The final Saturday of January 2015 (and the final day of the month) presented an opportunity to catch Brooklyn Night Bazaar's showcase headlined by Crocodiles.
One of my fave venues in all of New York City (and certainly topping a Brooklyn area with many other worthy spaces), Brandon, Charles and the rest of the "crocs" brought their latest album release to life.
Charles and Brandon are the core team that continue to evolve a sound they began developing seven years ago.
With a full live band that includes the expected drums, bass and keys - a very special guest backing vocalist sat in on this particular night as well.
None other than Dee Dee from the Dum Dum Girls (who not-so-coincidentally is married to Brandon) added backing vocals that gave the overall live presentation an added sonic depth.
The packed audience came ready to party and appeared to enjoy the mix of (mostly) new (and some classic) material from the band.
Check out their latest song and video for "Crybaby Demon"
Back to this particular night's live show - natural frontwoman Dee Dee stepped forward to assist leading the audience through an inspired encore.
At this point, more than a few "special guests" were onstage with the band, making for a entertaining (if somewhat chaotic) atmosphere.
Through it all the band played on.
The songs played
And the "social network" heedfulness that sometimes follows
The band kicks off their next tour at Union Pool in Brooklyn, NY on 4/29/15 and returning back home to New York on 6/7/15 at the Mercury Lounge. In between those dates they hit many other cities, and you can find a complete listing of all that right here.
Earlier that night, Brooklyn's garage-rockers The Teen Age showcased their high-energy live show.
The band's heavy bass guitar driven sound explodes in cascades of dreamy angst-laden vocals and shimmering guitars.
Tracks like "Stop" - with it's "I won't get you back" hook perfectly capture the personal wreckage of opportunities lost. That it comes packaged in a catchy, jangly pop tune once again demonstrates the power of song.
The band will be playing their record release show next at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn on April 7, and all details on that can be found here .
Longtime friends of this blog Lazyeyes were up next.
Having gone through a few minor personnel changes since their inception, the core members of Jason, Paul and Jeremy remain solidly committed to their original vision of how they should sound.
A sound that one writer (which just happens to be me) described as having vocals like "impressionist colors against pastel blue and pink skies." That writer went on to reference "iconic 90's bands like Ride through present day jammers Diiv" as having "similarly appealing qualities."
The band's recently released track "Minds Eye" is fast paced and bass guitar driven. The guitars still feature their signature sound of undistorted individual note picked riffs. While the percussion skews towards the higher-end sonic spectrum, with high-hat cymbals and stick-struck tambourine rings further up in the mix. Deep vocals are less "impressionistic" this time, with a clearly defined message of the mind processing what is seen.
Give a listen to it here:
Just following this BKB performance, Lazyeyes headed out to Austin for a successful run at the SXSW Music festival. They'll now be setting off on a brief East Coast Tour run in April, and those dates can be found here. They've also recently released an EP, titled "New Year," on cassette via Burger Records imprint label, Weiner Records.
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Friday, February 20, 2015 was one of the more freezing cold days during a winter that seemingly had an endless supply of them.
Even those arctic winds weren’t enough to prevent this intrepid reporter (and companion) from venturing out and braving the more-difficult-than-it-should-be-to-get-to midtown west side of Manhattan.
The reason? To catch a live set from celebrated modern jazz guitarist/composer Wayne Krantz at the venerable institution The Iridium.
Wayne is an incredible musician, noted for his utilization of complex rhythmic and harmonic concepts. A graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston, he has gone on to teach there, as well as New York University and numerous workshops worldwide.
His live band exhibited an equally brilliant skill level and overall musical sensitivity. Wayne's longtime drummer Keith Carlock is what musicians often refer to as a "monster." That it, so technically accomplished and powerful, yet having the adaptability to improvise and flow at a moments notice. The bassist for this show was another frequent collaborator and accomplished legend, Anthony Jackson. In addition to his truly inspired playing, Jackson is known worldwide for having devised a “six-string bass”, tuned B-E-A-D-G-C, which he called the contrabass guitar.
Krantz and Carlock connect on an intuitive level.
This night's set featured songs from Wayne's 10 solos albums including his newest, Good Piranha/Bad Piranha. On that record Wayne performs four different tracks with two different interpretations of each.
Listen to this truly inspired cover an instantly recognizable song, that is immediately advanced miles past the original, here:
The view from our table.
An interesting artifact spotted on a wall display at the venue.
As well as this one directly above the stairway down to the performance space.
Wayne Tweets you to come on down to the show!
With post show revelers Tweeting their approval as well.
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Saturday, March 7 featured promoter Kelly Knapp's Noise Love event at always accessible Brooklyn haunt Shea Stadium.
Arrived just in time to catch the visually intriguing, controversially named Food Stamps
The show they present is dark and electronic, with eerily erotic imagery.
With various members wearing a variety of hoods, shrouds and surgical masks, the physical presence of already-tall, high-heeled vocalist/percussionist Amy Lynn made a distinct impression.
Glowing orbs of light contribute to an overall sense of mystery.
The combined power of these visuals with a sound that at times touched on early Nine Inch Nails kept the fascination level high.
With the lights stripped away, the appeal remained.
Dark - mysterious - unsettling. And always the "trail of honey"
Having a quick chat with Amy backstage, a photo or two was taken.
The now expected social network sharing of yet another snapshot garnered more than a few responses.
Which in turn inspired an artist-friend to make enhancements!
And one for the photo-archives, because we live in a picture-with world.
Up next were old friend Veda Rays, now in their newly rebooted format.
Jason and James remain always as the original core visionaries.
New keyboardist Maria now adds a feminine touch to what was previously a guys-and-wires configuration.
Live (traditional) bass also takes the previously electronics-heavy sound into a more song oriented format.
And it is the songs that are most impressive about Veda Rays. Well constructed, heartfelt pieces of pop continue to emerged from these determined veterans of the scene.
Veda Ray fun in cyberspace.
Check out some videos and recently uploaded demos on their official website here .
Following them were the all-out over-the-top 80's-glam-referencing party band The Makeout Club
Borrowing bits and pieces of visual cues from the likes of Adam Ant, Billy Idol and perhaps mythical Satyrs as well, the sound they produced referenced the happier spectrum of early 80's UK artists.
Though true it their Brooklyn roots, the overall presentation is a bit "dirtier." Their core audience loved every bit of it as they straddled the line between accomplished retro tribute and tongue-in-cheek satire.
The horns that adorn
The deliberately minimal bass guitar driven progressions allow for the vocal storytelling to take center stage.
Vocalist Monica Salazar has a commanding stage presence that instantly hold your attention.
Against dramatic backdrop projections, deliberate physical movements enhance the mood of each song played.
Allowing for these sultry, hypnotic sounds to hold the audience entranced.
Light reflected, sound projected.
Social networks like Twitter and Facebook complete the information stream.
A newly released song called "Gris-Gris" can be heard via their label's annual GODMODE compilation, dubbed "AMERICAN MUSIC". Produced by Adam Moerder and Nick Sylvester, more info can be found about it all here.
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