the Yard,” off their new album, Upright Behavior, and raised the energy a few notches, mixing harmonies and offbeat rhythms with Schatz’s unique songwriting. The music was a groovy, progressive New Wave, a Talking Heads for the 21st century, with Schatz gesticulating lovingly at the front on keyboards. But even as he led Landlady through their repertoire—the title track and “Dying Day” were early set highlights—he was directing the show, prompting a horn section on the side stage to enter the fray at just the right moment.
Of course, with so many friends in the house, you had to expect even more collaborations, guests and permutations, and Schatz quickly ceded the stage to Jared Samuel (leading the band in a nice cover of George Harrison’s “Awaiting on You All”), Sam Cohen, Xenia Rubinos and Luke Temple. This highlight stretch turned Landlady into an expert house band primed for late-night talk shows, slipping between genres as easily as flipping through LPs at the record store. As if to punctuate the point, Landlady invited pretty much everyone onstage for a closing climactic one-two punch of covers by Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” and Funkadelic’s “I Got a Thing.” With horns, guitars, drums and what seemed like the whole room singing along, spectacular doesn’t even begin to describe the festivities. It should also be noted that the whole night was a benefit for the Bushwick School of Music, which provides music education to kids who wouldn’t otherwise receive it in school. It was a worthy cause, indeed. Guys like Adam Schatz just don’t appear beneath the Christmas tree, you know. —A Stein | @Neddyo
Tags: Adam Schatz, Bushwick School of Music, Funkadelic, George Harrison, Jared Samuel, Kal Traver, Landlady, Lou Reed, Luke Temple, Mercury Lounge, Review, Rubblebucket, Sam Cohen, Star Rover, Talking Heads, the Westerlies, Upright Behavior, Xenia Rubinos, Zongo Junction, Zula
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Patti Smith – Webster Hall – December 30, 2013
Patti Smith celebrated her 67th birthday last night by performing for a sold-out crowd at Webster Hall, opening with a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” in tribute to the late Lou Reed—a deliberate and respectful rendition. Although the loss of Reed, one of Smith’s contemporaries, is no doubt still fresh, the song didn’t set a mournful tone. Instead, Smith was in good spirits, spouting playful banter as she and her band navigated through an eclectic set list, with songs from 2012’s Banga (“Fuji San,” “Mosaic”) taking their place beside early numbers like “Dancing Barefoot,” off the Patti Smith Group’s 1979 album, Wave, and “Free Money,” from Smith’s debut album, 1975’s Horses.
Despite the joke “Yes it’s my birthday, I am now 422 years old,” Smith proved she’s still quite in touch with pop culture, performing a soulful rendition of Rihanna’s hit single “Stay” as well as “Capital Letter,” a tune Smith wrote for the newest Hunger Games soundtrack. Not too many 422 year olds can claim that level of connectedness with the millennials in the crowd. Later in the sett, Smith was presented with a gift and a birthday cake by her daughter Jesse and friends (including Michael Stipe), as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday.” A surprise cascade of balloons was released from the ceiling, and Smith seemed just as delighted by her gift: seven pairs of socks.
Before the show’s end, Smith treated us to favorites like “Because the Night” and “Pissing in a River,” before bookending the set with another Reed song, “Perfect Day.” Leaving us with a New Year’s tiding, the auteur announced that 2014 is in fact the year of the horse—promising that it will be “a very strong year.” As evidenced once again by her powerful performance, Smith’s words carry conviction. We should all be inclined to believe her. —Alena Kastin
José James grew up in Minneapolis, weaned on Prince, hip-hop and modern jazz. Upon moving to New York City to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, James (above, performing “Trouble” for KCRW FM, and, below, covering “Who Loves the Sun” as a tribute to Lou Reed), he eventually met the musicians who would become his first ensemble, backing him in the studio as he recorded his debut, The Dreamer, out in 2008, and touring with him in support of it. James has been in demand ever since, playing festivals around the world and making numerous guest appearances on other musician’s albums (even working with Flying Lotus). But he’s still continued to make his own brand of music—seamlessly mixing electronic, pop and soul sounds with jazz. No Beginning No End (stream it below), James’s fourth album, arrived early this year. About which Pitchfork proclaimed: “With previous releases, he’s earned his heroic acclaim in the tough, tried-and-trusted lanes of contemporary jazz. With No Beginning No End, he’s built his own road out.” And rather than having to go see this unique talent at, say, the Blue Note or Village Vanguard, you can see him tomorrow night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.