News and Notes

March 2, 2016

Brian Dunne and Bryan Dunn

It’s Finally Done: There have been two musicians playing New York City with similarly spelled, identically sounding names for a while now.  But at Monday’s edition of The After Party, they took the stage and played a song together.  In the above photo, taken at that show, you’ll see Brian Dunne on the left and Bryan Dunn directly to Brian’s right.

Harper Blynn Final Shot

Harper Blynn Returns, Sort of: The long time Now I’ve Heard Everything favorite band, Harper Blynn (a/k/a Mosco Rosco) announced their break up last year.  But as the fates would have it, that band will be getting back together to be play behind Damnwells front man Alex Dezen, who has a new solo album out and who will play a four week residency at Los Angeles’ Hotel Cafe beginning March 30th.

The Magic Shop

The Magic Shop Closes: Steve Rosenthal was not only one of the owners of The Living Room, he also owned a recording studio, The Magic Shop.  When The Living Room closed a few months ago, I noted that The Magic Shop was in jeopardy because of real estate issues.  A few days ago, Steve Rosenthal announced that those issues had forced The Magic Shop to close, and that the studio’s last day would be March 16th.


News and Notes: Records Coming in 2016; Fontana’s Is Closing

January 15, 2016

Charlie Faye and The Fayettes

New recordings coming in 2016: Alex Dezen will be stepping out from The Damnwells to release a solo album in February.  Also coming next month will be Charlie Faye and The Fayettes, the new project from long time Now I’ve Heard Everything favorite Charlie Faye (that’s their publicity shot above).  Eric “Roscoe” Ambel has completed a new solo album.  Eric is also working with his band, The Del-Lords as they record the follow up to Elvis Club.  The Dream Syndicate is working on their first new album since the late 80s.  Aly Tadros has been recording her third album in Woodstock, New York with Kevin Salem producing.


The real estate monster devours another venue.  Fontana’s on the Lower East Side announced that the bar and music venue will be closing sometime in the spring.  Their current lease was expiring and the rent for the place under a new lease would have risen to about $30,000 per month.  That made continuing the business untenable.

Tonight: The Damnwells at The Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

December 31, 2015

Damnwells 2015

If you still don’t have New Year’s Eve plans, The Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 is the place to go. As of 8:30am, they still have tickets for both the 7:15pm and 10pm shows.

The Damnwells play rock and power pop with well crafted songs and great vocals. They have a wonderful new album released earlier this year, titled, simply enough, The Damnwells. It was one of the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best Albums of 2015, and one song from it, Lost, was the Now I’ve Heard Everything’s Best Song of 2015.

The Damnwells have a history worthy of, well, a band. They put out a couple of records, got trapped in record company stupidity and two of the original members left the band.  Two other members, including songwriter and front man Alex Dezen, soldiered on releasing two albums over the past few years.  The original line up of The Damnwells then got back together.  And as things happened, one of those member is not able to tour right now, and for tonight’s show, he’s being replaced by a familiar face: Whynot Jansvelt, who was the bassist in the now dissolved band Harper Blynn.  Opening tonight’s shows will be Rockwood regular Julian Velard.

The Damnwells (Julian Velard will open),  Rockwood Stage 2, 196 Allen Street between Houston and Stanton Streets (F Train to 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit), 7:15pm, 10pm, $35

Best Albums of 2015 – Part 2

December 10, 2015

Here are the second five albums in the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best of 2015 list; you’ll find the first part here.

JesseMalin New York Before the WarJesse Malin – New York Before the War
Jesse Malin has been around NYC for quite some time, but somehow, I just never connected with his music. This record changed that. To the extent that title, New York Before the War, is meant to invoke a time period, it is probably before the war of gentrification, which pushed out much of what was in Jesse’s main hangout of the East Village. The music on this record is mostly rock, but it does peak into all the corners of that genre. The first four songs of this collection, The Dreamers, Addicted, Turn Up the Mains and Oh Sheena are a tour de force.

Kristin Diable CreateKristin Diable – Create Your Own Mythology
I’ve been paying attention to Kristin Diable for a while now; this New Orleans based artist used to live here in New York City. The album she released this year, Create Your Own Mythology, is the record that will demonstrate her talent to those who can’t get to see her live. Kristin’s music is a mix of blues, Americana and soul covered in her honeyed Louisana drawl. The addition of keys to the band and the production by Dave Cobb take this record over the top. The standouts here are Time Will Wait and I’ll Make Time for You.

Misty Boyce The Life CoverMisty Boyce – The Life
Although she was long a regular at The Rockwood Music Hall, Misty Boyce left New York City for the greener pastures of Los Angeles a few years ago. This past January, she released this long in the making record. It was worth the wait. The 10 songs here feature imaginative arrangements, often going back and forth between guitar and keyboards. Misty is a wonderful singer with range and she’s comfortable enough to go into her lower range when a song calls for it. She sings backup on many of the tracks here, providing superb harmonies. London-based Dave Izumi produced this time around and he gave Misty the right sonic setting. It’s tough to pigeonhole this record, so call it ballady pop rock. Suffice it to say that it got constant replays when it first arrived in my house.

The Damnwells - The Damnwells reducedThe Damnwells – The Damnwells
This is a reunion album, the first with all the original members of the band on it in about seven years. And with the band regrouped, this album features songs about another break up: that of the marriage of lead singer and songwriter Alex Dezen. The album is full of rockers, and the two best are the lead off track, Money and Shiny Things, and the sublime Lost. Also of note is the sole ballad on the album, the concluding song, None of These Things. It lies someplace between an ache and a mediation on the finality of a break up. I do think that this album is mixed a bit louder than would be optimal, though.

Waterboys Modern BluesThe Waterboys – Modern Blues
Mike Scott is the lead singer and songwriter of The Waterboys. He also happens to be a force of nature. Modern Blues attests to that. Mike lives in Ireland and is well known for the Celtic flavored songs The Waterboys recorded back in the late 80s. He’s moved past that long ago and this album was recorded in Nashville. It still retains just a bit of Irish flavor, but its nine tracks are mostly blues and rock, heavy duty style. Lyrically the songs hold your attention, whether they discuss gentrification, growing older together or reconnection with an old love when both persons have changed. That last song, November Tale, is the standout on the album.

Tonight: The Damnwells at Irving Plaza

May 8, 2015

Damnwells 2015

The Damnwells play rock and power pop with well crafted songs and great vocals. They have a wonderful new album just out, titled, simply enough, The Damnwells.  The band has a history worthy of, well, a band. They put out a couple of records, got trapped in record company stupidity and two of the original members left the band.  Two other members, including songwriter and front man Alex Dezen, soldiered on releasing two albums over the past few years.  But now the original line up of The Damnwells is back together.  Tonight is New York’s turn to see The Damnwells once again.  This performance, at Irving Plaza, is the release show for the new CD, and Julian Velard and Ari Hest will open.

The Damnwells (Julian Velard and Ari Hest will open), Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place between 15th and 16th Streets (L, N, Q, R, 4, 5 or 6 Trains to 14th Street), doors 7pm, $31.50

Tonight: The Damnwells and Harper Blynn at The Bowery Ballroom

March 24, 2011

The Damnwells had one of my Ten Best Albums of 2009, One Last Century, which was only available as a free download on the Internet (and probably still is; the link for downloading that album still works). No One Listens to The Band Anymore, the followup, is now out, and the Damnwells are out on the road touring in support of it.  On this tour, the band will consist of  the Damnwells’ two permanent members, Alex Dezen (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Ted Hudson (bass) plus the members of Harper Blynn (Pete Harper, J Blynn, Sarab Singh and Whynot Jansveld).  What you’ll get is rock with intelligent lyrics and well crafted songs.

Harper Blynn will also play a set before joining  Alex and Ted.  They are a four piece band featuring high energy pop rock, lots of  hooks and good harmonies.  This past year they released a CD, Loneliest Generation, and a self titled EP.   The band is in the studio right now recording their next album.

This is one of the better shows you can see. It will be a highlight of this week.

The Damnwells and Harper Blynn, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St between Chrystie Street and The Bowery (F Train to Delancey Street or J, M or Z Trains to Essex Street), doors 8:00pm / show 8:30 pm, $15

SXSW 2011: Saturday

March 21, 2011

Photo of Caitlin Rose by and courtesy of Robert Borowicz

All the plans I had made for Saturday went out the window when I saw that the so far elusive Caitlin Rose was playing early that afternoon.  I called Bob and told him.  His response was quick and unequivocal: “I’m there.”

Fran and I had lunch on South Congress.  We then walked over to Jovita’s where we met Bob.  We got there in enough time to see three songs from Eddie Spaghetti, a fun straight ahead rocker from Seattle.  Once Eddie had finished, we were told to go to the stage in Jovita’s Front Room.

When we got there, Caitlin and her band (lead and pedal steel guitarists) were already set up.  Although the sound mix in the Front Room was not ideal, Caitlin showed herself to be an up and coming talent as she played a fine set of alt country and rock originals.

After the show, Bob and I spent some time speaking with Caitlin and her manager.  I learned that Caitlin will be in New York City on March 28th opening for Ron Sexsmith at The Highline Ballroom, which sounds like a great show.

Then the three of us went separate ways.  I made it back to South Congress and over to the Yard Dog for the day show billed as Steve Wynn’s Spring Training.  I spent some time talking to Bill from the Steve Wynn list and Edgar from Blue Rose Records.  Edgar and I agreed that blogging from SXSW took up time that probably could be spent at other SXSW events.

I then made it over to the stage where Casey Neill and The Norway Rats were already in progress.  They had a sound similar to early R.E.M. and I liked their set a lot.  Next up was the Minus 5, which on Saturday consisted of Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Peter Buck, the drummer from Casey Neill, a guitarist who I think  was from Casey Neill as well and a mandolin player whom I did not know but whom Scott said was also the stage manager for this show.  The Minus 5 played a fine, fun, energetic set.

More SXSW 2011 Saturday after the jump.

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