Best Songs of 2015 – Part 1

December 11, 2015

Now, we’ll take a look at the best songs of 2015. 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 2015:

The Damnwells - The Damnwells reducedThe Damnwells – Lost
The Damnwells returned to their original lineup this year and the first single from their self-titled album was this marvelous piece of power pop. There’s not a hair out of place on this song: the guitars ring, the vocals are perfectly sung, the bass is present and the drums do more than just keep the beat.  Never did 3:48 go by so quickly.

And here are the rest of the first part of The Best Songs of 2015 presented in alphabetical order (by artist):

Aaron Lee Tasjan In the BlazesAaron Lee Tasjan – ENSAAT
A few years back Aaron Lee Tasjan left New York City and moved to East Nashville.  Aaron looked around at that local scene, saw that some of his musical neighbors had arrived merely to burnish their Americana credentials.  Hence this critique; it’s acronymic title stands for East Nashville Song About A Train.  ENSAAT rocks; no banjos here.  This song is from Aaron’s fine 2015 album, In The Blazes.

Bottle Rockets South BroadwayBottle Rockets – Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)|
The Bottle Rockets contemplate how fast time passes, but not the years so much as the days and weeks. This is a straight forward two guitars bass and drums tune that gives you everything you seek in a rock song and will probably have reaching for the replay button when it’s over.

Dawes All Your Favorite BandsDawes – I Can’t Think About It Now
To the extent that this song from All Your Favorite Bands is a throwback to the 70s, it is more noirish New York Steely Dan than it is Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter.  It also gives Dawes 6:15 to stretch out and show their musical chops.  The female backup singers are a nice touch, too.


Jeff Litman PrimetimeJeff Litman – That’s on You
A bright and bouncy piece of power pop whose main message is “get the hell out of here” (that’s in fact one line from the song).  In addition to singing lead, Jeff Litman plays guitar and keys on this, with his band taking on guitar, bass, drums and even some cowbell.


Check back tomorrow for the rest of The Best Songs of 2015.

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.

Advance Planning: November Music Calendar

October 30, 2011

November is jammed packed with live music.  No show on the Now I’ve Heard Everything Calendar costs more than $40 and a very large percentage of them are low cost or free.

As always, this calendar is an evolving post as there will be shows added during the month as well as the occasional cancellation. This time around I’ve included some shows on advance sale in December and January which might sell out.

Nov. 1 – The Brooklyn Scramble – Alice Bierhorst, Chris Moore & Matt KanelosFreddy’s Bar – 8-10pm

Nov. 1 – Julia Haltigan11th Street Bar – 10pm

Nov. 2 – Shelby LynneHighline Ballroom – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Nov. 2 – Sasha DobsonBarbes – 7pm

Nov. 2 – Matthew Sweet (Girlfriend Anniversary shows) – City Winery – doors 10:45pm / show 11:15pm (Other shows sold out)

Nov. 3 – Melody KillsBar Matchless – 8:30pm

Nov. 3 – PoundcakeRockwood Music Hall – 10pm – Midnight

Nov. 4 – Jim Keller BandHighline Ballroom – doors 6pm /show 7:30pm

Nov. 4 – Joe ThompsonRockwood Music Hall – 8pm

Nov. 4 – Hayes Carll, Caitlin RoseMusic Hall of Williamsburg – doors 8pm / show 9pm

Nov. 4 – Demolition String BandRodeo Bar – 11pm

Nov. 5 – Aaron Lee Tasjan & a new yet unnamed bandRockwood Stage 2 – 10pm

Nov. 6 – Freddie Stevenson Rockwood Music Hall – Midnight

Nov. 7 – Jeremiah BirnbaumSpike Hill – 9pm

Nov. 7 – Lelia BroussardRockwood Stage 2 – 9:30

Nov. 8 – Julia Haltigan11th Street Bar – 10pm

Nov. 9 – Sasha Dobson (Band show) – Barbes – 7pm

Nov. 9 – Chris VelanRockwood Music Hall – 9pm

Nov. 9 – Lil’ Mo and The MonicatsHill Country – 9:30pm

Nov. 10  – WinterpillsMaxwell’s – 8:30pm

Nov. 10 – Melody KillsRockwood Music Hall – 10pm

Nov. 11 – Martha WainwrightCity Winery – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Nov. 11 – None More Eleven: A Spinal Tap Appreciation EventThe Rock Shop – 8pm

Nov. 13 – Terre RocheRockwood Music Hall – 6pm

Nov. 13 – Freddie Stevenson Rockwood Music Hall – Midnight

Nov. 14 – Rich HinmanRockwood Music Hall – 11pm

Nov. 15 – Misty Boyce (solo show) – Rockwood Music Hall – 7pm

Nov. 15 – Julia Haltigan (Jam Session) – 11th Street Bar – 10pm

Nov. 16 – Sasha DobsonBarbes (Jazz show) – 7pm

Nov. 16 – Bill BourneRockwood Stage 2 – 7pm

Nov. 16 – Hill Country Live Wildfire Benefit with Shooter Jennings, Chip Taylor& John Platania, Dallas Wayne, Grayson Hugh, Laura Cantrell, The Defibulators, and others – Hill Country – doors 8pm / show 8:30pm

Nov. 16 – Michaela AnneRodeo Bar– 8:30pm

Nov. 16 – Blackie and The Rodeo KingsLiving Room – 10pm-Midnight

Nov. 17 – Kelly Willis and Bruce RobisonJoe’s Pub – 7pm

Nov. 17 – WinterpillsMercury Lounge – 7pm

Nov. 17 – Red MollyRockwood Stage 2 – 7:30pm

Nov. 17 – Alex Battles and Whisky RebellionRodeo Bar– 9:30pm

Nov. 17 – The RamblersLiving Room  – 11pm

Nov. 18 – Dayna KurtzBarbes – 8pm

Nov. 18 – John Wesley Harding‘s Cabinet of Wonders with Nicole Atkins, The Blue Fisherman (from Edinburgh, Scotland), Howe Gelb, Myla Goldberg, Ted Leo, Eugene Mirman and Audrey Niffenegger – City Winery  – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Nov. 19 – Robyn HitchcockThe Bell House – doors 6pm / show 7pm

Nov. 19 – Chris Cubeta and The Liars Club, Matt Cranstoun, Brian Bonz, Nick AfricanoMercury Lounge  – 7pm

Nov. 19 – Linda McRae and Drina Seay – Kathryn’s Space House (RSVP essential to: doors 7pm / show 8pm

Nov. 19 – The Kennedys with Debbie DeaneFirst Acoustics at First Unitarian Church, Brooklyn Heights – 8pm

Nov. 19 – Matthew Ryan and The Red Needles – Living Room – 8pm

Nov. 19 – John Wesley Harding and The Minus 5The Bell House – 9pm

Nov. 19 – Spanking CharleneLakeside Lounge – 10pm

Nov. 20 – John Wesley Harding and The Minus 5Maxwell’s – 8pm

Nov. 20 – Megan ReillyLiving Room – 9pm

Nov. 20 – Freddie Stevenson Rockwood Music Hall – Midnight

Nov. 21 – Martha WainwrightCity Winery – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Nov. 21 – Occupy the Mic (Benefit for Occupy Wall Street) with Aaron Lee Tasjan and other artists – Lakeside Lounge – 9pm

Nov. 22 – The Dirty Urchins11th Street Bar – 9pm (opening for Julia Haltigan)

Nov. 22 – Peter CaseJoe’s Pub – 9:30pm

Nov. 22 – Julia Haltigan11th Street Bar – 10pm

Nov. 23 – Sasha DobsonBarbes – 7pm

Nov. 23 – Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones, MiltonCity Winery – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Nov. 23 – Melody KillsRockwood Music Hall – 9pm

Nov. 25 – Willie NileJ&R Music World – 2pm

Nov. 26 – Willie NileJoe’s Pub – 7pm

Nov. 26 – Drina and the Deep Blue SeaOtto’s Shrunken Head – 7:15pm

Nov. 26 – James MaddockRockwood Stage 2 – 7:30pm

Nov. 26 – Jim BoggiaRockwood Music Hall – 8pm

Update: Nov. 26 –  Adam LevyRockwood Music Hall – 9pm

Nov. 27 – Lisa Lowell, Nate Schweber, special guest Chris Flynn, and Li’l MoThe Treehouse at 2A –  8:30

Nov. 27 – Freddie Stevenson Record Release – Rockwood Stage 2 – 10pm

Nov. 28 – My Pet DragonBrooklyn Bowl – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Nov. 28 – Mick ReedRodeo Bar– 8:30pm

Nov. 28 – Rich HinmanLiving Room – 10pm

Nov. 29 – The Songs of Beulah Rowley, Vol. I continued with Mary Lee KortesThe Cell Theatre – 8pm (advance tickets recommended)

Nov. 29 – The Dirty Urchin11th Street Bar – 9pm (opening for Julia Haltigan)

Nov. 29 – Julia Haltigan11th Street Bar – 10pm

Nov. 30 – Sasha DobsonBarbes – 7pm

Nov. 30 – Allison WeissRockwood Stage 2 – 11pm

Now on Advance Sale:

Dec. 1 – Ivan & AlyoshaKnitting Factory – doors 7pm /show 8pm

Dec. 2 – Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3The Bowery Electric – doors 7:30pm

Dec. 4 – John DoeCity Winery – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Sold Out! Dec. 6 & 7 – DawesMaxwell’s – 9pm

Dec. 7 – Clap Your Hands Say YeahWebster Hall – doors 8pm / show 9pm

Dec. 8 – Shooter JenningsRockwood Stage 2 – 7pm

Dec. 9 – Elliott Murphy and the Normandy All-StarsRockwood Stage 2 – doors 6:30pm / show 7:30p

Dec. 15 – The MastersonsThe Bowery Electric – doors 7:30

Dec. 21 – Lelia BroussardMercury Lounge – 10pm

Update: Dec. 23 – Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds (Tall Tall Trees opens) – Brooklyn Bowl – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Dec. 26 – Dar WilliamsThe Bell House – doors 7pm / show 8pm

Dec. 30 – Ted Leo and The PharmacistsThe Bell House – doors 8pm / show 9pm

Dec. 31 – Ted Leo and The PharmacistsMaxwell’s – 8pm

Dec. 31 – The DamnwellsRockwood Stage 2 – 2 shows 8:30pm and 10:30pm

Jan. 13 – PoundcakeCity Winery – doors 6pm / show 8pm

Sold Out! Jan. 27 – Aimee MannMusic Hall of Williamsburg – 8pm

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

Freebies: New Songs from The Damnwells and The Watson Twins

February 26, 2011

Alex Dezen of The Damnwells

The Great Unknown is a new track from The Damnwells‘ upcoming record, No One Listens To The Band Anymore, which is due to be released March 15.  The band and Paste Magazine are offering a free download of the song.  Just click here for it.

The Watson Twins have just finished recording an EP.  Titled Night Covers, the record, as you can guess, consists of a bunch of cover tunes.  It’s due out April 18th, but you can download an mp3 from it.  The song is titled You Showed Me (originally done by The Turtles).  All you need do to get is to click here and provide your email address for The Watson Twins’ email list.


Music Video: The Damnwells – Werewolves

January 9, 2011

The Damnwells have a new album, No One Listens to the Band Anymore, coming out in mid-March.  This song. Werewolves,  is the first official video from that album.

News and Notes: What’s Ahead in 2011?

January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!!  Now that 2010 is done, let’s take a look at some of the things in store for us musically during the coming year.

The Baseball Project will have a new album, Volume 2, High and Inside in the stores in February.  Two songs from that album, Don’t Call Them Twinkies, a salute to The Minnesota Twins co-written and sung by The Hold Steady‘s Craig Finn, and The Panda and The Freak, a song about the 2010 World Series winning San Francisco Giants have already been released via iTunes.  I would not be surprised to see Buckner’s  Bolero, a song about Bill Buckner and the 1986 World Series show up on that record either.

• No One Listens to the Band Anymore will be released by The Damnwells in March.  There will be a CD Release show at The Bowery Ballroom on March 24th.

Garland Jeffreys has a new album ready for release in April.  It’s the first album from him since the late 90s.  There should be some shows in New York City around the release date.

• Also available in April will be Land Like a Bird, the new one from Amy Speace.  Amy has previewed two tracks from the album to her fans and they are much more in the acoustic/folk vein that her last two records.

• I don’t have any release dates, but I expect new albums from My Pet Dragon and Melody Kills, the new Leslie Mendelson project as well as a new EP from The Madison Square Gardeners.

• Busy recording early in the new year will be Sydney Wayser, Serena Jean and Charlie Faye.  I would not be surprised to see new records from them in the second half of 2011.  Also the Del-Lords will continue to work on their new record shortly in the new year.

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