Before we leave the Best of 2015 lists, I put together a Spotify playlist with nine of the 10 Best Songs of 2015 (Monday (Every Time I Turn Around) was not available). So if you have Spotify, just click away!
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.
Jesse Malin – Turn Up the Mains
If rock n roll is about transcendence and catharsis, and it is, then this song succeeds on both criteria. Turn Up the Mains is a loud, insistent Rolling Stones type rocker that will have you moving and probably dancing before too many seconds have gone by. It even has a horn section on it.
Kristin Diable – I’ll Make Time for You
This is a blend of blues, Americana, soul comes from Louisiana born and New Orleans based Kristin Diable. It has Kristin’s inspired vocals, some great keyboard work, and multi-layered sound. Lyrically, it sets up the rules of a new relationship “I’ll make time for you, but I will not hold you down,” obviously a lesson learned from something that happened back when. A winning song for so many reasons.
Misty Boyce – The Life
The Life is the title track from Misty Boyce‘s 2015 album. Here, Misty continues her move towards more of a rock sound. Although starting with guitar (which has become Misty’s main instrument of late), The Life quickly changes focus to keyboards and the track ends up mostly drenched in them. Misty has a pretty expansive vocal range, and she show much of it here. Add a very catchy melody and you have this very satisfying song.
Secret Someones – Only One I Want
Secret Someones tackle the sweet side of lust in this wonderful piece of power pop. This song features soaring harmonies, booming drums, fuzzy guitars and excellent keys, all trademarks of this group. Only One I Want is a wonderful confection to enjoy again and again.
The Waterboys – November Tale
In this song, Mike Scott tells the tale of two ex-lovers who meet again after 27 years. One has had a religious awaking and the other is an atheist. While in lesser hands this could just end up as a polemic or over wordy, Mike makes this awkward reunion a poignant piece of folk-rock.
Here are the second five albums in the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best of 2015 list; you’ll find the first part here.
Jesse 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 – 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
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
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.
The 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.
Freddie Stevenson was a regular on the New York music scene for years, usually playing at The Rockwood Music Hall and The 11th Street Bar. That changed about 18 months ago when he hit the road with the legendary Waterboys and then stuck around his native Edinborough. Freddie is back in New York City, and tonight he’s playing The Rockwood Music Hall, this time at the cozy, seated Stage 3.
Freddie’s original music has a little bit of everything in it including folk and English music hall, and he’s an engaging performer. At this show, Freddie will be joined by Jessie Kilguss on harmonium and backing vocals.
Freddie Stevenson was a regular on the New York music scene for years, usually playing at The Rockwood Music Hall and The 11th Street Bar. That changed about 18 months ago when he hit the road with the legendary Waterboys and then stuck around his native Edinborough. Freddie was back in New York City this summer. Tonight he’s back at The Rockwood Music Hall, this time at the cozy, seated Stage 3.
Freddie’s original music has a little bit of everything in it including folk and English music hall, and he’s an engaging performer. At this show, Freddie will be joined by Jessie Kilguss on harmonium and Teddy Kumpel on guitar.
Yeah, there’s a big free concert outdoor show with The Mavericks up at Lincoln Center tonight. But the weather outside has been forecast to be someplace between beastly and brutal. So if you’re the type who likes to suffer for art, sure, you can go there. But there is a wonderful, indoor, air conditioned show in the East Village that I hardily recommend. It will take place at The 11th Street Bar just a few buildings down from the corner of Avenue A. In the back of the bar at 9pm, you’ll find Karla Moheno. Karla plays rock, blues and ballads. Her songs draw on a diverse set of influences including noir, 60s girl groups, a bit of country and some show music. This melange served up by Karla and her band contains many familiar flavors presented in unexpected ways.
Following Karla at 10pm will be Freddie Stevenson. Freddie was a regular on the New York music scene for years, playing mostly here and The Rockwood Music Hall. That changed about 18 months ago when he hit the road with The Waterboys and then stuck around his native Edinborough. Freddie’s back in New York now for a while.
Freddie’s original music has a little bit of everything in it including folk and English music hall, and he’s an engaging performer. Tonight, Freddie will be joined by Jessie Kilguss on harmonium. This is Freddie’s last scheduled show until September.
Karla Moheno (9pm), Freddie Stevenson (10pm), 11th Street Bar, 510 E. 11th Street between Avenues A & B (any train to 14th Street, F Train to Delancey Street or L Train to 1st Avenue, then transfer to the 14 A bus to 11th Street), No Cover (but a contribution for the musicians is highly recommended)