New York Music Daily

Global Music With a New York Edge

Daily updates – if you go out a lot, you might want to bookmark this page and check back regularly.

If you’re leaving your hood, don’t get stuck waiting for a train that never comes, make sure you check the MTA delays and out-of-service page for service cancellations and malfunctions, considering how unreliable the subway is at night and on the weekend.

If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like their particular kind of music. Many different styles to choose from.

Showtimes listed here are set times, not the time doors open – if a listing says something like “9ish,” that means it’ll probably start later than advertised. If you see a show listed without the start time, that’s because either the artist, their publicist or the venue in question sent incomplete info – those acts are usually listed last on a particular date.  Always best to check with the venue for the latest information on set times and door charges, since that information is often published here weeks in advance.

If you see a typo or an extra comma or something like that, remember that while you were out seeing that great free concert that you discovered here, somebody was up late after a long day of work editing and adding listings to this calendar ;)

Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar:

Daily in January, 2-5 PM Aki Onda restages radical Filipino composer José Maceda’s Ugnayan, “an expansive audience participatory work for radio which premiered at 6 PM on New Year’s Day, 1974. Arguably the most ambitious, provocative, and controversial work in his repertoire, the fifty-one-minute-long piece consisted of twenty separate tracks, each to be played on a different public radio frequency simultaneously, producing a musical atmosphere at the scale of the city. All thirty-seven radio stations in the metropolitan Manila area turned over their channel for Maceda’s sound diffusion, with some tracks playing from multiple stations. Millions of listeners tuned in. Manila’s parks, plazas, and street corners were converted into what the composer called “Ugnayan Centers”—142 locations in all. In one of the biggest, 15,000 people congregated, their personal radios creating a stunningly knotted mass of sounds. In addition to the 20 transmitters and 20 radios installed at the gallery, visitors are encouraged to bring their own FM transistor radios and contribute to the installation by tuning into one of the transmitting frequencies,” at the Fridman Gallery, 169 Bowery

On select Wednesdays and Sundays, an intimate, growing piano music salon on the Upper West Side featuring iconoclastically insightful, lyrical pianist Nancy Garniez – a cult favorite with an extraordinarily fluid, singing, legato style – exploring the delicious minutiae of works from across the centuries, beverages and lively conversation included! This winter’s agenda is Childhood Classics: A series of three evenings featuring the music we were forced to play – music composed expressly for children, Bach to Kurtag, like it or not, and conversation about that experience, about the piano, and about ongoing musical growth…4 PM on January 19, February 16, and March 15, sug don, email for details/address

Mondays at 7 PM multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman’s popular western swing band Brain Cloud at Barbes followed at 9:30 PM by a variety of tropical bands playing cumbias, boogaloo, salsa, maybe all of the above.. Brain Cloud are also playing their 10th anniversary show on Nov 22 at 9 PM at the Jalopy for $20

Mondays at the Jazz Standard it’s all Mingus, whether with the Mingus Orchestra, Big Band or Mingus Dynasty: as jazz goes, it’s arguably the most exhilarating show of the week, every week. The first-rate players always rise to the level of the material. Sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 and worth it.

Mondays at the Vanguard the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra – composer Jim McNeely’s reliably good big band vehicle – plays 9/11 PM, $35 per set plus drink minimum.

Mondays starting at 9:30 PM Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play two sets at Union Pool. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically woke, sexy original songs and is one of the most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. It’s a crazy dance party. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the usual lead soloist on baritone sax, with frequent special guests. Sizzling guitarist Binky Griptite – Sharon Jones’ lead player – is also often there.

Tuesdays at 9 PM, clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Barbes (check the club calendar), $10 cover.

Wednesdays at 9ish the Binky Griptite Orchestra (formerly Sharon Jones’ brilliant oldschool soul backing band) at Threes Brewing Outpost, 113 Franklin St (Greenpoint/Kent Aves) in Greenpoint, free

Most Thursdays at 8:30, the Brooklyn Raga Massive – a rotating cast of A-list Indian, jazz and rock musicians who love to jam out classic Indian themes from over the centuries to the present day – play the Jalopy, $15 adv tix at the bar at the main space. Tons of special guests followed by a wild raga jam!

Fridays at 7:30 PM tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser leads his band at the Django. Jukebox jazz in a JD Allen vein but not as dark and more straight-ahead/groove-oriented: as postbop party music goes, nobody’s writing better than this guy right now.

Saturdays in January the only 4 PM free concert at Bargemusic; is on 1/4.  These are usually weekly and typically feature solo piano or small chamber ensembles. If you get lucky, you’ll catch pyrotechnic violinist/music director Mark Peskanov and/or the many members of his circle. Early arrival advised.

Saturdays in January, 6 PM wildly eclectic, edgy,lyrical soul/jazz cellist/singer Marika Hughes at Barbes

Most Sundays at 5:15 PM starting in late September, a free recital on the amazing, powerful, dynamic new organ at St. Thomas Church at 5th Ave and 53rd St. featuring some of the world’s greatest organists. The space is magnificent and the music usually is too. Right now the church fathers are programming pretty much everybody who used to work here and play the mighty old Aeolian-Skinner organ that finally had to be replaced. Check the concert calendar for details.

Sundays in January at 8 PM purist guitarist Peter Mazza – who gets the thumbs up from bop-era legend Gene Bertoncini – leads a series of groups at the Bar Next Door

Sundays at 9:30 PM paradigm-shifting Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel leads his band at Barbes – check the club calendar just to make sure.

1/1-2 7:30 PM the core of the early 90s Smalls scene: Peter Bernstein (guitar), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Omer Avital (bass) at Mezzrow, $20

1/1, 8 PM psychedelic klezmer/bluegrass mandolin and clarinet legend Andy Statman at Barbes, $10

1/1, 9 PM sweeping, swinging vibraphonist Behn Gillece and group at the Fat Cat

1/2, 7 PM poignant, nuanced jazz singer Amy Cervini leads her quartet at 55 Bar

1/2, 7:30 PM ferocious rising star saxophonist Chet Doxas leads a trio at Smalls

1/2, 7:30 PM Alicia Olatuja at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised. The soul belter has been super popular since singing at the second Obama inauguration. Opinions vary on  the flash vs. substance factor

1/2-5, 7:30/9:30 PM purist trumpeter Sean Jones leads his acoustic “electric quartet” at the Jazz Standard, $30

1/2, 8 PM oldschool latin soul and upbeat Americana with Nikki and the Human Element at Otto’s

1/2. 8 PM ish grim slowcore band Cathari at St. Vitus, $10

1/2, 8 PM the Underground Spiritual Ground, a new supergroup and Anbessa Orchestra spinoff exploring the connection between African-American spirituals, Ethiopian and Caribbean music followed by purposefully atmospheric indie classical guitarist Gyan Riley at Barbes

1/2. 8:30 PM sitarist Galen Passen and band mash up Celtic and Indian themes at the Jalopy, $15

1/2. 8:30 ish psychedelic supergroup the Elgin Marbles feat. members of Love Camp 7, Dervisi and Peter Stampfel’s jug band at Troost

1/2-5, 8:30 PM a Herbie Nichols 100th bday celebration at the Stone at the New School, $20. Choice pick: the 1/5 show with Roswell Rudd’s Trombone Tribe plays Herbie Nichols with Deborah Weisz, Josh Roseman, Art Baron, Steve Swell (trombones) Bob Stewart (tuba) Steven Bernstein (conductor, trumpet)

1/2, 10 PM the great unsung NYC hero of darkly purposeful, noir-tinged jazz guitar, Saul Rubin is very busy early this month. He’s at the Fat Cat tonight, then back here on 1/7 at 7 followed at 9 by exploratory, brassy salsa dura band La Sonora Nuyorkina, then back on 1/14 at 7. He’s also at Smalls 1/3-4 at 7:30 PM where he’s followed at 10:30 by  sizzling postbop saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s quartet with Brian Charette on organ.

1/3, 7:30 PM composers Fiona Gillespie and Elliot Cole premiere their new suite, a modern adaptation of the 18th-century Scottish ballad Tam Lin at 1 Rivington St., $15

1/3-4, 8 PM, repeating 1/4 also at 2 PM and 1/7 at 7:30 PM th NY Philharmonic play works by Mozart, Haydn and Respighi, $34 tix avail

1/3,  8 PM playfully lyrical, fearlessly political superduo Kill Henry Sugar – guitar/banjo mastermind Erik Della Penna and drummer Dean Sharenow – followed at 10 by Rana Santacruz – the Mexican Shane MacGowan, but without the booze if you can imagine that – at Barbes

1/3, 8 PM intense, soaring harmonium player/singer Elana Low at Branded Saloon

1/3, 8 PM the NJ Symphony Orchestra  with pianist Inon Barnatan play Smetana’s The Moldau, Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto and excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet at NJPAC in Newark, $20 tix avail

1/3, 8:30 PM hard-driving postbop tenor saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins‘ Wire quartet at Seeds, $15

1/3. 9 PM  moodily lyrical, politically savvy Irish folk-rocker Niall Connolly at the small room at the Rockwood. Fiery, psychedelically bluesy oldschool soul/roadhouse jamband Lizzie & the Makers  are just down the block at 10 at the big room

1/3. 10:30 PM catchy Booker T-esque soul jazz with the David Gibson/Jared Gold Hammond B3 organ band at the Fat Cat

1/4, 2:30 PM the NY Classical Players perform Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132 at the NYPL for the Performing Arts out back of Lincoln Center free

1/4, 6 PM wildly eclectic, edgy, lyrical soul/jazz cellist/singer Marika Hughes followed at 8 by the furry-suited, oldtimey jazz Xylopholks and at 10 by epic ranchera/bolero brass crew Banda de los Muertos at Barbes

1/4, 7:30 PM purposeful Chicago-style blues guitarslinger Bobby Radcliff – lots of notes but none of them wasted – at Terra Blues

1/4, 8 PM trippy, dubby roots reggae and ska sounds with Avo & Skalopy at the Jalopy Tavern

1/4, 8 PM darkly lyrical psychedelic pop songwriter Jennifer Hall at the Parkside

1/4-5, 8 PM playwright Sarah Krasnow and bassist James IIgenfritz at Honey’s, 93 Scott Ave, Bushwick, L to Jefferson St., $10

1/4, 9 PM Unsteady Freddie‘s monthly surf rock extravaganza at Otto’s with wickedly jangly surf/twang/country instrumentalists the Bakersfield Breakers , at 10 exotic vibraphone-driven surf band the Vibro-jets, at 11 ageless, jangly, purist NY surf rock originals the Supertones

1/4, 9 PM impassioned, politically fearless soul/blues singer Kemp Harris and band at the big room at the Rockwood, $20

1/4, 8:30 PM the Delorean Sisters – who do funny oldtimey acoustic covers of cheesy 80s pop songs – at Freddy’s

1/4, 9ish  slinky, hypnotic, percussive Moroccan trance band Innov Gnawa at the Owl

1/4, 9ish pummeling oldschool Brit-style punk band Krimewatch plus shrieky, sludgy noise-doom band Skourge at St. Vitus, $12

1/4, 10:30 PM Los Cumpleanos – with Nestor Gomez – vox/percussion; Lautaro Burgos – drums; Eric Lane – keyboards; Alex Asher – trombone and others playing trippy, dubwise tropical psychedelia, and the latin/Balkan/New Orleans-tinged Underground Horns at Drom, $10\

1/5, 2 PM pianist Marika Bournaki plays Beethoven sonatas including the Hammerklavier at Bargemusic, $35/$30 sr/$20stud

1/5, 3 PM bassist Jeremy McCoy and pianist Aurelia Mika Chang perform works by Domenico Dragonetti, Reinhold Gliere, Arni Egilsson, and Vilmos Montag at St Pauls Chapel downtown, free, reception to follow

1/5, 4 PM  the intense, historically inspired oldtime blues/gospel Piedmont Blūz string band at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, $10

1/5, 5:30 PM brilliant pianist Emilio Solla’s Tango Jazz Orchestra at Birdland, $30 gen adm. Followed at 9;30 (separate $30 adm) by the fearlessly relevant, toweringly intense Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, who are also back here on 1/19

1/5. 7ish metalcore shredders Steel Bearing Hand, the even faster death metal Vomit Forth and the murkier Frozen Soul at St. Vitus, $12

1/5, 7 PM Middle Eastern-inspired cellist Ian Maksin at the Poisson Rouge, $20 adv tix rec

1/5, 7 PM Wit & Daniel: – a new duo project featuring atmospheric jazz guitarist, Prawit Siriwat, and improvising bassist, Daniel Durst – plus the similarly ambient Matt Forker, guitar and compositions; Lesley Mok, drums; Jonah Wolfson, drums; Lisa Hoppe, bass; David Acevedo, trumpet; Gabe Fraivillig, trombone and Sonya Belaya at Spectrum, $15

1/5, 8 PM Monograms – who do as good a mid-80s Cure impression as any band alive – at Alphaville, $10

1/5, 8 PM eclectic jazz bassist Or Bareket leads his quartet at Seeds, $15

1/5, 8 PM perennially tuneful, pensively lyrical Americana janglerocker Mike Ferrio of Tandy and Good Luck Mountain at 11th St. Bar

1/5, 8:30ish satirical rock night: Chris Root‘s Lulu Temple Motor Unit (a Shriner joke) followed by gonzo storyteller Mike Edison‘s band which often features Jon Spencer on lead guitar

1/5, 8:30ish  cinematic guitarist Pat Irwin and boisterous swing/ska trombonist J. Walter Hawkes do their ambient thing at Troost

1/6, 7 PM sound artists including the ambient Ginny Benson, Dani Dobkin, and bassist Bernd Klug, at the Fridman Gallery 169 Bowery, $20

1/6, 7:30 PM the Parker Quartet with clarinetist Anthony McGill, clarinet play works by Mozart, Salonen and Shostakovich’s twistedly hilarious String Quartet No. 9 at Music Mondays, Advent Church, northwest corner of 93rd and Broadway, free

1/6-8, 8:30 PM the powerfully resonant multimedia concert Broken Silence with“Erin Rogers (tenor saxophone), Kristen McKeon (alto saxophone), Dan Joseph, Dev Ray and Alex Lahoski (ebow steel string acoustic guitars) and Craig Shepard (narrator) “present music supporting listeners to engage with text drawn from court testimony connected with the ongoing scandal in the Catholic Church:” a tthe DiMenna Center, The point is to create a sonically healing space. No charge for admission. Seating is limited rsvp req 

1/6, 8:30 PM cutting-edge vibraphonist Joel Ross plays a rare trio show at Seeds, $15

1/6, 9ish new Brookliyn honkytonk band Lissy & the Jacks at the Jalopy Tavern

1/6, 10 PM haphazard dark punkish female-fronted band Cruel Children at Muchmore’s

1/7, 7 PM JAV (guitar, Buenos Aires), Joanna Mattrey (viola), Andrew Drury (percussion) improvise at Soup & Sound ,sug don

1/7-8, 7:30-/9:30 PM Ryan Truesdell leads his big band playing an all Bob Brookmeyer program at the Jazz Standard, $30

1/7, 8 PM  multistylistic, lyrical, improvisational cellist Rufus Cappodocia solo followed by clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Barbes, $10

1/7, 8 PM Florida retro 60s soul/funk band Patrick & the Swayzees at the Mercury, $10. Followed at 10 ($10 separate admission) by  female-fronted stoner boogie band the Loud Soft Loud

1/7, 8 PM a killer trio twinbill: intensely tuneful baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton‘s Predicate Trio followed by  jazz cellist Tomeka Reid leading her similarly translucent, edgy one at Seeds, $15

1/7, 8 PM violinist Francisco Fullana, harpist Bridget Kibbey, clarinetist Louis Arques, and Metropolis Ensemble play works by Clarice Assad, JP Jofre and others at the Poisson Rouge, $10 adv tix rec

1/7, 9 PM wickedly jangly surf/twang/country instrumentalists the Bakersfield Breakers at 11th St Bar

1/7, 11 PM noir-tinged pianist Frank Kimbrough leads a trio at Birdland, $30 at the bar

1/8, 1 PM the Kila Quartet play Mozart: String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K 465 (“Dissonance”) and Bartók’s harrowing String Quartet No. 3 at the Greene Space, free w/rsvp

1/8, 7:30/9 PM playfully lyrical French jazz singer/composer Camille Bertault with similarly vivid pianist Leo Genovese at Mezzr0w, $20

1/8. 8 PM haunting, fearsomely powerful soul belter and noir Americana songstress Karen Dahlstrom at the Svendale Tasting Room, 486 Court St. (4th Pl/Luquer), Carroll Gardens, F to Carroll St

1/8, 8 PM otherworldly French-Algerian singer Ourida with her combo at Barbes

1/8, 8 PM ferociously powerful, politically fearless southern gothic guitar/banjo player Amythyst Kiah at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, $20 gen adm

1/8, 9 PM Grace Kelly All Day – imagine the Talking Heads with genuine menace, echoes of dark punk and Laurel canyon psychedelia – at St. Vitus, $10

1/9, 7 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis at 55 Bar

1/9-10, 7:30/930 PM  this era’s most cutting-edge, politically relevant large jazz ensemble, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at the Jazz Gallery, $30

1/9, 7:30/9:30 PM  terse, purposeful rising star postbop saxophonist Melissa Aldana leads a quartet with Shai Maestro on piano at the Jazz Standard, $30

1/9, 1/12 and 1/15-17, 730 PM Garrett Fisher’s Indian and Japanese-inspired Blood Moon, “A contemporary response to a 15th century Noh play, Blood Moon uses choreography, puppetry, and a Taiko-infused score to create a meditation on the end of life, the nature of joy, regret, and whether atonement is possible,” at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, $35 tix avail

1/9, 7:30 PM, repeating 1/11 at 8 pianist Paul Lewis performs Grieg’s Romantic Piano Concerto with the NY Philharmonic who then tackle Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, $32 tix avail

1/9, 8 PM twinkly, chimey female-fronted dreampop/janglerock band Lunar Vacation at Baby’s All Right, $15

1/9, 8 PM bassist Michael Bates’ potentially incendiary chamber jazz band Acrobat with Mazz Swift-violin; Sara Schoenbeck-bassoon followed by eclectic violinist Dana Lyn’s protean, psychedelic, ecologically woke jazz project Mother Octopus at the Owl

1/9, 8 PM unpredictable sound sculptor Thessia Machado, electronic performer Melody Loveless, instrumental builder Viola Yip and flutist Roberta Michel explore diverse textures at Arete Gallery $15

1/9, 8:30pm cuatro shredder Jorge Glem & pianist Cesar Orozco ;9:15pm –  polymath latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill leads a small group; 10:00pm – majestic, slinky cumbia accordionist/bandleader Gregorio Uribe ; 10:45pm Afro-Cuban salsa group Okan’11:45pm – psych-funk/disco group People of Earth at Drom, $15 adv tix rwc. Uribe and band are also here on 1/17 for the same deal, general admission

1/9, 7 PM eclectic indie classical/Americana banjo player Jayme Stone at the basement room at the Rockwood, $15. At 9 PM unpredictably fun, funny  art-rock/psychedelic soul band the Academy Blues Project  are at the small room there, and on 1/24 at 10 PM they’re at Shrine for $10

1/9, 10 PM feral bassist Brandon Lopez  and TAK Ensemble improvise at the Fridman Gallery, 169 Bowery, $20

1/9, 10:30 PM colorful bassist Joris Teepe leads a quintet with Wayne Escoffery on sax and Leo Genovese on piano at Smalls

1/10, 6 PM soaringly lyrical, fearlessly intense acoustic tunesmith Linda Draper at the American Folk Art Museum

1/10. 6 PM  irrepressible, historically informed, crystalline-voiced folk noir/art-rock/loopmusic songwriter Elisa Flynn and pensive lo-fi chamber pop band Teething Veils at Holo, sug don. 1/16 at 8 PM she’s at Lizzie King’s Parlor, 75A 5th Ave (Warren/St. Marks)., Park Slope, closest train is actually the 2/3 to Bergen St

1/10, 6 PM crystalline-voiced, noir-tinged third-stream jazz chanteuse Tessa Souter followed at 10 by maginative, purist jazz drummer Dan Pugach’s Nonet at 55 Bar

1/10, 7 PM playfully intense female-fronted Balkan band Blisk;  7:45pm flamenco funk guitarist Juan Carmona ; 8:30pm flamenco songstress/guitarist Mamselle Ruiz; 9:15pm Digging Roots – who mash up gutter blues, folk noir and dub reggae -10:00pm Haitian hip-hop artist Vox Sambou ; 10:45pm  kitchen sink Brazilian/C&W/funk/New Orleans band Nation Beat ;11:30pm Danish klezmer band Mames Babagenush at Drom, free

1/10, 7 PM a rare US performance by stark, hypnotic Siberian Sakha Republic folk artists and khomus players Yuliyana Krivoshapkina and Nachyn Choreve at the Rubin Museum of Art, $30

1/10, 7:30 PM Longleash play Beethoven’s Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3 and Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70 No. 1 “Ghost” – paired with two contemporary responses: John Zorn’s Ghosts, and a Reiko Füting world premiere at Flushing Town Hall, $25/$15 stud/srs. The program repeats 1/12 at 3 at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Ave, same deal

1/10, 7:30/9:30 PM purposeful Serbian composr Rale Micic on guitar with Jared Gold switching from organ to guitar – wow! – and Jason Tiemann on drums at the Bar Next Door, $12, should be interesting

1/10, 8 PM bassist Sean Lovato‘s Microcosms band with Patti Kilroy on violin and Santiago Liebson on piano followed by bassist Lisa Hoppe‘s Jein trio with Todd Neufeld on guitar at Scholes St Studios

1/10, 8 PM trumpeter Ben Holmes’ broodingly Middle Eastern/klezmer-tinged Naked Lore trio followed at 10 by followed at 10 by Super Yamba playing their bracingly psychedelic Afrobeat jams at Barbes

1/10, 8 PM charismatic loopmusic cellist Maya Beiser plays her new album Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar – a new cello arrangement of Bowie’s last album – at the World Financial Center, free

1/10, 8 PM ambitiously lyrical latin jazz pianist Aruan Ortiz at Happy Lucky No. 1 Gallery $20

1/10-11, 8 PM Jeremy Schonfeld’s epic 200-person rock opera Iron & Coal, exploring the death of his Holocaust survivor father at the Lynch Theatre at John Jay College, 524 W 59th St. $35 tix avail

1/10-11. 8 PM Eliza Bent’s Toilet Fire, “a ceremony and celebration of the one thing that unites us all. Using the structure of an ancient religious ritual to talk about matters of digestion, philosophy and faith, Toilet Fire explodes with song, story, audience participation, and unexpected textual twists,” i.e. the philosophy of potty jokes? at Vital Joint, 109 Meserole St., L to Montrose Ave $20

1/10, 9 PM a rare solo show by Girls on Grass’ psychedelic guitar goddess Barbara Endes followed by catchy funk-punk/new wave band Dolly Trolly at Branded Salooon

1/10, 9 PM in reverse order: gamelanesque percussion innovator Susie Ibarra and Dreamtime Ensemble; Allard van Hoorn transmits wavelength-patterns of his new photography series on a Moog synthesizer,at the Fridman Gallery 169 Bowery, $20

1/10 ,9 PM subtle, purposeful soul guitarist/singer Julia Ziwic at the small room at the Rockwood; at 11 PM lively oldtimey swing road warriors the Bumper Jacksons are at the basement room there for $15

1/10, 10 PM the Hillbenders play their deadpan hilarious bluegrass version of the Who’s Tommy followed by Celti-grass band We Banjo 3 at Iridium, $25

1/10, 11:30 PM brilliant Danish klezmer jazz ensemble Mames Babagenush at Drom, free. 1/11 at 8:30 they’re at Mehanata for $20, 1/12 at 2 PM they’re at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church, 155 E 22nd St. ,then 1/13 at 7:30 they’re at the Manhattan JCC for $25, then 1/18 they’re at Golden Fest

1/11, 3 PM Music for 7 Violas by the Momenta Quartet‘s Stephanie Griffin and Tony Prabowo at the Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse, between McClellan and East 166th, St D to 167th St, free

1/11, 5 PM chanteuse/uke player Dahlia Dumont’s Blue Dahlia playing edgy, smartly lyrically-fueled, jazz-infused tunes in English and French with classic chanson and Caribbean influences followed eventually at 7 by edgy dobro player and Americana/jazz singer  Abbie Gardner at the small room at the Rockwood. Lush, wildly eclectic pan-Mediterranean art-rock/latin/chanson ensemble Banda Magda play down the block at the big room at 9;30 for $15

1/11, 5 PM Sufi percussionist/vocalist Kamyar Arsani at the Center for Remembering and Sharing, $20

1/11, 7:15 ish dark psychedelic, ferociously entertaining acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues.

1/11 ,7:30/9:30 PM ambitious, smart, noir-inclined tenor saxophonist Patrick Cornelius  with Rick Rosato on bass and Carl Allen on drums at the Bar Next Door, $12

1/11, 4 PM tango guitarist Adam Tully followed at 9:30 by  accordion genius Shoko Nagai’s haunting, increasingly loud and psychedelic Tokala Silk Road/klezmer mashup project and then at 11 by pyrotechnic singer Kamala Sankaram’s slinky, surfy, cinematic cumbia/Bollywood band Bombay Rickey at Barbes

1/11, 6 PM the Ekstasis cello-piano Duo play French chamber music by Faure, Ravel, Poulenc and others at Merkin Concert Hall, free

1/11, 7 PM Sounds of Siberia feat. Yuliyana and Nachyn; spellbinding Palestinian oudist Huda Asfour 7:45 PM ; Afro-latin jazz saxophonist Cochemea 8:30 PM;’ bhangra mastermind Sunny Jain’s Wild Wild East 9:15 PM ; psychedelic latin soul band Alba and the Mighty Lions 10:00 PM excellent psychedelic tropicalia/live dub band Combo Lulo 10:45 PM’ Haitian conscious rapper Vox Sambou 11:30 PM; Lyon-based rai bandleader Sofiane Saidi and Mazalda 12:15 AM; more trippy dubwise tropical grooves with Los Cumpleaños 1:00 AM at Drom, $10

 1/11, 7 PM pensive Virginia Americana chanteuse Dori Freeman at the basement room at the Rockwood, $12

 1/11, 7:30/9:30 PM rapturous  pan-Asian singer/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu plays her haunting, elegaic solo Zero Grasses suite at the Jazz Gallery, $30

1/11. 8 PM pensive, anthemic parlor pop songwriter Jess Clinton followed by the more trad front-porch style Diana Jones at the People’s Voice Cafe, sugg don, $20, “more if you choose; less if you can’t; no one turned away.”

1/11, 8 PM  soprano Lucy Dhegrae sings works on themes of trauma and triumph by Eve Beglarian, Osnat Netzer, Katherine Young plus pieces by Guillaume de Machaut, Poulenc and others at National Sawdust, $25 adv tix rec

1/11, 9 PM explosive, theatrical, phantasmagorical indie/metal band A Deer A Horse followed by scampering, irrepressibly fun girlpunk/psychedelic band Sharkmuffin at the Broadway, $12. Sharkmuffin are also at Our Wicked Lady on 1/19 at 10:30 for $10

1/11, 10 PM Joanna Mattrey plays the album release for her new one with solo improvised and prepared viola pieces at the Fridman Gallery 169 Bowery, $20,

1/11, 10 PM sizzling electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Skinny Dennis

1/12, noon fiery ecological activist/bandleader Rev. Billy and his massive original gospel-style choir at Joe’s Pub, $15

1/12, 2 PM exhilarating klezmer/latin/cumbia jamband Metropolitan Klezmer and their mostly-female sister band Isle of Klezbos at the Cutting Room, $20 adv tix rdc

1/12, 4 PM first-rate purist honkytonk crooner/bandleader Cliff Westfall and his killer band at Skinny Dennis

1/12, 5 PM the Sometime Boys’ riveting, powerful, theatrical frontwoman Sarah Mucho at Freddy’s

1/12, 5 PM, repeating 1/15 at 7 fearless impresario/pianist Yelena Grinberg plays Handel keyboard suites  at her upper westside piano salon, reception to follow, $35, close to the 1/2/3 train at 96th St., deets here 

1/12, 5:30 PM fiery pianist Connie Han at Birdland, $30 at the bar. Followed at 7 (separate $20 adm) by whirlwind jazz drummer Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom

1/12, 6 PM noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at 55 Bar

1/12, 7 PM the multimedia performance Come‘Round Right pairs sculptural set pieces by Mara Baldwin, inspired by Shaker furniture and crafts, with music by Sarah Hennies based on Shaker hymns, illustrating a Shaker ghost town and its legacy at National Sawdust, $25 adv  tix rec

1/12, 7ish eclectic Americana/front porch folk songstresss Mary-Elaine Jenkins, janglerock guitar maven Teddy Thompson at around 8, then a lame, fussy faux-soul duo and at 10 irrepressible, high-voltage Americana harmony trio Red Molly at Bowery Ballroom, $20 adv tix available at the Mercury

1/12, 7 PM soaring, politically relevant, brilliantly purposeful alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon with pianist Gerald Clayton at Teatro Latea 107 Suffolk St.,, $20/$15 stud

1/12. 8 PM sound artists Todd Barton, Rachelle Rahmé, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe build a hypnotic dystopic dreamscape at Roulette, $18 adv tix rec

1/12, 8 PM a super rare NYC appearance by New Zealand’s trombone-driven Rodger Fox Big Band with singer Erna Ferry at Shapeshifter Lab, sug don

1/12, 8:30 PM articulate, lyrical third-stream jazz pianist Laila Biali at the basement room at the Rockwood, $10

1/13, 6 PM the Greenpoint Songwriters Exchange – a diverse bunch playing everything from folk noir to Costelloesque, literary rock to Indian ragas and oldschool soul – at Pete’s

1/13, 6:30 PM bassist Lisa Hoppe with Samantha Boshnak on trumpet and Stephen Boegehold on drums at the Bar Next Door, free wow

 1/13, 7 PM tuneful postbop pianist Jim Ridl leads his group from behind the Rhodesl at 55 Bar

1/13, 7:30 PM in reverse order at the Poisson Rouge: Kevin Eubanks and  erudite pianist Orrin Evans,, whirlwind jazz drummer Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom, plus allstar all-female jazz crew Artemis, $25 adv tix rec

1/13, 8 PM the String Orchestra of Brooklyn celebrate the release of their first studio album, afterimage, with a performance of Chris Cerrone’s High Windows and Jacob Cooper’s Stabat Mater Dolorosa at Roulette, $18 adv tix rec

1/13 8:30 PM exhilarating klezmer/latin/cumbia jamband Metropolitan Klezmer at Drom, free

1/13, midnight boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at the Ear Inn

1/14, half past noon Italian organist Mario Verdicchio plays a program tba at Central Synagogue, Lex/54th, free

1/14, 7 PM dark cinematic klezmer art-rockers Barbez‘s Dan Kaufman in a rare duo with percussionist/vibraphonist John Bollinger followed by clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Barbes, $10

1/14, 7 PM eclectic, hard-hitting, lyrical composer/tenor saxophonist Stan Killian at 55 Bar

1/14-15, 7:30/930 PM  the haunting, smokily atmospheric Michael Leonhart Orchestra at the Jazz Standard, $30. Anat Cohen joins the band on the 14th!

1/14, 7:30 PM the Escher String Quartet with pianist Juho Pohjonen play the Debussy String Quartet plus works by Suk, Brahms and Janacek at Alice Tuly Hall, $34 tix avail

1/14, 8 PM the Istanbul Trio – who with oud, lyra, guitar, vocals, bass and percussion are really a sextet – at Sisters Brooklyn, 900 Fulton St, C to Clinton-Washington, sug don

1/14, 8 PM sizzling Hungarian punk-folk/art-rock string band Bohemian Betyars at Drom, $10 adv tix rec

1/14, 8 PM a good terse, minimalistically intense, lyrically haunting female songwriter twinbill: Erin Durant and Claire Cronin at Trans-Pecos, $10

1/15, 6 PM multistylistic jazz singer/bandleader Tammy Scheffer followed by hard-hitting bassist Dawn Drake & Zapote‘playing psychedelic Afrobeat and funk  at the small room at the Rockwood.  Pastoral gothic accordion art-rock band Sam Reider & the Human Hands are down the block at the big room for $15 at 7

1/15, 7:30 PM cutting-edge, fearlessly woke postbop jazz powerhouse the Curtis Bros. play the album release show for their new one at Dizzy’s Club, $35

1/15, 7:30 PM, 1/16-18 at 8 and 1/18 at 2 PM, “set in a graveyard filled with the persistent cries of visitors in mourning and the music of Zulu Isicathamiya singers , the death-fixated lamentation Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro draws inspiration from Zakes Mda’s novel,  Cion and Ravel’s Boléro” at the Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave, $35 tix avail

1/15, 8 PM darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini  followed at 10 by energetic delta blues/Romany swing guitaris Felix Slim  at LIC Bar. He’s also there on 1/19 at 9

1/15, 8 PM feral guitarist Brandon Seabrook leads a trio wih Dan Levin – cello and Henry Fraser – bass at Barbes

1/15-18, 8 PM Deniz Khateri‘s new multimedia performance The Cellos’ Dialogue, “ tells the story of a woman from the Middle East who has immigrated to America and suddenly finds herself struggling with an unexpected pregnancy. Musical experimentation, puppetry, projections, poetic language and action paint an expressionistic portrait of the woman’s tortured psyche as she wrestles with her circumstance,” at Patch Works, 98 Moore St. (Graham/Humboldt), South Williamsburg, J/M to Lorimer St, $20

1/15-19, 8:30 PM darkly tuneful pianist Kris Davis leads a series of ensembles at the Stone at the New School, $20. Choice pick: the 1/18 show with Ingrid Laubrock (sax) Trevor Dunn (bass) Tom Rainey (drums) Mat Maneri (viola) and special guest Jen Shyu (voice)

 1/15, 8:30 PM pyrotechnic clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski’s of the NY Gypsy All-Stars with pianist Ruslan Agababayev at Drom, $10

1/15, 10 PM hotshot fiddler Josie Toney‘s oldtimey string band at Pete’s

 1/15, 10:30 PM tight doom metal band Eternal Black at Arlene’s, $10

 1/16, 7 PM uncluttered, darkly diverse Americana band Kaylor & the Tin Cans at the big room at the Rockwood, $10

1/16, 7:30/9:30 PM bassist Chris Tordini leads a quartet with Red Wierenga on accordion and Anna Webber on tenor sax at the Jazz Gallery, $15

1/16, 7:30 PM Nicaraguan crooner Luis Enrique and wild cuatro band C4 Trio at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

1/16-19, 7:30/9:30 PM pyrotechnic postbop tenor saxophonist  David Murray leads his explosive octet at the Jazz Standard, $30

1/16, 7:30 PM noir-tinged art-rock bandleader Agnes Obel at National Sawdust, $25 adv tix rec

1/16, 7:30 PM pianist Per Tengstrand plays Beethoven’s Moonlight, Appasionnata and Pathetique Sonatas at Scandinavia House, $25

 1/16, 7:30 PM acerbic, enigmatic, Lynchian parlor pop/new wave/avant garde band Dollshot followedc by hypnotic minimalist postrockers Matt McBane & Build at Shapeshifter Lab, $tba

 1/16, 7:30 PM oldtime Americana maven Dom Flemons at Symphony Space, $20 for 30 and under, $30 otherwise

1/16, 8 PM feral guitarist Brandon Seabrook‘s twin-drum band Die Trommel Fatale at Nublu 151, $15

1/16, 8 PM edgy lead guitarist Damian Quinones and his psychedelic latin soul band followed by explosive, creepy, colorful psychedelic rembetiko metal band Greek Judas at Barbes

1/16, 8 PM a rare NYC performance by Luxemourg pianist Sabine Weyer with works by Bacri, Scriabin and Miaskovsky at Arete Gallery, $20

1/16, 8 PM the Furies perform their program “A Cure For Hysteria,” featuring 21st century works by Jennifer Walshe, Olga Neuwirth, Elizabeth A. Baker, Thundercunt, and Eve Beglarian; sax quartet Nois perform works by Viet Cuong, Emma O’Halloran, Pauline Oliveros, and Cassie Wieland at Scholes Street Studios, $15

1/16, 8:30 PM Dervisi feat. psychedelic guitarist George Sempepos play “exotic Greek gangsta blues” and Middle Eastern flavored hash smoking anthems at Espresso 77, 35-57 77th Street (just off of 37th Avenue), Jackson Heights

1/16, 10 PM tight ghoulabilly/rockabilly road warriors Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones at Ten Hope, 10 Hope St. in Williamsburg, fre

1/17, 2 PM mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti workshops her forthcoming Cindy Sherman-inspired chamber opera exploring pivotal moments in a woman’s life, with music by Ellen Reid, Paola Prestini and Missy Mazzoli at National Sawdust, $20 adv tix rec

1/17, 6 PM composer-collective Oracle Hysterical, with collaborators Hub New Music, premiere “an evening-length collection of songs inspired by the expeditions of a wide-ranging group of ambitious, gritty – and often naive, cruel, and myopic explorers. Text comes from the journals of European ‘New World’ explorers like Columbus, Cortes, and de Soto; Puritan women on their new frontier; the naturalist John James Audubon; the ill-fated Arctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott (whose Terra Nova expedition party never made it home); the ancient king Gilgamesh and his quest to cheat death; and the Chinese mariner, treasure seeker, and builder of giant ships Zheng He” at 1 Rivington St., $15

1/17, 6 PM intense, wickedly tuneful jazz oudist/guitarist Gordon Grdina with his Nomad Trio with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black, at the old Nublu, $10

1/17, 7ish entertainingly shuffling, harmony-driven jug band the Salt Cracker Crazies at Terra Blues

1/17, 7:30 PM and then 1/18 starting at 6 PM and going til maybe 3 in the morning, NYC’s funnest annual music festival, Golden Fest, with over a hundred Balkan, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and other dance bands throughout five different rooms at Grand Prospect Hall in Park Slope. Serbian sweets! Spinach pies! Various pickled munchies and more all included! R train to Prospect Ave, go up the hill, you can’t miss it.

1/17, 7 PM  jangly Laurel Canyon psych-folk songwriter Rebecca Turner at Buunni Performance Space, (4961 Broadway btw 207th Street and Isham in Inwood), $15

1/17, 7 PM, repeating 1/18 at 8 the fearlessly relevant, toweringly intense Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at Symphony Space, $25 tix avail

1/17, 7:30 PM catchy, edgy, fiery tarantella and Romany-inspired jamband Newpoli at Drom, $20

1/17, 8 PM a great avant garde-ish twinbill: moody lo-fi keyboardist/singer Anni Rossi and klezmer-influenced singer/multi-instrumentalist Judith Berkson at the Old American Can Factory, 232 3rd St. in Gowanus,  $15

1/17, 8 PM American Contemporary Music Ensemble perform music of Gavin Bryars at the Tenri Institute, $25/$15 stud

1/17, 8 PM rustic Brazilian jungle guitar-and-accordion sounds with Regional de NY followed at 10 by  psychedelic salsa bandleader Zemog El Gallo Bueno at Barbes

1/17, 8 PM a festival of Tatar song with the Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan and Eilenkrig Jazz Orchestra at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $25 tix avail

1/17-18, 8 PM polyrhythmic jams: Michael Formanek – bass; Mauricio Herrera – percussion; Noel Brennan – percussion; Patricia Brennan – vibraphone at Happy Lucky No. 1 Gallery, $20

1/17, 8 PM drummer Lesley Mok leads her quartet with Cory Smythe on piano followed by transgressively funny postbop saxophonist Jon Irabagon in a rare duo show with pianist Brian Marsella at Scholes Street Studios, $10

1/17, 9 PM one of the great saxophonists in the history of ska, Dave Hillyard leads his Quintet at Sunny’s. The next night 1/18, same time they’re at An Beal Bocht Cafe, 445 W 238th in the Bronx

 1/17, 9 PM the annual Dolly Parton bday singalong at the Jalopy, free

1/17, 9 PM noisy, unpredictably intense female-fronted guitar/drums/organ band Parlor Walls followed by punchy noiserockers Big Bliss at Alphaville, free

1/17, 9:30 PM fiery Portuguese twelve-string guitar sorceress Marta Pereira da Costa at Joe’s Pub, $25

1/17, 10 PM crunchy, individualistic fenale-fronted metal band Sister Thieves – guitar, synth and drums – at Arlene’s $10

1/17, 10:30 PM psychedelic janglerockers American String Conspiracy at Freddy’s

 1/17, 11 PM haphazard, unhinged doom metal band Ether Coven at St. Vitus, $12

1/18, 4 PM the Erik Satie Quartet – Ron Hay (trombone), Max Seigel (bass trombone), Ben Holmes (trumpet), and Andrew Hadro (bari sax) –reinvent classic and obscure Satie chamber pieces as well as rare compositions by his obscure contemporaries, followed at 6 by wildly eclectic, edgy,lyrical soul/jazz cellist/singer Marika Hughes followed at 8 by intense, lyrical jazz bassist/composer Pedro Giraudo leading his Tango Quartet and at 10 by ex-Chicha Libre keyboard sorcerer Josh Camp’s wryly psychedelic cumbia/tropicalia/dub band Locobeach at Barbes

1/18, 7 PM fiery ecological activist/bandleader Rev. Billy and his massive original gospel-style choir at Buunni Performance Space, (4961 Broadway btw 207th Street and Isham in Inwood), $10, “nobody turned away”

1/18, 7 PM  unusually adventurous indie classical ensembles Hotel Elefant &  eclectic indie classical piano trio Bearthoven  play music by Fjóla Evans and Leaha Maria Villarreal at Arete Gallery, sug don

1/18, 8 PM Matt Sargent and Zach Rowden‘s Tide for ten basses, whooooah, at Scholes St Studios, $10

1/18, 8ish atmospherically anthemic Indian-influenced spacerock band Humeysha at Elsewhere, $12

1/18. 9 PM hip-hop artist Major Taylor followed by scorching political punk band the 1865 at BAM Cafe, get there early

1/18. 9 PM pounding, hypnotic no wave/noisecore band Kralice at St. Vitus, $12

1/18 9 PM bass goddess/soul singer Felice Rosser’s ageless reggae-rock-groove band Faith at the Way Station

1/18, 10 PM amusing weedhead rapper Kaheim Rivera followed by messy, funny female-fronted punk/80s band Ashjesus at the Broadway, $12

1/19, 3 PM Jessica Park, violin; Benjamin Larsen, cello; Hyungjin Choi, piano play works by Natalie Dietterich, Robert Sirota, Frank Bridge and Mozart at Concerts on the Slope, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 139 St. John’s Place, downhill from 7th Ave, Park Slope, any train to Grand Army Plz, sugg don

1/19, 5 PM bassist Sam Suggs plays solo bass arrangements of famous and not so famous classical works tba at the Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, 128 Pinehurst Ave @ W 183rd St, A train or #1 train (to 181st St) or the M4 bus (to 183rd St), $15/$12 stud/srs

1/19, 5:30 PM lavish, slinky latin noir big band jazz with the  Scott Reeves Jazz orchestra at Birdland, $30

1/19, 6:30 PM haunting Middle Eastern jazz bassist Petros Klampanis and his group followed eventually by similarly haunting violinist Layale Chaker at Drom, $20

1/19, 7 PM brilliant steel guitarist Mike Neer’s Steelonious – who do Monk covers in the same vein as Buddy Emmons –   followed at 9:30  by Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel at Barbes

1/19, 7 PM pianists Brian Mark, Isabelle “Izzy” O’Connell, and Kathleen Supové join to explore the subject of migration and human struggle in a multidisciplinary setting with flutist Tessa Brinckman playing works by Meredith Monk, Missy Mazzoli, Randall Woolf, Howie Kenty, and Mary Kouyoumdjian, among others plus world premieres by Valerie Coleman and Raymond Deane at Arete Gallery $15

1/19, 9 PM Slovenian saxophonist Jan Kus’ Slavo Rican Assembly at the big room at the Rockwood $10

1/20, 7 ish epic haunting goth-tinged slowcore band Vestments, moody lo-fi keyboardist/singer Anni Rossi and the darkly armospheric Sondra Sun-Odeon at St. Vitus, $10

1/20, 7:30 PM soprano sax star Sam Newsome leads a quartet with Angelica Sanchez on piano at Smalls

1/20, 8/10:30 PM cutting-edge vibraphonist Joel Ross’ genuinely Good Vibes band at the Blue Note, $20 at the bar

1/20, 9 PM deviously funny, satirically-inclined Americana rockers Whisperado play the album release show for their new one at Arlene’s, $10

1/20, 9;30 PM trumpeter Sonny Singh’s “revolutionary devotional Sikh music”project at Barbes

1/21, drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, violinist Lauren Cauley leads a 21st century music ensemble at the Miller Theatre, free

1/21, 7:30 PM this era’s most fearlessly relevant, hard-hitting tenor saxophonist, JD Allen leads his explosive new trio at Smalls followed at 10:30 by charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy

1/21, 7:30 PM pianist Xiaohui Yang plays works by Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Faure, Chopin, Shulamit Ran and others at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $20

 1/21, 7:30/9:30 PM purist postbop jazz guitarist Ed Cherry leads his organ trio with Kyle Koehler on the B3 at the Jazz Standard, $30

1/21-25, 8:30/11 PM iconic fire-and-ice jazz singer Karrin Allyson plays Mose Allison at Birdland, $30, wow, could be amazing

1/21, 9 PM drummer Arthur Vint & Associates reinvent classic Morricone spaghetti western soundtracksat Skinny Dennis

1/22, 7 PM pianist Lucas Debargue plays works by Ravel and Scarlatti at National Sawdust, $25 adv tic rec

 1/22, 7:30 PM bassist Alexis Cuadrado leads a group playing live film scores for Alice Guy-Blaché’s The Consequences of Feminism and Algie the Miner, Harold M. Shaw’s The Land Beyond the Sunset and Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant at the World Financial Center, free

1/22-25, 8 PM, also 1/25 at 3 not a music event but seems cool: Cameron Stuart’s new play Police in the Wilderness, “a narrative set in a future where burying or honoring the dead is illegal. Enforcers of these laws are agents of The Order, a cult that opposes symbols, language, and thinking. When an unmarked grave is discovered in the wilderness, a confrontation occurs between the local police and an old hermit. After a priest of The Order gets involved, a profane ritual unfolds with unforeseen consequences,” at Patch Works, 98 Moore St. (Graham/Humboldt), South Williamsburg, J/M to Lorimer St, $15

 1/22, 7 PM furious, politically fearless soul-punk/postrock band Algiers play the album release show for their new one at Rough Trade, free w/vinyl purchase

1/22, 8 PM singer Dida Pelled salutes obscure and cult favorite women songwriters including Connie Converse, Elizabeth Cotten, Molly Drake, Vashti Bunyan and Norma Tanega at Barbes

 1/22, 8 PM dark, savagely brilliant guitarist Ava Mendoza and viola sorceress Jessica Pavone at Happy Lucky No. 1 Gallery. They’re also there on 129

 1/22, 8:30 PM haunting Middle Eastern violinist Layale Chaker & Sarafand: Jake Charkey (cello) Phillip Golub (piano) Nick Dunston (bass) Adam Maalouf (percussion) at the Stone at the New School, $20

1/22, 9 PM lush, snidely lyrical parlor pop/new wave band Office Culture at the Sultan Room, $10

1/22, 9 PM slashing guitarist Steve Antonakos plays slide guitar blues with his band at Bar Chord

1/22, 10:30 PM shapeshifting pianist Sullivan Fortner solo at Mezzrow, $20

1/23, 7 PM plaintive Iranian classical songs with Amir Vahab and ensemble at the People’s Forum, 320 W 37th St, $15

1/23, 7 PM lustrous singer and badass cello-rock bandleader Serena Jost at Pangea

1/23, 7:30 PM plush, balmy, playful oldtimey uke swing band Daria Grace & the Pre-War Ponies at Symphony Space, $20 for 30 and under, $30 otherwise

1/23, 7:30 PM trippy dubwise tropical grooves with Los Cumpleaños at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

1/23. 7:30 PM organist Clara Gerdes plays her new arrangement of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2, as well as Julius Reubke’s iconically venomous Sonata on the 94th Psalm at St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, free, wow

 1/23, 8 PM mutimedia artists and improvisers including  Sugar Vendil, Jean Carla Rodea, Popebama (Erin Rogers and Dennis Sullivan) play and debate the relevance of new music in a 21st century, historically-informed context at Arete Gallery, $15

1/23, 8 PM composer Scott Johnson and indie classical ensemble ensemble Contemporaneous  play relevant new works examining nationalism and racism, inspired by the sampled voices of immigrants to the US at Roulette, $18 adv tix rec

1/23-24, 8 PM hauntingly jangly noir Americana/surf/punkgrass band the Sadies  at Union Pool,$20, yessssss, they slayed here the last couple of times

 1/23, 8 PM brooding Bulgarian art-rock chanteuse Ruth Koleva at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

1/23, 8 PM pianist Tianqi Du performs 13 pieces  from Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I & II, and Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op.87. at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $30 tix avail

1/23. 8 PM conversational pianist Jeffrey Siegel plays works by Grieg, Stenhammar, Sibelius, Nielsen, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff at Scandinavia House, $25

 1/23-26, 8:30 PM rapturous  pan-Asian singer/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu leads a series of groups at the Stone at the New School, $20. Choice pick: 1/24 with violist Mat Maneri, remixed live by Ikue Mori

1/23, 8:30 PM Nick Cave-ish psychedelic bandleader J Hacha de Zolla followed by ferocious psychedelic guitarist Debra Devi at Headroom Bar & Social, 150 Bay St, Jersey City, $10, Path train to Grove St

1/23, 9ish wild live techno with sax-and-drums monsters Moon Hooch at Bowery Ballroom, $20 adv tix rec available at the Mercury

1/23, 9 PM Certain General guitarslinger Phil Gammage plays his dark Americana and blues at 11th St Bar

1/24, 7 PM trumpetert Kate Amrine plays the album release show for her new protest record with music by Gemma Peacocke, Kevin Joest, Jacob TV, Niloufar Nourbakhsh, Ruby Fulton, Howie Kenty, and original compositions, joined by Ford Fourqurean on clarinet, Leanne Friedman on alto flute, and Richard Harris on trombone, t Spectrum, $15

1/24, 7 PM composer David ieri presents an “audacious” new live score for Carl Th. Dreyer’s 1928 silent film classic La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, at the Greene Space, $25

1/24, 7 PM not a music event but relevant: a screening of Astra Taylor’s provocative new documentary What Is Democracy followed by a book signing for her new book Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone. at Buuni, 4961 Broadway btw 207th Street and Isham in Inwood). Sug don

1/24, 7:30 PM the New Juilliard Ensemble play works by women composers Jacqueline Fontyn, Ursula Mamlok, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Elisabeth Lutyens, Galina Ustvolskaya at the Sharp Theatre at Juilliard, free, tix req 

1/2,4 8 PM best twinbill of the year so far: timeless, haunting, playful octogenarian Armenian jazz sage and multi-reedman Souren Baronian‘s Taksim followed by the world’s creepiest, slinkiest, most psychddelic crime jazz/film noir band, Big Lazy at Barbes

1/24-25, 8 PM the reliably entertaining, adventurous Chelsea Symphony play Jennifer Higdon’s elegiac blue cathedral, TCS’ first drumset concerto presentation, Just Say Yes, by Alexandra Gardner featuring Michael Blancaflor and Milhaud’s first cello concert with Kurt Behnke, both on Friday night’s performance. Saturday’s concert includes Sara Dudley’s soloist debut on the William Walton viola concerto; both shows conclude with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 at the DiMenna Center $25

1/24, 9 PM amazingly versatile, genuinely Hendrixian guitar shredder Viva DeConcini followed by bass sax monster Stefen Zeniuk’s punk mambo crew the NY Fowl Harmonic at Branded Saloon

1/24, 10 PM allusively haunting, minimalist folk noir singer Belle-Skinner at the Owl

1/25, 4 PM high-energy Afro-Colombian trance-dance band Grupo Rebolu at Flushing Town Hall, $14

 1/25, 7 PM New York’s most charismatic, darkly compelling lyrical songwriter/storyteller/keyboard genius Rachelle Garniez‘ annual goodbye party – saluting some of those who’ve left us this year – at Pangea, $25

1/25, 7 PM Egyptian exile and firebrand songwriter Ramy Essam and visual artist Ganzeer team up with playwrights/ musicians The Lazours to commemorate and keep the hope of the Arab Spring alive .at National Sawdust, $20 adv tix rec

1/25, 7 PM four sets of improvisation til 11 starting with pianist Eric Zinman‘s New Language Collaborative +2, Matt Lavelle‘s Night River septet with the bandleader on bass clarinet, multi-reedman JD Parran sparring with guitarist Dave Ross and then at 10 another multireedman, Ras Moshe’s sextet at Scholes Street Studios, $10

1/25, 7:30 PM the Rosamunde String Quartet play works by Mendelssohn, Kevin Puts and Schubert at Washington Irving High School, 40 Irving Pl, $18

 1/25, 8 PM NY Baroque Incorporated sing works by Handel, Lully, Muffat and Telemann at the Miller Theatre, $30 seats aavil

1/25, 9 PM the Jaded Babies play their theatrical, quirky, comedic mashups of punk and art-rock at LP n Harmony, 683 Grand St in Williamsburg, free, take the G to Lorimer

1/25, 9 PM the Dirty Waltz Band- a seven-piece group playing more than a dozen instruments in 3/4 time from Balkan, Irish, jazz, blues and American folk traditions – at the Jalopy, $15

 1/25, 10 PM slinky, hypnotic percussive Moroccan trance band Innov Gnawa at Barbes

 1/25, 11 PM one of the great saxophonists in the history of ska, Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7 at the Gutter, $7

 1/26, 2 PM a rare US appearance by raucous Chinese central plains party ensemble Zhou Family Band at Flushing Town Hall, $18

1/26, 6ish haunting folk noir/Americana songwriter Emily Frembgen at LIC Bar

1/26, 7 PM guitarists Jim Campilongo and Steve Cardenas duke it out followed by paradigm-shifting Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel at Barbes

1/26, 7 PM tenor saxophonist Sam Weinberg, feral guitarist Brandon Seabrook and bassist Henry Fraser duel; it out; then bassist Charlie Kirchen leads his Trio at Scholes Street Studios, $10

1/26, 8 PM high-voltage psychedelic cumbia/Afrobeat jamband MAKU Soundsystem  at C”Mon Everybody, $10

1/26, 8 PM pissed-off funny punkish music for the disenfranchised: irresistibly funny political all-female punk trio Witchslap, the even more pissed-off Bint, the even rougher Que Sick, the sardonically spot-on Anxious? Anxious!, haphazard dark punkish female-fronted band Cruel Children at Footlight Bar, $10

1/26, midnight psychedelic cinematic Italophile instrumentalists/parodists Tredici Bacci at the Mercury, $10 adv tix rec

1/27, 7 PM jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris and Blackout at the Schomburg Center, free

 1/27, 7 PM atmospheric, psychedelic violinist/singer Concetta Abbate and Rose Stoller pull “ambient lullabies” out of the ether at Footlight Bar, sug don

1/27, 10ish  feral singer Carolina Oliveros’ mighty 13-piece Afro-Colombian trance/dance choir Bulla en el Barrio at Barbes

1/28, 7:30 PM the New Juilliard Ensemble play works by female composers Vivian Fine ,Florence Price, Young-ja Lee, Priaulx Rainier and Mary Lou Williams at the Sharp Theatre at Juiliard, free , tix req 

1/28, 7:30 PM iconic art-rockers the Bang on a Can All-Stars play world premieres by Amanda Berlind, Alvin Curran, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Qasim Naqvi, plus Phil Kline’s Exquisite Corpses and Julius Eastman’s “super-groove” Stay on It at Merkin Concert Hall, $25

1/28, 8 PM haunting, magical Middle Eastern classical singer Shelley Thomas plays oud with classical ensemble Brooklyn Takht at Sisters Brooklyn, 900 Fulton St, C to Clinton-Washington, sug don

1/28, 8 PM a sizzling New Orleans brass night at Drom: the badass, original all-female Brass Queens, hip hop-influenced Flowingos and diverse, latin-influenced Brass Monkeys, $10 gen adm

1/28, 8 PM the hauntingly hallucinatory film Mother Sparrow by Sonya Belaya and Eryka Dellenbach plus live music performance by Belaya’s ensemble Dacha and a live dance performance of Make the Brutal Tender by Nola Sporn Smith and Dellenbach, at Roulette, $18 adv tix rec

1/29, 7 PM rainy-day art-rock/Balkan jazz singer Tamara Jokic followed at 8:30 by intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio –Tamer Pinarbasi, Ismail Lumanovski & Ara Dinkjian – at Drom, $10

1/29, 7 PM Peter Abinger remixes Eric Wubbels’ piano live at the Austrian Cultural Center, free, res req. “Ablinger likes to think about Voices and Piano as his song-cycle, though nobody is singing in it: the voices are all spoken statements from speeches, interviews or readings. And the piano is not really accompanying the voices: the relation of the two components is to be seen more as a competition. Speech and music is being compared. We can also say: reality and perception. Reality/speech is continuous, perception/music is a grid, which tries to approach speech. Actually the piano part is the temporal and spectral scan of the respective voice, something like a coarse gridded photograph it is the analysis of the voice. Music analyses reality….”

1/29, 7:30 PM the New Juilliard Ensemble play works by female composers Miriam Gideon, Vítězslava Kapralova, Germaine Tailleferre, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Margaret Sutherland, Grete von Zieritz, at the Sharp Theatre at Juiliard, free , tix req

1/29-2/1, 7:30/9:30 PM this era’s most consistently interesting jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer at the Jazz Standard, $30. Solo on the 29th, with a trio the rest of the way plus special guest Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet on 2/1, wow

 1/29, 830 PM perennially interesting piano/percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire leads a series of groups at the Stone at the New School, $20. Choice pick: 1/31 with bassoonist Katie Young

1/29, 9 PM Melissa Gordon of Melissa & the Mannequins, one of the best purist janglerock songwriters in NYC, at LIC Bar

1/29 9ish ntense, wickedly tuneful jazz oudist/guitarist Gordon Grdina with his band at I-Beam, $15

 1/29, 9:30 PM ambient electroacoustic sitarist/composer Ami Dang at Joe’s Pub, $15

1/30, 7 PM thoughtfully explorator pianist Yoko MIwa leads her trio at Birdland, $20 at the bar

 1/30, 7:30 PM the New Juilliard Ensemble play works by female composers Lili Boulanger, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Johanna Magdalena Beyer, Louise Talma, Margaret Bonds, Myriam Marbe, Amy Beach and Ruth Zechlin at the Sharp Theatre at Juiliard, free , tix req 

1/30, 7:30 PM sprawling psychedelic funk jamband Burnt Sugar reinvent songs from Porgy & Bess at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

 1/30, 8 PM pianist Simone Dinnerstein leads a quartet playing Bach keyboard sonatas at the Miller Theatre, $30

1/30, 10 PM zabumba player Mike LaValle’s original forro band with Vitor Gonçalves on accordion at Barbes

1/30-31, 10 PM trip-metal doomscapers Wolf Eyes at Union Pool, $15

 1/31, 7 PM hard-hitting latin jazz pianist Donald Vega leads his trio at Birdland, $20 at the bar

 1/31, 7 PM the Neel Murgai Ensemble play the album release show for his new Indian string band record with amazing violin duo Arun Ramamurthy and Trina Basu at the Rubin Museum of Art, $30

 1/31, 7:30 PM the New Juilliard Ensemble play works by female composers Betsy Jolas, Grażyna Bacewicz, Ethel Smyth, Thea Musgrave, ​Sofia Gubaidulina with Raphael Vogl, organ at Alice Tully Hal, free , tix req at the box ofc

1/31, 7:30/9:30 PM Marcus Strickland, JD Allen and Stacy Dillard lead a ferocious tenor sax frontline with rhythm section at the Jazz Gallery, $30

1/31, 8 PM perennially sharp, hilarious avant garde icon Laurie Anderson at Happy Lucky No. 1 Gallery no joke, get there early, $20

1/31, 10 PM Cumbiagra – who’ve been going in a much more psychedelic, electric cumbia direction lately at Barbes

Full calendar for February coming 2/1

2/1, 2:30 PM the NY Classical Players perform the Debussy String Quartet, Dvorak’s American String Quartet and the Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello at the NYPL for the Performing Arts out back of Lincoln Center free

2/1, 7:30 PM ruthlessly funny, politically satirical faux-folk duo Friends Who Folk (Rachel Wenitsky and Ned Riseley) at Union Hall,702 Union St. north of 7th Ave, R to Union St and walk uphill, $10

2/6, 7:30 PM the Telegraph Quartet play a program tba at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

2/6, 10ish explosive, creepy, colorful psychedelic rembetiko metal band Greek Judas at Niagara, Ave A/7th St

 2/13 ,7:30 PM hotshot, purist bassist Endea Owens leads her band at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

2/17, 7:30 PM vocal and piano group Mirror Visions Ensemble “explores The Disappearing Art of Letter Writing: letters of love and vengeance, reports from the North Pole, missives asking for money or forgiveness, including correspondence of Abraham Lincoln, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gertrude Stein, and Sullivan Ballou. Tom Cipullo provides indispensable instruction with a newly commissioned Guide to Letter Writing, along with works by Gwyneth Walker, Cole Porter, Wolfgang Erich Korngold, Dominick Argento, Richard Pearson Thomas and Christopher Berg” at the Sheen Center, $25/$15 for students

2/20, 7:30 PM high-voltage oldschool salsa dura with longtime Tito Puente sideman John “Dandy” Rodriguez’s “Dream Team” at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

2/23, 5 PM the Fair Trade Trio with pianist Taisiya Pushkar play works by Faure, Schnittke and Jessica Meyer at Our Savior’s Atonement, 178 Bennett Ave (one block west of Broadway at 189th St, frees

2/24, drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, violinist Austin Wulliman & pianist Conrad Tao at the Miller Theatre, free

2/27, 7:30 PM intense, atmospheric chanteuse Imani Uzuri and ensemble “share an intimate chamber concert of compositions from her various works for voice, strings, flute and piano” at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

3/19-21 the NY premiere of Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel’s new chamber opera DWB (Driving While Black) with live score by cello/percussion duo New Morse Code at the Bauch College auditorium, $36/$16 stud

3/31, drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, the new generation’s most eclectic jazz harpist, Brandee Younger & bassist Dezron Douglas at the Miller Theatre, free

4/14 drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, indie classical supergroup the Hands Free – James Moore, guitar & banjo; Caroline Shaw, violin Eleonore Oppenheim, bass; Nathan Koci, accordionat the Miller Theatre, free

Spot-On, Frequently Hilarious Lyrical Tunesmithing and a Lower East Side Gig From Whisperado

Catchy, purist New York powerpop band Whisperado make irresistibly satirical videos. Check out Popstar Girl: she’s a meme, she’s a toy, she’s a tv show…and she might actually be human. Whisperado have a wildly lyrical new album, Out the Door, streaming at youtube. They’re playing the release show on Jan 20 at 9 PM at Arlene’s; cover is $10.

The first track is Vinegar Hill, an escape anthem tightly pulsing over the rhythm section of frontman/bassist Jon Sobel and drummer David Mills. The tradeoff between Sobel’s solo and Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s guitar is so subtle it’s almost imperceptible, a rare and unexpected detail. And Sobel’s never sung with such unleashed intensity as he does here.

The album’s second song, Precisely is a droll, picturesque, jangly Rickenbacker guitar-fueled examination of the vagaries of memory, and all that might imply. Signal to Noise is not the Peter Gabriel classic but an Emma Bull cover done as steadily swaying 70s British pub rock, Elisa Peimer’s organ swooshing as the band gather steam. She switches to bouncy piano for Nina (rhymes with “concertina”).

The album’s pouncing, blues-tinged title track could be about the apocalypse, or suicide…or both. Round the Bend is a towering, Celtic-tinged ballad with soaring vocal harmonies and honkytonk piano from Peimer. Mass Extinction No. 6 has hints of funk and a Dylanesque, spot-on, New York-centric catalog of dire images, reprised in an alternate acoustic take at the end of the record.

I Don’t Want to Do It Anymore is a coldly aphoristic look back at a pre-NAFTA America seemingly gone forever:

Factory, come back to me
I like those old machines
Pushcart tricks and Velcro strips
And all those ways and means
Folk songs on the radio
Sung out by human beings…

The Diddleybeat-driven Pretty Please is more optimistic but just as circumspect: it could be an upbeat Matt Keating tune. The album’s most surreallistically grim number is Stone Deaf, a mashup of the Kinks and Willie Nile, its narrator insisting that he “never left the grassy knoll.” The best serious song here is the towering 6/8 anthem Ghost of the Girl, with its icy Rickenbacker clang and Sobel’s loaded imagery: “The witches were legion, they blotted the moon while Satan was splitting the atom.”

With Hayden’s twangy riffage and Sobel’s growly bass solo, Winter Blues isn’t a blues in the strict sense of the word. Forbidden is beyond hilarious, a true insider look at how musicians take the easy way out: the jokes are way too good to give away. Best song of 2020 so far! The album’s only miss is that Little Feat ditty that everyone who’s ever played Rockwood Music Hall has covered at some point – and which, like Hallelujah and Hotel California, needs to be permanently retired.

Ashjesus Can’t Live in Bushwick But They’re Willing to Play There

“I can’t live in Bushwick, those people make me sick,” Ashjesus frontwoman Em Ashenden intones, before the screaming guitar and drums kick in on the first track of the 80s throwbacks’ so-called “demos” collection that’s up at Bandcamp as a free download. As the band churn up an acidic storm,like an early Bauhaus, she admits that she tried to get into Bed-Stuy…but insists she’s found nirvana in Ridgewood. Obvious, maybe, but this is one of those songs that needed to be written

It’s rare that you find a good band playing on a Saturday night in the ‘Shweck, but Ashjesus have a gig a the Broadway (the old Gateway space) on Jan 18 at around 11. Kaheim Rivera does his woozy, weedheaded raps beforehand at 10. Neither of the acts on the bill nor the venue have webpages of their own, so it’s anybody’s guess how much cover is, or if there is one – the Gateway was a pass-the-hat situation.

The rest of Ashjesus’ album keeps the early 80s noise-goth vibe going. Room – as in “I need a room” – has more of the loud, watery chorus-box guitar and bass that define this group’s retro sound. The implication is that a friend with a couch is a friend indeed: “Get one for yourself too,” Ashenden encourages.

Soda Bitters sounds like a lo-budget Joy Division. “I don’t need to take a cab, I can drive to rehab, how cool is that?” she wants to know. The poppiest song here, How Do You Feel Special says a lot in a few words, one of this band’s specialities – it’s a dis to a controlling boyfriend. With its quasi-reggae bassline and icy guitars, the last song, Tour, could be XTC or PiL, or the bastard child of the early Police and Bauhaus. Grab this haphazardly spot-on, period-perfect morsel while it lasts.

Stephane Wrembel Unearths the Depth of Django Reinhardt’s Rare Classical Compositions

For the last several years, guitarist Stephane Wrembel has mined the Django Reinhardt songbook more deeply than just about anyone other than the godfather of Romany jazz himself. Wrembel’s Django Experiment albums offer uncommonly dynamic insight into how Reinhardt blended American swing, French ragtime, classical music and Romany folk songs into a style that would become its own musical subculture. Wrembel’s new solo album Django L’Impressioniste – streaming at youtube – is a milestone, a major rediscovery of Reinhardt’s rarely played and recorded classical music along with a handful of more famous tunes.

This is hardly an album that can be digested in a single sitting: the depth of Reinhardt’s ideas is vast, offering new discoveries with every return trip. The amount of time Wrembel must have spent transcribing and then working up this material is staggering. He first plays Improvisation #2 – one of the few numbers here that’s become part of the Django canon – with a sense of the fantastical, slowly and spaciously, a rapt vision of mythical beasts cavorting deep in the forest. There’s also a transcription of Reinhardt’s second take that’s even more lingering and suspenseful.

Guitarists typically play Reinhardt songs with a brisk, shuffling staccato, which makes sense since that’s how he played them; Wrembel’s resonant, thoughtfully legato approach casts this material in a completely new light. Case in point: the lingering bittersweetness of the 1937 ballad Parfum.

Juxtaposing alternate takes faithful to Reinhardt’s original recordings provides enormous insight into just how carefully he crafted his oeuvre. Back-to-back versions of a “solo improvise” from the BBC in 1937 reveal how much of a difference just a few judicious tweaks of rhythm and attack completely transform this music.

Likewise, there are two versions of Improvisation No. 3, variations on a gorgeously melancholy stroll, the second more stern and incisive. Improvisation No. 4 is the most severe until Wrembel picks it up with an unexpectedly jaunty bounce. Improvisation No. 5 is a pure, unabashed neoromantic ballad with Romany flourishes. The distantly flamencoish Improvisation No. 6 is the starkest, most nocturnal and aguably most cohesively compelling of all these pieces.

The intricate lattice of chords in Naguine foreshadows where Americans like Les Paul would take guitar jazz, yet it’s much more unpredictable. The flamenco-inflected vistas of Echoes of Spain are exactly that: spare and often utterly desolate. The epic take of Belleville, Reinhardt’s hometown shout-out, has strikingly roughhewn contrast, akin to Debussy through the rough-and-tumble prism of life on the fringes – along with what seems to be a playfully erudite study for an eventual three-minute hit.

A similarly expansive exploration of Nuages is all the more vividly summery for Wrembel’s unhurried, dynamically shifting interpretation. The details are devilishly fun: a hint of a bolero, an ambush of muted low strings, a flicker of 19th century Parisian art-song. And the only non-Django original here, Tea for Two, gets a hushed, tiptoeing treatment that really goes to the heart of that much-maligned (some would say schlocky) love ballad. Beyond the sheer beauty and scope of the music, this album has immense historical value. Wrembel’s almost-every-week Sunday night Barbes residency continues this Jan 19 at around 9:30; lately, he’s been opening the show solo and then bringing up the band. If you get lucky, he’ll play some of this material completely unplugged.

Partying Around New York with Mames Babegenush

Danish klezmer band Mames Babegenush played Drom Friday night at around midnight. Saturday they were at Mehanata, the notorious Lower East Side Bulgarian bar, until the wee hours. Sunday they played an afternoon show in the basement of Gustavus Adolphus Church in Gramercy, then took the party a few blocks north to the Carlton Arms Hotel. They’d played the church in the past, beginning with the day after the honcho there had seen them late one Saturday night at the old Zebulon in Williamsburg – and invited them to play the next day. And they took that gig. Fatigue and alcohol do not seem to affect these guys at all.

Bracing Jewish minor-key folk dances are the loosely connecting thread among the band’s often exhilarating catalog of originals and popular standards from throughout Eastern Europe, Spain, the Middle East and the Balkans. Throughout about three hours of music yesterday, there were all sorts of wry conversations, lots of sparring, spine-tingling solos and a couple of sprints to the finish line. One of the best of the solos was a slinky, bristling chromatic series of climbs and descents, using a horn voicing, and played by bassist Andreas Mollerhoj. Bass solos are usually a bad idea; this guy got all of two throughout the afternoon and left you wanting more.

One of this band’s most distinctively unorthodox features is drummer Morten Aero’s kit. He kept a steady thud going with his right foot on a kickdrum, a snare and hi-hat set up to his left where he’d rattle off vaudevillian rimshots, often using his hands for hypnotic Middle Eastern beats. Straight in front of him was a tsmibl, the Ukrainian Jewish zither that may be the forerunner of both the Hungarian cimbalom and the Iraqi santoor. As he hammered the strings, they seemed both a little muted and a hair sharp, consistently across the scale, adding a subtle and absolutely otherworldly edge, especially in the music’s quieter moments.

Clarinetist and bandleader Emil Goldschmidt matched precision to dynamics, whether soloing or harmonizing with the sax and flugelhorn. Lukas Bjorn Rande shifted between a welcome, smoky grit on tenor sax and a gorgeously plaintive tone on alto, obviously influenced by the great Bulgarian player Yuri Yunakov, a guy he’d had the good fortune to study with. On flugelhorn, Bo Rande reached for the rafters with imploring, searing cadenzas and a handful of slithery, electrifying trills, often matched by accordionist Nikolai Kornerup.

Throughout the set, influences from Romanian brass music, to Andalucian balladry, Turkish laments, suspenseful Ukrainian horas and relentlessly flurrying Greek hill country music filtered through the songs, seldom staying in one place for long. Maybe the greatest thing of all about Jewish music is that it’s so well-traveled, and this group completely get that. The only weird thing was that nobody other than the band members were on their feet dancing (although this generation’s most dangerous American klezmer clarinetist, Michael Winograd, was in the house and bouncing in his seat). Mames Babegenush are at Golden Fest this coming Saturday night, Jan 18 at 8:55 PM (they run a tight ship there) in the big ballroom, among dozens of similarly high-voltage bands from across the Balkans, Mediterranean and Middle East.

Salsa and Other Trippy Dance Sounds at Lincoln Center

UPDATE: because of the water main break just down the block, the Lincoln Center atrium space is currently closed, check their website for updates on cancellations and rescheduled concerts.

If a band can really jam, they can keep a two-chord minor-key groove interesting for twenty minutes. A lot of the oldschool salsa bands who play Lincoln Center can do that. But at the most recent salsa dance party there last month, timbalero Carlitos Padron and his group Los Rumberos del Callejon came in with a next-level game plan. A setlist is an art and a science, and this careening unit took that view from five thousand feet, slowly unwinding a show that peaked at about the forty-five minute mark, took a dip and then rose up with a scorching clatter at the end. And that was just the first set.

Padron didn’t even move from his snare until the first number was almost done – and that took about twelve minutes. Great as Tito Puente was, too many players try to imitate him, leaping in at peak velocity and leaving no room to go any higher afterward. Padron’s approach was 180 degrees the opposite – having a great percussion section, with congas and cowbell and a fantastic bongo player he’d engage in some devious beatwise conversations throughout the show was a big part of it. And as the show went on, each guy got plenty of time in the spotlight.

They didn’t hit that classic Puerto Rican bump bump, bump-bump-bump rhythm until late in the set – and that got the Nuyorican posse clapping along. The ride to that point was just as entertaining. Padron would tease the crowd with tantalizingly brief solos that would go on for maybe four bars: he’d never start on the beat, he’d never end on it and used every texture on his kit, hinting at familiar riffs but hardly ever going there. The rest of the band was just as purposeful; there always seemed to be a place for everybody within this wild mesh of sound. The horns – including sax as well as trombone – punched hard in peak moments, the pianist brought frequent classical elegance to the tunes and the bass had a similar low-key slink.

There was a point toward the end where the group brought it down with a couple of 80s-style salsa romantica ballads, but even there the percussion didn’t pull back to the point where the music sank in a big tub of cheese. Part of the reason why Los Rumberos sounded so counterintuitive, at least to New York ears, is that that they’re Venezuelan. Being outside the usual Cuba-Puerto Rico-New York flight path, they’re not as bound by that tradition – one that produced such a vast, rich amount of music back in the 70s, but one that sometimes bands play as if they’re in a museum. Not these guys.

There isn’t another salsa dance party at the Lincoln Center atrium space on Broadway just north of 62nd St. until February, but there are a couple of shows coming up where the grooves are going to be hot, for very different reasons. Venezuelan cuatro shredder Jorge Glem is playing with his C4 Trio, who do everything from Thelonious Monk to cumbia, rescheduled to March 6 ay 7:30 PM.. The Jan 23rd show with Los Cumpleaños playing their Colombian-flavored mix of psychedelic cumbia, dub and other trippy dance sounds is up in the air at this point, stay tuned.

A Darkly Thorny New Album and a Nublu Release Show From Gordon Grdina’s New Trio

Like Adam Good and Brian Prunka, Gordon Grdina is the rare double threat on both oud and electric guitar. His style is closer to Good’s savage attack than Prunka’s more spacious, spare approach. Grdina’s often seethingly complex new album Nomad, with his recently formed trio including pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black, is streaming at Bandcamp. He’s playing the album release show on Jan 17 at the old Nublu at 62 Ave. C (4th/5th Sts.), at a very early hour for that venue, 6 PM; cover is $10.

Grdina’s writing for piano here is exquisitely grim, and Mitchell returns the favor with some of his most sharp-fanged playing. The opening track, Wildfire skronks and prowls around, the pianist’s enigmatic chords and loopily twisted boogie holding the center. After piano and guitar wind into a tight spiral, everything falls apart, Mitchell’s ominous minimalism finally gaining grativas and pulling the band together again.

Grdina gives the album’s title track a thorny solo intro, Mitchell nimbly handling some daunting, darkly insistent lefthand/righthand polyrhythms, Black’s flurries keeping this one on the rails. Ride Home, meant to evoke the wear and tear of the road, is simultaneously steady and staggering, Mitchell’s eerie stairsteps against Grdina’s weaving, wandering lines, shadowed by Black; Grdina’s final, savage coda packs a wallop.

Benbow, inspired by a California hotel which reminded Grdina of the one in The Shining, gets a spacious but gritty solo guitar intro, a long, tightly clustering crescendo and an evilly glittering Mitchell solo. Loopy, disconcerting belltone phantasmagoria and surprise funk from Black permeate Thanksgiving; the trio wind up the album with Lady Choral, a wry paraphrase of “Larry Coryell” that came to Grdina in a dream. Mitchell’s disorientingly Messiaenic solo sets the scene, Grdina taking his time with his oud for the album’s most unselfconsciously majestic interlude. This is an artichoke of an album: you have to get past the spines to find the reward inside.

Transcendence and Trials at Winter Jazzfest 2020

One of the high points of Winter Jazzfest 2020 was a rock song.

Don’t read that the wrong way. Firing off clanging, reverb-fanged minor chords from her white Fender Jaguar, Becca Stevens sang her steadily crescendoing anthem I Will Avenge You with just enough distance to make the inevitable all the more grim. Connections to a famous hippie songwriter and steampunk Broadway show aside, it was validating to see her pack the Poisson Rouge to open last night’s Manhattan marathon of shows.

She’s lost none of the livewire intensity she had in the days when she used to front a surrealistically entertaining cover band, the Bjorkestra, ten-odd years ago. Her own material is just as artsy and outside-the-box: it’s what would have been called art-rock back in the 70s, but with a 90s trip-hop influence (Portishead at their most orchestral) instead of, say, Genesis. Drummer Jordan Perlson and bassist Chris Tordini gave a snap to the songs’ tricky metrics, lead guitarist Jan Esbra adding terse colors, keyboardist Michelle Willis bubbling and rippling and soaring with her vocal harmonies. The songs ranged from an uneasily dancing setting of a Shakespeare text from Romeo and Juliet, to a dizzyingly circling ukulele tune, to Tillery, the subtly soukous-inflected anthem that Stevens typically opens with. “Without love there is nothing,” was the singalong chorus. True enough: that’s why we do this stuff.

A few blocks east at the Zurcher Gallery, singer Sara Serpa raised the bar impossibly high for the rest of the night, or so it seemed at the moment. With barely a pause between songs, she led a tightly focused lustrous quartet – longtime partner and saturnine influence Andre Matos on guitar, Dov Manski on piano and analog synth, and Jesse Simpson on drums – through a glistening, sometimes pointillistic, sometimes shatteringly plaintive set of songs without words.

Serpa didn’t sing any actual lyrics until the unexpectedly playful final song, relying instead on her signature vocalese. While she’s best known as a purveyor of misty, airy, frequently noir sonics, she’s developed stunning new power, especially on the low end – although she used that very judiciously. The most haunting song of the night came across as a mashup of Chano Dominguez and Procol Harum at their most quietly brooding, with a ghostly avenger out front. Matos’ steady, purposeful, meticulously nuanced chords and fills anchored Manski’s often otherworldly textures and eerie belltones as Simpson maintained a steady, suspenseful flutter with his bundles.

Over at Zinc Bar, trumpeter Samantha Boshnack led a New York version of her Seismic Belt septet, playing shapeshiftingly emphatic, anthemic, eco-disaster themed material from her fantastic 2019 album of the same name. The music seemed to still be coalescing, but that observation might be colored by the situation where the bar wasn’t letting people stand in the inner room close to the band, as they had in the past, and what was being piped into the bar from a couple of tinny speakers wasn’t enough to compete with a chatty crowd. The bandleader’s soulful, cantabile tone rose and fell gracefully and mingled with the sometimes stark, occasionally lush textures of violinist Sarah Bernstein, violist Jessica Pavone, bassist Lisa Hoppe, expansively dynamic baritone saxophonist Chris Credit, pianist Kai Ono and drummer Jacob Shandling. Boshnack’s voice is full of color and sparkle, just like her horn: she should sing more. Chet Baker may have left us, but Boshnack would be a welcome addition to the trumpeter/singer demimonde.

That there would be such a packed house in the basement of a snooty new Lafayette Street tourist bar, gathered to see the debut of pedal steel paradigm-shifter Susan Alcorn‘s new quintet, speaks to the exponential increase in interest in improvisation at the highest level. That the band had such potent material to work with didn’t hurt. Alcorn’s tunesmithing can be as devastatingly sad as her stage presence and banter is devastatingly funny.

Drummer Ryan Sawyer – most recently witnessed swinging the hell out of a set by Rev. Vince Anderson a couple of weeks ago – sank his sticks into a diving bell of a press roll that Alcorn pulled shivering to the surface in a trail of sparks. Violinist Mark Feldman’s searingly precise downward cadenza out of a long, matter-of-factly circling Michael Formanek bass crescendo was just as much of a thrill. Guitarist Mary Halvorson echoed the bandleader’s sudden swells and sharply disappearing vistas with her volume pedal.

There was a lot of sublime new material in the set. They began with a poignant, 19th century gospel-infused minor-key number that disintegrated into a surreal reflecting pool before returning, austere and darkly ambered. An even more angst-fueled, lingering diptych began as a refection on a battle with food poisoning, Alcorn deadpanned: from the sound of that, it could have killed her. Later portraits of New Mexico mountain terrain and a Utah “circular ruin” gave the band plenty of room to expand on similarly stark themes. The coyly galloping romp out at the end of the catchy, concluding pastoral jazz number offered irresistibly amusing relief.

Winter Jazzfest has expanded to the point where it seems it’s now a lot easier to get in to see pretty much whoever you want to see – at least this year, from this point of view. Even so, there’s always triage. Matthew Shipp at the Nuyorican, what a serendipitous match…but the Nuyorican is a good fifteen-minute shlep from the Bleecker Street strip, just on the cusp of where a taxi driver would think you’re really lame for not hoofing it over to Alphabet City.

Cuban-born pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa and his irrepressible quartet at Subculture were much closer. There’s always been a fine line between salsa and jazz and for this show, this crew – with Mayquel Gonzalez on trumpet, Gaston Joya on five-string bass and the bandleader’s brother Ruy on drums – sided with bringing the first kind of party. In a spirited duet, it turned out that the bandleader’s bro is a more than competent and equally extrovert pianist, when he wasn’t riffing expertly on his snare like a timbalero. The group shifted from long, vampy, percussive cascades to classically-flavored interludes, including a catchy Leo Brouwer ballad that Lopez-Nussa used as a rollercoaster to engage the crowd. What a beautiful, sonically pristine venue, and what a shame that, beyond a weekly Sunday morning classical concert series, the space isn’t used for music anymore. They probably couldn’t put the Poisson Rouge out of business – who would want that bar’s cheesy Jersey cover bands, anyway – but they could steal all their classical and jazz acts.

World-Famous Big Band Celebrates Pantheonic Painters

Since prehistory, musicians have been inspired by visual art. But there’s never been a big band jazz album featuring works by multiple composers referencing paintings from across the decades. The new Jazz and Art record by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – streaming at youtube – took almost a decade to create. New York’s most renowned big band premiered it live in 2010, playing to projections overhead. The vast stylistic range of the music mirrors the art that springboarded it, including works by Romare Bearden, Winslow Homer and Piet Mondrian.

The sheer fun that the composers here had writing for this mighty beast of an ensemble is visceral, and the orchestra reward those efforts lavishly. The album opens with a Stuart Davis-inspired triptych by Doug Wamble. The first segment, The Mellow Pad, is a moody, New Orleans-tinged cha-cha in the same vein as Tom Waits’ Down in the Hole, with spare, bluesy Vincent Gardner trombone at the center. Likewise, the second part is a paraphrase of When the Saints Come Marching In, with bright spotlights on Marcus Printup’s trumpet and Sherman Irby’s alto sax. The group take a pointed, almost tiptoeing swing through the ragtime-tinged conclusion, Dan Nimmer’s piano pushing it further into postbop.

Gardner contributes the epic Sam Gilliam shout-out Blue Twirl, developing slowly from Messiaenic birdsong-like chatter, to wry jesting, a silky clave and a brisk swing, bassist Carlos Henriquez signaling the changes. Marsalis, altoist Ted Nash and trombonist Elliot Mason punch in hard with solos.

Trombonist Chris Crenshaw gets the plum assignment of tackling Bearden’s iconic collage The Block with sweeping, jump blues-inspired swing, Nimmer pouncing, tenor saxophonist Victor Goines leading the group into a balmy Harlem evening. Coming full circle with a triumph at the end, it’s the album’s most vivid, memorable number.

Low brass and percussion build ominously looming ambience as trombonist Papo Vasquez’s salute to Wilfredo Lam, the Orisha Medley: Air, Earth, Fire, Water gets underway. Anchored by a steady Afro-Cuban groove, the composer hands his imposing solo off to Marsalis, who raises the roof, the whole crew joining the blaze.

Bill Frisell was an apt choice to pitch in a Winslow Homer-inspired diptych, an allusively folksy, bittersweet waltz and a boisterous jump blues, the latter of which is the most modernist number here. Nimmer’s elegant cascades and tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding’s enigmatic, airy work liven Andy Farber’s colorful, cinematic arrangements.

The lustrous introduction to trumpter Tim Armacost’s Mondrian tribute The Repose in All Things is a false alarm. It turns out to be a bright, bustling excursion, Irby buoyantly setting up trumpeter Ryan Kisor’s crescendo. The album winds up with Irby’s Twilight Sounds, for Norman Lewis, expanding joyously on a vaudevillian theme. If you like your jazz blazing, brassy and evoking decades of history, crank this record.

A Welcome Return by What’s Left of 70s Psychedelic Legends Nektar

Nektar were one of the greatest psychedelic rock bands of the 70s, sort of the missing link between Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. Forty years before crowds of thousands were taking to the streets to protest corporate-fueled global warming, Nektar were putting out records with sidelong, acid-inspired cautionary tales about eco-disaster. After the band’s arguably best and ironically most hopeful album, Recyled, frontman/guitarist Roye Albrighton left. A lacklustre 2004 reunion cd, The Prodigal Stranger, was followed by an unexpectedly transcendent tour, reaffirming that they were still a mesmerizing live act.

Albrighton died three years ago. Since then, bassist Mo Moore and Ron Howden – one of the edgiest and most distinctive rhythm sections of their era – pulled another band together under the Nektar name, adding two guitarists – Randy Dembo and Ryche Chlanda – along with keyboardist Kendall Scott, whose textures match original organist Taff Freeman’s  mghty grandeur. The result is a new album, The Other Side, which hasn’t hit the web yet but turns out to be surprisingly fresh and invigorated. Even if it’s loaded with riffs nicked from Pink Floyd, Steely Dan and the group’s first incarnation.

The presence of Albrighton looms immensely over this record, from its innumerable baroque-tinged cascades, to the flaring guitar codas his songs would peak out with. And he had his hand in some of the material on the record, notably Devil’s Door, which opens with his own solo taken from a 1974 concert soundboard recording. The songs are a mix of lavish epics with lofty peaks and desolate valleys, themes morphing into different shapes like an Escher mobius woodcut.

The album opens with a nine-minute tour de force, I’m On Fire, a triumphant, galumphing dinosaur rock anthem that strikes a balance between the baroque and Led Zep, with a bridge that goes from balmy to Pink Floyd Wall grit It’s amazing how vital the rhythm section still is: Moore has the snap and crackle that elevated him above most of the other bassists of his era, and Howden negotiates whatever tricky directions the songs take with typical heavyfooted elegance.

SkyWriter is a a broodingly catchy ballad that Chlanda originally worked up with the band in 1978. I’s closer to ELO than, say, the Dead, with a minimalist Procol Harum-ish organ solo and a searing, Albrightonesque guitar break. The album’s most gargantuan creation is the diptych Love Is/The Other Side, an eighteen-minute monstrosity that begins as a pharaphrase of the Alan Parsons Project’s Eye in the Sky with George Harrison slide guitar grafted on. The segue into the title track raisies the energy a little, shifting back and forth between an orchestral 70s psychedelic sound – Pink Floyd’s Dogs is an obvious reference point – and slicker 80s chorus-box guitar sonics. An unexpected neoromantic piano interlude signals an eventual break in the clouds.

Drifting, a mostly instrumental number in 9/4 time, is another Animals-era Floyd knockoff. Albrighton’s gentle, pastoral intro doesn’t hint at the syncopated 7/4 pulse that Devil’s Door will hit – it’s a shock this metaphorically charged anthem didn’t make it onto a Nektar album, live or in the studio, in its heyday. Scott’s high-beamed, richly textured keys here are one of the album’s high points.

They follow the Synergy-istic keyboard soundscape The Light Beyond with the sweeping, unsettled folk-rock vistas of Look Through Me, Dembo’s twelve-string acoustic guitar front and center. They close the album with Y Can’t I B More Like U, a late Beatlesque ballad that they eventually take bouncing down the hobbit trail. Good to see these guys still vital after all these years.

The 100 Best Songs of 2019

This is a playlist. Click on each song title to hear it

Like the Best Albums of 2019 and Best NYC Concerts of 2019 lists, this doesn’t follow any particular order, or ranking. Most of these tracks are listed in the order they were received here (which doesn’t coincide with release dates for those songs which actually had them). Bottom line: if something’s good enough to make the top 100 of the year, it’s worth hearing. There’s a LOT of music here: you might want to bookmark this page and come back later. The point of this is not to regurgitatef the Best Albums page but also to include material by other artists who may not have put out an album this past year… or ever.

The best song of 2019 reflects the vast backlash against the Trumpie fratboy rape culture unleashed by the election three years ago. With just her acoustic guitar and her powerful alto voice, Karen Dahlstrom‘s defiant, gospel-infused No Man’s Land empowers everybody:

No man’s words can still my voice
No man can tell me where I stand
No man’s will can take my choice
I am no man’s land

In the year of Metoo, it’s a rare political song that isn’t strident or prosaic. It’s also the title track to her new album. Dahlstrom sings with folk noir harmony trio Bobtown, who you might see on this list a little bit later.

And there’s another song on that record that was too good to leave off the list. After the Flood, set in a post-Katrina New Orleans, examines apocalypses both global and personal.

The rest of the list also reflects a lot of wrath at rightwing corporate entitlement and gig economy-era fascism. If you need to get stoked for the 2020 election, crank this stuff.

Changing ModesRocket
A sinister surveillance state parable by the protean art-rockers which brings to mind X at their most rockabillyish. “Tell me why the failsafe signal failed/Tell me why the driver never broke a sweat,” co-frontwoman Wendy Griffiths wants to know.

Changing ModesFire
The band’s most savagely dystopic song, with a mutating backbeat stomp and wary chromatics from the baritone sax. “Caught by friendly fire/As drones divide the sky/You’ll just give in if you never ask why”

Changing Modes – Glide
The group’s cynicism reaches redline with this sardonically twinkly boudoir soul-tinged nocturne, Griffiths fixing her crosshairs on slacker apathy
All of these from the album What September Brings

The Bright SmokeAmerican Proletariat
A harrowing, darkly atmospheric, blues-tinged gig-economy narrative. “I fear this more,” frontwoman Mia Wilson intones, than “the employ of and the company of torturers and slumlords…an empire on its knees”

The Bright SmokeModel Citizen 
The band shift from unsettled indie chords to a starkly sarcastic minor-key interlude: “I can help you lose everything you won…you model citizens are out for blood.”

The Bright SmokeOne Hundred Years
This looks back to the gritty gutter blues the band were exploring earlier in the decade: “It’s been a banner year/It’s open season on the weak”

The Bright SmokeMauretania
Quincy Ledbetter’s oscillating bassline propels a desperate Joy Divison-esque tableau where everyone expects a “top down trickle down, but it never came.”
All of these from the album Gross National Happiness

Big LazyDream Factory
Drummer Yuval Lion ramps up a loose-limbed slink with his flurries as Andrew Hall runs a trancey blues bassline, frontman Steve Ulrich’s baritone guitar pulling the song deeper into the shadows

Big LazyRamona
With dubby accents from Marlysse Simmons’ organ, this is one of the spare, overcast bolero-ish tunes that Ulrich writes so well

Big LazyCardboard Man
This one features Marc Ribot, a rare guitarist who can go as deep into noir as well as Ulrich, adding eerily flamenco-tinged touches. The exchanges between the two, switching in a split-second between styles, are expertly bittersweet

Big LazyExit Tucson
A tense, morose quasi-bolero with all kinds of neat, rippling touches pinging through the sonic picture around Ulrich’s sad broken chords, disconsolately reverberating riffs and a long, forlornly shuffling solo

Big Lazy Fly Paper
Gloomy noir cinematic theme with a deliciously disorienting blend of tone-bending lapsteel, furtive guitar multitracks and a trick ending. It’s the most Twin Peaks of any of the songs on this list

Big LazySing Sing
Peter Hess’ baritone sax adds extra smoke beneath Ulrich’s lingering, macabre tritones
All of these from the album Dear Trouble, rated #1 record of 2019 here.

Hearing ThingsTriplestep
Coalescing into a menacing mashup of Ethiopiques and a death row strut, saxophonist Matt Bauder gets the Pink Panther to cross over to the dark side, up to a defiantly soaring alto solo that makes a killer coda.

Hearing ThingsWooden Leg
A subtly sardonic horror theme in the same vein as Beninghove’s Hangmen, Bauder fluttering furtively in the low registers as the band picks up steam: it’s the album’s most deliciously noir epic.

Hearing Things Transit of Venus
The Brooklyn surf/dance band’s first and most trippily macabre adventure in Ethiopian jazz,

Hearing ThingsStalefish
A more traditional, horror surf take on Turkish psychedelia, guitarist Ava Mendoza firing off slashing chords over baritone guitarist Jonny Lam’s snappy, evil basslines.
All of this from the album Here’s Hearing Things

Chicha LibreGnossienne No. 1
The legendary Brooklyn psychedelic cumbia band reunited for a South American tour and did a couple of darkly trippy Barbes shows to warm up. This quasi-bolero version of the macabre Erik Satie classic was the encore for night two. From their iconic 2008 debut Sonido Amazonico

The Dream SyndicateBullet Holes
A catchy backbeat hit over a classic Steve Wynn two-chord verse, contemplating the ravages of time and knowing where the bodies are buried

The Dream SyndicateStill Here Now
A bitterly gorgeous, resolute midtempo anthem that picks up with incisive piano and distantly unhinged sheets of Jason Victor guitar, building to a tantalizingly savage solo

The Dream SyndicateBlack Light
Spare, resonantly jangly guitar and eerily blippy keys over a midtempo swing groove in this dissociatively dark psychedelic tableau All these from the album These Times

Loreto AramendiRachmaninoff: Prelude in C# minor
The Spanish organist slayed with this majestic, haunting arrangement at Central Synagogue back in May. She also did a killer (sorry) version of Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre. Neither of these clips were recorded on organs as powerful as the one at the synagogue, but the performances are almost as much of a thrill

Claudia NygaardMe Too
She’s got one last date with the rapist – in the graveyard. Most grimly funny and spot-on Americana rock song of the year. From the album Lucky Girl

Enzo Carniel’s House of EchoChaoides
The French noir cinematic jazz trio killed with this at Nublu 151 back in January. Slowly and methodically, guitarist Marc-Antoine Perrio added washes to darken the fog, finally introducing a few portentous, lingering chords from his Fender Jazzmaster
From their debut album

The Felice Bros – Days of the Years
Grimly autobiographical images of rock road warrior escape from upstate New York blue-collar hell…and a slight return, set to steady acoustic Springsteenian rock.

The Felice Bros – Holy Weight Champ
A defiantly surreal account of fighting the debt collector

The Felice Bros – Socrates
The philosopher’s last words recounted in song for any rugged individualist paying attention in the Facebook surveillance age
All of these from the album Undress

Dawn ObergIt’s 12:01
A parlor pop piano smash namechecking a litany of people murdered by the San Francisco Police Dept: “Past time, motherfuckers, to change the guard at the gate.” She slayed with this at the Rockwood back in September

Amanda Palmer – The Ride
Creepy circus metaphors taken to their logical, early 21st century personal and political extreme in over ten minutes plus worth of elegang neoromantic piano art-rock.“Everybody’s reaching to put on a seatbelt but this kind of ride comes without one”
From the album There Will Be No Intermission

Jay VilnaiThe Night We Met
The macabre final diptych on the guitarist/composer’s new murder ballad album Thorns All Over has Oscar Noriega’s moody clarinet rising over creepy, lingering belltones, minimalist guitar lurking in the background, descending to a glacially waltzing dirge.
From the album Thorns All Over

Joanna WallfischLullaby Girl
Capped off by an ornately gritty glamrock guitar solo, this big art-rock anthem could be peak-era mid-70s ELO. Wallfisch’s allusively imagistic portrait of an unnamed musician’s grimly elusive search for some kind of inner peace packs a wallop. How far do you think she traveled…

Joanna WallfischRoad Trip
This tensely pulsing, real-life account of her California tour by bike has a crushing existential subtext:
“I change my background story every time somebody asks/I have worn so many masks”
From the album Blood & Bone

Layale ChakerUshaq
A stark, intense, chromatically haunting Middle Eastern instrumental anthem set to an increasingly fluttering beat and a bass drone
From the violinist’s album Inner Rhyme

Rev. Screaming Fingers Monsoon Gully
Snarling, distorted, serpentine guitar leads set to a gently tumbling cha-cha beat in this noir guitar instrumental theme

Rev. Screaming FingersDance of the Dust
Speaking of funereal, the organ beneath the loping, savagely crescendoing desert tableau adds immensely to the ominous ambience. From the album Music for Driving and Film, vol iII (The Desert Years)

Michael WinogradDinner in Bay Ridge
Don’t laugh, this is a killer song from the pyrotechnic klezmer clarinetist’s latest release. It’s a soberly syncopated, gorgeously wistful, crescendoing number, the group weaving around the melody as it winds out.
From the album Kosher Style

Joshua GarciaPockets Full O’Gold
A chillingly metaphorical, Phil Ochs-influenced catalog of stuff a guy keeps buying, set to terse fingepicked solo guitar. “I’ll buy me a family and I’ll buy some friends…I’ll never buy sadness, I’ll leave that all to you.” And it gets better. He killed with this at the American Folk Art Museum last winter

Laura Carbone – Empty Sea
A slinky, lush 6/8 noir anthem with Carnival of Souls organ and a vast, bleak panorama of guitar texture

Laura Carbone – Nightride is a sparse highway-of-death tableau – like the he Dream Syndicate  stripped to the bare bones – rising to a garagantuan, swirling coda. Both tracks from the album Empty Sea

Charming DisasterBaba Yaga,
A shout out to the popular mythological Russian witch from the protean, wickedly lyrical noir superduo with a scampering horror surf-tinged groove

Charming DisasterBlue Bottle Blues
A swinging, distantly menacing number about poisoning, with strings and droning harmonium; frontwoman Ellia Bisker’s sultry tones enhance the sinister ambience over guitarist Jeff Morris’ gorgeously bittersweet guitar jangle
Both tracks from the album Spells & Rituals

Natalia SteinbachThere Is No Demon
An evil march, the art-rock/avant garde violinist/singer as one-woman string quartet
From the album Waterlynx

Unnatural WaysMost of All We Love to Spy
More than nine sometimes skronky, sometimes crushingly ornate minutes of scorching Ava Mendoza guitar chromatics over drummer Sam Ospovat’s precise but relentlessly thumping syncopation.
From the album The Paranoia Party

Dina MaccabeeEven When the Stars Align
After an ueasily charming glockenspiel solo, the art-rock violinist/singer’s vocals dance over a slowly swaying, spare web of textures. “I’m still a million miles away.”

Dina Maccabee–Tall Tall Trees
An unselfconsciously gorgeous late Beatlesque anthem set in a theatre where the show never starts; Roger Reidbauer contributes a deliciously spiraling, dipping guitar solo
From the album The Sharpening Machine

Roosevelt Sykes – Dirty Mother for Ya
The blues pianist revisits his ridiculously funny 1934 hit. ”Some people call it suggestive. Actually, I have no control of your thoughts. Listen to the words so you don’t get the wrong understanding,” says one of the only two dead artists on this list. From the Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 compilation

Beat CircusThe Last Man (Is Anybody Out There​?​)
A surreallistically swinging, apocalyptic, Lynchian blend of beat poetry and a Balkan-tinged chorale set to menacingly orchestrated desert rock. Think of how empty all those “luxury’ condos will be in the next five years.
From the album These Wicked Things

Girls on GrassBecause Capitalism
“Capitalism ruins everything worth doing,” lead guitarist/frontwoman Barbara Endes intones over a stabbing Motown beat, to a guy who’s only in it “For the cash, and the underage ass”

Girls on GrassCommander in Thief
“I come from superior genes,” the narcissist-in-charge brags over a swaying Flamin’ Groovies drive, the faux bombast of the guitars matching Endes’ sardonic lyric
Both tracks from the album Dirty Power

Budos BandThe Enchanter
A gorgeous vintage 60s Ethiopiques tune with growly, snarling tremolo guitar: Sabbath meets Mulatu Astatke

Budos BandPeak of Eternal Night
Big swells and a deliciously doomy theme whose Ethiopian roots come into bracing focus in the dub itnerlude midway through
From the album V

Binky Philips & the Planets – Blink
A desperate narrative that could be a Vietnam War tale, or apocalypse by gentrification.”This will not stand from where I’m sitting!”
From the album Established 1972 NYC

Kinan Azmeh The Fence, the Rooftop and the Distant Sea
Back in May on the Upper West Side, the great Syrian clarinetist teamed up with Brooklyn Rider cellist Michael Nicolas for an achingly gorgeous duo performance of this elegaic exile’s suite with an almost macabre cello interlude laced with sepulchral harmonics, ending as a poignant Arabic ballad. This clip is the version for clarinet and string quartet

Fabian AlmazanEverglades
An allusively gorgeous, thirteen-minute neoclassical jazz piano epic, with a broodingly emphatic bass solo, the chords rising with a crushing intensity. Is this about fighting alligators…or alligators fighting to survive?
From the album This Land Abounds With Life

Curtis EllerRadiation Poison
Don’t let the bluster of those of jump blues-inspired horns fool you: this is about an invisible killer. The charismatic banjo player may reference Nagasaki and the New Mexico atom bomb tests, but in the post-Fukushima era, the song has even more relevance. “Everybody’s been exposed.”
From the album Poison Melody

NoctorumPiccadilly Circus in the Rain
A bleakly gorgeous, syncopatedly swaying portrait of quiet working class desperation in real estate bubble-era London. “There’s no creative work amid the swarming bees”
From the album Afterlife

Russ TolmanKid
A searingly spot-on account of a girl from a broken home whose teachers think that she “might be talented at art,” but her refrain is “Please don’t make me go home.” The janglerock backdrop, with Kirk Swan’s incisive terse guitar fills and Robert Lloyd’s mandolin, is a little more gentle and sparkly than the bandleader’s legendary psychedelic band True West
From the album Goodbye El Dorado

Sharon GoldmanSunset at the Border
Over brooding parlor pop, the purist acoustic tunesmith connects the dots between the North American refugee crisis and Gaza wallbuilding.
From the album Every Trip Around the Sun

Rose Thomas BannisterHeaven Is a Wall
A shapeshifting fable about border walls packed with the cynically appropriated Old Testament imagery that the psychedelic Great Plains gothic songstress loves to use to drive a point home. She killed with this at Union Pool back in September with her band

Yale Strom’s Broken ConsortO Mighty Stronghold
Whoever thought a Hannukah standard could be so epic: Moroccan flair, sweeping strings, biting oud and an exhilirating violin-cello duel.
From the album Shimmering Lights

Theremin NoirCarlotta’s Portrait
The Bernard Hermann theme from Hitchcock’s Vertigo is rich with aching, increasingly enigmatic piano from Uri Caine and morose violin from violinist Mark Feldman as bandleader/keyboardist Rob Schwimmer puts the quavering icing on the cake with his theremin.They slayed with this at Greenwich House Music School in October – at the group’s first-ever show, twenty years after they’d released this on album

Son of SkooshnyStaying In
One of the alltime great baseball songs ever written – hang in there til you get to the end, where janglerock icon Mark Breyer puts everything in perspective, at his haunting, unflinching best. Getting there is a ride that brings to mind the 2016 World Series (Breyer’s beloved Cleveland Indians went down ignomimously to the typically cellar-dwelling Chicago Cubs).

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog Fuck La Migra
A punk rap that needed to be written…and it’s a good thing that this guy did it, with a little Texas blues thrown in for maximum context.
From the album YRU Still Here

Bobtown – Hazel
It’s an old down-to-the-river tale updated with an allusive current-day angst by this era’s most devilish folk noir harmony trio.
From the album Chasing the Sun

The Manimals – The Maze
Vintage Bowie mashed up with dissociative psychedelia and slashing powerpop, a surprisingly dark diversion from New York’s most unpredictably theatrical female-fronted rockers.
From the album Multiverse

The Long RydersHad a Dream
“I had a dream that Trump was dead,” guitarist Tom Stevens intoned in the psychedelic Americana legends’ slashingly updated take of this cynical MTV-era video hit at WFMU’s Monty Hall last year

Los Wembel’s de IquitosLamento Salvatico
Slinky, catchy minor-key psychedelic cumbia with layers of eerie wah-wah and jangle, lots of reverb and suspicious noises flickering through the mix from the timeless Peruvian Amazon band largely responsible for inventing the style.
From the album Vision del Ayahuasca

The Echo Session – Mystery Man
First-class retro 60s jangle-psych from Scotland, evoking the Pretty Things circa SF Sorrow

WarishVoices
A Queens of the Stone Age influenced punk stomp with tasty chromatic menace and hints of horror garage rock
From the album Down in Flames

Jason YeagerReckoning
A creepy, carnivalesque anti-imperialist protest jazz anthem: with a tune and a vocal this coldly dismissive, who says revenge songs need lyrics?
From the pianist’s album New Songs of Resistance

Petros KlampanisThalassia Platia
What seems to be a wistful, Middle Eastern-tinged jazz waltz turns out to be far more conflicted, with its aching lushness and a biting, upper-register bass solo
From the bassist’s album Irrationalities

Petroloukas Halkias and Vasilis Kostas – Palio Zegorisio
Centuries-old Greek hill country psychedelia with a tricky dance groove, shifting from major to minor and back, from the iconic clarinetist and his lauto-playing protege
From the album The Soul of Epirus

47soulMachina
A slow, ominously emphatic shamstep anthem and searingly imagistic account of Palestinian life under the occupation. “Sold out by the left, right when you left, why, you’re not filming?” They totally ripped with this in their Lincoln Center debut in October
From the band’s latest album Balfron Promise

The Red Room Orchestra Laura Palmer’s Theme
The noir cinematic ensemble and Twin Peaks theme reinventors slayed with this at Symphony Space back in February

Julia HaltiganMind Eater
“I don’t even wanna stay connected,” the luridly torchy New York bandleader sings in this relentlessly troubled new wave look at a world on the express track to self-destruction.

Julia HaltiganWool
A hazy. slowly swaying, noir-tinged nocturne where you can “lose your mind in the summer heat, waltz yourself down the broken street…passing through scenes that I know too well…”
From the album Trouble

Miguel ZenonViejo
A lush, sweeping, aching increasingly symphonic ballad with hints of Satie, Bartok and Angelo Badalementi – and a final dance – from the intense alto saxophonist and string quartet
From the album Yo Soy la Tradicion

Holy GroveBlade Born
A slowly swaying early 70s-style riff-rocker, guitarist Trent Jacobs searing through a thicket of triplets, then toward Sabbath menace and finally a hallucinatory nitrous hailstorm
From the album Live From The World Famous Kenton Club

The NYChillharmonicEasy Comes the Ghost
Percolating, bubbling synth and circus-rock piano phantasmagoria, shifting through a polyrhythmic maze to a determined disco strut that ended sudden and cold: a welcome, energetic coda at their Joe’s Pub show after a mostly subdued day at the Charlie Parker Festival

Amy LaVereNo Room For Baby
A hazily defeated, starkly orchestrated portrait of dead-end blue-collar struggle from the Americana bassist/bandleader.
From the album Painting Blue

The Sirius QuartetNew World
The edgy string quartet sarcastically juxtapose contrasting references to Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Shostakovich’s harrowing String Quartet No. 8: look how far we haven’t come, violinist/composer Gregor Huebner seems to say
It’s the title track to their latest album

The New Thread QuartetMichael Djupstrom: Test
A four-sax epic that shifts swiftly from moody ambience to increasingly agitated overlays, bagpipe-like flourishes, noirish trills, poltergeist flickers and sharp-fanged close harmonies. Bernard Herrmann would have been proud to have assembled this deliciously sinister tableau.
From their album Plastic Facts

Doomstress Your God Is Blind
”You’ve been deceived,” frontwoman Alexis Hollada snarls in this shapeshifting slap upside the head of warmongering religious nuts, rising to a spine-tingling outro.
From the Texas metal band’s album Sleep Among the Dead

Firebreather – Our Souls They Burn
A sludgy one-chord intro morphs into a dense, almost-galloping, menacingly hypnotic theme. If you can’t get enough of creepy chromatics, this song is for you.

Big EyesTry Hard Kiss Ass
A cynical powerpop slap at gentrifier yuppie careerist losers from this kick-ass powerpop band
From the album Streets of the Lost

The Diplomats of Solid Sound – Brave New World
A subtly Tex Mex-tinged, lushly orchestrated, cynically spot-on oldschool soul take on how social media and online dating are killing romance. Here’s a live youtube clip
From the album A Higher Place

Funkrust Brass BandUncanny Carnival
A dark Balkan-tinged anthem with a quote from the busker-rock playbook that’s so obvious but also such a good joke that it’s surprising that other brass bands haven’t used it
From the album Bones & Burning

Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith Farewell
A steady, quasi trip-hop groove slowly emerges as Smith intones Arthur Rimbaud’s harrowing self-penned obituary
From the album Mummer Love

Nusrat Fateh Ali KhanHaq Ali Ali
Longest song on this list, over twenty minutes of broodingly chromatic, Middle Eastern-tinged modes and bristling vocal cadenzas that tend to be more incisive and brief than the late great qawwali icon usually indulged in. The group take it doublespeed at about the eight-minute mark and don’t look back
From the album Live at WOMAD 1985

The Sometime Boys – Painted Bones
Lead guitarist Kurt Leege’s mournful washes of slide guitar, Mara Rosenbloom’s pointillistic electric piano and frontwoman Sarah Mucho’s brooding, gospel-tinged vocals mingle over a nimble bluegrass shuffle beat
From the album The Perfect Home

The Plaster CrampApartment 23
Like a more fleet-footed Botanica, a grisly art-rock narrative about an unwanted discovery. “His car sat on the wrong side of the streeet” |
From their debut album

Ashley Bathgate– Robert Honstein: Orison
A slow, gorgeous, tectonically shifting soundscape, textured top to bottom with gravelly murk, fleeting echoes, keening overtones and echo phrases from the cellist’s multitracks
From the album Ash

Michaela AnneIf I Wanted Your Opinion
An unexpectedly fierce oldschool honkytonk feminist anthem: she makes it clear that the last thing she wants is to be judged on looks
From the album Desert Dove

LocobeachEres Una Rata
The psychedelic cumbia supergroup’s big hit, a venomous dis with some classic, trippy, reverb-drenched keyboard work.
From the album Psychedelic Disco Cumbia

Sarah Pagé Pleiades
A softly pulsing deep-space raga, akin to a sitar drifting gently further and further from earth to the point where the vastness becomes terrifying
From the cutting-edge concert harpist’s album Dose Curves

AlltarSpoils
Hailstorm guitar tremolo-picking and a slow, evil chromatic riff set off relentless crush and lo-res distortion ,with a final rise from super-slow, to just plain slow and ceaselessly grim
From the doom metal band’s album Hallowed

The WellSabbah
Opening with a sitar-like drone and then hitting a stomping drive and a doomy, catchy Children of the Grave chromatic theme, with a little Ozzy and some unhinged Ron Asheton proto-punk
From the album Death and Consolation

Jaimie BranchPrayer for Amerikkka,
A ferocious stoner protest jazz diptych: stark gospel sway, venomous hip-hop speaking truth to power, lush strings and a flamenco-infused stamped out. Damn.
From the album Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise

Amy Allison This Prison
A typically metaphor-loaded chronicle of depression, done as classic honkytonk with flangey guitar: Allison admits that this cold, lonely place might keep her out of trouble, but she needs to break out – if only she can find that missing key
From the album Pop Tunes & the Setting Sun

Zosha DiCastriCortege
A processional for chamber orchestra that juxtaposes frantic, Bernard Herrmann-esque terror with steadier motives and suspenseful atmospherics, drawing on the ancient Roman wartime siege narrative that inspired Leonard Cohen’s song Alexandra Lost.
From the album Tachitipo

Nancy Braithwaite – Edith Hemenway: To Paradise For Onions
This menacingly neoromantic suite for clarinet and small ensemble are a David Lynch title theme waiting to happen, with a Duet for the End of Time at the end. Not bad for a piece by a nonagenarian composer whose work has never been previously recorded
Title track from the new album

Joel HarrisonBallad of Blue Mountain
Tightly unwinding, cleverly looped, Terry Riley-ish vibraphone, lingering clouds of guitar and sax passing through the sonic picture, and Indian sarod building slowly to a forceful peak.
From the album Still Point: Turning World

Mara Connor No Fun
Retro Orbison noir with punchy acoustic guitar and strings on the chorus: a classic sound for those who’ve never heard of the Stooges

Above the MoonFight the Sea
Kate Griffin’s fierce, angst-fueled twin-guitar attack propels this insistent twin-guitar stomp,
“Can’t see the forest through the trees…fight the ways that you can’t fight me.” They slayed with this at Marcus Garvey Park back in August
From the album Patterns You Create

The Eastern Blokhedz Baba
Having come this far, it’s time for this blog to get nostalgic. This is a psychedelic pop take on Brighton Beach Russian barroom music. Guitarist Wade Ripka’s irrepressible faux Soviet band didn’t play this at their May Barbes show but they did at the one before that. Maybe you had to be there