Peasant's Video; Perfect For Last Day of Summer

The song "Well Alright" from Peasant's 2010 release Shady Retreat is featured on this sweet and simple video. Perfect......


The Shivers; Affectively Charged Set @ Rockwood Music Hall

There were many hindrances. The 18' by 18' room, the mini stage that just fit the grand piano, leaving the drums on the floor; the folks "just trying to get through," the peep-show reminiscent red light above their heads, the nine dollar rail whiskey. Through all these obstacles, including the strict 45 minute set restrictions implemented by the Rockwood Music Hall, The Shivers valiantly and deftly jumped through the hoops.

The duo opened with a guitar and piano only version of "Love is in the Air," a track off frontman/songwriter/master-dancer Keith Zarriello's debut solo album, Truants From Life. With Jo's piano taking the melody, Zarriello slowly and methodically sang the first verse, but at the songs climax "love doesn't care, if you prance around in your underwear, in your underwear, you're in your underwear," his face was riddled with emotion, excitement and a undisclosed manic glee that stayed hidden on his face throughout the show. Including one song on her own, Jo's thunderous piano exists as the structure of each song played, teaming in perfect harmony with Keith's sharp yet minimal guitar picks, and the occasional marching band drumbeat.

I can't tell you the rest of the set list, I can't tell you how many songs they played, all I had written on my hand at the end of the show was "LIITA," detailing the opener. It wasn't that I necessarily forgot to write as the show went along, it was that I couldn't bring myself to do anything but stare. Enthralling, rapturous, magnetic, these words don't make the cut in my memory. I remember his face, I remember her face, I remember their cues to each other, I remember hearing the bartender telling people to "wait a minute," because she couldn't stop watching either.

There are so many musical references you can tally up when describing The Shivers' sound (The Velvet Underground being the biggie), but they transfer so well between all their influences that it creates something only them, making a list pointless. If I must create a profile for your imagination, think the intensity of Mick Jagger, the emotional outbursts of Mark Hollis, and all wrapped up in a similarly-sporadic David Byrne. It's just so damn entertaining; and these are not happy songs! This is (apparently) not a happy man, and he's letting you know this, which becomes extremely admirable as you witness his disappointment manifest on stage.

And while contained in each song may lie a story of unrequited love, depression or hatred, the path one travels through a Shivers live show is not one of heartbreak, but one where you take desperate stabs at trying to attain that eternal glee disguised on the face of the performer; and at least this audience member was ecstatic to be allowed that attempt.

The Shivers are: Keith Zarriello and Jo Schornikow; they are taking a hiatus from New York City, Zarriello stating, "I forgot there were places with…trees. I gotta get out of the city for a while.”

Pulse Films Weird Hero 'Documentary' Director D.A.R.Y.L. Here

Elias Necol Melad is my first guest contributor. He is an avid and knowledgeable music fanatic with exceptional taste, a visual artist who also can complete the Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle with a pen in record time.


Ava Luna @ Piano’s; Trichotomy of Styles

Ava Luna@ Piano's

The twisted soul, punk attitude and divine harmonies of the band Ava Luna were welcome sounds @ Piano’s.

The seven member band presented a very lively set full of soul / funk and a bass line groove that made dancing my only option.

Carlos Hernandez the lead singer and ultimate contortionist aptly put his falsetto into hard drive. His enthusiastic rendering of soul-ridden vocals brought to mind Sam Cooke. The female trio’s sophisticated Doo-wop harmonies worked as passages along side the synth, bass and drums that had a scratchy almost garage band feel. Ava Luna effectively created a trichotomy of styles into a soul melding mash.

Having only seen a few videos and hearing some tracks seeing the band live left me with a strong impression. I loved their energy, spirit and intention.

This was the conclusion of Patrick Duffy’s relaunch party for the music blog Pop Tart Sucks Toasted that was taken down by Google’s Blogger in February earlier this year. Duffy’s taste and hard work has helped enumerable musicians gain much deserved exposure. Sorry I only came out to see Ava Luna but the other bands on the line-up were MiniBoone, Your Youth and Bermuda Bonnie.

Ethan Bassford – Bass, Felicia Douglass – Vocals, Carlos Hernandez – Vocals, Becca Kauffman – Vocals, Anna Sian – Vocals, Alex Smith – Drums, Nathan Tompkins – Synthesizer.


Kickstarter Campaign For Adventures in Plymptoons

In the spirit of the independent music I write about I was compelled to feature this Kickstarter project, because it reeks of DIY gone right. Determination, conviction and a little humor goes a long way and independent filmmaker Alexia Anatosio has all that and more.

Her documentary Adventures in Plymptoons about Oscar nominated animator Bill Plymton is currently in post-production and in need of additional funding. Alexis is hoping to achieve her goals through an inventive Kickstarter campaign that bring fans and donors into the fray. To achieve her goals she is wiling to give it her all, including shaving her beautiful locks of hair and fashioning a Mohawk.

Alexia’s enthusiasm for this project is contagious. She celebrates and is inspired by Bill Plympton’s career as an independent filmmaker and is making this documentary with the same independent spirit. All filmmakers, artists and musicians should take note and be inspired as well.

Alexia’s Kickstarter campaign is absolutely worth a click to view. It features some takes with Bill Plymton and anecdotes by a few of his voice-over team edited with clips of Plympton’s animated world.

Even if you don’t have the funds to help her achieve her goals you can help spread it around through networking.

For additional inspiration read Alexis’ interview with Film Threat here

video interview Alexia Anastasio at Comic Con 2010 for Adventures in Plymptoons
by Jon Raymond from The Writers Muse


Coyote Eyes, Dynamic Set @ The Delancey

Coyote Eyes @ The Delancey

On Friday night I attended a fundraiser for the band Coyote Eyes at The Delancey. Their goal was to recoup the costs incurred recording their EP after the small label who offered financial backing folded, leaving the band with expenses they hadn’t planned for. On hand to help were the Flying Pace, Marie Stella from Portland Maine and Quiet Loudly who played sets and offered cheap merch while friends baked treats for sale. It was an atmosphere of love support and good music making.

As soon Coyote Eyes hit the stage it was apparent why everyone there was showing the love. The foursome floored me with two guitars, peddle boards, synth, bass, drums and combined vocals.

Coyote Eyes were engaged creating an invigorating sound guided by melodic sonic movements and rev-ed up clean bell like guitar riffs that build and scaffold, blasting with pulsating fast strumming meant to take you somewhere. Leading from the back and divine to witness was Jeremiah McVay whose thunderous drumming skill was always on queue and the force and backbone of the sound.

The dynamic contrasts of two vocalists diversified the sound and what made it more surprising is how they fluctuate between dominating one song or another or sing in unison. Manny Nomikos emotional singing style with bursts of volume, multiple pitch and at times Yoko like channeling while Marta’s Deloreon vocals were smooth intoxicating and perfectly phrased.

What is especially strong is how Deloreon’s voice rises above the amplified sonic rock cycles hanging suspended like a cloud above the surface of the forceful instrumentation. Calling and cooing and taking the listener in.

I am looking forward to the EP and ready to be wowed.

Listen Here and hear why.
Marie Stella pictures as well


Jive Grave & The Fancy @ Ars Nova

Geo Wyeth / Jive Grave @ Ars Nova

Jive Grave and The Fancy were the line-up for Wednesday as part of Ars Nova 54/10 music marathon series. Two bands with accomplished musicians and visions.

It has been my pleasure to chronicle Geo Wyeth’s music incarnations for the last two years. What a satisfying ride it’s been.

I arrived just as Jive Grave was finishing their first song. Geo Wyeth thanked Ars Nova for their support as their 2009 Composer-in-Residence. The residency gave him the opportunity to explore and compose / Haunts song cycle. With Geo at the helm the band Jive Grave was spawned.

The set explored looping with bells, vocals and guitar notes, solo material, claps, horn arrangements and an intricate beat between two drummers featuring a drum kit and tom tom. The music frames the lyrics with it’s melting pot of sound where repetition is fleeting and snippets of sound are segmented and disjointed. Geo’s lyrics reference legacy, lineage, memory and the city are pieced together in collage of ripped, rough and sometime soft edges.

They played "Black One On the River" with a sound rich with texture, sax accents, vocal harmonics and Afro-centric guitar. The tremelo picking soared at a high pitch rising like a blustering current to an abrupt ending. / Will you wait for me for me / in the water / it’s a mighty / current we are running from./

Geo Wyeth emphasised, “this is a song about where I live, Bedford Stuyvesant. “So Funny It Might Be Death” began with scat vocal blurts, claps and the saxophone played by Tina Richadson and Wyeth’s guitar with punched chords and chiming note flourishes. The celebratory sound was fitting for Wyeth’s lyrical poetic perspective making the neighborhood come alive / The kids all got scowls under their breath like old church ladies /.

Jive Grave’s sound is cerebral and vibrant provoking the listener to pay attention.The release date for 7” Blackone in September features vocalist Becca Kaufman whose voice is a treasure and creates striking contrasts. Listen Here
geo wyeth, keith parker, dan arnow, tina richerson, mike irwin, simeon kezengwa other featured contributors: tim johnson, becca kauffman, brian newman
Flickr Set

The Fancy @ Ars Nova

The Fancy play gorgeous orchestrated pop that is so smooth and yummy it tastes like butta. Composer/songwriter and lead vocal duo Clara Latham and Seth Garrison are classically trained and their compositions reflect a commitment to the accessible and smart. What sets this group apart is not just their choice of instrumentation but how it is applied. Key board and synth, electric guitar, bassoon, viola and gorgeous vocals

They started with “Honey Baby” which had great orchestration with viola scales woven through. “Out Of The City” had luscious harmonies, creamy confection that is sticky kind of a sophisticated Abba mixed with serious instrumentation. Kind of a dichotomy of sound.

The cover song of choice was Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman”. It was a complex interpretation that coordinated a steady bass with the bassoon and viola played in a round. You could visibly see the concentration and efforts Katherine Young and Amy Cimini two incredible soloists.

They brought out their guest drummer Craig Bray for the song “O Willa” that started slow with a singing dialogue and then grew to a fast, furious action and timing.

Their attention to details was apparent as they asked to bring down guitar levels and more sound on the bassoon and vocals. They care about delivery. I was very impressed with this band. They even have a great website that is informative and a joy to explore. They got it together!


Crazy Over Brian Newman @ Duane Park Live Review

Brian Newman @ Duane Park

Been meaning to go to Duane Park to see the Brian Newman Jazz Trio After Dark at Duane Park for a while. They perform there every Friday night with a rotating cast of beautiful burlesque performers.

Brian Newman's singing voice is impeccable reaching gorgeous high notes while adding his own spin to classic jazz standards. As a trumpeter his trumpet is an extension of his being. Somehow he finds enough air to dig in and blow improvisational bursts between lyrics.

Dressed to please the svelte dapper Newman visually pulls out all the stops as the quintessential master of ceremonies. With his cool demeanor and awesome showmanship, he worked the room like a fast witted vaudevillian comic adding enough spice and a little grit without loosing his classy flair.

The clanking of glasses, endless chatter and lively bar action added to the atmosphere but I would have preferred a quiet room to fully take in the marvelous music.

Earlier this month Brian Newman made his television debut with Lady Gaga on the Today Show. His underground reputation with fellow musicians as someone to collaborate with is now out of the box. A much deserved career boost.

It was sweet to see a few of those new fans last Friday at Duane Park who came to listen.

Langhorne Slim @ Brooklyn Bowl

It has been a joy following and writing about Langhorne Slim for the last four years. The band has always been able to stir a crowd with it’s infectious music and Slim’s charismatic showmanship. So what’s been changing? There is a different feeling in the air. People are finding out about the group from a variety of sources and coming out to see for themselves. The power of exposure. But music in general can’t be supported by a simple download. It is when a fan makes a commitment to see a band live.

One such patron was up front with her camera, ready to hear the song that brought her to the show. She was visibly overwhelmed with the power of the live show and although unfamiliar with most of the set chronicling their discography she will ultimately be a true supporter of the band and it’s output.

At the Brooklyn Bowl the popularity of the group was apparent. Slim did not have to win the crowd over they were already there hanging on every word, dancing and singing along. Even with an adoring crowd the band does not take anything for granted they bring it on more.

All the roadworthy experience has catapulted this group into another category. The momentum is building and for Langhorne Slim stardom is right around the corner and they are ready.

The Woes and The Defibulators @ Ars Nova

The Woes have been on my radar only through word of mouth among the bands I write about like Langhorne Slim, o’death and Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. I met Osei Essed at Brooklyn Bowl at Langhorne Slim show and realized we’ve crossed paths at other shows. It sometimes takes me a while to dot the I’s. So with that said, I made it a point to go uptown to Ars Nova.

The Woes bring an all one approach to there music combining genres of soul, punk gospel, blues, early folk and jazz with an impressive attention to details. With the exuberance of a funeral marchin jubilee, they played jazzy segments on saxophone, trumpet and french horn with bluesy riffs on guitar and banjo and rev-ed up action on the peddle steel guitar.

All the great musicianship centers around the deep vocals Osei Essed. His soulful straightforwardness blended and angst ridden thickness from down below the diaphragm creates an urgency of quick tight upheavals of rising howls, whoops and groans. The jubilant chorus of shouters from the brass section belt it up between blows added to the lively mix.

What was great for me was to really get a chance to hear their music in a venue that cares about sound. So I was able to fully appreciate the clarity and tight framework of their live set.

The Defibulators from Brooklyn bring tongue and cheek, Hee Haw antics and references to redneck country, pickups and truck stop a go-go to their blend of rockabilly home grown country rock. The six person group played a lively, theatrical and friendly set with excellent instrumentation and the outstanding voice of Erin Bru their only female member. All in good fun they played with a little help from their comedic puppet Buddy, a “human” version of Triumph the insult comic dog as the master of ceremonies. The Defibulators brought out all the stops including a comedic movie short about tour stash and the cops on the take looking for the shit.

Ars Nova is a small venue that cares. This was my second visit to the small intimate venue but a few of the groups I’ve featured on this site like Langhorne Slim, Geo Wyeth and Max Vernon have played there. Ars Nova provides a hub for emerging talent in music, comedy and theater. Getting the word out about this diamond in the rough should be paramount.

The Woes Flickr Set
The Defibulators Flickr Set


Maryanne Ventrice Band Photography @ Con Artist Gallery

Con Artist Gallery is a collective dedicated to showcasing a rotating line up artists, designed as a one night only event on Wednesdays, down under through the steel grate on 119 Ludlow Street. Brian Sevrin is the creator of the workshop/artists collective where items produced on the premises by the members are sold in the front half of the space and the workshop turned gallery, in the rear. The Con Artist concept is to bypass the gallery system creating opportunities for artists to show their work and make a CONnection within a community.

Last night Con Artist featured the band photography by Maryanne Ventrice entitled “More Guitar In The Monitor”. Maryanne has become a staple in the indie music scene documenting bands in Brooklyn and Manhattan since 2007 in venues like Death by Audio, Union Hall, Cake Shop and Bruar Falls. If there is a show she is there with her heavy bag of tools and work horse ethic.

Her DIY approach to photography and honest no nonsense shooting reflects the love she brings to the genre of band photography. She has the patience it takes to capture moments rather then going for the obvious. I have seen her work many shows where she unobtrusively moves around to document different angles or crowd interactions.

Just as straight forward as Maryanne is as a person her gallery debut was no different. Sheets of photo paper dangled unframed from wires attached to the ceiling pipes around the perimeter of the room. Her non-pretentious work hung like classic compositions displaying the beauty of The National’s lead singer Matt Berninger intertwined with the mic chord, or James Harvey of Drink Up Buttercup hands rising up in the air to soak up the enthusiastic crowd and capturing the intensity of lead singer Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus.

Maryanne is a no frills woman, totally is who she is, honest, hard working and approachable. To me she is a “Trooper Photographer” whose efforts contribute to moving the music culture forward.

Flicker Set
List of Photos Displayed:
The Lisps, Union Hall / Liars, Bowery Ballroom / Hopewell, Death By Audio / Dinowalrus, Cake Shop / Choir of Young Believers, Le Poisson Rouge / Drink Up Buttercup, Bruar Falls / We Were Promised Jet Packs, Bowery Ballroom / Get Haunted, Littlefield /
The Dears, The Bell House / Tim Fite, The Bell House / Tokyo Police Club, Bowery Ballroom / Holly Miranda, Mercury Lounge /
Band of Horses, Bowery Ballroom / Liam Finn, The Bell House / Sian Alice Group, Mercury Lounge / Black Taxi, Blender Theater /
The Wrens, Bowery Ballroom / Titus Andronicus, Galapagos / Grooms, Knitting Factory / Fanfarlo, Piano’s /
Free Energy, Littlefield / Frightened Rabbit, Webster Hall / Novella, Glasslands / The Bell House / Great Lake /
Drink Up Buttercup, Music Hall of Williamsburg / A Place To Bury Strangers, Europa / Japandroids, Swimmers, The Bell House / The National, Bowery Ballroom / Kyp Malone, Rain Machine /The Bell House / Serena Maneesh, Mercury Lounge /
Pet Shop Boys, Hammerstein Ballroom /


Drink Up Buttercup; Hot @ Northside Festival

Drink Up Buttercup @ Northside Festiva

Drink Up Buttercup cools the heat on a hot night at Berry Park in Brooklyn leaving their garbage cans behind and clearing the air for the sound of upgraded instruments and urgent harmonies. DUB clicks on the refresh button playing their familiar songs from their release Born and Thrown on a Hook with a refreshing twist making a live experience never stale and full of surprises.

Drink Up Buttercup @ Northside Festiva

I like to document the bands visual sets and new additions are optical illusion amps and colorful use of duct tape. The mannequin's mouth was covered with duct tape masking a human expression from an inanimate object. But no one there was expressionless and this blogger as usual could not be contained.

Spending time with photographer Maryanne Ventrice is always a treat, her shots can be seen here at the Brooklyn Vegan and below is the flyer to her gallery show this week.

Monitor 8PM Image


Happy Birthday To Me

Obsession Collection Music

In June of 2006 Obsession Collection Music was born and I haven't looked back.


The Cool Sound of Ava Luna "Clips"

I first became aware of Ava Luna while scrolling my daily site visits. If You Make It (Pink Couch Sessions) is one of them. The sound Ava Luna created sitting on the crowded pink couch was different then anything previously uploaded on the site and kind of intoxicating.

So by complete and utter chance I ran into two of the band members on a cold winter night as we waited outside a music loft event to see Vio Mire. I said, "aren't you the band Ava Luna, I loved your video" They were kind of taken aback since the video went up on the site that day.

This video features the song "Clips" creating a sound of roughed up electronic soul combined with out of this world girl harmonies. Two obvious influences are a mix of Dirty Projectors and Jamie Lidell. What could be better?


North Highlands Kick off Sound Bites Music Series

North Highlands

With scenic views and a breezy tempo Sound Bites, Bill Pearis kicked off his curatorial gig booking bands for the South Street Seaport's festival summer season. Every Wednesday in June starting at noon, Pearis will put on his DJ hat for an hour of tunes followed by the scheduled band. It's formal title is Sound Bites Lunchtime Series and it's free!

This Sunday during Memorial Day weekend North Highlands a Brooklyn quintet fronted on keys and lead vocals by Brenda Malvini, graced the stage. They played accessible and contagious music that is bouncy, poppy and dreamy. The folk instruments like the mandolin and violin were delightfully integrated into an orchestral mix of keys, drums and electric guitar. The drumming was especially awesome.

Brenda's voice has a smooth tonality with playful breathy aspects that are immediately endearing. When the band revs up in intensity her voice and mannerisms animate to engage the audience. North Highlands is a tight and spunky band that has lots of heart. I loved them.

The line to buy North Highlands EP "Sugarlips" were longer then I expected. It was nice to see random passersby willing to shell out dough for an unknown band.

If you can, don't miss: June 2nd, Air Waves, June 9th The Austin McCutchen Quartet, June 16th Ribbons, June 23rd The Beets and June 30th Toys and Tiny Instruments Band.

Flickr Set HERE


Director Features Hop Along, Song "Sally"

Hop Along

Back in September Frances Quinlan of the Hop Along (the band) formally known as Hop Along Queen Ansleis (her solo effort), gave me her beautiful vinyl record Wretches released on Salinas Records. 


Jive Grave, Geo Wyeth's current project Live @ The Rockwood

Jive Grave @Rockwood Music Hall

I will follow the talented Geo Wyeth and any name, project or direction he chooses to create. Going it solo for the past two years as Novice Theory, Geo has currently assembled a line-up of talented musicians to bring his ideas to fuller fruition with Jive Grave. His incredible skill as a solo performer is not lost with collaboration.

Weyth is an accomplished pianist but has taken up guitar with remarkable results. Hitting the strings instead of the keys and combining notes and chords with original results. The night at the Rockwood Music Hall on april 28th the guitar was featured. Bravely he coordinated looping and also brought out the nylon string guitar and harmonica for a folk song dedicated to his father.

The band of sax, flute, bass and two drummers created a dynamic mix of Wyeths original songs with a fusion of Jazz, rock, and folk. It was the unexpected that made the set such a delight to hear.
Don't miss Jive Grave at Arlene's Grocery this Tuesday May 18th and other NY dates listed HERE.


Hell No, Art Event / Brooklyn


Hell No an art event at Convent of Saint Cecilla in Williamsburg Brooklyn curated by David Fierman and RJ Supa is scheduled to kick off April 30th.

Press release:
The artists’ varied work deals with issues of violence, abstraction, sexuality, reflection, medicine, science, religion, consumer culture and its detritus, and art history, among other wide ranging topics. HELL, NO! aims to find the commonalities amongst the discord, to find the thematic and formal links that bring a cohesion to the chaos. Further, the space itself, a worn out, bare bones, beautiful and eerie former convent plays as much a role in the show as the art itself. Its quiet dignity, holding on in the face of half-finished and decaying glass towers surrounding it, presents a final HELL, NO!, reminiscent of the nuns who once inhabited it, working furiously to ward off condemnation and oblivion.

featuring RJ Supa, Leidy Churchman, Lucas Michael, Becky Brown, Wardell Milan, Jeremy Eilers, Richard Ziello, Matthew Kirk, Faren Ziello, Michael Mahalchick, Beth Beverly, Jaimes Mayhew, Amanda Maher, Cyle Metzger, Benjamin Fredrickson, Victoria Keddie, Hank Shedd, Gretchen Winterkorn, Carter, Titus Kaphar, Jaeeun Lee, Joshua Johnson, Davina Semo, Juan Bethancurt, Mike Kenney, Michael Hilsman, Julie Opperman, Virginia Vergera, Nora Griffin, Elias Melad, Marianna Ellenberg, Michael Rudokas, and more!

Earlier this spring Fierman staged and art performance event to Save The Starlite Lounge in Crown Heights the oldest "non discriminating" African-American owned bar in the city from eviction. The performances were kitschy, edgy, theatrical, interactive, diverse and good fun. The Karaoke Queen Lady Jasmin resident drag queen of the Starlite was the master of ceremony, taking the genre of Karaoke to mezmorizing levels.

See pictures Here featuring:Ryan McNamara, Lucas Michael,Fetchin' Gretchen, Black Waterfall and Bobby Service, Kalup Linzy, Michael Mahalchick,Dynasty Handbag,RJ Supa and Lady Jasmin.


Crackerfarm Works His Magic On Langhorne Slim Video

Langhorne Slim @ Bell House

works it quietly capturing all the grit and insane energy of Langhorne Slim live, creating a montage video of spliced together shots of the band playing the song "Cinderella" at different venues.

I got a cameo dancing and receiving a lovely kiss from the stage at The Bell House @ 1:39 Vimeo time.

“Cinderella” flirts with the listener, offering a soulful wink with help of honkey tonk swing and an enthusiastic boy chorus. OCM 11/ 09