SnC 244 – 3rd November 2010
Just a few New York tracks this week, now that I’m back from CMJ.
It is certailly easier to produce the show on the dual screens rather than on the laptop which died again today. This time I think it is permanent. Shame I spent $100 last week on a new battery for it 🙁
A brief visit to Cambridge demonstrated that autumn really is here – very few people out punting!
UPDATE: Sorry about the delay to the mp3 being available – a glitch in the system that was probably caused by me. Thanks to DK in Germany and François in London for pointing it out … very nicely 🙂
Singing in Tongues – Bleu (LA, CA, USA)
The astonishing generosity of Bleu’s fans helped him raise $40,000 following the launch of his campaign on DIY fundraising site Kickstarter.
As a result of fans’ contributions, he’s been able to launch his own record label and put his album Four out himself in North America (U.K. indie Lojinx acquired the rights to release the record here in the UK).
The financial offerings were accompanied by fervent good wishes. “I only wish I could afford to pledge more,” goes a typical comment. “I want to help because you are giving me so much with your music,” reads another, while still another admirer writes, “Loved your music for years—so glad to help in any way and be a small part of your work!”
Bleu was stunned by the enthusiasm of his loyal fan base, “I was playing a show a couple of weeks ago and told everybody about the whole thing,” he recalls. “I started crying onstage.”
The release follows on the heels of 2009’s critically admired A Watched Pot (which suffered, promotionally, from big-label implosions far out of his control), and comes amid a flurry of co-writing and production projects. “I really enjoy working with other artists part of the time and then creating my own material,” he says. “It keeps things nicely balanced.”
He has just completed a UK tour and is heading for the US with November dates lined up:
11/09 Boston MA TT The Bear’s
11/10 NYC NY Rockwood Music Hall
11/11 Easton, MD Nightcat
11/12 Philly PA Tin Angel – late show
11/13 Silver Sping MD House Concert
11/16 Nashville TN 3rd & Lindsley, 7pm early show
11/19 Indianapolis IN House Concert
11/21 Chicago IL Mayne Stage
If the Sea was Whiskey – Tin Pan (New York, NY, USA)
The band comprises Jesse Selengut on trumpet, lead vocals and compositions, Clifton Hyde on guitar and hollerin’, Stefan Zeniuk on reeds and boy soprano vocals, and Peter “Baby Hands” Maness on bass and some singin’.
They describe themselves as a “street band,” they often play in Central Park and in the New York City transit system. It’s the embodiment of the band’s belief that their music should be accessible – literally and figuratively. With two previous CD releases, Early Jazz and Americana and Alice McNulty, they sold a total of 6000 CD’s in 2008, a phenomenal total for an completely unsigned band, and earned rave notices in the New York Times and Huffington Post, among others.
If You Happen to See a USB Sticking Out of a Wall In New York… (via digitalmusicnews.com)
This is one of those catchy ideas that may never get past novelty stage, and probably never make a dime. Then again, innovation has a funny way of spawning more innovation, often in unimaginable ways.
The latest fun idea is happening in New York, where one disruptor is actually fixing USB sticks into walls. That’s right, passers-by will just see the stick popping out, and can plug and share content at will. The idea, called ‘Dead Drops’ and created by Aram Bartholl, is just getting started, and just a smattering of sticks are planted right now (see list below).
The overall concept is to encourage sharing within public spaces, and fan the flames on anonymous, anarchic trading.
Bartholl is hoping this catches on, and encouraging similar ‘implants’ on deaddrops.com. Sounds fun, though use protection, son: who knows what’s lingering on those dirty sticks.
Some spots to check out…
87 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Makerbot)
Empire Fulton Ferry Park, Brooklyn, NY (Dumbo)
235 Bowery, NY (New Museum)
Union Square, NY (Subway Station 14th St)
540 West 21st Street, NY (Eyebeam)
Birthplace – Mon Khmer (Brooklyn, NYC, USA)
Rising Brooklyn act Mon Khmer (pronounced: Mohn-Kmair) released their debut EP, Birthplace on October 19th via High Scores Recordings. Tiding listeners over until their forthcoming debut LP, the six track EP contains the highlights of their short but fruitful two years together. Playing alongside acts like Bear in Heaven, Secret Machines, and Micachu & the Shapes, Mon Khmer have been captivating listeners sending them into a groove/trance/dance mode thanks to their tribal relentless and hypnotic rhythms that are legitimately hard to resist with their refined yet unclassifiable sound.
The band’s unusual name derives from a family of languages that exist in Eastern Asia, called Mon Khmer. The worldliness of the name is quite fitting taking into account the wide array of influences that co-exist with each member. Having met in Boston, the four friends found home in Brooklyn and formed Mon Khmer, following a summer of session work that included Hammarsing (Vocals/Guitars) joining Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes) on a world tour. With Hammarsing’s departure, the remaining members of Mon Khmer kept busy with equally as exciting side-projects; Dave Cole (drums) is also a member of Rubblebucket while Matt Scheiner (bass/synths/vocals) splits his time with other Brooklyn band Oberhofer and Elias Meister (guitar) spends time playing in various jazz side projects.
The Return of Point of No Return – NuShooz Orchestra (Portland, OR, USA)
The SHOOZ are back!!!
More than two decades after their 1986 Top Ten Hit single, “I Can’t Wait,” took the world by storm, it continues to be played on radio stations around the globe every 11 minutes.
Now NU SHOOZ returns with a new album, “Pandora’s Box”, and a 10 piece orchestra Gil Evans would have loved. Formed in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 1979, their line-up has changed over time, but in all its various forms, they’ve always pushed the boundaries between pop, funk, and jazz. Now, with the release of Pandora’s Box, Portland’s favorite soul explorers take one giant leap for mankind with a brave new sound, combining their signature brand of funk with elements borrowed from Film Noir, ‘60s Spy Movies and even Tarzan.
This really is an interesting album. That said from one who really lost interest in a lot of chart music during the 80s.
Even better news is that Valerie and John will be in Manchester in a week or so to play a gig at Sound Control.
November 13, 2010 – 10 PM to 3 AM
Venue: SOUND CONTROL Manchester, Greater Manchester M1 5NP Info: 0161 236 0340
Ticket price: £16.50 Ad Minimum age: 21
Other Information: Legends of the Old School presents the iconic NU SHOOZ performing their “Old School” hits at Sound Control, Manchester England. Also appearing: DJ’s Gordon West and Ben Chesters.
For more information on Valerie and John’s first appearance in the UK since the 80′s, visit
Let’s Kiss – Living Days (Brooklyn, NYC, USA)
LIVING DAYS is a dark romantic pop group from Brooklyn, NY. The band begun when two broken hearted life long friends met up with the desire to soundtrack those hearts. The recording process was psychedelic and debaucherous, full of thunderstorms and fireworks and broken light bulbs (all of which they recorded).
As an experiment, they began to consider the notion that the universe was a benevolent one and the rest of the five members showed up. Now, they all consider each other family. Their unpredictable front woman, Stephonik Youth, is an underground legendary performer. Venus magazine writes, “Stephonik is of a reckless charisma, a dizzying combination of swaggering bravado and heart-wrenching emotion.”
They have completed a full length album called “Make Out Room” produced by Matt Boynton (Gang Gang Dance, The Lemonheads, Amazing Baby, MGMT). They will release the album in two parts. The first part is an EP entitled, “Make Out Room, Part 1″
How it ends – DeVotchKa (Colorado, USA)
It wasn’t too long ago that a weary band hauling a violin, a tuba, an accordion, and trumpets into rock club were told they must be in the wrong place; when a band fusing musical elements from across the globe needed to fight to be considered a rock band instead of being marked by the dubious ‘world music” tag.
DeVotchKa is a four piece multi-instrumental and vocal ensemble that fuses Romani, Greek, Slavic and Bolero music with American punk and folk roots. The quartet is made up of Nick Urata, who sings and plays theremin, guitar, bouzouki, piano, and trumpet; Tom Hagerman, who plays violin, accordion, and piano; Jeanie Schroder, who sings and plays sousaphone and double bass; and Shawn King, who plays percussion and trumpet. Numerous nationwide tours in support of self released records earned the band an underground following. Their song “How It Ends” was featured on the trailer for the film “Everything Is Illuminated”, introducing the band to a widening audience.
To hear more – visit their site.
Spanish foufou l’electro – Audio_Out (Tarbes, France)
By day a tracker and first-aid worker for a ski resort in the Pyrenees, Audio_out has been DJing for 6 years and his background in piano goes back twice that far.
He has produced a few works on vinyl under the Fox Tanz and Freestylelisten labels and was more involved in the underground scene rather than clubs or festivals. You may want to take a look at http://www.freestylelisten.com/label/label.php?menu=art Watch out for the little pop-out player.
One more night in Brooklyn – Justin Townes Earle (Nashville, TN, USA)
Justin Townes Earle’s age belies his experience. Growing up in Nashville he mis-spent his youth playing in bluegrass/ragtime combo The Swindlers and the louder, more rocking The Distributors and developing some very bad habits. During tours as guitarist and keyboardist (“…and not a very good one,” laughs Earle) in his father Steve Earle’s band, his problems became untenable and he was fired. Ultimately he cleaned up his act, dropped his self-destructive habits and began to focus on songcraft. “You don’t have to be fucked up or torture yourself to write songs,” explains Earle, “I used to write a lot, a whole lot, and half those songs I don’t even remember. Now, I sit there and I write it and I finish it and I keep it.”