Entries tagged with: Shahzad Ismaily

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Sam Amidon at SXSW 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon is releasing a new album of re-imagined folk songs, Lily-O, on September 30 via Nonesuch. The album features jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, as well as past Sam Amidon collaborators Shahzad Ismaily (bass) and Chris Vatalaro (drums). You can check out "Walkin' Boss" from the new LP, below.

Sam also has some dates coming up, including a previously discussed appearance at "Nonesuch Records at BAM" on September 20, along with Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens and Olivia Chaney. Tickets for that show are still available.

All dates are listed, with the new song, below...

Continue reading "Sam Amidon releasing a new LP, touring (dates, stream)"

IMAGE

Nous aims to build communal musical relationships that collectively work to find new ways of creating art. Each installment will center around a different focal concept, and the project will feature a fluctuating group of artists. As founder Christopher Bono explains, "Nous aspires to bypass the lower level thought patterns of the egotistical mind and encourages the connection of those involved to reach a higher level of consciousness, providing a creative space where intuitive, unexpected, and unexplained results can occur.
Nous is an experimental music project that explores "ritual and spontaneity within music" created by composer Christopher Bono and and features a formidable group of musicians: Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, Zs, etc), Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater & more), Shahzad Ismaily (Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson & more) and Grey McMurray (itsnotyouitsme, So Percussion & more).

Nous will be playing their first ever shows this weekend in the NYC area: Saturday (2/1) at Basilica Hudson (8 PM, tickets), and then Sunday (2/2) at Baby's All Right (8 PM, tickets). At these shows Nous will be joined by cellist Clarice Jensen, violinist/violist Caleb Burhans, violinist Laura Lutzke, flutist Alex Sopp, cellist/vocalist Imago, plus Laraaji & Arji (Zither, ambient sounds) and three dancers directed by Akil Davis from Loud Sol Productions. For those looking for Super Bowl night alternatives, this might be the thing.


UPDATE: Full list of performers, including just added Anthony Molina, along with a video about the great Laraaji, below..

Continue reading "Nous (Laraaji, Christopher Bono, Greg Fox, Thor Harris & others) making live debut w/ 2 NYC-area shows this weekend"

Jay Z at Yankee Stadium in July (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Jay Z

Browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows. Here are some highlights...

Jay Z @ Barclays Center
While Jay Z no longer has any stake in Barclays Center, no doubt it will still feel like home for this first of two nights at the arena.

Chris & Cosey @ Radio Bushwick
When industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle shut down operations in 1981, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti kept working together, making icy, trance-like dance music with occasional forays into pop. Having just played sold-out shows as MoMA PS1 and Santos, Carter Tutti perform Chris & Cosey material tonight -- no advance tickets, $20 at the door.

Cloud Control, Avers, ARMS, Little Racer @ Brooklyn Bowl
Australia's Cloud Control play their second NYC show this weekend as part of the "It's A School Night series" which is free with RSVP.

globalFEST @ Webster Hall
This annual world music festival takes over Webster Hall once again. If you're going, don't miss Caribbean "tumbutronic" artist KiT. Full globalFEST schedule is below.

NYC Podfest @ Fontana's
Witness live recordings of some of the best podcast's on the web -- featuring the likes of Myq Caplan, Colin Quinn, Dave Hill and lots more. The talk starts at 3 PM and tickets are still available to many of the events.

Giles Corey, Planning For Burial, My Mountain, Whip Angels @ Cameo
Giles Corey and Planning for Burial share a similarly bleak vibe: Corey, one half of Have a Nice Life, works a melancholy brand of folk in solo mode; PfB bring droning, shoegaze-y minimalist songs with occasional hints of black and doom metal to the table. Prepare to revel in your mid-January SAD.

"How to Use Outboard Effects" workshop w/ El-P & Nick Hook @ Converse Rubber Tracks
It's the third weekend of free (if you registered) creative workshops at Converse Rubber Tracks. Tonight learn from rapper EL-P & producer Nick Hook. Mind you, if you're first question is "What are Outboard Effects" this workshop might not be for you.

Comedy Night @ Knitting Factory
Big league comedy talent (Chris Rock, Louis CK, etc) show up regularly (and unannounced) for Hannibal's very popular free comedy show at Knitting Factory's front bar. Tonight's announced guests included Harris Stanton, Chris Cotton, Bridget Everett. Get there early.

Stanley Clarke Trio feat. The Harlem String Quartet + Bettye LaVette, The Walkervilles @ Highline Ballroom
This sounds kind of special: legendary jazz bassist Stanley Clarke playing with the Harlem String Quartet, plus the great Bettye LaVette.

Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir @ Joe's Pub
Longtime anti-capitalist crusader Reverend Billy concludes his Sunday ministry/residency at Joe's Pub.

Arto Lindsay/Greg Saunier/Shahzad Ismaily/Ofir Ganon, PC Worship, Mr Transylvania @ Death by Audio
No wave legend and experimental composer Arto Lindsay (of DNA and others) joins Deerhoof's Greg Saunier plus Shahzad Ismaily and Ofir Ganon for a collaborative set which should get pretty intense.

For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our full NYC show calendar.

For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.

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Continue reading "What's going on Sunday? (Jay Z, Chris & Cosey, Cloud Control, globalFEST, Arto Lindsay, Giles Corey & more)"

TOY at BV-SXSW 2013 (more by Sarah Frankie Linder)
TOY

Connan Mockasin at Mexican Summer Five (more by PSquared)
Connan

Browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows. Here are some highlights...

TOY, Feathers, Young Boys @ Glasslands
After a couple false starts and fresh off their second album, Join the Dots, UK motorik shoegazers TOY finally make it here for their first NYC shows. This is a good show all-around with Austin's dark-n-sultry Feathers and locals Young Boys on the bill too. They play Friday at Mercury Lounge too.

Connan Mockasin, Mood Rings @ Mercury Lounge
Australian eccentric Connan Mockasin just released his new album, Caramel, and is here for his first proper North American tour. This first of two NYC shows is with kindred sonic spirits (and Mexican Summer labelmates) Mood Rings. Tickets are still available.

Neil Young @ Carnegie Hall
Neil Young did the Crazy Horse thing for much of 2012 and 2013, playing some excellent, noisy shows, and tonight he's on night 3 of a four-night run at Carnegie Hall, showing off his prettier side.

Against Me!, The Sidekicks, The Shondes @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Against Me!'s upcoming LP, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, their first since singer Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender, is shaping up to be one of the more interesting and anticipated releases of early 2014, and though it's still about two weeks away, hopefully we'll hear more of it tonight. Similarly anthemic openers The Sidekicks and The Shondes are not to miss either. Also note: this show was moved to MHOW from Rough Trade NYC.

Jherek Bischoff, David Byrne, Zola Jesus, Sondre Lerche, Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, Mirah @ St. Ann's Warehouse 
Amanda Palmer/Parenthetical Girls collaborator Jherek Bischoff has a two night's stay at St. Ann's Warehouse where he'll be performing his album Composed in full with an impressive line-up of guests, including the one-and-only David Byrne. This is the second night and it's sold out.

Braider, Meth Dad, Chiffon, Kazimier, Bebe Panthere @ Silent Barn
Nashville electronic pop weirdo Meth Dad is currently on a tour with Chiffon which comes to NYC for two shows this week, Silent Barn tonight and Death by Audio tomorrow (that one also includes Fielded, who just opened for Feathers).

DVA, Alien Whale, Shahzad Ismaily, Ed Pastorini, Sam Kulik, Ron Shalom (with Austin Vaughn) @ Trans Pecos
It's another of Northern Spy's Thursdays at Trans Pecos (Todd P's new venue in the old Silent Barn space, 915 Wyckoff Ave), and this one is headlined by DVA who are here all the way from Czech.

Big Ups, Flagland, Mannequin Pussy, Washer @ Shea Stadium
NYC post-hardcore band Big Ups are about to release their menacing new album, Eighteen Hours of Static, which takes the off-kilter aggression of '90s Touch & Go/Dischord-style post-hardcore but with the spirit (and often bursts of the speed) of early '80s hardcore. They celebrate that album with this release party tonight, and you can count on it getting pretty rowdy.

Patten, Huerco S, Gobby @ Output's Panther Room
This week's INPUT party is in Output's Panther Room with UK IDM producer Patten, who's got a new LP coming out on Warp and is over here for two NYC shows this week. Support is great too, coming from local producers Huerco S. (Software) and Gobby (UNO).

Revive Big Band, Bilal, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Wallace Roney Orchestra @ Le Poisson Rouge (Winter Jazzfest)
Winter Jazz Fest continues at LPR tonight, and among other things features the smooth neo-soul of Bilal.

Emily King, Anais Mitchell, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Sean Rowe @ David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
Show description reads, "Over the course of two nights, Rockwood Music Hall, Lincoln Center, and WFUV partner to spotlight four talented musicians in two distinctly different settings. Four unique artists will bring songs and stories of their everyday stomping grounds, the downtown club scene, to a new audience at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium as they perform selections of their work in a showcase hosted by WFUV radio personality Rita Houston. The following night, all four artists will return to the Lower East Side with full performances at Rockwood Music Hall."

For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our full NYC show calendar.

For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.

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Follow @bvChicago for just Chicago stuff.
Also follow @bvAustin for just Austin stuff.

Be our friend on Facebook too, and BV Austin's friend on Facebook and BV Chicago's friend on Facebook.

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What else?

Lou Reed

The Lou Reed tributes keep coming. Two of them just happened, including the one at Rodeo Bar on Wednesday (11/20) and the one with Jeffrey Lewis, Dawn Landes, and others at the Jalopy Theatre last night (11/21). Now there will be another one at Bowery Electric this Sunday (11/24).

The show features a pretty big lineup, including no wave legend Arto Lindsay, Voidoids guitarist Ivan Julian, Patti Smith Band guitarist Lenny Kaye, TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe, Lou Reed/Laurie Anderson/Marc Ribot collaborator Shahzad Ismaily, Light Asylum's Shannon Funchess, Grooms' Travis Johnson, People Get Ready's Steven Reker, The Vaccines' Justin Hayward-Young, Caged Animals, Drowners, Jeffrey Lewis, Kirin J. Callinan, Phantom Family Halo, Sam Mickens, and more, plus Hollis Brown performing VU's Loaded in its entirety.

Tickets for the show are on sale now, and all proceeds will benefit the Ali Forney Center, an organization "that works to protect LGBT youth from the harm of homelessness in the city." There will also be a pre-Thanksgiving food drive for Food Bank of NYC at the venue that night.

Full lineup below...

Continue reading "Lou Reed tribute this weekend w/ Arto Lindsay, Lenny Kaye, Ivan Julian, Kirin J Callinan, members of TV on the Radio, more"

Bright Sunny South

I just got excited when I read today's announcement that:

Nonesuch Records releases Sam Amidon's label debut Bright Sunny South on May 14.

Produced by Amidon with his childhood friend and longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys (Buena Vista Social Club, Vashti Bunyan, R.E.M.) and recorded in London, the record features a band made up of Bartlett and multi-instrumentalists Shahzad Ismaily and Chris Vatalaro. Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also makes a cameo. Amidon himself not only sings but also plays banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and piano on the album.

To celebrate the release, Amidon will performon May 16 at New York City's Le Poisson Rouge with Bartlett, Ismaily, Vatalaro and special guests (to be announced). This is Amidon's first full-scale band performance in New York City since the release of his previous album I See The Sign in 2010, although he has recently performed in New York as part of Doveman's Burgundy Stain sessions, in duo with Bill Frisell, and in collaboration with Nico Muhly, Beth Orton, and others.

Amidon describes Bright Sunny South as a "a lonesome record" and a return to the more spare sound of his 2007 self-recorded debut, But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted: "There was an atmospheric quality to my last two records; those albums are like a garden of sounds," says Amidon, "but this one is more of a journey, a winding path. The band comes rushing in and then they disappear. It comes from more of a darker, internal space."

A longtime admirer of Boys' work, Amidon was particularly enamored of his recordings with Martin Carthy in the 1970s, as well as the Ali Farka Touré/Toumani Diabaté duet albums on World Circuit/Nonesuch: "Those are so beautiful. I listened to all of that. I loved the sense of documentation, the unadorned quality. Everything sounded so clear."

Tickets are still available for the May 16th show which you could also say is yet another Doveman-related gig that we missed in our Doveman roundup yesterday.

Sam's only other announced gig is part of Wilco's Solid Sound Festival this summer.

Liten to a track from Sam's new album, along with the full tracklist below...

Continue reading "Sam Amidon releasing LP on Nonesuch, schedules shows"

by Bill Pearis

people at Zebulon for an El Guincho show in 2010 (more by Erez Avissar)
Zebulon

Rumors have been floating around for a while, but now it's official: Williamsburg venue Zebulon, which has always been a great place for world music and jazz, as well as local and touring bands (including being the home of Grizzly Bear's first show in 2004) for about a decade (and almost never charged admission), will be closing its doors for good after their show this Sunday (12/9). The press release (via Zebulon's facebook) reads:

On Sunday, Dec 9 Zebulon will be closing its doors after ten exciting years of pioneering music and arts. Williamsburg has changed significantly since we opened, and unfortunately it is no longer possible today to continue the business in the manner in which it was conceived. Nevertheless, it's been a great run. We are proud to have given many celebrated artists a chance to play in an intimate setting or develop their sound in readiness for a larger audience. Zebulon has employed and supported struggling artists and their families, connected them to a wider musical community in New York and given them a stage on which to experiment. This is our final week so if you haven't been down in a while, please come and say hello/wave goodbye, and pay your respects to this gem of an institution. Thank you for your support and stay tuned for news of our next endeavors and adventures!
Major bummer for the neighborhood. The block Zebulon is on (Wythe between Metropolitan and N. 3rd) has changed drastically in the last two years: the bike club/repair shop, such a fixture for longer than I've lived in the neighborhood ('98),  is now a surf shop, and long-running diner Relish is now an very busy (and overpriced) Mexican place. Zebulon was the last holdout on the block from the early '00s Williamsburg expansion and will be sincerely missed.

The schedule of upcoming shows for Zebulon's final week (including Mike Wexler, Colin Stetson, Hubble and more) is below.

Continue reading "Zebulon closing its doors for good next week"

Anti-Pop Consortium photos by Melissa Neira

Rafiq Bhatia
rafiq

His set at Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Friday came at least partially from jazz. Not standards and bebop, but jazz of the past 30 years, let's say, involving solid-bodied guitars. He played a Fender Telecaster, whose bright tone never caught on much with jazz musicians. It was an instrumental music in which the shape and placing of a single sustained note was a matter of importance, and solos broke out, but not at the usual moments. (There aren't many usual moments in his music.) Only at one point, in "Once," did he seem to want to suggest earlier history: an Elvin Jones midtempo drum groove came through like a watermark. [NY Times]
Jazz musician Rafiq Bhatia, who played Cameo earlier this month, has two releases coming out this year, first the Strata EP on September 25, and then his debut full length, Yes It Will, on October 23. The Strata EP features a cover of Flying Lotus' "Pickled!," which you can stream, along with another EP track, "Sunshower," below. Rafiq will celebrate his EP with a BrooklynVegan-presented release party at Pianos on September 25, which doubles as the first night in his residency at the LES venue, which continues on October 2 and October 9. The release show is with Anti-Pop Consortium (instrumental), whose member High Priest is featured on Rafiq's upcoming EP, and Alexander Overington. Tickets for all three nights in the residency are on sale now. The flier is below.

Rafiq has also been added as an opener to The Bad Plus' Music Hall of Williamsburg show (9/26), which happens one day after the release party at Pianos. No opener has been announced for the Bad Plus' show at Mercury Lounge on 9/25. Tickets for both Bad Plus shows are still available.

Rafiq also plays the Aquarium Drunkard CMJ showcase with Foxygen, The Orwells, Dent May, Tashaki Miyaki, and Murals at Mercury Lounge on October 16. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (9/21) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (9/19) at noon.

Speaking of Anti-Pop Consortium (who no longer count Beans as a member), they have a brand new short clip which you can watch below. They also played the New Museum back in July. A belated set of pictures from that show is below.

In related news, APC member High Priest recently released a new album called Cit of On under the moniker HPRIZM via Svakt. You can stream some excerpts from that release below.

All streams, a list of dates, video, residency flier, and pics are below.

Continue reading "Rafiq Bhatia readies EP & LP, kicking off Pianos residency w/ Anti-Pop Consortium (BV presents) ++ other shows & streams"

Spy Music Festival

The second-annual Spy Music Festival happens June 29th through July 15th, featuring "46 sets of music at 7 venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn." That's a big expansion from last year when it took place on two nights at Shea Stadium and Zebulon. This year's fest, run by the folks at Northern Spy Records, will happen at Union Pool, the Issue Project Room, The Stone, Vaudeville Park, 285 Kent, Death by Audio and Roulette. Amongst the artists performing are Rhys Chatham, Matthew Shipp, Dustin Wong, Arthur Doyle, Eugene Chadbourne, PG Six, Guardian Alien and Magik Markers.

The full Spy Music Festival schedule -- bands, venues, prices -- is below. There's no all-inclusive festival pass, but tickets to all the shows are available here. And the fest organizers have also made a sampler featuring the artists performing this year and you can stream that below as well.

Continue reading "Magik Markers, Dustin Wong, Eugene Chadbourne, Matthew Shipp and more playing NYC's Spy Music Festival"

sam Amidon

New York folk troubadour Sam Amidon has some upcoming shows, mostly this week and in NYC. Tonight (May 7), Sam plays that super expensive St. Ann's Warehouse gala that you may have noticed in "What's Going on Monday". Tuesday, 5/8, Sam plays for the common people back at Manhattan club Rockwood Music Hall where he'll be joined by fellow Doveman band member Shahzad Ismaily "and guests". Tickets are on sale for that show, and we have two pair you can win. Details below.

Doveman's Thomas Bartlett also happens to be the musical director of the St Ann's show where Sam will be part of the pit band in addition to performing solo and with Bill Frisell and Emmylou Harris. You may remember Sam played some shows with Bill back in March. Check out a couple videos from those shows, along with all (three) dates and contest details below...

Continue reading "Sam Amidon playing some shows (win tix to Rockwood)"

Undead Jazz Fest

Founded in June 2010 the Undead Jazzfest is new kind of festival, bringing together an incredible array of artists from the new jazz and improvised music community currently exploding in New York City. With no headliners, affordable tickets, unorthodox venues and no drink minimums, the Undead Jazzfest aims to shake the public perception of what jazz can be today, celebrating the incredible music being made in a setting that is inviting to both the veterans and curious new fans.
Encompassing eleven venues over its four days (6/23 - 6/26), the Undead Jazzfest will feature appearances from more than 50 bands including names like Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Mountains and many others. The full list of participating bands is below. Four day passes are on sale for $45 until 4/28. The price increases to $50 after.

Undead Jazzfest is also responsible for curating another show outside of said festival, this one going down at Central Park Summerstage on June 11th with Medeski Martin & Wood, Josh Roseman's King Froopy All Stars and Jim Black's AlasNoAxis. It's one of many free 2011 Summerstage shows that have been announced.

AND, Undead Jazz presents a show at Le Poisson Rouge tonight (4/25) with Orchestre National de Jazz with Daniel Yvinec and John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble with special guests Theo Bleckmann , Kate McGarry and Uri Caine. Undead Jazz also presents Todd Sickafoose's Tiny Resistors and Mary Halvorson Trio at the same venue on May 18th.

Full Undead Jazzfest 2011 lineup below.

Continue reading "Undead Jazzfest 2011 lineup announced, tix on sale now, and other related shows too"

words by Rachel Kowal

Sam AmidonSam Amidon

On Friday and Saturday night, singer Sam Amidon has hosted a series of sold-out shows at The Kitchen, an arts space in Manhattan that boasts an impressive Board of Directors that includes the likes of Philip Glass, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner to name a few.

With its austere, DIY theatre vibe, the setting was a bit unconventional, but then again, so was the performance. Much more than simply an evening of folk songs, ballads, and hymns, Amidon projected random video clips and odd, hand-drawn cartoons onto the large screen lining the back wall.

There were two clusters of instruments and laptops on stage - one for Amidon and the other for one of his regular collaborators, Shahzad Ismaily. Due to Amidon's mesmerizing presence, it's easy to overlook Ismaily on percussion, but only because his contribution is effortlessly subtle and effective.

Amidon began his multimedia show with a series of video clips, including one of himself in a rowboat, narrating the tragic tale of "a young child of indiscriminate gender, wearing a green raincoat who ran away from home at the age of 10." With such a vivid and candid performer like Amidon, it's often hard to tell if it's all an act or if he's a bit crazy, but that's part of the appeal.

As was quickly evidenced by both his home videos and his live performance, Amidon can hardly contain his odd stories and asides. With Amidon, it's about the journey - however winding or disjointed it may be. And with a fair amount of sing-a-longs thrown in to keep the audience engaged, it's hard not to feel that we're all weary travelers on the same odyssey.

Of course, the bulk of Amidon's show comprised songs from his last two albums, but he also played a quick succession of short folk songs. And yes, besides the more conventional aspects of the performance, he displayed everything from 'liturgical dancing' and chaotic vocal exercises to a book review (Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood" - apparently terrible), a conversation between a piece of broccoli and a jar of maple syrup (naturally, about love and depression), and an R. Kelly cover ("Relief").

It may not have been the most coherent experience, but Sam Amidon's grab bag performances never cease to entertain and enliven.

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Both Sam Amidon and Shahzad Ismaily also play in Thomas Bartlett's Doveman, so maybe they'll be there in March when Doveman goes on a very short tour with Nadia Sirota in March. That very short tour includes two shows in Minneapolis and that one taking place at Merkin Concert Hall on March 9th with Owen Pallett.

Nadia Sirota and Sam Amidon, along with The National's Bryce Dessner and Bishi, will also participate in Tell The Way at St. Ann's Warehouse on February 10th, 11th and 12th...

Tell The Way is a newly commissioned collaborative work created for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Dianne Berkun, Artistic Director) by the ubiquitous Nico Muhly. Loosely based on medieval and colonial English travel narratives, the work draws from American folk sources, prayers for the Royal Navy, early colonial diaries, Mandeville, Herodotus and Marco Polo. Nico Muhly's music is propulsive travel-music, but at the heart of Tell The Way are three meditative collaborations between Muhly and Bishi, Muhly and Bryce Dessner and Muhly and Sam Amidon. An ensemble of strings, percussion, piano, and flute augment the voices of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Bryce's guitar, Sam's banjo and fiddle, and Bishi's sitar.
Tickets for all three shows are on sale.

All tour dates and Sam's Kitchen setlist, below...

Continue reading "Sam Amidon played the Kitchen (review & setlist), playing Nico Muhly's 'Tell The Way' @ St. Ann's Warehouse (dates)"

by Rachel Kowal

DOWNLOAD: Sam Amidon - "Cabin in the Corner" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sam Amidon - Walking on Sunshine (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sam Amidon - Relief (R. Kelly cover) (MP3)

Sam Amidon in a museum in the past
Sam Amidon

I made it to the Mercury Lounge just in time to catch the tail end of Partyface, the mysterious opener and Sam Amidon's self-proclaimed "favorite band." The only Partyface easily search-able on Myspace appears to be a death metal band from Massachusetts, but don't let that, or the wild energy invoked by the artist's chosen name, fool you. With just a guy on drums (Shazad Ismaily) and a girl on guitar, the Partyface present at last Wednesday night's show definitely falls more under the classification of singer-songwriter.

It's also tempting to call Sam Amidon a singer-songwriter, but that label proves to be somewhat problematic for a few reasons. Most obviously, Amidon doesn't really write his own songs - at least not in the conventional sense. Amidon's catalog consists almost entirely of traditional folk songs and an odd assortment of cover songs. Despite the lack of 'original' material, however, Amdion re-imagines and rearranges the songs he chooses so that by the time he's done with them, each one is born anew.

Vivid, often tragic stories animate Amidon's songs. The Mercury Lounge show featured a trip through the mountains, a blood-stained shirt, a fair damsel waiting for her lover to return from battle, and a girl with rosy-red lips. But Sam Amidon's songs are not the only things with a strong narrative appeal. His banter consists almost entirely of strange, outlandish stories that for the most part seem wholly unconnected to his music. (For example, he talks about an article in the Economist that he was reading on the train from London to Paris, which allegedly concerned a 'vegetarian homicidal robot' that forages for fruit and veggies and then burns them when it finds them.) Then, without missing a beat, he launches into his next song, making me wonder how he could possibly have trouble writing songs from scratch. Like a curious little kid, he seems to find stories in everything. Even his instruments have a story or two to tell. During one song, he preceded every banjo solo with the lightening fast quip, "What do you say, banjo?"

It isn't often that a band's percussion contributes much to a song in a thematic sense, but Shahzad Ismaily, Amidon's partner on stage, is capable of working magic. If he falls into the background at all, it is only because his percussive style compliments Amidon's music so well. Near the end of "I See the Sign," for instance, Amidon sang about dark clouds and Ismaily created a low rumble on the drums that sounded just like thunder rolling in from the distance.

Folk ballads and cover songs aside, Amidon also sets himself apart from the flock of other acoustic singer-songwriters due to his erratic and unpredictable delivery. One moment, he's singing about a wayward son straight out of the Old Testament, and another he's doing a mad interpretive dance (or a 'liturgical dance' in his words). First, he's like a medieval troubadour, delivering romantic lyrics with his warm, well-weathered voice. Then, he announces mid-song that we're going to take a 'journey' together, and he launches into a madcap freestyle that bore an uncanny resemblance to a train in desperate need of repair.

Amidon concluded his short but compelling set, sans encore, with a mini-medley of "Climbing High Mountains" and a cover of the charmingly naive and unrealistically optimistic R. Kelly song "Relief," which posits (among other things) that the war is over. Not many people could pull off covers by artists as far-ranging as R. Kelly, Katrina and the Waves, and Tears for Fears, but Sam Amidon seems to transform the songs and make them fully his own.

Sam will next tell stories on July 7th at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in NYC. More details on that free show along with the Mercury Lounge setlist and two of his story videos, below....

Continue reading "Sam Amidon played Mercury Lounge, playing a free show "

by Andrew Frisicano

Laurie w/ the dogs in Australia (more by Roberta W.B.)
Laurie Anderson

Some in the audience howled with glee, others stood on trembling legs and a few drooled in delight as famed performance artist Laurie Anderson debuted her original "Music for Dogs" composition outside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday [June 5th].

Hundreds of dogs and their owners bounced around as Anderson entertained them with 20 minutes of thumping beats, whale calls, whistles and a few high-pitched electronic sounds imperceptible to human ears.

"Let's hear it from the medium dogs!" Anderson called out from the stage, as a few dogs yipped in return. "You can do better than that -- come on mediums! Whoo! WHOOOOOO!"

The concert was originally billed as a performance for dogs' ears only, and was going to be largely limited to electronic noises played at a frequency too high for human ears. But Anderson changed things up when she decided she wanted people to have some fun, too.

"We didn't want to do something that humans couldn't hear," she said. "We brought the octaves down into our hearing range so we could all have the experience." [AP]

Laurie Anderson, queen of this year's Mermaid Parade, performed her piece "Music for Dogs" at Sydney's Opera House on June 5th accompanied by Eyvind Kang, Skúli Sverrisson, and Colin Stetson. The event was part of the two-week Vivid Live Festival, which is being curated by Laurie and Lou Reed (king of this year's Mermaid Parade).

Laurie Anderson will be performing her new work Delusion this fall at BAM as part of the Next Wave Festival. That show will go on tour as well.

Before then, Laurie's new record, Homeland, comes out June 22nd on Nonesuch. It's streaming in full at NPR (up till the release date) - check it out. She'll play songs from that album on a very short tour this July. Stops include on-air sets at World Cafe Live and Late Show with David Letterman, and a Tuesday, July 13th show at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Tickets are on sale.

The album has some alright guests (including Laurie's male alter-ego Fenway Bergamot)...

On Homeland, Anderson is joined by a diversity of collaborators, from the Tuvan throat singers and igil players of Chirgilchin to New York experimental jazz and rock players including Rob Burger (keyboards), Omar Hakim (drums), Kieran Hebden of Four Tet (keyboards), Shahzad Ismaily (percussion) Eyvind Kang (viola), Peter Scherer (keyboards), Skuli Sverrisson (bass), Ben Witman (percussion and drums) and John Zorn (saxophone). Antony Hegarty contributes additional vocals.
Beyond those projects, "Anderson is also preparing a major retrospective of her visual work that will open in Sao Paolo in August 2010 and a book of her stories that will be published in 2011."

Videos from the "Music for Dogs" performance and tour dates are below...

Continue reading "new Laurie Anderson album stream + July tour dates "

by Alex Lewis

Sam Amidon @ Big Ears Fest (more by Andrew Frisicano)
Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon sung the very first note at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville on Friday. Overshadowed on the festival's bill by the likes of famed rock bands (The National, Vampire Weekend) and legendary composers (Terry Riley), many of the badge-wearing festival attendees didn't know what to expect when the tall, flannel-wearing Vermont-native's strange voice filled the Knoxville Museum of Art. But they were soon won over.

In retrospect he was perfect for the role. As a musician who has illuminated elements of Americana, past and present, through his re-imaginings of traditional Appalachian songs Amidon has become a vital member of the contemporary folk community. In the spirit of Big Ears, his music relies on collaboration. Along with Thomas Bartlett (also known as Doveman) and composer Nico Muhly he is a member of the 802 tour, whose performances are beautiful syntheses of three varied musical minds. Amidon had three scheduled performances at the festival. I caught up with him backstage at the Bijou Theater.

--

How did you end up at Big Ears?

Sam: It was through the 802 Tour. We [Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett, Nadia Sirota, and I] had done a tour about two summers ago and it was a total blast. So we are always looking to do, not necessarily another tour, but some more shows because we love playing together. While we're all pretty busy, it's usually hard to find a time. But this weekend worked out. Another factor was Bryce [Dessner], someone who we all encounter in different capacities and there are so many people here who we know and play with. For instance, Thomas plays keyboards with The National. There were just so many wonderful musicians so we were totally happy to come play.

continued below...

Continue reading "an interview with Sam Amidon (at Big Ears)"

Donald Fagen

Steely Dan's Donald Fagen will be joining Levon Helm at Terminal 5 on Thursday. It's also a chance to see Okkervil River who are opening for the show. Tickets are still on sale.

Okkervill River's Will Sheff (recently seen covering Fleetwood Mac) contributed to the new Norah Jones album.

Puss n Boots (aka Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones (not Avril Lavigne as listed on Mercury Lounge's website) are opening for Doveman and friends at Mercury Lounge on January 12th. Tickets are still on sale. As previously mentioned, Doveman band member Sam Amidon opens that show too.

Tickets are also now on sale for the two "Doveman + Peter Pears : An Evening With Thomas Bartlett and Nico Muhly" shows at The Kitchen.

ConformistNorah Jones, Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, and members of the National are among those who contributed to the new Doveman album.

Doveman, Sam Amidon and Nico Muhly are playing this year's Big Ears Fest which is curated by a member of the National.

Sam Amidon was reportedly "backed by Doveman, Beth Orton, Final Fantasy + Shazad Ismaily" at Rockwood Music Hall the other night.

Final Fantasy is not called Final Fantasy any more. Tickets are still on sale for the Owen Pallett show happening at Bowery Ballroom on January 18th.

Beth Orton and Shazad (who also plays in Doveman) both contribute to Sam's forthcoming album.

Beth Orton has some shows coming up of her own too. Video of Sam and Beth performing together in London, below...

Continue reading "Donald Fagen, Levon Helm, Puss n Boots, Norah Jones, Doveman, Sam Amidon, Beth Orton, etc (dates, tix & stuff)"

Sam Amidon @ LPR in June (more by Fresh Bread)
Sam Amidon

Solo artist & Doveman band member Sam Amidon's new record I See The Sign will be out in March on Bedroom Community and features contributions from Beth Orton, Shahzad Ismaily, Nico Muhly, and Valgeir Sigurdsson. Its first song "How Come the Blood" is up as a free download and streaming at MySpace.

Sam has a bunch of shows coming up, two of which are in NYC for now. He plays Rockwood Music Hall tonight (1/4), and then he opens (and probably plays as part of the "friends") at the Doveman & Friends show at Mercury Lounge on January 12th.

Beth Orton has shows coming up in NYC (and LA) this month too. Sam's new album cover art, some videos and all dates below...

Continue reading "Sam Amidon playing shows (dates), releasing new album featuring Beth Orton & others (MP3)"

Winters Eve

Black Cobra @ The Charleston on November 18th (more by Chloe Rice)
Black Cobra

tonight in NYC
* Hannibul Buress @ Pianos
* Whiplash @ UCB Theatre
* Darmstadt: In C @ Galapagos
* Sloan, Magenta Lane @ Maxwell's
* Rev. Vince Anderson @ Union Pool
* Diane Birch, Jaymay @ City Winery
* Nar, War Cubs, Hank & Cupcakes @ Zebulon
* Les Paul Guitar Tribute w/ Mike Stern @ Iridium
* Antibalas @ Winter's Eve Festival at Lincoln Square
* Father Figures, Jason Anderson, Partyface @ Cake Shop
* Pelican, Black Cobra, Disappearer @ Highline Ballroom
* Brian Setzer Orchestra, Imeida May @ Hammerstein Ballroom
* John Hollenbeck plays Hollenbeck + Meredith Monk @ (Le) Poisson Rouge
* Kidrockers w/ Right on Dynamite @ Winter's Eve Festival at Lincoln Square
* The Gay Blades, Fake Problems, The Weight, Gabriel The Marine @ Mercury Lounge
* Small Beast w/ Bee & Flower, And the Wireman, Paul Wallfisch, Pharmacy and Gardens @ The Delancey

Hopefully you had a good Thanksgiving weekend. This week is kind of slow (or maybe not), but there's still plenty to see.

The Pelican show happening at Highline Ballroom tonight was originally scheduled to take place on December 2nd.

Russian Circles and Young Widows is still happening at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday (tickets).

Magneta Lane make a rare trip out of Canada to tour with Sloan. They visit Maxwell's tonight, and will be in Brooklyn in a few days.

Jaymay pops out of hiding to open a show for Diane Birch at City Winery tonight.

Antibalas play free shows tonight at the Winter's Eve Fest at Lincoln Center at 6:30pm and 7:45pm. There's also a free Kidrockers show tied into this event.

Antibalas also have other shows coming up and can be caught multiple nights a week in Fela! on Broadway

Opening at Cake Shop tonight will be Partyface, a guitar duo made up of Indigo Street and musical Shahzad Ismaily, the latter of which has collaborated recently with musicians from Doveman to Yoko Ono to Marc Ribot.

Percussionist John Hollenbeck will play with three diverse groups (a big band and two small ensembles) at (Le) Poisson Rouge to showcase his own compositions and those of Meredith Monk. Video is below.

Janeane Garofalo, Reggie Watts, Chris Gethard & Bob Powers are part of the free lineup of comedy at UCB tonight. It's the weekly 11pm Whiplash show. For free comedy much earlier in the evening, check out Pianos.

Reggie Watts returns to UCB on December 17th as part of Stripped Stories.

The NY Times recently saw Seth Meyers at UCB.

Singer Susan Boyle's new album makes UK chart history.

A video of Kria Brekkan working the accordion at Glasslands on Saturday (11/28) is below.

Some mean people superglued iPhones to sidewalks and videotaped people trying to pick them up. Video below...

What else?

Continue reading "What's going on Monday?"

By Andrew Frisicano

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog with Eszter Balint

Rain washed out Marc Ribot's initial Hudson Square date on July 21st (the story of the summer). So in addition to switching the show to August 18th, Ribot also decided to switch groups (perhaps another rain-caused necessity), subbing the originally booked La Cumbiamba with his "rock band" Ceramic Dog and violinist Eszter Balint.

The parking lot of City Winery, which has been hosting shows all summer, served as a relaxing, tucked away venue, after the sun finally hid behind one of the surrounding buildings. The set sounded great, but accurately describing Ceramic Dog's sound (as I've found in trying to tell friends) can be a bit difficult. It's not exactly what you hear on 2008's Party Intellectuals. That album is more funk driven and homogeneous than their live set, which veers between genres and sounds without warning. Live there were plenty of solos and riffing, but the real clincher was when Ribot pulled more natural, acoustic-based sounds out from the guitar, at times reminding me a little of a spare-sounding Bright Eyes. Subtly comped chords matched up with crunchy leads - often coming, in a reversal of roles, from Balint's overdriven violin. Vocals bounced between Ribot and Balint, who rhapsodized in foreign tongues and, on other songs, added pleasant harmonies. But the loose rhythm section was the element that fought most against the "rock band" premise. Drummer Ches Smith and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (who moved from bass to synth to other noisemakers) lead the songs into strange places with a pulse that was more textures and color than 4/4.

Tonight (8/26) Marc Ribot plays Rose Live Music with Sun Ship, a free-form-jazz inspired group with Mary Halvorson, Jason Ajemian and Chad Taylor.

Further on, he plays with Marianne Faithfull (as he did earlier this year) on September 24th at Town Hall. He's also on the schedule for the NY Guitar Festival's Silent Films/Live Guitars series in early 2010.

More Hudson Square pictures and tour dates are below...

Continue reading "Marc Ribot played Hudson Square @ City Winery (pics) ++ at Rose Live Music tonight & other tour dates"

Sunday, September 6th @ 8:00pm ISSUE Project Room presents, in the courtyard of the Old American Can Factory: Jandek with Ryan Sawyer, Susan Alcorn, Shahzad Ismaily + Ryan Sawyer, C. Spencer Yeh, Nate Wooley Trio - TICKETS are on sale. I wonder if it will be funkier than last time (when Issue Project Room was at a different location) (maybe if there's a time after this, it will be in a different location again).

by Andrew Frisicano

Moby

April 11th will be ISSUE Project Room's 6th anniversary. We're amazed at how much has happened in this period of time. ISSUE started on East 6th street as an impromptu and spontaneous music, experimental cinema and performance venue...quickly gaining attention and expanding from 60 performances a year to over 250. By 2005, ISSUE had to leave the East Village and migrated to an iconic and beautiful silo along the banks of the Gowanus Canal. This unusual and extraordinarily fun location was voted "Best Art Bayou" by the Village Voice and named "New York's Best Kept Secret" by the Whitney Museum.

Producing amazing performances by Rhys Chatham, Anthony Coleman, Marianne Amancher, Elliott Sharp, Jandek and WFMU's own Kenny G, ISSUE Project Room enjoyed its stay at the silo immensely but then had to move once again. This time to its current location at the Old American Can Factory at 232 3rd Street in Brooklyn. This room, the "sanctuary", was formerly a rehearsal studio for a circus troupe. Instead of trapeze artists, we've now got Stephan Moore's 16 channel hemispherical speaker system hanging from the ceiling, enabling us to move sound over and around the heads of the audience.

This past year we found out that we were awarded a rent free, 20 year lease on the elk's club room at the former Board of Education building at 110 Livingston Street. It's a pretty amazing room and an amazing opportunity to build a kind of "Carnegie Hall of the Avant Garde" for the next 20 years. It's up to us to bring it up to code and move in, though...so we'll be fundraising for the time being...getting ready for the future. [ISSUE Project Room via Free Music Archive]

To celebrate (and raise money), the Brooklyn venue has lined up some special benefit performances for the month of April.

One highlight (of many) is Moby's "first-ever live electronic/ambiant performance" on Friday, April 24th. Tickets for the show are on sale now - regular and VIP. The full package includes: "an intimate pre-performance cocktail party with Moby [to] hear advance tracks from his forthcoming album, meet and talk with the artist, and enjoy a sneak-preview of his new music video directed by David Lynch." Not surprisingly, Moby was one of many artists who recently appeared at Radio City Music Hall to help raise money for the David Lynch Foundation. Moby was also a part of the Issue Project Room fundraiser that took place at Santos Party House last year (that Tony Conrad also performed at).

On ISSUE Project Room's actual birthday, April 11th, Pitre, with special guest avant-composer/filmmaker Tony Conrad, will perform original composition ED09 "with a 17-piece string/woodwind ensemble". Tickets are on sale. ISSUE Project Room is where Tony teamed up with Genesis P-Orridge (of the reunited Throbbing Gristle) for two shows earlier this year. Video from one of those shows below.

The IPR schedule also has a Tuesday, April 21st show with producer and SNL music supervisor Hal Willner featuring Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, Chloe Webb and special guests. Tickets to that are on sale. One of the albums Hal recently produced is the new Marianne Faithfull. Still waiting to hear if he'll be back at Prospect Park this year.

Noveller/Sarah Lipstate (who is playing Cinema 16 at the Bell House on Sunday, April 19th) performs at the ISSUE Project Room on Saturday, April 25th as part of artist-in-residence Duane Pitre's Bowed Harmonic-Guitar Ensemble.

Some videos and the venue's full April schedule, below...

Continue reading "Issue Project Room is 6 -- April (pre-move to Livingston St) benefit/birthday schedule w/ Moby, Hal Willner & more"

photos by Ryan Muir

Nico Muhly
LPR

Sam Amidon
LPR

Just in time for the Olof/Sam/Kria show in a church tonight (Sept 16), here are the pictures from last week's (le) poisson rouge show that Deerhunter also played (if you count it all as one show with a late intermission) (Sept 9). More below...

Continue reading "Olof Arnalds, Nico Muhly, Laurie Anderson, Skuli Sverrisson, Sam Amidon, Shahzad Ismaily & friends @ lpr, NYC - pics "

photos by Chris La Putt

Shahzad Ismaily & Ólöf Arnalds
Olof Arnalds

Ólöf Arnalds's set time was 2:30 at the East Village Radio Festival at South Street Seaport on Sunday (Sept 7). That's when I planned to get there, so naturally I arrived at 2:50. Luckily I was still able to catch a couple of her instantly-recognizable songs from her 2007 Sigur Ros-produced album Við og við.

The crowd watching her was small, and included many random passerbys including tourists and some homeless dudes with 40's (the crowd filled in later by the time the Vivian Girls took the stage). That didn't stop Olof from seeming excited to be there. She even introduced one of the songs with a story about her younger sister who she wrote the song for twelve years ago. The song urged her sister to be creative, and now at 20 years old, she was just accepted into graphic design school. She asked us to give her sister (who I don't think was in attendance) a hand. We all clapped for her sister.

Kind of an Icelandic Joanna Newsom, Ólöf has the kind of voice people either love or hate. The Seaport security guard in front of the stage definitely seemed to be in the latter category. I like it, but I didn't see enough of her live show to say she was amazing. That said, I never wanted to see Joanna Newsom perform outside, and Ólöf is probably also better off in a darker enclosed room with great acoustics. Luckily she is playing two such places before she goes home to Iceland.

Tonight she performs her entire album at a special show at (le) poisson rouge...

On September 9, Skuli Sverrisson and Olof Arnalds and will debut their respective albums, Seria and Vio og Vio in full at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. Seen as brother and sister albums, each was voted Best Alternative Album at the Iceland Music Awards as well as Record of the Year at Iceland's biggest daily newspaper, Morgunblaoio. Olof played an important role on Skuli's album Seria, singing her own lyrics on three songs as well as playing guitar, viola, charango, koto, and glass. Skuli in turn was influential in bringing the various players together to make Olof's debut album, Vio og Vio.

With Skuli living in NYC and Olof in Reykjavik, the two have been unable to bring their albums together in the live domain. However, Olof's recent addition to the East Village Radio Festival lineup offered them one day (9/9) in their disparate tour schedules to make this happen. Joining them on stage for this historic show will be a glittering array of guests including Laurie Anderson, Peter Scherer, Okkyung Lee, Hilmar Jensson, Shahzad Ismaily, and Nico Muhly.

I don't know how she met all those cool Americans, but I do know that Nico Muhly is friends with Sam Amidon and that Sam and Shahzad Ismaily are both Doveman band members. If you haven't noticed already, that was also Shazad and Sam playing her at the Seaport, and Sam is billed to play solo at her 3rd NYC show next Tuesday in a church with Kria Brekken (who has a connection to Olof through Mum).

In June she opened for Sigur Ros and Bjork in Iceland. Shahzad also played with her at that show. Tour dates and more Seaport pics below...

Continue reading "Ólöf Arnalds - SSSeaport pics & 2 more NYC shows (dates) "