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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
List of Photos Displayed:
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 /
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?
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
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.
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.