Music Video: Eric Ambel – Hey Mr. DJ

June 19, 2016

Eric Ambel Hey Mr DJ

Eric Ambel recently released a new album.  The record is titled Lakeside, in tribute to The Lakeside Lounge, Eric’s bar and music venue that closed four years ago.  Eric’s resume includes stints with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Steve Earle and The Del-Lords (Eric remains an essential part of that band).  Lakeside is a mix of Eric’s originals and covers and everything on it rocks.  This song, Hey Mr. DJ was written by Jimbo Mathis, who produced Lakeside.


Tonight: Eric Ambel and Spanking Charlene at Berlin

April 29, 2016

Eric Roscoe Ambel Walk Away Renee

Tonight there’s a double bill at Berlin that is liable to rock your sock off.  Eric Ambel just released a new album and this is the release show for it.  The record is titled Lakeside, in tribute to The Lakeside Lounge, Eric’s bar and music venue that closed four years ago almost to the day.  Eric’s resume includes stints with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Steve Earle and The Del-Lords (Eric remains an essential part of that band).  Lakeside is a mix of Eric’s originals and covers and everything on it rocks.  So you know what to expect when Eric and his band take the stage first in this show at 8:30pm.

After Eric, long time Now I’ve Heard Everything favorite Spanking Charlene will close the show.  That band has been declared The Underground Garage’s Best Unsigned Band and their album Where Are The Freaks? was Now I’ve Heard Everything’s Best Album of 2012. When you put Charlene McPherson on vocals, Mo Goldner on guitar, David Leatherwood on bass, Eric Seftel on drums and add Mario Viele on guitar, you get a combination of rock and punk reminiscent of The RamonesSpanking Charlene will supply 100% of your minimum daily requirement of rock n roll.

Eric Ambel and Spanking Charlene, Berlin, 25 Avenue A at 2nd Street (F Trains to Delancey Street or 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit or J or M Trains to Essex Street), 8:30pm, $10


Music Video: Eric Ambel – Here Comes My Love

April 10, 2016

Eric Ambel Here Comes My Love

Eric Ambel has a new solo album out, Lakeside.  The title and the music on the record were inspired by the Lakeside Lounge, the iconic bar and music room in the East Village that Eric owned from 1996 until it closed in 2012.  This song, Here Comes My Love, was written by Eric’s Del-Lords band mate, Scott Kempner.  When I first heard this song, my reaction was “it’s perfect.”  Give it a listen and I think you’ll agree.


Tonight: Milton at Rockwood Stage 2 and Heap, Spanking Charlene and Eric Ambel at Fontana’s

March 12, 2016

Milton (2)

Tonight promises a night full of great music.  It starts early and goes late, and you can see each and every band I’m highlighting if you wish to do so.  Up first, Milton will play at The Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2.  A long time Now I’ve Heard Everything favorite, the music of Milton (the name of the band as well as its leader) is a combination of Americana,  country, and folk-rock.  The songs of Milton keenly observe life and love, particularly life in New York City.  Full band shows from Milton do not happen as much as I wish they would, so take advantage of tonight’s show.

Heap Spank Ambel

Once Milton finishes, head downtown to Fontana’s on Eldridge and Grand Streets.  That bar will be closing shortly, yet another victim of the New York City Real Estate Monster.  But there are still a few shows left until that happens, and tonight’s show is one to see.  Opening the bill will be Heap.  The band is lead by Tim Heap and has been playing in NYC for a while now.  Heap is the answer to the question “where can I find  no fuss, straight ahead rock n roll?”  Heap will take the stage at 9pm.

Immediately following Heap at 10pm will be Spanking Charlene.  That band has been declared The Underground Garage’s Best Unsigned Band and their album Where Are The Freaks? was Now I’ve Heard Everything’s Best Album of 2012. When you put Charlene McPherson on vocals, Mo Goldner on guitar, David Leatherwood on bass, Eric Seftel on drums and add Eric Ambel on guitar, you get a combination of rock and punk reminiscent of The RamonesSpanking Charlene will supply 100% of your minimum daily requirement of rock n roll.

Finally, at 11pm, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel will take over the stage.  Eric has long been part of the music scene, having played with Joan Jett, Steve Earle, and of course, The Del-Lords.  Tonight, Eric will be featuring the music of his forthcoming record, Lakeside.  The music on Lakeside is rock, while the title is taken from the bar that Eric once owned, The Lakeside Lounge.

Milton, Rockwood Stage 2, 196 Allen Street between Houston and Stanton Streets (F Train to 2nd Avenue, use the 1st Avenue exit), 7pm, $15

Heap (9pm), Spanking Charlene (10pm), Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (11pm), Fontana’s, 105 Eldridge Street between Grand and Broome Streets (B or D Trains to Grand Street), Tickets at the door


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.  What 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.


Freebie: Download the new album from Maynard and The Musties

November 1, 2014

Maynard and The Musties Fall on In

Here’s a brand new 12 song album released earlier this week which you can not only stream, but can download for free for a limited time.  It’s called Fall on In and it’s from Maynard and The Musties, a band that you used to be able to find playing The Lakeside Lounge and The Rodeo Bar with some frequency before those places closed.  Fall on In is Americana and alt country, and it was produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel.  You can stream the album, and when you are ready just click download in the player below.  Fill in whatever price you want to pay – as I mentioned, it can be 0 – and get your copy of Fall on In.


News and Notes: Spike Hill’s Uncertain Future, and What’s Been Happening with Music Venues in General

August 8, 2014

Spkie Hill Sign

Crain’s New York Business is reporting that the landlord of 184-186 Bedford Avenue, the building that houses music venue Spike Hill has been placed on the market.  The asking price for the building is $19.5 million.  It seems that anyone paying anything even close to that price is not likely to keep things just like they are now.  I would not be at all surprised if Spike Hill does not make it out of 2015 at its current location.

Sorry Were ClosedWith all of the club closings Now I’ve Heard Everything has reported on over the past few years, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at whether or not New York City is in the midst of a venue crisis.  I’ve listed the music venues that I cover that have opened or closed since December 20, 2009 (the day Now I’ve Heard Everything went live).  The results are interesting:

 

Closed Opened
 92Y Tribeca  Bar Chord
 Banjo Jim’s  Beast of Bourbon
 Bar 4  Dinosaur BBQ
 Ding Dong Lounge  Friends and Lovers
 Kenny’s Castaways  Hi-Fi
 Lakeside Lounge  Hill Country Brooklyn
 Living Room  Rockwood Stage 2 & 3
 Local 269  Rough Trade
 National Underground  Skinny Dennis
 Rodeo Bar  SubCulture
 Southpaw  Sycamore
 Sullivan Hall  The Rock Shop
 Sycamore  The Way Station
 Two Boots Brooklyn  Treehouse at 2A
 ZirZamin  ZirZamin

I count 15 closings which were offset by 15 openings.  Most of the closings, 11, were in Manhattan, and the majority of the new venues, 10, are in Brooklyn.  I suspect that there are fewer slots for musicians to play now than in the past, but I’m not sure what the actual drop off is.  This table does not cover New Jersey, so the closing of Maxwell’s in Hoboken and the opening of Monty Hall in Jersey City are not included.  Two venues, Sycamore and ZirZamin both opened and closed over the period in review (Sycamore is still in business, it does not have music anymore).

In all, I think there is a venue migration and a bit of a contraction.  But I don’t think that live music in New York City is poised at the abyss at this time.


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