New York Music Daily

Global Music With a New York Edge

Tag: pop rock

Flowers Glisten and Jangle and Clang and Have a Lot of Shows Coming Up

British band Flowers sound like Britfolk rock legend Amanda Thorpe backed by the Smiths – but not in a florid, campy Beirut way. And in a more trebly, considerably more stripped-down way, too. None of the full-band songs on their latest album, Do What You Want to, It’s What You Should Do – streaming at Spotify - have bass on them, and drummer Jordan Hockley sometimes pounds out a dancing beat with just a single tom-tom. Frontwoman Rachel Kenedy doesn’t have quite the torchy, belting power that Thorpe does, but she’s a soaring, compelling singer in her own right. For those who feel like ditching work, they’re at Cake Shop at about one in the afternoon on Oct 21; at the Delancey at 8, the following night, Oct 22; at the Knitting Factory on Oct 23 at around 2 in the afternoon, followed by psychedelic rockers Gringo Star (free with rsvp  although you will get spammed if you sign up) ; back at Cake Shop on Oct 24 at three in the afternoon, and then later that night at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, time tba. You definitely won’t run the risk of getting spammed for those shows.

Kenedy sing with a full, round, chorister’s tone on the album’s opening track, Young, bringing to mind Linda Draper‘s adventures in janglerock a few years back. Forget the Fall starts out with a skeletal sway before guitarist Sam Ayres adds brightly clanging layers of chords. Drag Me Down is the closest thing here to a Thorpe/Smiths mashup, while Worn Out Shoes hitches a doo wop-inflected verse to a big anthemic chorus

Lonely is a return to straight up catchy janglerock, Joanna a Smiths-ish launching pad for some spectacular vocal leaps and bounds from Kenedy. They strip it down to just the guitar and vocals for If I Tell You, then return to anthemic mode – with jaunty splashes of cymbals, would you believe – with Comfort.

I Love You blends some midsummer folk ambience into its bouncy sweep. All Over Again is one of the most irresistibly catchy numbers here; by contrast, Anna goes for more of a gently pastoral neo-Velvets feel, with a couple of the trick endings this band likes so much. Be With You is the most low-key song here, followed by the unexpectedly cynical Plastic Jane. Kenedy winds up the album with a brief solo number, just vocals and bass.

This band is all about setting a mood and keeping it going. Their lyrics don’t cover a lot of ground – angst-tinged romantic longing is pretty much it for Kenedy – and there isn’t much variation among all the brightly ringing tunes. But if catchy, smartly assembled, sunshiney three-minute janglerock songs are your thing, these guys deliver 24/7.

A Typically Urbane, Incisively Lyrical New Album from the Larch

The Larch have been one of New York’s catchiest, most lyrically acerbic bands for a long time. Their 2012 album Days to the West blended new wave and psychedelia with a witheringly cynical Costelloesque lyrical edge. The one before that, Larix Americana – written mostly at the tail end of the Bush regime – set frontman/guitarist Ian Roure’s corrosive, politically charged commentary to hypnotic, guitar-fueled paisley underground rock. Lately the band seems to be on hiatus, but they have an excellent new ep, In Transit, picking up where the last album left off and streaming at Bandcamp.

The first track, Science & Charity – whose title the band nicked from a Picasso painting – assesses the pros and cons of space-age advances over keyboardist Liza Roure’s swooshy synth and Ross Bonadonna’s rising bassline, drummer Tom Pope negotiating its tricky syncopation. A jet-engine guitar solo takes it echoing out.

Welcome to the Institute alternates between hard funk and mid-80s Costello, a sardonic narrative told from the point of view of a pitchman for an online reputation repair service. Liza’s woozily processed backing vocals add an aptly tacky, techy touch, Bonadonna’s slithery lines echoing Bruce Thomas, the guitar again taking it out with a lickety-split, spiraling solo (Ian is the rare hotshot lead player who doesn’t waste notes).

Saturn’s in Transit, the catchiest and most Costelloesque tune here, seems to be one of those metaphorically charged workday anomie narratives that Ian writes so well. The jangliest track is the similarly metaphorical, nonchalantly ominous Mr. Winters, sort of a mashup of Squeeze and lyrical powerpop legends Skooshny – Ian’s voice often brings to mind that band’s frontman, Mark Breyer.

The backbeat Britpop tune Images of Xmas contemplates a deceptively comfortable litany of holiday gatherings and overindulgences. There’s also a hard-charging punk-pop bonus track. The Larch may be on the shelf for now, but the Roures continue with their duo project, Tracy Island, wherein they mix works in progress with favorites from the Larch and Liza and the Wonderwheels catalogs. They’re playing tomorrow, Oct 15, at 8 PM at Bowery Electric for an $8 cover and it’s a good bet some of these songs will be on the bill.

Another Tantalizing Album from Elizabeth & the Catapult

 

Elizabeth Ziman, who basically is Elizabeth & the Catapult, is one of this era’s great purist pop tunesmiths. While the keyboard textures on her latest album Like It Never Happened (streaming at Paste, of all places) are totally Bushwick, 2014, her wickedly catchy hooks and artsy song structures are closer to the radio hit side of ELO circa 1976. Ziman is no slouch as a pianist, a competent rhythm guitarist and a strong, brilliantly nuanced, individualistic singer. When she’s at the top of her game, her songs have an Aimee Mann-class intensity. Even when she’s not at the top of her game, they’re still catchy. There’s a lot of everything here. She’s had an off-and-on residency at Rockwood Music Hall over the past few months, and she’s at the relatively new third stage there every Monday in February at 8 for $10.

Like everything else Ziman has done (she’s got two other albums out), this one has a couple of absolutely killer tracks. The first is a joke, a deliciously good one. With its sarcastically monotonous piano pedaling and snarky lyrics, Happy Pop wouldn’t be out of place in the Patti Rothberg catalog – and it ends with a bemused busker making snide fun of people who don’t get it. By contrast, Wish I Didn’t is a brooding kiss-off anthem that moves cleverly from a minimalist vocal intro to Jeff Lynne-style art-rock majesty – with a lot of curse words, crudeness and elegance side by side. Metaphorical, maybe?

Salt of the Earth sounds like an oldtime chain gang singalong tricked out with layers of keys and shivery strings, a trip-hop groove emerging and then receding in favor of jaggedly bluesy guitar. Shoelaces is a ridiculously catchy 60s garage-pop song updated with a bit of a whimsical late 90s vibe: the tune, the edgy guitar solo and swoopy organ are the highlights rather than the lyrics. Ziman follows it with the atmospheric, hypnotic chamber pop number Someday Soon.

More Than Enough has lushly sweeping string synth, rippling tremolo organ and another one of those irresistibly catchy, anthemic choruses, Ziman contemplating how to ground herself amid the angst: “Don’t take darkness for granted, without it light can’t exist.” From its staccato Penny Lane bounce to its woozily oscillating synth. Please Yourself is an ELO pop hit updated for the teens. Sugar Covered Poison pairs sarcastically acrid, techy synth voicings that leave an artificial, chemical taste with a knowing lyric about a guy who’s hard to resist but no more than the emotional equivalent of junk food. The final track, Last Opus, is a richly tuneful art-rock ballad that gives Ziman a long launching pad for a handful of gloriously brooding, gorgeous piano solos.

The album’s title track is somewhat disingenuous. It’s funny how all these careless girls are the first to complain that they’ve had their hearts broken, but they won’t cop to doing that to anyone themselves. Over a distantly Carole King-ish sway with resonant electric piano, Ziman’s cynical narrator owns up to what she’s been doing – sort of. And there’s also a ballad here that’s the lyrical equivalent of a Precious Moments tchotchke – but even there, Ziman stays on task and plays with purist taste and restraint. Which helps explain why this is a tantalizing album, and why Ziman’s best days as a songwriter are still probably ahead of her. In the meantime, she’s really good live.

Peggy Sue Gets a New Sound Out of Old Ideas

A cynic could say that jangly retro 80s British trio Peggy Sue have absolutely nothing new to offer, and that would be wrong. On one hand, they have the era down cold: they absolutely nail the brightly chiming, shimmery guitar pop sound that was all the rage around 1988 or so. What they do that’s original is to mix Britpop effervescence, hypnotic dreampop resonance and the opaquely minimalistic sound of first-wave American indie rock, which emphasized single-note lines rather than chords. Like so many of the best bands from those days, they’ll vamp out on a catchy, anthemic hook rather than following a series of changes or a traditional blues or rock scale. The effect creates an atmosphere that’s both dreamy and kinetic at the same time: it might seem like an oxymoron, but it works.

And they mine those styles fluently. Lead guitarist Katy Young plays with a nimble, precise attack: she doesn’t have the pyrotechnics, of, say, the Room’s Paul Kavanagh, but she’s good. Frontwoman/guittarist Rosa Slade typically anchors the songs with a steady downstroke rhythm in the lower registers while drummer Olly Joyce artfully shifts between contrasting meters, goodnatured shuffles and colorful syncopation. Their aptly titled new third album, Choir of Echoes (much of which is streaming, with a bunch of free downloads, at the band’s site), was recorded at Dave Edmunds’ legendary Rockfield Studios – where Radio Birdman did their immortal Radios Appear album – and makes full use of the space’s delicious natural reverb. There’s reverb on everything here, even the drums! It’ll be interesting to see what use they might be able to make of the primitive barewalled sonics at Glasslands, where they’re playing on Feb 13 at around 1ish for $12.

It takes nerve to open your album with a wordless choral piece that’s part Renaissance plainchant and part circular indie classical theme, but that’s what the band does. They follow it with Esme, which Joyce cleverly works from a waltz into a briskly shuffling Manchester groove, the two women’s vocal harmonies mingling with Young’s dreampoppy lead lines. Substitute blends moody 80s Boston minmalism and surreal Syd Barrett clang, fleshing out a skeletal theme as it goes along. Figure of Eight builds out of open-string licks and washes of harmonies to a skitttishly insistent 80s pop pulse.

The album’s best songs are the darkest ones: Longest Night of the Year Blues gives a haphazard neo-Velvets sway and some unexpectedly Lynchian, eerily twangy guitar to a vintage soul ballad, while And Always Is syncopates a backbeat noir folk tune and makes distantly menacing, clanging, nocturnal psychedelia out of it. Always Going works the luminous/dark dichotomy between the two guitars up to a burning bridge that’s the loudest thing on the album, and Just the Night does the same thing as it goes in the opposite direction, the bass jumping around and bringing it back up again.

There’s also a folksy waltz that sounds like Linda Draper doing C&W; a number that makes pouncing reverb rock out of a rustic sea chantey theme; Two Shots, with its allusions to the blues; Electric Light, with its bracing, wall-bending guitar licks; and the closing cut, The Error of Your Ways, the poppiest number here. It’s very cool how this band manages to follow so many different tangents while never losing their distinctive sound.

Kjersti Kveli: Counterintuitive Tunesmith, Powerful Voice, Great Band

“This song is about sacrificing people,” Kjersti Kveli laughed as she told the crowd at the Triad Theatre on the Upper West Side Friday night. Nervous laughter echoed back at her. “That’s what it’s about,” the Norwegian-American songwriter/bandleader responded matter-of-factly – and laughed again. Then midway through the broodingly crescendoing minor-key waltz – the title track to her latest album Release the Virgin – her bandmate Nicole Camacho fired off a sudden cadenza on her bass flute just as Kveli’s voice finally rose toward a scream. The effect was spine-tingling.

A few songs later, Kveli brought the ambience down to whispery and ghostly for a brief narrative about sleepwalking in the street. Toward the end of the show, she unveiled an uneasily stomping noir folk-rock anthem, Whaling Songs, her voice rising ominously against Camacho’s poltergeist wood flute and lead guitarist Tor Morten’s gritty chordwork.

But Kveli isn’t always so dark. Early on in the set, she showed a fondness for catchy two-chord vamps, giving Morten and Camacho a chance to add harmonies and fills that ranged from biting to hypnotic over the pulsing groove of drummer Anders Griffen and Old Time Musketry bassist Phil Rowan. Kveli is conservatory trained and can leap from a whisper to a wail in a split second if she wants, but she saves those moments for when she has to make a point, and usually stays in her midrange when she does. Her English is flawless, she tells a good story and has a knack for imagery that steers clear of cliche: the “loudspeaker answering machine” on the night’s lilting first number, Call Me Up, or the coin whose endless journey from hand to hand she illustrated in a fetching acoustic duet with Rowan.

Kveli and her KK Band made their way through the rest of the songs on the album and then closed with some auspiciously edgy, louder new material. With their bittersweet chord changes, the night’s two most attractively nocturnal ballads evoked Mary Lee Kortes‘ Americana-flavored work, Kveli’s crystalline voice rising anxiously over the top of the melody line before floating down to land. The rest of the songs in the set were diverse and counterintuitively arranged: a soul vamp like a Paul sketch from Abbey Road, but fully fleshed out, with gale-force vocals from Kveli; a swaying highway rock tune that waltzed along with graceful flute flourishes; a pensive ballad that she played on piano, using acid rain as a metaphor for a bitter breakup; and a hypnotic song toward the end of the show that echoed post-VU Nico but with a wounded wail. There are plenty of women in New York with pretty voices, toting acoustic guitars;  Kveli’s ability to shift seamlessly between genres, not to mention her fantastic band, puts her a cut above most of them. She also recorded this show, so she’s got a good live album to put out if she sees fit. In the meantime, she’s giving the subscription model a shot, sort of a Kickstarter where you get a new single from her over the next year every time she records one.

Dark, Brilliant Lyrical Tunesmithing from Nehedar

What is a tunesmith as catchy and lyrically powerful as Nehedar a.k.a. Emilia Cataldo doing so far under the radar? In a world where people who liked smart songwriting still listened to the radio, she would rule the airwaves. At heart, she’s a purist pop songwriter with a thing for oldschool soul, and a punk rock edge that sometimes defiantly raises its spiky head. Elsewhere, bits and pieces of so-called urban radio styles – hip-hop, trip-hop and neosoul – filter through the mix. Her lyrics draw biting, savage portraits of clinical depression littered with dashed hopes and dead dreams. And not only is she a brilliant songwriter, she’s also a great singer, with a big range that tops out way up the scale, and plenty of attention to lyrical detail. Lots of women with good voices sing everything the same way: Nehedar (Hebrew for “wondrous”) varies her approach depending on the lyrics. All of her albums are streaming at her Bandcamp page.

The one you ought to download right now is the freebee, Power Plant Beach, from a couple of years ago. The album cover graphic says a lot about the songwriting: in gentle pastels, a pink, sandy beach sits with a nuclear plant in the background. Kinda Simpsons, sure, but in a post-3/11 world there’s nothing more worrisome. Growling guitar and a tricky tempo fuel the opening track, They Lied, introducing a recurrent theme in her work. It’s the great powerpop hit Blondie never had. The stream-of-consciousness, neosoul-tinged Make the Sun Come Up is a lot more optimistic: “I wanna write the songs that make the sun come up,” she announces. Pretty Young Thing, a trip-hop tune, has the feel of a demo, or a one-woman band piece: it’s a cautionary tale about strangers with evil intent.

The political edge kicks in hard, Cataldo’s voice leaping and diving over a mix of burning powerpop and hip-hop on Debtor’s Lament:

I am not the sum of my belongings
Ad I am not the sum of my degrees
And I am not someone who is falling down to you
On my hands and my knees

Serious despair sets in on Headlights as it rises from an artsy piano ballad to more trip-hop. A little later on, she goes in the opposite direction with what might be her funniest song, My Roommate Is an Assclown: it’s pretty classic, something that will hit the spot with anyone who’s ever shared a private space with someone who doesn’t respect it. Then Cataldo brings back the stormclouds with Running Away, an escape anthem fueled by weird, off-center synth and elegant piano.

Over wickedly catchy major/minor powerpop changes, Let Down pensively explores at a scenario where “pain might be the same as beauty.” Another powerpop number, Sad Clown paints a bitter picture of being down and out in New York. The album’s last song, Metronome ponders a situation where the girl’s spinning her wheels and itching for a change, spiced with smoky organ and a surreal, sunbaked guitar solo.

Her latest album is This Heart. The songs here are a little quieter, bleaker and more defeated, in contrast with Cataldo’s bright, lively vocals and the melodies underneath. The first track, Bells of the City starts out nebulously, like Stereolab, and builds to a nonchalantly soaring, hip-hop-influenced chorus, “Building a nice career out of a life of fear, but the bells of the city call you home,” Cataldo sings without a hint of the menace that line implies. Take This World, a snarling guitar-driven garage rock tune, is one of Cataldo’s best, lyrically and musically:

Take this world from me
The dull monotony
The working endlessly, I’m giving up
Yes, take it all, I don’t care what you say
So fuck off yesterday, let’s burn it all
Everything you ever knew was a lie
Everyone you ever loved’s gonna die
They own the world I was born in, you see
All they want is to rent it to me
The only thing I ever thought was magic
Is the only thing I’ll never get to be…

Weight of Your Bones keeps the theme of alienation going over ba-bump cabaret rock done as new wave. What’s Becoming drolly juxtaposes tongue-in-cheek 80s Ghostbusters pop with an absolutely morose lyric. On Killing, a bolero, is another standout track, a brutally cynical portrait of wartime shellshock and its consequences.

The title track, a pensive folk-rock tune, offers guarded optimism: “This soul is very old, glad to be here, for reasons unclear,” Cataldo muses. Something to Call Mine, a breakup song, works an acoustic Nashville gothic vein. Why Do They Tell Me, a funky, Rhodes piano-driven soul song, brings back the angst:  “Time for the curtain or the door, ’cause nothing is certain anymore,” Cataldo laments. The bouncy, trumpet-spiced I Used to Have Friends is even sadder: “I’ll get them back someday when I’m not so down,” she insists quietly. Then she raises the energy again with the snide acoustic punk song A Dollar’s Fine, making fun of religious nuts: Cataldo is from Florida originally, and it’s easy to imagine her being surrounded by those kind of freaks when she was small.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, an eerie, apocalyptic trip-hop song,  keeps the quasi-religious metaphors going. To Be Small also has a trip-hop beat, a stark violin solo and more gothic imagery. The album ends with Bring It Up, a funky latin soul tune, maintaing the persistent tension between hope and despair that permeates Cataldo’s work. Although she’s not a frequent live performer, she’s very prolific in the studio: get to know her before these darkly catchy, often haunting songs go viral.

Wickedly Catchy, Artsy Noir Piano Rock from Hudson K

If you like Amanda Palmer, you’ll love Hudson K. The singer/keyboardist is at the Delancey on June 25 at 9. She’s got three albums up at her Bandcamp page including her 2010 release Shine, which is available as a free download -and has been sitting on the hard drive here since before this blog existed. Why so long to mention it? Waiting for her to play a show here, of course.

She’s a great tunesmith: many of the artsy, sometimes cabaret-flavored songs here are catchy beyond belief. Rippling, sometimes ornate layers of piano, organ and other keys mingle with tasty, tasteful electric guitar over a tight rhythm section. There’s also a little bit of an 80s feel to some of the songs, starting with the first track, Fade, with its hint of a second-generation retro-Motown bounce. All the Things I Never Say is sort of stadium-era Who done as dark cabaret, morphing into a brief southern-flavored jam. The pulsing title track sets stagy vocals over a biting clavinova tune, while Champion sets gorgeous Memphis soul guitar against a theatrical 80s-pop sheen.

Intricate orchestration disguises the inner pop song in I Gave It All, while Rattled reaches for a slow-burning va-voom cabaret-rock ambience. With its waltzing baroque intro and seductive vocals, I Could Learn from You sounds like Vera Beren without the screaming guitars. The most cabaret-oriented song here is Prayer for Love, dancing flute contrasting with hard-hitting, low-register piano, while Where Did You Go is the most allusive and menacing, a big anthem rising with waves of ominous organ. The album ends with a heavily altered live version of the old Irish ballad Oh Whiskey. Rip the tracks and check out the similarly dark, tuneful stuff she’s done since then.

Ferocious Psychedelic Rock and Catchy Guitar Pop from Black Water

Jersey City’s Black Water put out an excellent debut album, Disasters, a couple of years ago, setting anthemic 80s-influenced anthems to a bunch of different styles, from ska and reggae to dreampop. Their latest album, Friendly Fire, takes it to the next level: the addition of guitarist Gary Laurie has given them a much more ornate, artsy, psychedelic edge. The first part of the album is a series of ferocious art-rock songs, while most of the rest of it is more pop-oriented. The whole thing is streaming online.

The opening track, Andorra, works a biting,hard-hitting, flamenco-tinged vibe, setting the tone with a couple of tersely searing guitar solos. It segues into the second song, Spin, raising the energy with a stomping menace. As the band make their way through a series of thematic and rhythmic shifts, they evoke artsy 70s jambands like Nektar. Likewise, Miel, the third track, juxtaposes a mellow, Brazilian-tinged verse with a funky, stampeding. furiously chord-chopping theme. Sarcasm and anger are front and center: “Would it be all right if I tied you down so you could be the one to squirm?”

Keep On Movin’ would have been a huge top 40 hit back in the 70s – which is a compliment. A simple, metalish riff gets welded to a catchy four-chord chorus, with an unexpectedly artsy outro. Then Kaleidoscope takes the influences ten years forward: it’s a more ornate take on 80s new wave Motown (think Dexys Midnight Runners). Likewise, Rose (My Old Ways) nicks a chord progression from the Cure for an edgy 80s guitar pop feel.

The poppiest song here is The Thief, its morose lyric contrasting with its catchy, upbeat tune, lit up by a burning but elegant guitar solo. The last song goes back to the art-rock of the earlier tracks. “The war on drugs is a war on us” is the mantra, layers of guitars building to a screaming forest of reverb and maniacal chord-chopping: it’s a great anthem for politically aware stoners.

And here is where this blog does an epic fail. Black Water put out this album last spring, played a bunch of shows and sent a link to the album this way…where it sat, as spring turned to fall, and then one of the band members moved to North Carolina. So Black Water are currently on hiatus. If this is the end of the band, they got the max out of their time together, with two excellent albums. If not, it’s reason to look forward to seeing what Lloyd L. Naideck, Gary Laurie, Adam N. Copeland and Gerry Griffin do next.

Rich Purist Psychedelic Soul/Rock Sounds from Damian Quiñones

Damian Quiñones y Su Conjunto’s new album Gumball Ma-Jumbo - streaming in its entirety online – is a masterpiece of tunesmithing, an intricate mix of oldschool late 60s style psychedelic soul, rock and pop spiced with salsa, luscious horn charts, bubbling keys and nasty guitars. Quiñones is the man on the fretboard, jangling, slashing and taking all sorts of solos that blend sunbaked psychedelia with a terse, bluesy edge: he doesn’t waste a note. Likewise, as ornate as his arrangements can be, those don’t waste notes either. It’s one of the best albums of 2012.

Interestingly, the opening track is a wickedly catchy oldschool roots reggae song, a style that Quiñones will only come back to once here, but he nails it, with swirly organ, melodica flourishes, echoey tremoloing guitar and a lush horn chart. He follows that with the only song that really references anything after, say, 1975; it’s an attempt to blend retro 90s and 60s Britpop and it doesn’t really work. But the track after that is a treat – Barrio, pulsing along on a slinky clave beat, juxtaposes Fania-era Puerto Rican soul with a burning powerpop chorus and a tense, suspenseful interlude featuring two basslines. After that, Quiñones takes a pulsing soul song and makes it funkier every time the verse comes around, driven by blazing horns and judiciously slashing guitar fills.

Flyers starts out skeletal but quickly brings in a heavier psychedelic soul vibe: Quiñones’ distorted wah solo over Edwin Canito Garcia’s raw, slinky bassline after the second chorus is one of the highlights of the album. After Laura Mulholland’s tumbling piano intro, Malachi hits a punchy, swaying Big Star groove, Quiñones’ long, searing solo taking the song doublespeed until the end, where he doubletracks another solo alongside it: the effect is intense to say the least. The band follows that with I Know That You That I, blending 60s soul with noir Orbison pop.

What might be the best song – and definitely the best lyric – is Recuredos de Inez, sung in Spanish. Another richly arranged roots reggae tune, it builds to a majestic, regretful, noirishly anthemic crescendo lit up by artfully arranged horns. Or, the best song here might be the unexpectedly sarcastic, dismissive One Trick Pony, funky soul building to a scorching chorus and a series of jagged solos panning between the left and right channels: “It’s hard to discuss where you’ve been with a shoeshine part-time attitude,” Quiñones snarls.

The rest of the album includes Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, a psychedelically funky number like vintage Tower of Power but with more of a guitar-fueled edge; Shadow in the Sun, early 60s noir pop as Arthur Lee might have done it – but with a disco beat – and French Tickler, a tango-rock epic. What links all this together is that Quiñones and his band never play a verse or chorus the same way twice. There’s always a cool addition or subtraction, a subtle accent or rumble from drummer Seth Johnson or percussionist Brian Higbie, or a swell from the brass: trumpeters Brian Baker and Geoffrey Hull and trombonist Gregorio Hernandez lock together and rise like a single mighty horn. It gets better with repeated listening. Watch this space for upcoming shows.

OK, Time to Cheer Up

For everybody who’s feeling gloomy because of the rain or Lakeside closing, or a million other reasons, here’s something to cheer you up, a free download from Philly retro pop band the Tough Shits: a minute 48 seconds of pure jangly sunshine. Grab a download of Birds Don’t Get Tired of Flying here

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