Posts Tagged ‘NY’

Frank Zappa: Zappa ’88: The Last U.S. Show: Soft Pak 2CD

The first posthumous archival release from the ’88 touring band focuses on the historic last show Frank Zappa ever played in the U.S., at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, with live concert material taken from that show plus additional performances from Providence, RI and Towson, MD, all newly remixed from the 48-track digital master tapes. It features the first official release of “The Beatles Medley” along with over 25 unreleased performances and liner notes by FZ’s drummer, Chad Wackerman and Vaultmeister, Joe Travers. Available June 18th on stream/download; on 2-CD; or a 4-LP 180-gram black vinyl box set.

As Travers writes in the liner notes, “Start with the fulcrum of the 1981-1984 touring bands (Robert, Scott & Chad), bring back Ike Willis, add the Synclavier digital workstation, a 5-piece horn section with multi-instrumentalist Mike Keneally and you have what FZ famously described as “The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life.” While saying “never heard” might have been a bit of hyperbole, it wasn’t far off as the short-lived band (four months of rehearsal in 1987/1988, followed by a tour from February through June 1988) only played a few dozen shows on the East Coast and Europe before disbanding. Nonetheless, the shows they did play together were electrifying and a masterclass in musicianship

With Zappa on lead guitar, vocals, and wielding his new obsession the Synclavier, he led the proceedings through a career-spanning set, backed by a stellar cast of veteran band members and newly added members: Mike Keneally (guitar, synth, vocals), Scott Thunes (electric bass, Minimoog), Ike Willis (rhythm guitar, synth, vocals), Chad Wackerman (drums, electronic percussion), Ed Mann (vibes, marimba, electronic percussion), Robert Martin (keyboards, vocals) and the cracking horn section of Walt Fowler (trumpet, flugel horn, synth), Bruce Fowler (trombone), Paul Carman (alto, soprano and baritone sax), Albert Wing (tenor sax) and Kurt McGettrick (baritone and bass sax, contrabass clarinet).

Zappa ’88: The Last U.S. Show includes all of this and many more highlights such as fan favourites, “Peaches In Regalia,” “The Black Page” “Inca Roads,” “Sharleena” “Sofa #1” and “Pound For A Brown.” It also includes a horn-laden cover of The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus,” and the first official release of the highly sought after “The Beatles Medley,” which features the band performing the music of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” with the lyrics completely changed to reflect the then-recent sex scandal of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The bawdy lyrics poke fun at the hypocritical minister and was part of Zappa’s agenda to demystify televangelists.

Just how Zappa felt it was important to rail against toxically prude self-appointed culture protectors and whatever hypocrisy or hypocrite rankled him that day, he was also a motivator of positive action, passionate about causes, especially voting rights, making it his mission to get his audiences to register to vote. With a presidential election looming, Zappa offered voter registration on the tour, aided by The League of Women Voters. Fans were encouraged to vote before the show or during a special 20-minute intermission in the middle of the two-hour plus concert, which would start with Zappa triggering the Synclavier to play a piece of music. In Uniondale it was “One Man, One Vote.” Notably, the version here is a different mix than the studio version released on Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention. Zappa 88: The Last U.S. Show kicks off with Zappa extolling the importance of voting and encouraging the unregistered to sign up at the show by registering someone live on stage. It was followed by a representative from Governor Mario Cuomo’s office reading a message congratulating “Mr. Zappa for the important work you are doing encouraging your audiences and others to register and vote.”

“Sadly after the European run was over,” as Travers pens in the liners, “Frank Zappa chose to disband the group and cancel the rest of the tour, reportedly forfeiting $400,000.00 in revenue and depriving additional audiences the opportunity to witness how special this group really was. With all of the time and money spent to prepare and promote the tour, not to mention the potential within the talented band and crew, now in 2021, it’s an even more historic loss considering FZ was to never tour again.”

Fortunately, Zappa’s final U.S. show, like so many others of his, was documented and can now be experienced in its glory more than three decades later.

Painted Zeros is Katie Lau’s recording project. Her debut full-length album “Floriography” was released 10/30/2015 on Don Giovanni Records, and demonstrates the breadth of her musicality while being unmistakably punk at heart. Lush strings colour the spaces between melodic guitar hooks and Lau’s dreamy (often buried) vocal delivery, offering the listener an intimate look inside a world that echoes the heyday of shoegaze and demands that they listen closely–and loud. Based out of Brooklyn, NY, the band is a trio live, and in concert Lau’s songs burst to life with the help of two of her best friends. Love the fuzzy sound, and the guitar work is wonderful. I wish I had better words to describe how much I enjoy this album. Despite, or maybe because of, the subject matter throughout, this album often feels like the beginnings of a triumphant breakthrough to the other side. 


Her new album “When You Found Forever”, her first project to be released in five years under the Painted Zeros name. It’s an uncompromising journey into a person stricken with a battle of the psyche, overcoming a tumultuous relationship with alcohol and breaking free from the clutches of an old love (see “”). Lau is fearless in showing the pains of addiction mixed with the beautiful colour palette that returns once its been abandoned. On her latest single that we’re thrilled to premiere, “I Will Try” Lau takes the various shades that make up ourselves to create an anthem endowed with a restored affirmation in her identity and making the best of the future.

Written, performed, engineered, and mixed by Katie Lau

Drums played by Jared Kaner on tracks 3 & 8
Bass played by Jim Hill on tracks 3 & 8

Released May 29th, 2020

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Anything and everything can happen in a Voidz song. Acoustic blues, heavy metal, deep prog, funk, pop, the 8-bit Freon-chill a bank of synthesizers creates — sometimes individually, sometimes en masse. This three-guitar sextet firmed and led by Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas pursue this alchemy with true heart and enthusiasm, a go-for-broke gusto that makes 2014’s Tyranny, 2018’s Virtue, and a handful of 2019 one-off cuts a stoner’s sonic amusement park. Here, Casablancas has free rein to indulge his whims beyond the sleek, robotic rock-populism the Strokes are constitutionally mandated to champion. His accompanying sentiments — a mélange of Trustafarian contrarianism, personal philosophy, and passive-aggressive winks allegedly targeting different Strokes — complement a musical aesthetic inclined to melodic overload. This excess sidles to tender, epic life on the 11-minute “Human Sadness” and informs “Wink,” a roiling, cutting synth-pop bop that threatens to transform into reggae or an alternate 90210 theme. Theirs are consummate “older brother” records, arriving a couple of decades too late.

The syncopated, Pacific Coast haze of 2018’s “Permanent High School,” complete with plastic falsetto.

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When Rachel Angel sings “I wanna be a renegade,” she is speaking to the experience of personal transformation and resilience, like putting on a protective coat of armour to meet the world with grace and courage. The songs on her upcoming EP were inspired by the spirit of outlaw country, her sense of the outlaw is metaphorical rather than literal. These songs are about taking the unconventional artists path, and staring in the face of danger, fear, and pain. This country-folk troubadour takes the listener on a wild journey— physical, emotional, spiritual, and everywhere in between. Both referential to great American songwriters, and wholly original, Rachel’s songwriting prowess and her powerful and evocative voice are not to be missed.

Recently re-located to Miami, Alt-Country songwriter Rachel Angel is currently gearing up to the August release of her latest EP, Highway Songs, coming out via Public Works Records. This week we premiered her fantastic new single, “Strapped”, a stunning reflection on what is is to be human and what is it to be free.

“Strapped” · Rachel Angel  Public Works Records Released on: 2020-07-22

singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson who was born on this date June 15th, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY.
Nilsson moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to escape his family’s poor financial situation. While working as a computer programmer at a bank, he grew interested in musical composition and close-harmony singing, and was successful in having some of his songs recorded by various artists such as The Monkees.
In 1967, he debuted on RCA Victor with the LP “Pandemonium Shadow Show”, followed by a variety of releases that include a collaboration with Randy Newman (“Nilsson Sings Newman”, 1970) and the original children’s story “The Point!” (1971).

His most commercially successful album, “Nilsson Schmilsson” (1971), produced the international top 10 singles “Without You” and “Coconut”. His other top 10 hit, “Everybody’s Talkin'” (1968), was featured prominently in the 1969 film “Midnight Cowboy”. A version of Nilsson’s “One”, released by Three Dog Night in 1969, also reached the U.S. top 10.

During a 1968 press conference, the Beatles were asked what their favorite American group was and answered “Nilsson”. Sometimes called “the American Beatle”, he soon formed close friendships with John Lennon and Ringo Starr. In the 1970s, Nilsson and Lennon were members of the “Hollywood Vampires” drinking club, embroiling themselves in a number of widely publicized, alcohol-fueled incidents. They produced one collaborative album, “Pussy Cats” (1974).

After 1977, Nilsson left RCA, and his record output diminished. In response to Lennon’s 1980 murder, he took a hiatus from the music industry. For the rest of his life, he recorded only sporadically.

The RIAA certified “Nilsson Schmilsson” and “Son of Schmilsson” (1972) as gold records, indicating over 500,000 units sold each. He earned Grammy Awards for two of his recordings; Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male in 1970 for “Everybody’s Talkin'” and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1973 for “Without You”.

Nilsson passed away January 15th, 1994 at the age of 52.

Rory Gallagher Fine Art Print

This King Biscuit Flower Hour show captures Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher during his terrific ’70s run of studio and live albums. He was renowned for his unhinged, impassioned live performances, and the quality of this show only helps cement his legendary status. The three-piece lineup, including longtime live band member Gerry McAvoy on the bass and new drummer, Ted McKenna, rips through eighteen tunes in a little over two hours on their second night at the Bottom Line in New York City.

Before launching his solo career, Gallagher led the London-based group Taste from 1966 to 1971, playing a Cream-inspired brand of blues-rock and gaining a U.K. fanbase that included John Lennon. By 1978, Gallagher had already recorded with Albert King, Muddy Waters, and briefly as part of the Rolling Stones in Rotterdam while they searched for a replacement for Mick Taylor. His tour of Ireland four years earlier had been documented by a live record, Irish Tour ’74, and in a film by Tony Palmer, Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour 1974. The record was an international bestseller, and the tour was momentous both for the band’s strength and Gallagher’s willingness to play in Northern Ireland during a violent, politically tumultuous year.

The band featured Lou Martin on keyboards until shortly after the recording of 1978’s Photo-Finish, when the group was reduced to the fiery three-piece that played this show.

Opening with “Shin Kicker” (which also opens Photo-Finish), Gallagher keeps the crowd excited, especially with “Shadow Play,” a particularly hot tune also on their then-new LP. Gallagher doesn’t indulge in much stage banter, providing brief introductory remarks to a couple of covers, including Leadbelly’s “Out on the Western Plains” as well as “Too Much Alcohol,” a tune originally by J.B. Hutto that also appears on Irish Tour ’74. These tunes receive a stripped-down treatment: Gallagher’s voice and his resonator, which come as a marked, pleasant contrast to his rousing originals, which are played on his loyal ’61 Sunburst Stratocaster that he bought at age 15. The main set swings back into full-on rock mode before concluding with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells classic “Messin’ With the Kid,” but it doesn’t end there—Gallagher then leads the group through two encores spanning a half hour.

Rory Gallagher – guitar; Gerry McAvoy – bass; Ted McKenna – drums

Craig finn all these perfect crosses

For Craig Finn, these three records feel like one big body of work, and the songs on this collection are a part of that piece. For various reasons, these songs didn’t appear on the records they were recorded with, but they still tell a part of the same story – modern people trying to make it through, to keep their heads above water, to live past their mistakes, to survive. “All These Perfect Crosses” gives a glimpse into what this collection of odds and ends will sound like. It’s a tender piano ballad that clocks in at just under three minutes and its easy to see how this didn’t fit into what went on his three solo albums.

Craig is best known as the frontman of The Hold Steady, however he is also a skilled songwriter in his own right. 2019’s I Need A New War solidified Craig as one of today’s most important storytellers, among the ranks of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.

I wanted to tell you about my new release! “All These Perfect Crosses” is a 2xLP set out for Record Store Day, courtesy of the amazing people at Partisan Records. The songs largely come from the sessions that made up my last three records, but it’s also got a few demos and acoustic versions. All of this music was lovingly produced by Josh Kaufman, and a great deal of it was recorded by the awesome Dan Goodwin. (The demos and acoustic tracks were recorded by Josh).

These are songs I really love, they often just didn’t fit the theme or the flow of the record they were recorded for. Thus, I’m thrilled to be putting these together and putting them out in the world on vinyl. I wrote liner notes about each of the tracks, and the whole package is really cool. Artwork by Vance Wellenstein .

Double black LP collecting B-sides and alternate version from Craig Finn’s previous three albums Faith In The Future (2015), We All Want The Same Things (2017), I Need A New War (2019).
Craig Finn – ‘All These Perfect Crosses’ is the title track from Craig Finn’s Record Store Day exclusive album. Record Store Day will take place on June 20, 2020

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recordstore day

Kristin Slipp, also a member of Dirty Projectors, is the voice of Brooklyn– and Philadelphia-based collective Cuddle Magic, who recorded their new album Bath in a bathroom. You can preview its twinkling, understanding “Working On Me” here.

Big news: we have a new song out today, “What If I,” and we’ll have a new album out soon. It’s called ‘Bath’ and it’s coming out on July 3rd on Northern Spy.

Please take a moment right now to pre-save the album, follow us on your chosen streaming platform, and listen to “What If I” (the link below should let you do all three of those things). It’s the first song we all wrote together and we’ve been wanting to release a recording of it for a long time. We love how it turned out and hope you do, too!

Band Members
Benjamin Lazar Davis, Alec Spiegelman, Kristin Slipp, Christopher McDonald, Cole Kamen-Green, David Flaherty

The album is released on July 3rd by Northern Spy Records, and you can pre-order the digital version of it by visiting the band’s Bandcamp page now.

The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser’s fourth solo album is unashamedly old fashioned. It’s certainly not what you’d call a change of pace, after all, the band’s debut artwork was a sepia photograph from 1910, and he was only 21 then. Leithauser has evolved in the 19 years since – The Walkmen no longer even exist – but the storytelling intent signalled by that photograph and the three working class factory boys it depicted remain at the heart of his solo work, and provide the concept for this record; a storybook of sorts, with each song telling a different person’s tale. It’s the kind of record which defined the 70s singer/song-wiriter mould, making it feel joyously traditional, and not just because of amounts of upright piano which would make Randy Newman blush.

Produced and mixed by Leithauser alone in his DIY studio The Struggle Hut, there is a decidedly homely quality to the music. The album is bookended by “The Garbage Men” and “The Old King”, two songs which feature his wife and daughters as backing vocalists, and even their pre-school teacher sings on half the songs too. Eschewing the sleek production of Electric Lady Studios, which must have been mere blocks away, gives the album the raucous feeling of a bar-room jam.

The impact of his previous album, a collaboration with Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend, has not been lost. Like Batmangij’s productions, the drums on these songs resonate loud in the mix, cutting through sweaty saxophone riffs, jubilant piano and Leithauser’s own signature bellow, and ‘bellow’ he does. He seems to only have this mode – one where you can almost hear the veins straining – but while some variation may wouldn’t have gone amiss, amongst the chaos of these songs he makes himself heard.

Despite this, Leithauser is eager to ensure that it’s the characters of his tales which sit at the heart of the album. The swinging “Cross-Sound Ferry” recounts a world-wise stranger he met on the ferry from Orient Point to New London, while vaudeville lead single “Hear They Come” depicts a friend of his hiding from life’s problems in a cinema, the lights coming up as the real world refuses to stay outside.

“Don’t Check the Score” is made distinct with chanting female vocals, erupting into a beauteous crescendo with piano from Stuart Bogie and clattering percussion. It reminds of the down ’n’ dirty musical theatre of Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs, but not as much as the off-kilter vamps all over it’s successor “Til the Ship Comes In” which delivers the delicious shanty “I love you now / I loved you then / gonna love you / til the ship comes in!” When the backing instrumentation drops out to leave Leithauser booming those words into an empty room, the album is at its most powerful.

This isolated moment is part of the power of the record. Unlike the songs of obvious parallel Springsteen, Leithauser tells these tales from the rear view mirror, looking back. The woozy drum beat which opens “The Stars of Tomorrow” announces itself as a moment where Leithauser is about to leave it all on the floor. The story is one of a Polish woman he met one night in the wake of a terrible fight with her husband, about to vanish in her red Chevy Silverado truck. Leithauser excuses himself from the song halfway through to pronounce: “I’m just a singer / and you’re just in my heart / I wish you the best of luck / I wish you a brand new start”.

Like all of these songs, this is just one page from a journal recited aloud by a man in a DIY studio with only these memories for company. The album as a whole is a tribute to muses like these; the man who wrote “The Rat” and “In The New Year’ revealing the loves of his life: a smorgasbord of people who animate his pen and breathe lives lived into his songs.

The stirring and singular harmonies of Hamilton Leithauser make the failed dreams, broken promises and anxiety in “The Garbage Men” feel like an uplifting fairy tale.

Official Audio for “The Garbage Men” from Hamilton Leithauser’s album “The Loves of Your Life

Magana creates haunted Alternative Pop, which is as emotional as it is atmospheric and as beautiful as it is beguiling. Golden Tongue is the debut EP but Jeni Magana has taken the long road to get here. Born in California, Magana was classically trained in her youth before attending Berklee College in Boston and moving once more to New York City where she found herself writing songs, working with a variety of bands (Oh Odessa, Annie & The Beekeepers), creating commercial jingles and even working as a studio and touring musician for artists as unexpected as the Dropkick Murphys. This bizarre musical education shines through on the masterfully eclectic Golden Tongue EP. Magana is a very whole artist but this debut sounds vital and energetic, full of microscopic melodies and shuddering instrumentation.

Sparse and haunting sounds made by electric guitar and voice. Haunted Alternative Pop from Brooklyn’s Jeni Magana. “Golden Tongue” EP out now on Audio Antihero Records.


Band Members
Jeni Magana

released May 1st, 2020