English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gary Numan first burst onto the scene fronting the New Wave electronic act Tubeway Army from ’76 to ’79. But that latter year also saw the arrival of Numan’s solo debut, The Pleasure Principle (stream it below), with its smash single, “Cars” (above, performed live for KEXP FM). “The most popular of all the Gary Numan albums is undeniably 1979’s The Pleasure Principle. The reasons are simple—there is not a single weak moment on the disc,” says AllMusic. Numan remained busy recording and touring for the next two decades, his unique electronic-pop sound influencing generations of musicians, including Trent Reznor, Foo Fighters, Afrika Bambaataa and Marilyn Manson. But after slowing down some around the turn of the century—and following the 2013 release of Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) (stream it below)—Numan returned this past September with Splinter (Songs from a Broken World) (stream it below). “Music can be a potent escape from the pressures and anxiety associated with the real world. But it can also be the exact opposite, acting as a mirror of society, reflecting its flaws. Gary Numan is doing the latter, confronting the dangerous, divisive times we live in and the long-term effects they might create,” says PopMatters. “Savage is a compelling cautionary tale of what may happen if we’re too complacent to give a damn about future generations. It’s also a stunningly sharp and diverse collection of songs from a living legend.” Numan’s fall tour comes to Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night. Local garage-rock duo Me Not You open the show.
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Holly Miranda – Mercury Lounge – September 18, 2015
In a wide community of transplanted musicians to Brooklyn, Holly Miranda has carved her own storyline. As a fledgling 16 year old, Miranda moved from Detroit to Kings County and played cafes and coffeehouses throughout the city. In true indie fashion, she has recorded several albums through a variety of channels—self-releasing, crowd-sourced and eventually one worldwide release, The Magician’s Private Library. Five years since her global introduction, her latest, Days Are Shorter, Nights Are Longer, has the singer-songwriter returning in fine form following a successful writing trip in Joshua Tree. Pitchfork noted the album “feels both disarmingly intimate and broadly universal, and Miranda’s voice—fragile and fearless in equal measure—mesmerizes even when the lyrics veer toward nondescript platitudes.”
Donning pigtails and a cap, Miranda took the stage at Mercury Lounge just before midnight on Friday evening. Playing largely from her latest album, she began the set with “Mark My Words” and “Desert Call.” The singer asked the crowd, “Are you OK?” before admitting she was “pretty fucking drunk.” Despite her state, one could hear the haunting vocals and anguish in her lyrics, which have been noticed by the likes of Kanye West and Trent Reznor. The energy picked up on the rollicking “All I Want Is to Be Your Girl” as a group of fanboys feverishly danced up front. Switching to the piano, Miranda fussed with the chair before rebooting “Come On.” In an odd but playful moment, the performer explained that she’d received a bucket of garlic from a fan in D.C. and concluded that she had to toss the bulbs into the crowd.
After a few more song restarts, Miranda complained that this is what happens when you play a late show. The effects of too many preshow Negronis did not seem to take away from her lively cover of Morphine’s “Mary Won’t You Call My Name.” She admitted that the set would not be her best show but could be good, which explains why she wanted to get songs right after false starts. It was especially telling on the torch ballad “Everlasting,” as Miranda achingly strained to a trickle, emoting the hills and valleys of heartbreak. The late evening was punctuated with an uplifting rendition of TLC’s “Waterfalls,” complete with the singer’s rapping skills on full display. No encore was needed. It was late and Miranda deserved a good sleep. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Days Are Shorter Nights Are Longer, Holly Miranda, Kanye West, Live Music, Mercury Lounge, Morphine, Music, Review, Sharlene Chiu, The Magician’s Private Library, TLC, Trent Reznor
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Gary Numan, an innovative, pioneering force in industrial, electronic music and synth pop, has been influencing others for more than three decades now. He rose to fame fronting the post-punk band Tubeway Army in late-’70s London. Numan’s first solo album, the guitar-free The Pleasure Principle (stream it below), came out in 1979. Led by the single “Cars,” the LP received rave reviews and the singer-songwriter toured the world in support of it. Since then, Numan (above, performing “Cars” for KEXP FM) has released a slew of singles and albums. His 12th studio album, Songs from a Broken Mind (stream it below), came out last year. Consequence of Sound declared “Gary Numan is easily poised for a comeback, even though he never really went anywhere, and Splinter is easily his strongest album in years.” Find out in person why he’s influenced the likes of Trent Reznor, Beck and Dave Grohl when Gary Numan plays Webster Hall on Saturday night.