Monday, June 30, 2014

The Fab Faux @ The Capitol Theatre, NY June 28

Fab Faux founder Will Lee
The Fab Faux is more than just a Beatles tribute band. For over seventeen years, this group of overly accomplished musicians have dedicated themselves to performing songs by The Beatles live in concert and of course many of the songs never existed this way. The entire White Album was revisited June 28 at The Capitol Theatre, a lovingly refurbished venue in Port Chester, NY. This double album, released in 1968 without a name or iconography beyond the original fab four's moniker, is more a collage of creative minds as the band was falling apart. Yet the songs still remain incredibly strong -- especially when presented live.

Bassist Will Lee of the Late Show with David Letterman founded The Fab Faux and makes a fine frontman, strutting the stage in white pants with a peace sign as a belt buckle (changing from a black ruffled shirt to a white one at the break between discs). He even found a way across the balcony and back again, bringing this group of musical all stars into synch.  Lee graciously introduced harpist Erin Hill, the Hogshead Horns and the Creme Tangerine Strings, all on hand to flesh out the sound, and chatted in glowing terms about how The Beatles oevre is truly "our classical music." He gamely tossed out souvenir guitar picks throughout the show, admitting that yes he really did hit someone in the eye once. I managed to snag one during the night, a nice companion piece for one from a Letterman visit long ago...

Members Jimmy Vivino (Conan), Rich Pagano, Jack Petruzzelli and Frank Agnello were joined by Jim Boggia to offer this complex mix of amazing Beatles tunes back to back.  And as if thirty songs from the White Album wasn't enough, including the eight minute performance piece "Revolution 9" that Lee called a "guilty pleasure," the band returned with two singles as an encore. They cranked out the electric version "Revolution" to rock out the crowd before they ended the night happily singing along to "Hey Jude." But the song that took me right back to the day was the vampy, "Why Don't We Do It in the Road," which I would sing at the top of my lungs after climbing my favorite tree in the yard of my childhood home. (I can only image what the neighbors thought!) Relive that concert moment in the video on YouTube here or below, along with a few photos taken at the Cap's bar called Garcias.

Meeting Will Lee after the show 
Jim Boggia and my perma-date Paul

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

YouTube Playlist of Summer 2014 New Music Playlist Songs

This YouTube playlist has a few videos that make a direct connection between a passion for music and the freedom of movement in the form of dance (Todd Terje and The Horrors) or other movement, even bouncing on a bed (Waters). Many are just official audio placed online with album cover artwork, but some boast full production with a backstory separate from the song (Lykke Li and Hamilton Leithauser).  I'm still a fan of being able to see a band at work, playing instruments whether in earnest or not plus I can't resist at least one live video (Jimi Goodwin and Conor Oberst in a gig on a previous post).  And I had to replace the De Lux song with another, "It All Works All the Time" as there wasn't anything to be had for "Moments." 

Link to listen and watch the montage here or click video below. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer 2014 New Music Playlist

Summer is finally here!  Fire up the barbie and get out those picnic blankets, along with this playlist of new tunes from recent releasesto provide the perfect soundtrack.  This compilation of seventeen songs is culled from a bounty of new music out of the West Coast, especially San Francisco (Waters, Papercuts and Fresh & Onlys), plus an international mix from across the pond, especially the U.K. (Eno*Hyde, The Horrors, Damon Albarn and Jimi Goodwin).  Listen up here and see what catches your ear, enjoy! 

1. “Inspector Norse” – Todd Terje
Danish producer Terje Olse (a.k.a. Todd Terje) recently released a debut album called It’s Album Time. This closing track, “Inspector Norse” exudes fun, over-the-top electronic nu disco.

2. “Got to My Head” – Waters
This new five-piece band from San Francisco is gaining notice with the strength of the punchy power pop found in this single, “Got to My Head.”

3. “Daddy’s Car” – Eno*Hyde  
Legendary producer/composer Brian Eno channels yet another musical vision, this time with U.K. group Underworld’s singer Karl Hyde for an album called Someday World.  The layers of synths, vocals and Hyde’s guitar present a full band approach for a song about paternal protection.

4. “Keys” – Hooray For Earth
This lush electronic rock track is a teaser single for the upcoming second studio album from NYC based quartet Hooray For Earth.  Singer and multi-instrumentalist Noel Heroux creates a sonic world bordering on noise-pop with an anthem-like approach.

5. “Coming Down (featuring Matt Berninger)” ­– Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Philadelphia based indie rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY) is back with a new lineup, which includes singer Alec Ounsworth and bassist/producer Matt Wong plus an added emphasis on electronics. “Coming Down” is a highlight of the fourth album, Only Run, enlisting the distinctive vocals of Matt Berninger from The National punctuating the tune.

6. “So Now You Know” – The Horrors
Veteran English indie rock band The Horrors returns with a fourth studio album aptly called Luminous.  The five-piece embraces a shimmering, lush sound with full-on production under the guidance of frontman/lead vocalist Faris Badwan.

7. “I’m Not Ready” – Chappo
Brooklyn based quartet Chappo released an infectious single, “I’m Not Ready,” ahead of its sophomore album, Future Former Self.  With Baton Rouge native Alex Chappo as lead singer/songwriter and guitarist, this psych rock band gamely incorporates a danceable beat with synth pop flourishes.

8. “Still Knocking at the Door” – Papercuts
Papercuts is the musical project of San Francisco singer/songwriter Jason Quever since 2000, with a sixth album called Life Among the Savages.  The signature baroque pop is fleshed out with studio musicians and a touring band as some of the new songs require a team approach.

9.  “Moments” – De Lux
The duo De Lux is clearly inspired by the New Wave music scene of the late 70s and early 80s in this song off the debut album Voyage. Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco embrace it so eagerly that it’d be a shame not to join in this post-disco dance-punk party.

10. “No Rest for the Wicked” – Lykke Li
Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li has released a third studio album, I Never Learn. Her powerhouse vocals soar over a synth foundation in this solid single for the collection, “No Rest for the Wicked.”

11. “Moving to the Left” – Woods
Brooklyn based folk rock band Woods finds a psychedelic twist for the laid back vibe in “Moving to the Left.” This latest jam via singer/songwriter Jeremy Earl is off of the sixth album, With Light and With Love.

12. “Oh! Whiskey” – Jimi Goodwin
U.K. band Doves is on hiatus, so frontman/singer Jimi Goodwin has released a debut solo album called Odludek.  With his sage vocal renderings resurfacing in “Oh! Whiskey,” this song veers through similar style transitions with guest musicians filling in as a backing band.

13. “Alexandra” – Hamilton Leithauser
Hamilton Leithauser is another frontman/singer finding new solo musical waters in a debut album, Black Hours, as NYC based indie stalwart The Walkmen has dispersed.  There’s an emotional urgency in “Alexandra,” with a stomping beat and Leithauser’s pleading vocals.

14. “Hundreds of Ways” – Conor Oberst
Inexhaustible singer/songwriter Conor Oberst recently released a sixth solo album (not to mention others since 1994 with Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk and Desparecidos), Upside Down Mountain. “Hundreds of Ways” is an upbeat tune in this new collection full of adult themes as Oberst makes his way into new territory, which now includes married life. 

15. “Animal of One” – The Fresh & Onlys
San Francisco garage rock band The Fresh & Onlys is back with a fourth album, House of Spirits.  The quartet mixes psych rock with a Californian aesthetic in this song, “Animal of One.”

16. “Supernova” – Ray LaMontagne
“Supernova” is the lead single and title track of a fifth album from singer/songwriter and New Hampshire native Ray LaMontagne. His earthy vocals and acoustic attitude infuse this lighthearted tune, along with other new offerings.

17. “Lonely Press Play” – Damon Albarn
Best known for his musical past with Blur and The Gorrillaz, British singer/songwriter Damon Albarn is released his first solo album, Everyday Robots. “Lonely Press Play” is a single for this definitive release, with his signature vocals contemplating a life on the road over a slow jam.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Song by Conor Oberst "You Are Your Mother's Child" (New Album & NYC Tour Date July 29)

Conor Oberst (Photo via Nonesuch Records)
Conor Oberst is back with a new solo album, Upside Down Mountain, which finds the prolific songwriter delving into adult responsibilities as found in the new song, "You Are Your Mother's Child."  It's a sentimental slideshow of a boy's life as told in lyrical milestones by the father, intimately pared down to acoustic guitar and Oberst's signature sincere voice, at once world-weary and yet still youthful.  Preview the song in the video below, along with a live performance of "A Hundred Ways," which has already been picked for my next new music playlist.

The collection is the first since 2011's The People's Key, an album with his band Bright Eyes. (The closing song from that album, "One for You, One for Me," was chosen for my 2012 Romantic Songs Playlist in honor of Valentine's Day that year and is definitely one of the most heartfelt songs ever.) This time around Oberst worked with Swedish folk-rock vocal duo First Aid Kit, along with multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills and bassist Macey Taylor.  For touring, the band Dawes has been enlisted as a suitable back up, and in some cases serving as opener as well.  They will be appearing in NYC at the Central Park SummerStage on July 29.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Song by People Get Ready "Physiques" (New Album Due June 24 & NYC Tour Dates June 19, 24)

Steven Reker @NYLA (Photo by Ian Douglas)
Steven Reker is one of those people you can tell is a dancer before they even move at all. There's energy in his spine and facial charm galore, never mind that he's a frontman of the Brooklyn band People Get Ready with live gigs that are more performance art than performances.  I first came across Reker during David Byrne's 2009 tour as the only male dancer on stage, offering post modern gestures and acoustic guitar with a dance chorus mentality. Since then I have seen a several concerts with his band, in front of a dance audience at New York Live Arts (NYLA), plus music venues such as Bowery Ballroom and Brooklyn Academy of Music. The music is just part of the creative package, a lush low-fi approach that pushes the boundaries with jagged percussion, angular guitar strokes and Reker's smooth baritone barely intoning the lyrics while background vocals punctuate the tunes -- usually streamlined with only vowel sounds.

The title track "Physiques" from the upcoming second full-length album follows this aesthetic doctrine, with a video showing Reker lost in his own world of choreographed movement. With Reker remaining in place as if channeling a Trisha Brown Accumulation piece, the other band members keep busy with various sports and other visual activities to delight the viewer.  But the song is solid on its own, maybe give a listen without watching the video just to appreciate the effort there as well.

People Get Ready will be kicking off New York City's River to River Festival on June 19 and celebrating the record release with a show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn June 24.  This band is always worth seeing and I'm eager to hear the entire collection of new songs.