Tonight: Boo Reiners Birthday Bash at Beast of Bourbon

December 18, 2014

Boo and Keith

There’s a party tonight over at Beast of Bourbon.  Boo Reiners, the phenomenal guitarist for The Demolition String Band will be there to celebrate his birthday.  Actually, today is Keith Richards‘ birthday; Boo’s is tomorrow.  But that is even more reason to celebrate tonight.  We are promised lots of special guests and loads of great guitar picking.  And the call is out for you to “bring your ax, your bongos, your triangle and sing with us.”  No presents required.

Beast of Bourbon features BBQ, 42 draft beers and over 40 bourbons.  So between the food, the drink and the music, you’ll have a great time tonight.

Beast of Bourbon, 710 Myrtle Avenue between Walworth and Spencer Streets (G Train to Myrtle – Willoughby), 8pm


Music Video: Puss n Boots – Shake Yer Christmas Butt

December 17, 2014

Christmas Butt Cat

If you are tired of the repetition of holiday music (15 songs make up 50% of what’s played on holiday formatted radio), why not turn to a holiday song that was first performed last week?  Here is a video from The Puss n Boots Christmas Spectacular Take 3 at The Bell House.  The song is an original from Puss n Boots bassist Cat Popper and it’s called Shake Yer Christmas Butt.  You’ll see Norah Jones on guitar and vocals, but Sasha Dobson on the drums is off camera.  As he has done several times before, tahcofan capture Puss n Boots for us.


News and Notes

December 16, 2014

It seems to me that whenever I’ve had some news lately, it’s been bad news: club closings and the like. So here’s some good news for a change, starting with a club opening!

Midtown Live

There’s a new music club in town, in midtown Manhattan, of all places.  It’s called Midtown Live, located at 251 w. 30th Street.  It’s run by the folks who operate The Highline Ballroom, and they aim to book roots and rock n roll.

andco Arlenes

I saw a new band last night that Now I’ve Heard Everything will now be covering.  &Co is a power trio consisting of Sonya Kitchell (guitar/vocals), Jesske Hume (bass/vocals) and Neal Evans (drums/vocals).  They flat out rock, with Sonya playing some real badass guitar.

Del-Lords 2013

I previously mentioned that the Del-Lords had started work on a new album.  According to Eric Ambel, that new record should see the light of day sometime in the coming year.  Also coming in 2015 is the first Eric Ambel release since 2004.  Jimbo Mathus will be producing Eric’s record.

James Maddock - Nearest Thing to Hip

James Maddock will have three co-writes on the new Waterboys album, Modern Blues, including the first single, November Tale. That new record is scheduled for release on January 19th, 2015.


Best Songs of 2014 – Part 2

December 15, 2014

Here are the second five songs in the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best Songs of 2014 list; you’ll find the first part here.

Lydia Loveless Somewhwere ElseLydia Loveless – Really Want to See You: Like Jenny Lewis‘ She’s Not Me (See Part 1 of The Best Songs of 2014 here), this song is a conversation between the singer and a former lover.  But unlike Jenny, Lydia is not rueful; here she cajoles, even demands, that her ex leave his marriage and come back, even if she was a bitch before.  I know of no one who conveys emotion – here pure anguish – like Lydia does.  I know that other reviewers gravitate to other songs on Somewhere Else (the album this song comes from), but to me this is THE song on that record.

Misty Boyce The Life CoverMisty Boyce – The Life: Although The Life, the new album from Misty Boyce, will not be issued until January, this, the title track, was released as a single in November.  Here, Misty continues her move towards more of a rock sound, this time mostly drenched in keyboards.  Misty has a pretty expansive vocal range, and she show much of it here.  Add a very catchy melody and you have this winner of a song.

PussnBoots No Fools No FunPuss n Boots – GTO: I fell in love with this song years ago, the first time I heard it live, back when Puss n Boots was playing stealth shows under assumed names.  Sasha Dobson‘s strong and stunning vocal performance here is as good as any one I’ve ever heard live.  And the secret sauce on this track is the arrangement the band put together – the original doesn’t sound nearly as good as this does.

RyanAdams Self TitledRyan Adams – Gimme Something Good:  The first song of Ryan’s self titled album is a straight ahead rocker with a bit of a Tom Petty feel.  It’s also straight ahead Ryan Adams; this time he’s producing himself (with an assist from Mike Viola), so there’s no one to filter Ryan.  And what that has led to is something good!

 

Sad Bastards of Brooklyn CoverSad Bastards of Brooklyn – Here Comes A Regular:  Charlene McPherson and Mo Goldner, The Sad Bastards of Brooklyn, take this tale by The Replacements of a dissolute, somewhat self aware alcoholic and give it a stark voice and acoustic guitar treatment.  The spare arrangement, set by Eric Roscoe Ambel‘s right on the money production, makes sure that the bleak lyrics will sear you.

Click here to view Now I’ve Heard Everything’s Best Albums of 2014.


Best Songs of 2014 – Part 1

December 14, 2014

Now, we’ll take a look at the best songs of 2014. As is usual around here, this top ten list will be presented in two parts. So without further ado, here is the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best Song of 2014:

Elizabeth Catapult Like It Never HappenedElizabeth and The Catapult – Like It Never Happened: A song about the morning after the night before, and trying to walk back the things said in the moment that were better left unsaid.  Not only is this keyboard based pop song lyrically outstanding, it  features some of Elizabeth’s amazing vocals.  When playing this live, Elizabeth has always made clear that the song is not autobiography.

And here are the rest of the Best Songs of the year presented in alphabetical order (by artist):

Baseball Project 3rdThe Baseball Project – 13: A standout Steve Wynn penned  rocker, with Steve doing vocal duty as well.  Much like that famous episode on Seinfeld, this song’s subject is never mentioned by name.  But it’s clear that it’s about Alex Rodriguez and how his mindset got him in trouble.  In addition to the subject matter, snarling guitars, sneering vocals and mariachi horns make this song memorable.

Chuck Prophet Night SurferChuck Prophet – Wish Me Luck:  The first words of Wish Me Luck are “my life is an experiment that doesn’t prove a thing.”  That’s not true.  The life of Chuck Prophet shows that he can keep turning out quality rock, such as this song.  There’s a bit of a nod to the Electric Light Orchestra in the sound of this song, but it is still vintage Chuck, that is, it rocks.

Jenny Lewis The VoyagerJenny Lewis – She’s Not Me: Musically, this gem from Jenny’s album The Voyager is more like her work with Rilo Kiley than her previous solo records.  Lyrically, it’s a conversation between the singer and a former lover whom she chased away by having an affair and is now rueful that he found someone else.  What clinches this song is the combination of bright uplifting music and dark lyrics.

Leonard Cohen Popular ProblemsLeonard Cohen – Almost Like the Blues: There’s a dry wit that shows up in some of Leonard Cohen’s songs that can be missed by the casual listener.  This time, though, that humor is front and center as Leonard takes enormous problems facing the world, as well as his bad reviews, and with a straight face contends they don’t even measure up to the blues.  The sound here continues the understated music plus backing female vocals that Leonard has been effectively using for some time.

The second part of The Best Songs of 2014 will appear tomorrow.

 


Best Albums of 2014 – Part 2

December 13, 2014

Here are the second five albums in the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best of 2014 list; you’ll find the first part here.

Jim Keller Heaven Can WaitJim Keller – Heaven Can Wait: Jim Keller is known for his soul tinged rock and his full speed ahead shows originally at The Lakeside Lounge and more recently at The Rockwood Music Hall.  Heaven Can Wait is a small departure from that; Jim said that these songs were written at 2am.  As befits something happening in those early hours, the songs on this collection are more quiet and introspective than those on Jim’s previous records.  Standouts include Cali Girl (what seems to be a scene from long ago), Crush on You and Take Me for a Ride.

Leonard Cohen Popular ProblemsLeonard Cohen – Popular Problems: Just a few days short of his 80th birthday, Leonard Cohen graced us with this new record.  While his voice has grown rougher with age, it still is the perfect vehicle for his work.  The batch of songs this time around compare admirably with Leonard’s previous ones.  Musically, the instrumentation  plus female backup singers that has worked so well with previously are here again.

PussnBoots No Fools No FunPuss n Boots – No Fools, No Fun: Puss n Boots consists of Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper.  They have been around so long that their first website was on My Space.  They’ve played small clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn for years, and this year they finally put out a record so that those of us who have not been able to see them at their gigs can finally get to hear them.  When you get is a fine blend of originals (two each from Sasha and Cat and one from Norah) and mostly country covers, although Down By the River and Jesus, Etc., both here, can hardly be called country.  Of course, the vocals and harmonies from Norah, Sasha and Cat are all top notch as well.

RyanAdams Self TitledRyan Adams – Ryan Adams: After suffering with some health issues over the past few years, Ryan Adams is back and ready to rock.  The album’s lead off track, Gimme Something Good, is an insistent rocker which impressed David Letterman so much that he asked Ryan and band to play it twice when they appeared on Letterman’s show.  This self-titled album also has a few slower numbers mixed in with the rockers.  There is no doubt that with this album Ryan is back and ready to play again.

Sad Bastards of Brooklyn CoverSad Bastards of Brooklyn – Volume 1: For quite a while now, Charlene McPherson and Mo Goldner of the hard rocking Spanking Charlene step out of that band and play as The Sad Bastards of Brooklyn.  The idea of SBB is that Charlene and Mo will  play the most depressing songs they know.  The surprising thing is that their gigs have always been a good deal of fun.  So about a year ago, they stepped into the studio with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel producing and recorded this record of covers.  You’ll be impressed by Charlene’s voice, Mo’s acoustic guitar and the selection of songs here.  And although this record may be on the quiet side, it’s impressive, not depressing.


Best Albums of 2014 – Part 1

December 12, 2014

Today Now I’ve Heard Everything begins presenting its Best Albums of 2014, with the Best Songs of 2014 to follow. Each of those lists will be presented in two parts.  Although in past years most of the bands on the Now I’ve Heard Everything year end lists were locally based, that is really not the case this time around.  Chalk that up to 2014 being a banner year for the type of music covered here.  I’ll also admit to not getting to everything that I could have listened to this year.

We’ll begin with the Best Album of 2014, with the remaining records presented in alphabetical order.

Lydia Loveless Somewhwere ElseLydia Loveless – Somewhere Else: After listening to this record back in February when it was released, my first thought was “is it to early to start thinking about the best record of 2014?”  It wasn’t.  Blessed with a voice which conveys emotion and urgency, Lydia leads her band through 10 songs, mostly dealing with the less than wonderful side of love.  Although I’ve seen this record misdescribed elsewhere, this is rock record, and a top caliber one at that.

Baseball Project 3rdThe Baseball Project – 3rd: Take Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Scott McCaughey from R.E.M., add Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon from Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3, throw in the history of baseball and stories about its storied and less than storied players and you get The Baseball Project.  This time out you’ll find songs about baseball cards, box scores, a player who got lost on the way to the stadium, a pitcher who entered the game and promptly injured himself without throwing a ball or ever getting a chance to pitch in the majors again and a steroid using player who is only referred to by his number (13).  There’s the definitive punk version of Take Me Out to The Ball Game here as well.  If you like rock but aren’t too keen on baseball, this record will still appeal to you.

Elizabeth Catapult Like It Never HappenedElizabeth and The Catapult – Like It Never Happened: It’s impossible to put Elizabeth and The Catapult in a niche.  Call their music classical tinged indie pop if you have to call it something.  Underlying the 11 songs on this record is both Elizabeth’s sense of humor and bemusement at life.  The songs here come from all over: being cut by a record label (Happy Pop), close encounters with bed  beds (Sugar Covered Poison), recognizing that sometimes things are going well (More Than Enough), and dealing with the morning after the night before (Like It Never Happened).

Israel Nash Rain Plans editIsrael Nash – Rain Plans: This marks the third time that Israel Nash (formerly Israel Nash Gripka) has placed an album on the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best of the year list.  Israel gets inspiration from early 70s psychedelic rock, with the instrument providing the psychedelic element frequently being a pedal steel guitar.  No matter the inspiration, everything here is fresh and bracing.

Jess Klein Learning FaithJess Klein – Learning Faith: Jess Klein lets  Americana, blues and rock blend together on this album as easily as it does in her home base of Austin.  Jess gets inspiration for her songs both from both what she is going through (Learning Faith) and what is going on around her in Texas (If There’s a God, Dear God).  She even gets to tell off that person who wasn’t particularly nice to her (So Fucking Cool).  Jess’s singing is impassioned, her songs are literate and the band her strongly backs everything up.

You can view Part 2 of the Best Albums of 2014 by clicking here.


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