Music Video: Lissie – Further Away (Romance Police)

April 18, 2014

Lissie Further Away Conan

Over the past few years I’ve heard a bit of Fleetwood Mac influence in a number of songs.  That influence is very much present in this song by Lissie, a musician based in California.  Here is Lissie and her band live on Conan with Further Away (Romance Police).  And a tip of the hat to Now I’ve Heard Everything favorite Misty Boyce for bringing this artist and video to my attention.

Advance Planning: April 2014 Music Calendar (Added 4/17)

April 17, 2014

A few more shows coming up shortly:

Apr. 20 – Jahn XavierTreehouse at 2A – 9pm

Apr. 22 – Jimmy and Immy (James Maddock and David Immergluck) – Rockwood Stage 3 – 9:30pm


Tonight: Spottiswoode at Joe’s Pub, My Pet Dragon at The Rockwood and Jeremiah Birnbaum at 2A

April 17, 2014

Choices Large

There are three shows I can recommend tonight.  If you want to make a long night of it (starting at 7pm and ending at 3am), you can actually catch all three.

First up is Spottiswoode And His Enemies. Spottiswoode has been a favorite around here, but hasn’t played NYC much recently.  That changes tonight as the band releases its new album, English Dream, which one reviewer has called darker and cinematic.  This show gets going at 7pm at Joe’s Pub.

Later, at 10pm, My Pet Dragon will play a set at the original Rockwood Music Hall.  MPD has blended some interesting sounds in the past, including 80s synth pop and U2-like anthemic songs.  Take this opportunity to check out Todd and Reena and see what they have up their collective sleeves.

Finally, for the late nighters among you, check out Jeremiah Birnbaum and Friends at 2A.  The theme for tonight is “Twistin’.”  I suppose at least some of the works of Chubby Checker will make an appearance at sometime between 11pm and 3am.

Spottiswoode and His Enemies, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street between Astor Place and E. 4th Street (R Train to 8th Street, 6 Train to Astor Place),  7pm, $15

My Pet Dragon, Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street between Houston and Stanton Streets (F Train to 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit), 10pm, No Cover (but a contribution for the musicians is highly encouraged)

Jeremiah Birnbaum and Friends, 2A,  25 Avenue A between Houston and 2nd Streets (F Train to 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit, F Train to Delancey Street or J Train to Essex Street), 11pm – 3am, No Cover (but a contribution for the musicians is highly encouraged)

Advance Planning: April 2014 Music Calendar Update (Added 4/16)

April 16, 2014

Here are a few more recently announced shows for May and June.

May and Beyond

May 6 – Michaela Anne, Elijah OceanUnion Hall – show

May 8 – MancieSpike Hill – 10pm

June 20 – John DoeThe Bell House – doors 7pm / show 8pm

Tonight: The Kennedys at Rockwood Stage 3, Aaron Lee Tasjan at Rockwood Stage 2 or Chris Cubeta and The Liars Club at Spike Hill

April 16, 2014

Choices Large

Here are three shows that timed and spaced so that you’ll probably only be able to see one of them.  First off at 8pm at cozy and subterranean Rockwood Stage 3, The Kennedys will play a tribute to Nanci Griffith.  Both Pete and Maura played in Nanci’s band years ago.

Upstairs in Rockwood Stage 2, Aaron Lee Tasjan is back in town from East Nashville where he moved last year.  Aaron’s a great songwriter and guitar player, and this set, which starts at 9pm, will be well worth your while.

Finally, over in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, Chris Cubeta and The Liars Club will play another show in their Wednesday night residency at Spike Hill. Chris and company will take the stage at 10pm.

“Trouble in the Fields: The Songs of Nanci Griffith” a tribute by The Kennedys, Rockwood Stage 3, 185 Orchard Street between Houston and Stanton Streets (F Train to 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit), 8pm, $15, with a $10 drink minimum, 8pm

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Rockwood Stage 2, 196 Allen Street between Houston and Stanton Streets (F Train to 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit), 9pm, No Cover (but a contribution for the musicians is highly recommended)

Chris Cubeta and The Liars Club, Spike Hill, 184 & 186 Bedford Avenue between N. 6th & N. 7th Streets, Brooklyn (L Train to Bedford Avenue) 10pm, No Cover (but a contribution for the musicians is highly recommended)

Why J&R Closed

April 15, 2014

JandR logo 300

Last week J&R Music World / Computer World closed its doors for good.  Its owners promise to renovate and reopen.  But I take that with a grain of salt, as I have seen too many business close for what they promise renovations and never reopen.  In any event, even if J&R reopens down the road, it will be something different from what J&R was.

I have no inside knowledge of  J&R.  But as a customer for decades and a observer of that business, I think I can put together an outline of what happened.  Unlike many closing these days, rising rents was not a major factor in that decision.  J&R owned many of the stores that it occupied on Park Row.

To my mind, what killed J&R was not the perfect storm.  Instead it was a constant barrage of storms that eventually forced the store to close

Certainly 9/11 was a traumatic event for J&R.  But  the closure and destruction of merchandise caused by that event was only part of the toll of that day.  9/11 removed a significant part of the office workers in J&R’s neighborhood, and most of  that population has not yet been replaced.  Lower foot traffic in a retail business that has only one location is a significant problem.

Over the past 15 years, J&R had to deal with the marginalization of physical music (CDs  and LPs).  When what was once the major part of your business becomes a niche market, you have a huge problem.

I can see parallels between the music business and the stamp business.  New York City once had a thriving community of stamp dealers (with a major part of it located on Nassau Street in lower Manhattan) and major stamp departments in Macy’s and Gimbles.  As the popularity of stamp collecting waned, stamp stores closed.  Today, the stamp business is mainly online and mail order, with just a single store left in Manhattan.  Of course, the same thing has happened with record stores over the past decade and a half.

The rise of online shopping also imperiled J&R.  J&R did not ignore this and moved into the online space.  But J&R online never had the presence of Amazon or NewEgg.  J&R’s prices were  usually not as good as those of the big competitors and if you lived in New York, you got charged tax, something which Amazon avoided until a few years ago, and which NewEgg still does not charge.

The power failure in lower Manhattan caused by Hurricane Sandy and which necessitated the closure of J&R during that time certainly had an effect on J&R.  Unlike the closure caused by 9/11, when J&R was at the height of its success, the Hurricane Sandy closure can at a time when the business was dealing with a multitude of issues.

Finally, there has been a marked fall off in the computer business over the past 18 months caused, I believe, by Windows 8.  J&R could not have been immune to that.

I’m sure that there were other factors in play which caused the closure of J&R.  But to me, at least, these were some of the major factors which caused the end of this New York institution.

News and Notes

April 14, 2014

Israel Nash Brooklyn Bowl 4-13-14

The Name Game: There have been a number of musician and band name changes recently.  As I noted yesterday, Israel Nash Gripka is now just Israel Nash (that’s a picture of him taken at last night’s short but wonderful set at Brooklyn Bowl).  Sydney Wayser is now performing under the name Clara-Nova and Harper Blynn has become Mosco Rosco.  As the song Istanbul (Not Constantinople) goes “Why’d they change it? I can’t say.”

Leslie Mendelson Glyn Johns 2014

Records in the works: Leslie Mendelson is currently recording a new album in the UK with Glyn Johns producing.  Secret Someones just finished tracking their first full length record.  And Misty Boyce is in the midst of a Pledge Music drive to raise the money to finish the record she has been putting together since late last year.

JandR logo 300J&R Gone: As you’ve probably read by now, J&R, formerly J&R Music World Computer World closed its doors for good last Wednesday, April 9th.

Tony Scherr

Last Minute Changes to tonight’s shows: Jim Campilongo‘s show at The Rockwood Music Hall has been canceled.  Tony Scherr‘s show there will consist of Tony, Tony’s brother Pete and Anton Fier.


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