New York Music Daily

Love's the Only Engine of Survival

Month: December, 2012

A Free Download to Wind Up the Year

Looking for a NYC New Year’s Eve show that won’t put you in bankruptcy? Check the live music calendar. Staying in? Enjoy your evening with a free download of Very Be Careful‘s El Millonario, a snide oldschool Colombian vallenato punk tune for the 99% from the band’s latest album Remember Me from the Party. Happy New Year everybody and thanks for a great 2012!


Live Music in New York City in January and February 2013

New calendar for Feb coming 2/1/13  plus daily updates til then: you might want to bookmark this page and check back periodically to see what’s new. There’s a comprehensive list of places where these shows are happening at NYMD’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

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. Always best to check with the venue for the latest information on set times and door charges, since that information is often posted here weeks in advance. Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar.

Oldschool Chicago style blues guitarist Irving Louis Lattin gets a lot of gigs.  He’s at Terra Blues on 1/2, 1/13, 1/22 and 1/29 at 7 PM; he’s also at Lucillle’s on 1/11 at 8 .

Mondays starting a little after 7 PM Howard Williams leads his Jazz Orchestra from the piano at the Garage, 99 7th Ave. S at Grove St. There are also big bands here most every Tuesday at 7.

Mondays in January a phenomenal doublebill: savage, macabre,cinematic noir jazz band Beninghove’s Hangmen followed at 10 by “psycho mambo” band Gato Loco, who play equally entertaining, only slightly less dark oldschool Cuban-inspired sounds at Zirzamin.

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 in February (not January), 8 PM klezmer/jazz trumpet legend Frank London’s Shekhinah Big Band plays the Stone. A wild intense cast of downtown luminaries play dark jubilant stuff in minor keys, early arrival highly advised.

Also Monday nights Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, a boisterous horn-driven 11-piece 1920s/early 30’s band play Sofia’s Restaurant, downstairs at the Edison Hotel, 221 West 46th Street between Broadway & 8th Ave., 3 sets from 8 to 11, surprisingly cheap $15 cover plus $15 minimum considering what you’re getting. Even before the Flying Neutrinos or the Moonlighters, multi-instrumentalist Giordano was pioneering the oldtimey sound in New York; his long-running residency at the old Cajun on lower 8th Ave. is legendary. He also gets a ton of film work (Giordano wrote the satirical number that Willie Nelson famously sang in Wag the Dog).

Mondays at Tea Lounge in Park Slope at 9:30 PM trombonist/composer JC Sanford books big band jazz, an exciting, global mix of some of the edgiest large-ensemble sounds around. If you’re anybody in the world of big band jazz and you make it to New York, you end up playing here: what CBGB was to punk, this unlikely spot promises to be to the jazz world. No cover.

Mondays at the Vanguard the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra – composer Jim McNeely’s reliably good big band vehicle – plays 9/11 PM, $30 per set plus drink minimum.

Most Mondays in January (check the Barbes website for updates), 9:30ish Chicha Libre plays their home turf at Barbes. The world’s most vital, entertaining oldschool chicha band, they blend twangy, often noir Peruvian surf sounds with cumbia and other south-of-the-border styles along with swirling psychedelic jams and deep dub interludes. Show up early because they are insanely popular.

Also Mondays in January Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Union Pool in Williamsburg, two sets starting around 11:30 PM. 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 astute, sexy original songs and is one of the most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. It’s a crazy dance party til past three in the morning. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the lead soloist on baritone sax, with Dave Smith from Smoota on trombone, with frequent special guests. Vince also makes a rare West Village appearance at 55 Bar on 11/2 at 10.

The second and fourth Tuesday of the month there are free organ concerts featuring a global mix of first-rate talent at Central Synagogue, Lexington Ave. at 55th St., free

Tuesdays in January clever, fiery, eclectic Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party play Barbes at 9. Get there as soon as you can as they’re very popular. $10 cover.

Tuesdays at around 10 Julia Haltigan and her band play 11th St. Bar. Young as she is, she’s an institution – and a torchy, charismatic force of nature, equally at home in fiery southwestern gothic rock, oldschool soul and steamy retro jazz ballads, and her band is just as good as she is. Why she isn’t as popular as, say, Neko Case, is a mystery.

Tuesdays in January, 8 PM starting 1/8 through 1/28 electric blues guitar legend Johnny Winter at B.B. King’s, $30.

Wednesdays at 1 PM there are free organ concerts at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown, a mix of NYC-area and international talent.

Wednesdays at 8 in February (not January), jangly rocker Rob Teter (former frontman of gypsy rockers the Belleville Outfit) plays Zirzamin with a series of sensationally good special guests.

Wednesdays 1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 10 PM  three chances to see the self-explanatory, somewhat harder rocking than you would think Dub Trio at the small room at the Rockwood

Wednesdays at 9 PM Feral Foster’s Roots & Ruckus takes over the Jalopy, a reliably excellent weekly mix of oldtimey acts: blues, bluegrass, country and swing.

Thursdays in February (not January) at 1 PM International Contemporary Ensemble plays indie classical from all over the spectrum at Trinity Church, free

Thursdays and Fridays in January Bulgarian alto sax star Yuri Yunakov and band play Mehanata starting around 10. One of the most intense and gripping improvisers in gypsy music.

Fridays at 5 PM in January, adventurous indie classical string quartet Ethel (Ralph Farris, viola; Dorothy Lawson, cello; Kip Jones, violin; and Tema Watstein, violin) plays the balcony bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, free w/museum adm. When they’re not there, they’ll have someone from from their wide circle of like-minded avant ensembles. Although the sound wafts across the balcony, you actually have to be in the bar itself in order to really appreciate what they’re doing.

Friday evenings at various times (check the site for the weekly schedule) fearless avant cellist/impresario Valerie Kuehne’s Super Coda – a global mix of strange and sometimes amazing sounds, from the way-out to the way-in, drawing on a vast, global talent base – happens at Spectrum, 121 Ludlow St., 2nd floor.

Fridays in Januaryat 9 Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens play oldschool 1960s style gospel at the Fat Cat.

Saturdays in January at 3 PM at Bargemusic there are impromptu free classical concerts, usually 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 Jan 5 ,10, 24, 31 a Becca Stevens residency at Shapeshifter Lab, time TBA – nuanced, torchy, rainswept guitar jazz songs from the Bjorkestra frontwoman.

Saturdays eclectic compelling Brazilian jazz chanteuse Marianni and her excellent band at Zinc Bar, three sets starting at 10 PM.

Sundays there’s a klezmer brunch at City Winery, show starts around 11:30 AM – 2 PM, $10 cover, no minimum, lots of good bands.

Sundays 1 PM-ish, bluegrass cats Freshly Baked (f.k.a. Graveyard Shift), featuring excellent, incisive fiddle player Diane Stockwell and an A-list of players play a brunch show at Southern Hospitality 645, 9th Ave at 45th St.

Weekly Sunday organ concerts continue (with holidays excepted) at St. Thomas Church, 53rd/5th Ave. at 5:15 PM, an international parade of A-list organists looking to give the mighty 1913 Skinner organ here a sendoff before it’s replaced.

Every Sunday at 5 PM, New York Music Daily present the Sunday Salon at Zirzamin (in the old Zinc Bar space on Houston at LaGuardia, downstairs).  An A-list of New York songwriters and instrumentalists work up new material and cross-pollinate in a comfortable, musician-friendly space. There’s no cover, and at the end of the salon, there’s a 45-minute set by a rotating cast of topnotch New York and international songwriters and composers. Dark rockers Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons  are on the bill at 7 here on 1/6; Nashville gothic crooner Mark Sinnis on 1/13; psychedelic new wave janglerockers Tracy Island on 1/20; charismatic, intense acoustic punk/blues siren Molly Ruth on 1/27; Americana guitar genius Homeboy Steve Antonakos on 2/3; noir NYC legend LJ Murphy & the Accomplices on 2/10; and many killer acts to follow. As always, watch this space for updates.

Every Sunday the Ear-Regulars, led by trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri play NYC’s only weekly hot jazz session starting around 8 PM at the Ear Inn on Spring St. Hard to believe, in the city that springboarded the careers of thousands of jazz legends, but true. This is by far the best value in town for marquee-caliber jazz: for the price of a drink and a tip for the band, you can see world-famous players (and brilliant obscure ones) you’d usually have to drop $100 for at some big-ticket room. The material is mostly old-time stuff from the 30s and 40s, but the players (especially Kellso and Munisteri, who have a chemistry that goes back several years) push it into some deliciously unexpected places.

Sundays in January, 8 PM charismatically torchy oldtimey songwriting maven Jolie Holland plays the Jalopy, $15.

1/1, 7 PM Steve Antonakos and Tim Heap on acoustic guitars followed around 9 by catchy punk/farfisa band Ingrid & the Defectors at Bowery Electric, free.

1/1, 8/10 PM John Zorn improv night at the Stone with an obvious but pretty spectacular cast of characters: John Zorn (sax) David Fulmer (violin) James Moore (guitar) Anthony Coleman (piano) Ron Anderson (guitar) Chuck Bettis (electronics) Dave Scanlon (guitar) Eyal Maoz (guitar) Brian Chase (drums) Michael Coltun (bass) Jeremiah Cymerman (clarinet) Shanir Blumekranz (bass) and many special guests at the Stone, where else, $25. There’s another one of these on 1/19 at 8 featuring guitarist Joe Morris.

1/2, 8 PM free jazz with David Grollman, Michael Evans and Andy Haas followed by Chris Welcome with Brad Henkel at Goodbye Blue Monday.

1/2, 8:30 PM guitarist Assaf Kehati Trio with  Chris Nolte on bass and  Ronen Itzik on drums at the Bar Next Door

1/2, 9 PM eerie microtonal blues with Jane Lee Hooker at the Mercury, $10.

1/3, 7 PM haunting Aimee Mann-esque pianist/songwriter Jodi Shaw at the small room at the Rockwood

1/3, 7:30 PM deviously eclectic songwriters’ collective Chicks with Dip (minus founder Aimee Van Dyne), play their contributions to their cover cd Joni Mitchell’s Blue: a 40th Anniversary Celebration plus originals inspired by that album at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher St. Performers include Sharon Goldman, Meg Braun, Carolann Solebello, Elisa Peimer and many more.

1/3-13, 8 PM Preservation Hall Jazz Band play a ten-night stand at the McKittrick Hotel, 542 W 27th St., $25. Be aware that the 1/12 performance starts at roughly 9:30 PM; a second set at 11:30 follows many of these shows

1/3, 8:30 PM guitarist Mary Halvorson leads a trio with John Hebert, bass; Ches Smith, drums at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min; 1/5, 9/10:30 PM she’s here with a different trio including Michael Formanek, bass; Tomas Fujiwara, drums, same deal.

1/3, 9 PM wry oldtime blues, swing jazz and proto-rockabilly with Ted Hefko & the Thousandaires at the Way Sation in Ft. Greene

1/3, 9 PM percussion powerhouse Chembo Corniel leads a latin jazz band at the Nyuorican Poets Cafe, $10

1/3, 9:30 PM ferocous female-fronted bassless noiserock band Bugs in the Dark at Union Hall, $8

1/3, 10 PM oldtime French chamber pop/cabaret band Les Bandits followed at 11 by the Snow’s chamber pop maven Pierre de Gaillande singing his own spot-on translations of Georges Brassens classics at Barbes.

1/3, 10 PM M Shanghai String Band at the Jalopy, $10

1/3, 10 PM Anthony Coleman solo on piano at the Stone, $10.

1/3, 10 PM Aima Moses plays roots reggae at Shrine

1/3, 10:30 PM torchy eclectic southwestern gothic songwriter Julia Haltigan and band at the big room at the Rockwood.

1/3, midnight skin-peeling noiserock with the Sediment Club at Xpo 929 in Bushwick, $8.

1/4, 7 PM Anne-Marie and Maureen McDermott play a program TBA for music and cello at Third St. Music School Setttlement, free

1/4, 7 PM the Sad Bastards – Charlene and Mo from Spanking Charlene singing the saddest acoustic covers they can fine – at Zirzamin.

1/4, 8 PM badass oldschool blues resonator guitarist Mamie Minch followed at 10 by the Jug Addicts at Barbes.

1/4, 8 PM the NJ Symphony Orchestra plays Tippett’s Symphony No. 1 and Holst’s The Planets at NJPAC in Newark, $20 tix avail. The program repeats 1/6 at 3 PM.

1/4, 9ish the Brooklyn What – whose new album looks like it’s gonna be amazing – at Shea Stadium, $8.

1/4, 9 PM dark Americana songwriter Jessie Kilguss at Red Hook Bait & Tackle. She’s also at Hank’s on 1/16 at 10.

1/4, 9ish PitchBlak Brass Band and bouncy Afrobeat orchestra Emefe at Bowery Electric, $10.

1/4, 9 PM electic danceable dark pan-latin and worldbeat grooves with Paprika followed at 10 by dark, eclectic acoustic Americana/art-rock band the Sometime Boys at  Branded Saloon in Ft. Greene

1/4, 9 PM Argentinian rockers Agosto at Warsaw, free

1/4, 10 PM hilarious, politically spot-on faux French garage rockers les Sans Culottes at the Mercury followed eventually at around one in the morning by the irrepressibly hilarious, theatrical, X-rated Cudzoo & the Fagettes, $10.

1/4, 10 PM oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Hill Country. They’re also at Rodeo Bar on 1/24 at 10:30ish.

1/4, 10:30 PM the Dave Gibson /Jared Gold B3 organ Quintet at the Fat Cat

1/4, half past midnight intense, haunting, twin-trombone dub band Super Hi-Fi at the Rockwood

1/5, 1 PM pianist Dan Tepfer jams out Bach’s Goldberg Variations at Trinity Church, free.

1/5, 4 PM Hungrytown – who nimbly blend 60s psychedelic pop with brooding oldtime original folk sounds – at the small room at the Rockwood, followed eventually by honkytonkers the Third Wheel Band at 9 and then after that terse, intense lyrical rocker Niall Connolly at midnight.

1/5, 5 PM multistylistic gypsy/Russian/tango/soundtrack string band Ljova & the Kontraband at the Brooklyn Museum, free, early arrival advised

1/5, 7:30/9:30 PM Ed Cherry on guitar with Pat Bianchi on organ and Allison Miller on drums, reprising Cherry’s excellent latest album, It’s All Good at the Bar Next Door, $12.

1/5, 8 PM intense art-rock side projects: devious punk classical cellist Valerie Kuehne, Bad Credit No Credit frontwoman Carrie-Ann Murphy’s Clapperclaw side project, Botanica’s art-rock mastermind/frontman Paul Wallfisch, darkly torchy chanteuse Mariana Luna’s Vernacular History and Dark Dark Dark’s Walt McClemens’ Lonesome Leash at the PPL space, 104 Meserole St., Bushwick, $5 G to Broadway, M to Lorimer, L to Meserole.

1/5, 8 PM Special Patrol Group at Arlene’s. A few years back they were making edgy, bitingly lyrical, wickedly catchy artsy rock in the same vein as Blur, then they fell off the radar, now they’re back. Good thing.

1/5, 8 PM Nature Boy Explorer – “with an eclectic mess of instruments, Nature Boy Explorer has more fun with the popular song than you. Centered around guitarist/vocalist Mark Snyder, NBE throws in harpist Becky Brown and accordionist Natasha Smoot for an alternately energetic and emotional blend of rock/pop that puts on no airs” at Barbes followed at 10 by high-velocity Mexican polka band Banda Sinaloense de los Muertos

1/5, 8:30 PM pianist Taka Kigawa performs selections from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition plus music by compositions and performances by Milica Paranosic, David Taylor, Gene Pritsker, Lynn Bechtold, Dan Cooper, Daniel Palkowski, Edward Laurel, and Joseph Pehrson at an opening for work by visual artists Gorazd Poposki, Kevork Mourad, Ronnie Taylor, Jill Slaymaker, Suzi Matthews, and Kim Prtisker and Sebastian Izya Pritsker, at Gallery MC, 549 West 52nd St. (8th floor), $15 incl. pre-concert reception at 8 PM.

1/5, 9ish the Reid Paley Trio at Rock Shop, $10. If you wish you’d seen Screaming Jay Hawkins while he was alive but never did, this guy’s awfully close. You want intense and scary and retro 50s? He makes Tom Waits look like an amateur.

1/5, 9 PM Unsteady Freddie’s monthly surf rock extravaganza at Otto’s is an extra good one: the hard-hitting Octomen at 9, the original and arguably harder hitting Mister Neutron at 10, the funky Bongo Surf at 11 and sometime after midnight ageless NYC twang purists the Supertones.

1/5, 9 PM olschool country songwriter/bandleader Michaela Anne followed by Alex Battles & the Whisky Rebellion at the Jalopy, $10.

1/5, 10 PM drmmer Ches Smith leads a quartet with Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) Stephan Crump (bass) and the reliably intense Mat Maneri (viola) at the Stone, $10

1/5, 10 PM Lake Street Dive at the big room at the Rockwood is SOLD OUT good for them. There are still tix for the 1/6, 7 PM show there.

1/6, 5 PM subtly intense, smart, eclectic art-rock pianist/songwriter Lee Feldman with his trio at Something Jazz Club.

1/6, 6 PM Zozulka (Ukrainian for cuckoo) featuring Eva Salina Primack, Black Sea Hotel’s Willa Roberts and the Debutante Hour’s Maria Sonevytsky at Barbes singing haunting, otherworldly Ukrainin songs followed at 9 by gypsy guitar paradigm-shifter Stephane Wrembel at Barbes

1/6, 6 PM Thomas Heberer and Steve Swell jam out some trumpet and trombone duos at Downtown Music Gallery, free.

1/6, 7:30 PM a blast from the psychedelic punk 80s – Certain General at Otto’s

1/6, 8:30 PM Jamie Saft’s deep dub New Zion keyboard trio at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

1/6-13, 9/11 PM the Fred Hersch Trio probbly making another gorgeous live album at the Vanguard, $25.

1/6, 9:30ish the irrepressible, theatrical, politically spot-on Ukuladies at Rodeo Ba. They’re also at Freddy’s on 1/29 at 7:30

1/7, 5 PM an open rehearsal of John Plummer’s Missa Sine nomine sung by New York Polyphony at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 W. 46th St, free.

1/7, 7 PM the Choi Fairbanks String Quartet returns to their old haunts at the Fat Cat

1/7, 7/9 PM vibraphonist Erik Charlston’s lively, explosive JazzBrasil at Dizzy’s Club, $25.

1/7, 9ish a celebration of four years (minus about a week) of the weekly Small Beast nght at the Delancey, with legendary dark psychedelic rocker/Sonic Youth producer Martin Bisi, southwestern gothic rocker Lynn Wright from And the Wiremen, fearlessly assaultive cellist Valerie Kuehne, noir cabaret legends Little Annie and Sally Norvell and the NYC debut of up-and-coming banjoist Roman Wallfisch, free.

1/7, 9 PM phantasmagorical pianist Frank Carlberg’s Monk Dreams, Hallucionations and Nightmares at Tea Lounge in Park Slope – whoah, scary stuff!

1/8 6 PM edgy lyrical intense Nina Simona-influenced soul siren Alice Lee at the small room at the Rockwood

1/8-13, 7:30/9?30 PM luminouos flamenco jazz pianist Chano Dominguez with Dafnis Prieto at Dizzy’s Club, $35 tix available and worth it

1/8, 8 PM brilliant free jazz drummer Barry Altschul’s 70th birthday bash and cd release party and reunion of free jazz legends Brahma at Roulette: “the first half of this concert will be the “3dom Factor” with Jon Irabagon- tenor sax and Joe Fonda-bass and the second will be a rare performance by Brahma with Ray Anderson -trombone, and Mark Helias-bass who have not performed together for 30 years!” at Roulette.

1/8, 8 PM gypsy rockers Kagero at Radegast Hall.

1/8-11, 8/10 PM Donald Harrison, Ron Carter & Billy Cobham at th Blue Note, $20 standing room avail.

1/8, 9 PM popwerpopstress Mikal Evans and band at Spike Hill.

1/8, 10:30 PM dark clever sometimes pretty savage third-stream piano jazz with the Danny Fox Trio at Caffe Vivaldi.

1/9, 6 PM the intriguing New Aires Tango project with chanteuse Malena Dayen and pianist David Rosenmeyer at Cornelia St. Cafe, $8 includes a drink which means it’s essentially a free show.

1/9 and 1/11, 7:30 PM female-fronted torchy hot jazz with the Hot Sardines at Joe’s Pub, $12

1/9–11 & 1/14-15, 8:30 PM, plus 1/13, 4 PM the world premiere of Muynammed Fairouz’ opera Sumeida’s Song, based on a harrowing, classic Arabic epic poem at Here, far west side of 6th Ave. past the park just south of Spring St., $20.

1/9, 9 PM clever female-fronted power trio the Happy Problem at Cake Shop.

1/9, 9:30 PM hypnotic, fun, psychedelic-as-hell art-rock/prog instrumentalists You Bred Raptors –  Epileptic Peat on 8-string bass, Zach Schmidlein on drums and Bryan Wilson on cello – at the Mercury, $10

1/9, 9:30 PM tongue-in-cheek, period-perfect early 50s style country from Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. at Rodeo Bar.

1/9, 9:30 PM edgy, eclectic pianist Gerald Clayton leads a quartet with Mark Turner – tenor;  Matt Brewer – bass; Obed Calvaire – drums at Smalls.

1/9, 10 PM psychedelic latin soul bandleader Damian Quinones – who just put out one of 2012’s best albums – at Freddy’s

1/10, 7:30 PM cellist Scott Kluksdahl and pianist Noreen Polera play a program featuring composers influenced by Nadia Boulanger: Lasser, Berstein, Boulanger, Piazzolla at WMP Concert Hall, $20.

1/10-11, 7:30/9:30 PM, B3 groovemeister Dr. Lonnie Smith with his trio at the Jazz Standard. 1/12-13 he’s with his octet, $25 ($30 on the weekend)

1/10, 8 PM saxophonist Dan Block with pianist Ted Rosenthall, bassist Chris Haney, guitarists Saul Rubin and Paul Meyers, drummer Tim Horner and vibraphonist Mark Sherman at Zebulon Sound and Light, 223 W 28th St

1/10, 8:30  PM haunting southwestern gothic rock with And the Wiremen at Bowery Electric, $10

1/10, 9 PM Que Vlo-Ve play classic Greek rembetiko followed by massive ten-piece Balkan brass groove monsters Veveritse at the Jalopy, $10.

1/10, 9 PM pianist Eugene Marlow and his latin/Jewish jazz band the Heritage Ensemble at Caffe Vivaldi.

1/10, 10 PM, hilarious cowpunk/honkytonk band Uncle Leon & the Alibis go back to where it all began at Hank’s.

1/10, 10ish retro guitar genius Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Rodeo Bar.

1/10, 11 PM oldtime honkytonk and pre-tockabilly sounds with the Weal and Woe at Union Hall, $8.

1/10, 11ish  sardonic female-fronted  postpunk band the Hard Nips at Shea Stadium.

1/11-12/2013 Winter Jazzfest is just around the corner: it’s the time of year when for a couple of days, all the cheesy Bleecker St. venues turn into a mecca for good jazz. Your best bet is the $45 two-day pass, available at the Poisson Rouge box office; $35 single-day passes are also available. An insanely good bunch of bands, from the oldest oldschool to the new: Hazmat Modine, the Cookers, Amir ElSaffar, Catherine Russell, Marc Cary, Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra, the James Carter organ trio, Ibrahim Malouf, Roy Nathanson’s Sotto Voce, Jaimeo Brown’s Transcendence, dozens more, the whole concert calendar is here.

1/11, 7 PM Songs for Unusual Creatures – a playful, tuneful, eclectic Songs for Ice Cream Trucks  instrumental spinoff – followed at 8 by Buryatian/Mongolian singer Namgar, twin trombone dub monsters Super Hi-Fi at 9:30 and then catchy, politically astute Mexican-American janglerockers Pistolera at 11 at Barbes. Wow.

1/11-13 & 16–18, 7:30 PM Soldier Songs:  an evening-length multimedia event from composer/guitarist David T. Little that combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused concert music, and animation drawn from interviews with veterans of five wars at the Schimmel Center at Pace University on Spruce St. downtown, $30 tix avail

1/11, 7:30 PM last year’s Maqam Fest was arguably the best NYC concert of 2012 and this one promises to be as good. On the bill: haunting, cutting-edge pan-levantine band Salaam; brilliant Turkish classical multi-instrumentliast Ahmet Erdogdular; New Andalucia, who blend flamenco and Arabic styles; Balkan/gypsy rockers Eva Salina fronted by charismatic, bewitching singer Eva Salina Primack; Amino Belyamani’s SSAHHA playing microtonal Moroccan grooves; and the all-star Alwan Arab Music Ensemble jamming out classical music from Cairo, Aleppo and Baghdad at Alwan for the Arts, early arrival very highly advised, $30 adv tix highly rec. at the box office downtown at 16 Beaver St, 4th Fl.

1/11, 8 PM quirky torchy cabaret-pop and chamber rock with  Grace McLean & Them Apples followed eventually by jazz violinist Zach Brock and band at the small room at the Rockwood.

1/11, 8 PM Steven Beck plays Charles Wuorinen solo piano works at the Stone, $10.

1/11, 9 PM dark, lyrically-driven, female-fronted acoustic blues/country band the Sometime Boys followed by the Tara Lynne Band with the SBs’ Sarah Mucho on bass at Fifth Estate, 506 5th Avenue (12th/13th Sts), Park Slope, Brooklyn, free

1/11, 9 PM Jan Bell – whose new album Dream of the Miner’s Child is the best thing she’s ever done – plays with her band the Maybelles at Red Hook Bait & Tackle

1/11, 9 PM dark hypnotic downtempo piano rock grooves with pianist Eve Lesov and her trio at Tea Lounge in Park Slope, free.

1/11, 9 PM indie chamber-folk band Colorform – who combine live painting with their pensively tuneful songs – at Trash

1/11-12, 9 PM popular Boston country band Session Americana at Brooklyn Rod & Gun Club

1/11, 10 PM amazing Balkan/klexmer/psychedelic brass band Klezwoods followed at 11 by ferocious, tuneful female-fronted gypsy punk/noir cabaret band Amour Obscurat Spike Hill.

1/11, 10 PM impassioned yet wickedly subtle, politically conscious oldschool-style soul crooner Preachermann & the Revival – best known for his 2007 album Negroes Stay Crunchy in Milk – at Shrine. Sort of the missing link between late-period Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron.

1/11, 10 PM dark ex-Norden Bombsight Americana/noir/punk chanteuse Raquel Bell at Sycamore Bar in Ditmas Park, $10.

1/11, 11 PM half of the Golden Festival’s best Balkan brass acts: Zlatne Uste, Raya Brass Band, Frank London’s Klezmer All-Stars and the NY Gypsy All-Stars play a benefit for the Turkish Miles Davis, Selim Sesler (who needs a heart transplant) at Drom

1/11, half past midnight, eclectic jazz cellist Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy at the Blue Note, $10.

1/12, 2:30 PM new music ensemble Lunatics at Large with soprano Christine Moore, pianist Kathleen Tagg, flutist Laura Falzon play works by new composers with roots across the Middle Easter including Karim Al-Zand, Kinan Azmeh, Halim El-Dabh, Bushra El-Turk, Mohammed Fairouz, Zaid Jabri and Kareem Roustom plus live painting by visual artist Kevork Mourad at Bruno Walter Auditorium, Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza/111 Amsterdam Avenue, FREE!!

1/12, 7 PM a rare candlelight salon concert of classical and Romantic wind music on period instruments by chamber ensemble Grand Harmonie in the parlor of the reputedly haunted Merchants House Museum,  29 E 4th St., $20, limited seating, rsvp highly recommended. Spooky fun!

1/12, 7 PM arguably the best concert of 2013 – and it’s only January, and it’s only $10. Thank the devil the booking agents are in town for the convention. On the bill: twin trombone deep dub band Super Hi-Fi at 7, wild Mexican polka crew Banda Sinaloense de los Muertos at 8, Black Masala (a spinoff of dub reggae band See-I) at 9, the incomparably fun Peruvian psychedelic surfsters Chicha Libre at 10, intense metal cumbia band MAKU Soundsystem at 11 at Drom.

1/12, 7:30/9:30 PM ambitoius, smart tenor sxophonist Patrick Cornelius with Orrin Evans’ rhythm sectio, Ben Wolfe on bass and Donald Edwards on drums at the Bar Next Door, $12.

1/12, 8 PM holy mother of G-d, what a doublebill: Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and the Klezmatics at the 92YTribeca, $20.

1/12, 8 PM snarling Bollywood-influenced punk rockers Yankee Bang Bang followed eventually at 10 by the sizzling Taiwanese art-metal instrumentals of the Hsu-Nami at the Knitting Factory, $8.

1/12, 8 PM Americana guitar genius Will Scott followed at 10 by equally fiery Raya Brass Band spinoff Sherita at 69 Jay St. Bar

1/12, 8 PM eclectic New Orleans cellist/jazz bandleader Helen Gillet at Barbes followed eventually at 10 by cumbia band Chia’s Dance Party.

1/12, 8 PM, repeating 1/13, 2 PM violinist Johnny Gandelsman (of Brooklyn Rider) and pianist Ethan Iverson play Brahms sonatas at Bargemusic, $35.

1/12, 8:30 PM what is brilliant flamenco jazz pianist Ariadna Castellanos doing at little Caffe Vivaldi? Better get there early if you want to get in.

1/12, 9 PM NYC’s original punk marching band, Hungry March Band open for gypsy/circus punk orchestra Mucca Pazza at Littlefield, $14.

1/12,9 PM eclectic worldbeat/desert blues banjo player Jayme Stone plays the Jalopy with his group, $10.

1/12 9ish intense, dark psychedelic art-rocker (and Sonic Youth producer) Martin Bisi with his band at Grand Victory in Williamsburg

1/12, 9:30 PM weirdest segue of the year: intense, politically aware cello rockers Rasputina and then GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan (with a full band) at Stage 48 in Hell’s Kitchen, $25 gen adm. What the hell, they both have good lyrics.

1/12 10 PM charismatic bandleader Sekouba and his massive roots reggae group play African francophone reggae at Shrine

1/12, 10 PM Fred Sherry and Meaghan Burke play duo works and improvisations for cello at the Stone, $10.

1/12, 10 PM New Orleans’ Stooges Brass Band at Brooklyn Bowl, $10.

1/12, 10:30 PM dark retro 80s rocker Alfonso Velez at Hill Country,

1/12, 11ish twangy purist Americana rocker Mick Hargreaves and the King Guys at Rodeo Bar.

1/12, 11ish psychedelic funk and soul with the MK Groove Orchestra at Spike Hill, $5.

1/12, 11:30 PM House of Waters plays psychedelic worldbeat dulcimer music followed eventually at half past midnight by Mariachi Flor de Toloache – NYC’s only all-female mariachi group -at the big room at the Rockwood.

1/13, 2:15 PM Los Pleneros de la 21 play classic Puerto Rican plena and bomba at Flushing Town Hall, $12.

1/13, 3 (three) PM elegant chamber pop and indie classical themes with the Parkington Sisters at the small room at the Rockwood.

1/13, 5 PM darklly adventurous baritone saxophonist Charles Evans leadds a trio at Something Jazz Club, $10.

1/13, 6 PM Frank London’s Latin-Yiddish band, OY – NYC (La Orquesta Yiddish de Nueva York), featuring Arturo O’Farrill at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

1/13, 8 PM a phenomenal free doublebill: haunting Turkish and Armenian string band the Secret Trio followed by Bulgarian chanteuse Vlada Tomova’s equally gripping Balkan Tales at Drom, rsvp reqd

1/13, 9 PM psychedelic funk with the People’s Champs followed at 10:30 PM by NYC’s only all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Flor de Toloache at Barbes.

1/13, 10 PM tuneful, high energy electric Americana rockers American Aquarium at the Mercury, $12.

1/14, 7 PM Jerome O’Brien of the late, great Dog Show plays his ferociously literate, vintage R&B/punk influenced songs at Zirzamin

1/14, 7 PM Transatlantic Ensemble (clarinetist Mariam Adam and pianist Evelyn Ulex ) team up with Argentine bandoneon player and composer JP Jofre for the cd release show for their new one Crossing America, feat. works by Jofre, Jeff Scott, Paquito D’Rivera, Robert Schumann and Rodian Steinway Hall, 109 W 57th St. free but res req.

1/14, 7 PM intense, tuneful Lebanese/French trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and ensemble playing haunting Middle Eastern jazz at the Lycee Francaise, 505 E 75th St. east of York Ave., $35, expensive but worth it.

1/14, 7 PM Nellie McKay at the big room at the Rockwood, $20.

1/14, 7:30 PM the Horszowski Trio – Jesse Mills, violin; Raman Ramakrishnan, cello; Rieko Aizawa, piano – play Mozart:  Trio in B flat Major, K. 502; Shostakovich:  Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 8 and Dvorak:  Trio in F Minor, Op. 65 at Music Mondays at Advent Church, 93rd St/Bwy, free

1/14, 8 PM oldschool multimedia extravaganza: Trio Kavak and the Claremont Trio play works inspired by art and poetry including Helen Grime’s Three Whistler Miniatures plus pieces by Donald Crockett, Gabriela Lena Frank, Sean Shepherd and Fang Man along with live painting by Kevork Mourad at Roulette

1/14, 9 PM popular, edgy Americana chanteuse Shelby Lynne at City Winery, $30 standing room avail.

1/14, 9 PM the lush, atmospheric, brilliantly arranged JC Sanford Jazz Orchestra on their home turf at Tea Lounge in Park Slope.

1/14, 9 PM drummer Joe Hertenstein‘s HNH with bassist Pascal Niggenkemper and trumpet powerhouse Thomas Heberer at Shapeshifter Lab; they’ll be a Spectrum on Ludlow St. on 1/25 at 9.

1/14, 9:30 a rare smaller club date for brilliant third stream jazz pianist Kenny Werner, who leads a trio at Smalls.

1/14, 10 PM trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s increasingly noir soundtrack-inspired Sex Mob at 55 Bar

1/14, 10ish welll-loved humorous Canadian grasscore band the Duhks at Highline Ballroom, $20 adv tix rec.

1/15, 2 (two) PM Giora Schmidt, violin with Rohan De Silva, piano play the first sonatas of Beethoven, Schumann and Fauré, as well as a Ysaÿe’s adaptation of Saint-Saëns’ Valse-Caprice at Merkin Concert Hall, $18

1/15, 7 PM wild violin/brass Balkan band Sherita at Barbes followed at 9 by the considerably larger and even louder Slavic Soul Party

1/15, 1/17 and 1/27 oldtime acoustic blues multi-instrumentalist Blind Boy Paxton plays Terra Blues at 7

1/15, 7:30 PM in the wake of the recent loss of composer Simeon ten Holt, six-piano ensemble Grand Band – Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle O’Connell – dedicate their entire program at le Poisson Rouge to his epic piece for multiple keyboards, Canto Ostinato, $15 adv tix very highly rec. Everybody should see this titanic group at least once and this is something that was more or less made for them.

1/15, 7:30/9:30 PM Cristina Pato plays Galician bagpipes, piano, flute and sings along with her band: Víctor Prieto, accordion; Edward Pérez – bass; Eric Doob – drums; John Hadfield – percussion  at the Jazz Standard, $20

1/15,7:30 PM the Escher Quartet plays Prokofiev: String Quartet No.2 in F, Op.92  (‘Kabardinian’); Zemlinsky: String Quartet No.2, Op.15; Beethoven: String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2, (‘Razumovsky’) at the Austrial Cultural Center, 11 E 52nd St., free, res. req

1/15, 8 PM six-piano ensemble Grand Band (Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle O’Connell): performing Simeon ten Holt’s “Canto Ostinato” at le Poisson Rouge, $15 adv tix rec. Their massive sound is something that everybody should experience at least once.

1/15, 8 PM Trio Kavak play premieres and works by Andrew Struck-Marcell and Fang Man followed by the Claremont Trio  performing works by Sean Shepherd, Gabriela Lena Frank, Helen Grime and the NY premiere of Donald Crockett’s Night Scenes (2009) plus live painting by Kevork Mourad at Roulette.

1/15, 8:30 PM dark songwriter/chanteuse Elisa Flynn hosts a very cool evening at the Way Station in Ft. Greene: 15 artists each play a single classic murder ballad and then retell it from a 2013 perspective. On the bill: Sarah Bisman, Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne, Emily Duff, Elisa Flynn, Lys Guillorn, the Halsey Hellhounds, Valerie Kuehne, Maharajah Sweets, Alex Mallet, Chris Q. Murphy, Painless Parker, Danny Tuss, Paul Ryan, Whiskey Ginger, and Spiff Wiegand.

1/15, 8:30/10:30 PM Bria Skonberg on trumpet with Matt Munisteri on guitar and Sean Cronin on bass at the Bar Next Door, $12.

1/15, 9 PM effervescent, jaunty Moonlighters-esque oldtimey band the Leftover Cuties at the big room at the Rockwood, $10

1/15, 10:30 PM transgressive comic agitator Tammy Faye Starlite is Nico in Chelsea Madchen, her irreverent yet surprisingly haunting evocation of the doomed chanteuse at the Cutting Room, $20. This show has played on both coasts and was absolutely riveting this past spring at the Duplex here.

1/16, 9 PM Black Prairie play gypsy rock at Union Hall, $15.

1/16, 9:30ish torchy, jaunty oldtimey swing with Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at Rodeo Bar. They’re also here on 1/22, same time.

1/16, 10 PM dark Americana duo Whitehorse – Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet – at Hill Country, $12

1/17-18, 7:30/9:30 PM drummer extraordinaire Jeff “Tain” Watts leads a quartet with Mark Whitfield – guitar; Manuel Valera – piano; Yunior Terry Cabrera – bass at the Jazz Standard, $25-30. 1/19-20 he’s with his rarely convened big band here, not to be missed.

1/17, 7:30 PM Luis Perdomo solo on piano followed by Seamus Blake leading a quartet with Lage Lund – guitar , Chris Smith – bass , Nasheet Waits – drums at Smalls

1/17, 8 PM some of the best bands from this year’s Golden Festival spill over into Littlefield: ten-piece Veveritse Brass Band, psychedelic Balkan rockers Choban Elektrik, Maleshevski Zurli, Inspector Gadje, Zlatni Makedoncinja, no idea of the order of bands but they’re all good,  $10 dirt cheap for this kind of quality

1/17, 8 PM klezmer/bluegrass legend Andy Statman at Barbes, $10.

1/17, 9 PM jangly female-fronted Mexican-American rockers Cordero at the Knitting Factory, $8.

1/17, 9 PM saxophonist Bonnie Kane’s assaultively fun Big Plastic Finger followed by bassist Shayna Dulberger and her Quartet at Goodbye Blue Monday

1/7, 9:30 PM punk-inspired electric bluegrass and country with Demolition String Band at Hill Country.

1/17, 10 PM dazzlingly eclectic virtuoso string ensemble Trio Tritticali play originals, Latin, Middle Eastern, jazz, pop/rock arrangements at Freddy’s.

1/17, 10 PM Crampsy ghoul-garage rockers Triple Hex at the Gutter bowling alley in Williamsburg, $5.

1/18, 7:30/9:30 PM Dave Stryker on guitar with Jared Gold on organ and Steve Williams  on drums at the Bar Next Door. Interesting lineup: Stryker knows his blues inside out, will be interesting to see how far Gold pushes hin outside

1/18, 7:30 PM Glass Farm Ensemble play music by Willy Burkhard, Cesar Camarero, Cecile Marti, and Enjott Schneider for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano at Symphony Space, $20/$15 stud/srs.

11/18, 8 PM the effervescent, theatrical, badass oldtimey Ukuladies at Barbes followed at 10:30 by the haunting harmony-driven pan-latin Las Rubias Del Norte – who have more than a bit of chicha in them since they share members with Chicha Libre.

1/18-19, 8 PM, repeating 1/20at 3 PM intense percussionist Alessanda Belloni’s hypnotic Tarantella Spider Dance extravaganza with Statospheerius violin powerhouse Joe Deninzon at Theatre for the New City, 155 1st Ave. (9th/10th), $25.

1/18, 8 PM sax adventurer Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin at Roulette, $15/$10 stud/srs.

1/18, 9 PM oldtime swing bandleader Seth Kessel, gypsy/latin/ska rockers Karikatura and psychedelic dulcimer band House of Waters at SRB in Gowanus/Sunset Park

1/18, 9 PM artsy, Americana-flavored, eclectic literate rockers Balthrop Alabama at Littlefield, $10.

1/18, 10ish dark Syd Barrett/Stooges-influenced neo garage rockers Obits at Rock Shop, $12.

1/18, 10 PM Judah Tribe play roots reggae at Shrine.

1/18-19, 10:30 PM debonair tenor saxman Harry Allen leads a quartet with  Joel Forbes – bass , Chuck Riggs – drums , Rossano Sportiello – piano at Smalls.

1/18, 11ish smart, tuneful female-fronted powerpop band Delusions of Grand Street at Bowery Electric

1/18, midnight, eclectic gypsy rockers Banda Magda at the small room at the Rockwood

1/19, 6 PM wind ensemble the Erik Satie Quartet – whose repertoire starts with Erik Satie, his times and beyond – at Barbes followed at 8 by the Alejandro Zuleta Vallenato Group.

1/19, 6 PM guitarist Gerard Edery leads a trio with Meg Okura , violin, vocals;  Sean Kupisz , bass, cajon playing ancient Andalucian and Sephardic songs at Cornelia St. Cafe, $20 incl a drink.

1/19, 8 PM excellent torchy noir doublebill at le Poisson Rouge with inscrutable dark Americana chanteuse Marissa Nadler and torchy, lurid gothic art-rockers Elysian Fields, $15

1/19, 8 PM southwetern gothic rockers the Downward Dogs’ frontman Joe Yoga at Zirzamin.

1/19, 9 PM OMG what an amazing triplebill: Wendy Grifffiths’ dark, edgy, lyrical new wave-influenced rockers Changing Modes followed by intense, majestic, hauntingly anthemic art-rock band Of Earth followed by microtonal blues band Jane Lee Hooker at Spike Hill. These acts have absolutely nothing in common except that they are all brilliant.

1/19, 9 PM soaring Americana rocker/bandleader Alana Amram & the Rough Gems at Brooklyn Rod & Gun Club.

1/19, 10ish intense tuneful female-fronted noiserock band Bugs in the Dark at Big Snow Buffalo Lodge.

1/19, 10ish roots reggae/deep dub favorites John Brown’s Body at Maxwell’s, $15 adv tix rec.

1/19, 10 PM pianist Steve Hudson‘s eclectic third-stream jazz Outer Bridge Ensemble at Union Hall, $10.

1/19, 11ish the Brooklyn What – the borough’s most exciting, ferociously tuneful, amusingly insightful anti-gentrification rockers play the album release show for their new one Hot Wine at Public Assembly, early arrival advised, this may sell out

1/19, midnight-ish, the best doublebill of the year so far: Slavic Soul Party and Raya Brass Band keep the Golden Fest vibes going at Freddy’s, free!

1/19, 2 AM-ish (actually wee hours of 1/20) for those of you in the neighborhood of Freddy’s Bar (and there are some of you out there) – there’s a Golden Festival after-party featuring either Raya Brass Band, Veveritse or some combination thereof for all you Balkan brass lovers who couldn’t afford the main festival – this party never stops…

1/20, 3 PM Rozna Zila and her drummers perform traditional Haitian trance music plus a discussion of the origins of voodoo at 138 S Oxford St., Ft. Greene, free.

1/20, 5 PM a wild and crazy Golden Fest afterparty concert with Pontic Firebird, the Wind of Anatolia at 6, Inspector Gadje at 7, psychedelic Balkan rockers Choban Electrik at 8 and then gypsy punks Kagero at Drom, $10, $5 if you have a Golden Fest ticket, what an amazing night.

1/20, 6 PM violinist Elektra Kurtis leads an ensemble with Benita Meshulam, piano;  Curtis Stewart, violin;  Alva Anderson, viola;  Akua Dixon, cello playing Bach, Bartok, Monk and her own cutting edge compositions at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min. Followed at 8:30 PM by brilliant singer/composer Sara Serpa leading her new fado ensemble with pianist Kris Davis, seperate adm., same deal

1/20, 7 PM high-energy oldtime Connecticut Americana/roots/bluegrass band Poor Old Shine at the small room at the Rockwood.

1/20, 8 PM a good oldtime Americana bill at the big room at the Rockwood: Mamie Minch at 8, oldtime string band Spuyten Duyvil eventually at 10 and then the amazing, massive, always more eclectic M Shanghai String Band squeeze into the space at 11.

1/20, 8 PM a global avant jazz cast: Jorrit Dijkstra, Pandelis Karayorgis, Jeb Bishop, Nate McBride , Mary Oliver, and Han Bennink play Steve Lacy works at Roulette.

1/20, 10ish Talib Kweli with his band at SOB’s playing a Gil Scott-Heron tribute, $20.

1/20, 11 PM a “Smalls family jam session with: Spike Wilner – piano , Behn Gillece – vibraphone , Dezron Douglas – bass , Joey Saylor – drums , Melissa Aldana – tenor sax – good band!

1/20, 1 AM (presumably this means wee hours of 1/21) wild female noiserock band Out of Order at the Place Bar & Lounge, 269 Norman Ave, Greenpoint

1/21, an ostensibly allstar lineup TBA celebrates MLK Day at Symphony Space, free, watch this space for updates.

1/21, 9ish eclectic third-stream big band jazz with the Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble at Tea Lounge in Park Slope.

1/21, 9ish at Public Assembly, loud squalling avant jazz in reverse order of appearance: Talibam!, Jerkagram, saxophonist Bonnie Kane’s Big Plastic Finger & Richard Papiercuts, $7

1/21, 9:30 PM, drummer Ari Hoenig leads a trio with Orlando Le Fleming – bass , Uri Caine – piano at Smalls

1/22, 7 PM gypsy jazz band Taarka at Barbes followed at 9 by Slavic Soul Party.

1/22, 8 PM bring earplugs to this evening of intriguing full frontal extemporaneous assault for those who like this kind of stuff: Matt Evans on sax, Tim Dahl on bass and Jason Nazary on drums to open the night followed at 9 by guitarist Andrew Hock with Davindar Singh on bari sax and Nick Pogurski on drums, at 10 Mick Barr shredding on amplified tar lute with Mike Pride on drums and then guitarist Ron Anderson with Stuart Popejoy on bass and keys and Michael Evans on drums at Jack, 505 ½ Waverly Ave., (Fulton/Atlantic), Ft. Greene, C or G to Clinton-Washington

1/22, 8:30 PM subtle bossa/torchsong songwriter Rachel Brotman and band play the cd release show for her new one at the big room at the Rockwood.

1/22, 10 PM deviously eclectic organ virtuoso Brian Charette on the B3 with Ed Cherry on guitar and Diego Voglino on drums at Iridium

1/23-27, 7:30/9:30 PM the justifiably acclaimed Vijay Iyer on the piano with his trio at the Jazz Standard, $25 ($30 on the weekend). This is a great room to see him in.

1/23, 8 PM eclectic indie classical group Mimesis Ensemble plays Anna Clyne’s colorful, vibrant Primula Vulgaris (2010); Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Five Chairs and One Table (2008), a homage to Odetta, Miriam Makeba and the Obama kids; Mohammed Fairouz’s Unwritten (2010) for soprano and ensemble, on Socratic themes; and Alexandra du Bois’ Holocaust-themed Night Songs, String Quartet No. 3 (2005) at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $20

1/23, 8 PM clever, satirical all-female folk/pop band the Lascivious Biddies at the small room at the Rockwood

1/23-24, 8/10 PM hot gypsy jazz with the Hot Club of Detroit feat. chanteuse Cyrile Aimee at Iridium.

1/23, 8:30 PM viola virtuoso Ljova Zhurbin leads a trio with  Sam Sadigursky, clarinet;  Pablo Aslan, bass at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

1/23, 9 PM chanteuse Shara Worden’s ethereal chamber pop band My Brightest Diamond at Bowery Ballroom, $18 dav tix rec. Worden is also at Merkin Concert Hall with a somewhat different band and a choir on 1/25 at 7 PM for $15.

1/23. 9 PM politically-fueled acoustic rockers Gillen & Turk and the fascinating Natalia Paruz a.k.a. the Saw Lady, opening the show and playing back to back asthe highlights of a benefit for Hurricane Sandy survivors at Spike Hill, some of the proceeds to benefit the Red Cross, sugg don. pay what you can.

1/23, midnight, tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger leads a damn good band with Glenn Zaleski – piano , Matt Pavolka – bass , Colin Stranahan – drums at Smalls.

1/24, 7:15 PM Hevreh Ensemble play haunting, ethereal global woodwind sounds at Drom, $10 adv tix highly rec. Followed at 10 (separate admission) by high-voltage, theatrical gypsy punk orchestra Vagabond Opera, $12 adv tix rec.

1/24, 7:30 PM Lorin Maazel conducts the NY Philharmonic with Jennifer Koh on violin performing Tschaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet, Lutoslawski’s Chain 2: Dialogue for Violin & Orchestra and Shosatakovich’s savage Symphony No. 5 at Avery Fisher Hall, $33 tix avail. The concert repeats 1/25-26 at 8 PM

1/24, 7:30 PM the Attaca Quartet play John Adams works at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised.

1/24, 8 PM bassist Giacomo Merega plays a set of solo electric bass, titled Cosimo. No pedals – not that there’s anything wrong with that – testament to his ability that this might actually be interesting. Followed at 9 by the equally interesting Brad Shepik-Tom Beckham guitar-vibraphone duo at Lark Cafe, 1007 Church Ave (off E 11th St), Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Q to Beverly Road.

1/24, 8 PM whoever’s left of the original Wailers playing Bob Marley’s Survival in its entirety at Brooklyn Bowl, $15.

1/24, 8 PM a performance by captivating, environmentally conscious indie classical composer Eve Beglarian with supporting cast TBA at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, free.

1/24, 8 PM perennially suave golden age hip-hop guy Big Daddy Kane at B.B. King’s, $20 adv tix rec. in case you can’t wait for him to make the rounds of the summer festivals later this year.

1/24, 9 PM high-voltage, theatrical gypsy-rock band Vagabond Opera at Drom, $12 adv tix highly rec.

1/24, 10 PM oldschool 60s psychedelic rock with the Growlers at the Knitting Factory, $15, all ages. They’re at Union Pool the following night, 1/25 at 11 for the same price.

1/25, 7 PM the Damocles Trio play Schumann, Dvorak and Korf at Third St. Music School Settlement, free.

1/25, 7 PM Shara Worden the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at the Greene Space is sold out

1/25, 7:30 PM guitarist Patrick Grant– creator of International Strange Music Day – plays new works including “a multi-movement journey that deconstructs and rebuilds the musical memes of the rock genre and dispels the myth of the traditional “guitar hero” at Turtle Bay Music School, 244 East 52nd, (btwn 2nd & 3rd Aves.).

1/25, 7:30 PM Iktus Percussion premieres new works written for the group by Matthew Welch, Joe Di Ponio, Matthew Hough, Levy Lorenzo, and Philip Schuessler at First Presbyterian Church, 124 Henry St, Brooklyn Heights, any train to Borough Hall, $10.

1/25, 8 PM cellist Misha Quint and pianist Svetlana Gorokhovich play Nathan Davis’ new jazz-influenced Matryoshka Blues plus works by Prokofiev, Faure, Schnittke, de Falla, Scriabin and others at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $35 tix avail.

1/25 pianist Uri Caine and the Sirius Quartet play intriguing chamber jazz pieces at Shapeshifter Lab, 8/9:30 PM, $12

1/25, 8:30 PM the Chelsea Symphony plays Haydn: Concerto for Cello No. 1 in C major, Hob.VIIb:1 – Alexandra Jones, cello; Strauss: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite, Op. 60 at St. Paul’s Church at 315 West 22nd Street. The program repeats at 7:30 PM on 1/26, switching out the Haydn for the Shostakovich Concerto for Cello No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107, $25 sugg don.

1/26, 7:15 PM 7:15 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues

1/26, 7:30 PM “teen alt-classical sensations” Face the Music (who are actually very good) team up with mighty percussion ensemble ICE, performing George Lewis’s Artificial Life 2007 followed by fiery violinist Carla Kihlstedt, who plays with her band Causing a Tiger and then with ICE, with a series of new compositions exploring the world of dreams at Merkin Concert Hall, $25.

1/26, 7:30 PM alto saxophonist Virginia Mayhew leads a quintet with  Noah Bless – trombone , Ed Cherry – guitar , Mike Karn – bass , Andy Watson – drums at Smalls.

1/26, 8 PM this singer is amazing: “avant-chanteuse Carol Lipnik’s reverb drenched multi-octave dramatic vocals paired with Matt Kanelos’ minimalist and ecstatic piano stylings and vocal harmonies artfully deconstruct, explore, and reinvent apocalyptic cover songs by such artists as Leonard Cohen, Brian Eno, Michael Hurley, Richard Thompson, Wilco, Wall Of Voodoo, Tim Buckley, and introducing some brand new originals. At the Abrons Arts Ctr., 466 Grand St. at Pitt, LES, $20

1/26, 8 PM Daria Grace’s torchy, delightful oldtime uke swing band the Pre-War Ponies followed at 10 by the increasingly diverse Cumbiagra at Barbes.

1/26, 8 PM the NJ Symphony Orchestra plays Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and Sibelius’ The Tempest at NJPAC in Newark, $20 tix avail.

1/26, 8 PM eclectic Americana chanteuse Tift Merritt collaborates and improvises alogn with the llive painting of Anne Schuleit at the 92YTribeca, $25

1/26, 8 PM New York Polyphony sing secret underground Catholic masses by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd for four voices at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 W. 46th St, $35 adv tix highly rec. at the Miller Theatre box ofc.

1/26, 8 PM opening night at Big Road in Chelsea, 235 West 23rd St with blues from Solomon’s Band of Brothers and Big Road Blues Band, Irish chanteuse Mary Deady, the Bernardo Palumbo Conjunto playing latin jazz and high-energy oldtimey band Apocalypse Five and Dime, $10

1/26, 9 PM eclectic blues/country/rockers American String Conspiracy at Freddy’s.

1/26, 10 PM the Biscuit Grabbers – that’s Huck Johnson (upright bass) and Matt Thomas (guitar and steel ) from Wayne Hancock’s band plus Katy Rose McComb from Shotgun Party at 68 Jay St. Bar.

1/26, 10 PM Unlimited Force play roots reggae at Shrine.

1/26, half past midnight Chris Massey & the NJP with Melissa Aldana guesting on tenor sax at the Blue Note.

1/27, 3 PM reliably cutting-edge indie classical pianist Lisa Moore plays a premiere by Martin Bresnick plus works by Haydn, Schumann, Scriabin, Janacek and Kitzke tht he lovely, intimate Church of the Transfiguration, 29th St. off 5th Ave., $25/$15 stud

1/27,  4 PM the NY Chamber Ensemble – Alan R. Kay, clarinet; Eliot Bailen, violincello; Margaret Kampmeier, piano, perform Beethoven’s Trio, op. 11, Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and Brahms’s Clarinet Trio, op. 114 at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.

1/27, 5 PM Trio Cleonice – pianist Emely Phelps, violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck and cellist Gwen Krosnick – play Beethoven: Piano Trio Op. 70 No. 2;’ Richard Wernick: Piano Trio No. 1; Dvorak: Piano Trio Op. 65 at the Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, 128 Pinehurst Ave at 183rd St., $12 sugg don, reception to follow

1/27, 7 PM high-energy flamenco worldbeat sounds with Nacho Arimany New World-Jazz Quartet at Drom, $20

1/27, 7:30 PM pianist Armen Donelian leads an intriguing trio with David Clark – bass , George Schuller – drums at Smalls

1/27, 8 PM Sophie Salonika: “woodwind master and vocalist Jessica Lurie joins with multi-instrumentalist, sound sculpturist and vocalist Katie Down to create a new group with hints of Sephardic melodies intertwined with original tunes. On percussion is Chris Stromquist of Slavic Soul Party fame, and the fabulous Marika Hughes on cello and voice,” at Barbes followed at 9 by gyupsy guitar virtuoso Stephane Wrembel

1/27, 8 PM excellent Americana-flavored melodic jazz with Old Time Musketry doing the cd release show for their brilliant new one at the Firehouse Space, 246 Frost St. in Williamsburg

1/27, 8 PM the improvisational, multistylistic Joshua Shneider Love Speaks Orchestra at Roulette

1/27-30, 8 PM intense percussionist Alessanda Belloni’s hypnotic Tarantella Spider Dance extravaganza at Theatre for the New City, 155 1st Ave. (9th/10th), $25.

1/27, 9ish coy, torchy oldtime swing sounds with Daria Grace & the Pre-War Ponies at Rodeo Bar.

1/27, 10 PM pianist Frank Carlberg leads a trio with Joe Morris (guitar) Luther Gray (drums) Pascal Niggenkemper (bass) at the Stone, $10.

1/28, 7:30 PM Ambrosia Parsley plays her unique blend of Americana and nebulous, noirish indie janglerock at the big room at the Rockwood

1/28, 9:30ish soulful country chanteuse Karen Hudson and band at Rodeo Bar.

1/29-30, 7:30/9:30 PM bassist Ben Williams & Sound Effect with Marcus Strickland – sax; Alex Wintz – guitar; Christian Sands – piano; John Davis – drums at the Jazz Standad, $20.

1/29, 7:30 PM piano trio Merlin Ensemble Wien play music by Messiaen and Till Alexander Korber (including a US premiere) at the Austrial Cultural Center, 11 E 52nd St., free, res. req.

1/29, 8 PM an eclectic evening of music from the Western classical and Middle Eastern traditions featuring two rising stars of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and violinist Michael Barenboim (Daniel Barenboim’s youngest son) at le Poisson Rouge

1/29, 8 PM the Da Capo Chamber Players perform classical works by contemporary black composers Wendell Logan, Valerie Coleman, Nkeiru Okoye, Jeffrey Mumford, Alvin Singleton at Merkin Concert Hall, $20/$10 stud/srs

1/29, 8 PM sick Dolly Parton cover band Doll Parts– who mix straight-up rock versions of her schlockiest 80s crap with acoustic covers of her country classics – at the Way Station in Ft. Greene.

1/29, 9:30 PM recently resurrected Pittsburgh no-wave band Stick Against Stone Orchestra at Joe’s Pub, $TBA – did they ever play NYC before during their 80s heyday? Maybe not. Obscure music history could be made tonight; their long-awaited, unreleased album from almost 30 years ago is finally due out and it’s a blast.

1/29, 10 PM Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog (Marc Ribot, Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith) at Union Pool, $10, warming up for their latest European tour.

1/29, 10 PM microtonal saxophonist Noah Kaplan leada a quartet with Joe Morris (guitar) Giacomo Merega (electric bass) Jasoc Nazary (drums) at the Stone, $10

1/29, 10ish the high-powereed, original CSC Funk Band at Death by Audio.

1/30, 7 PM piano trio Merlin Ensemble Wien play works by Schoenberg, Mendelssohn, Zemlinsky at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, $15/$12 stud/srs

1/30, 7:30 PM Americana rockers Mary Lee’s Corvette revisits the tenth anniversary of their classic landmark live recording of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks at Joe’s Pub, $15. Having been at the concert that’s on the album, it was the best show of that year and maybe of the decade. No joke. Shattering stuff, Mary Lee Kortes’ wail will blow you away, $15 adv tix a must.

1/30, 7:30 PM Electric Junkyard Gamelan’s Terry Dame does some kind of “weird music” series at Branded Saloon in Ft. Greene, whatever it is it has to be good.

1/30, 9 PM Bobtown guitarist Karen Dahlstrom – whose haunting solo album Gem State, a collection of original oldtime style folk songs set in historic Idaho, is one of the best Americana records of recent years – at LIC Bar

1/30, 9ish all-female South Bronx funk-punk legends ESG’s final show ever at Bowery Electric, $25 adv tix rec.

1/30, 9 PM powerhouse violin metal group Stratospheerius at Shrine.

1/30, 9:30ish the NYCity Slickers play harmony-driven bluegrass at Rodeo Bar

1/31, 7:30 PM Hank Williams-influenced Canadian oldschool country/blues chanteuse Lindi Ortega at Joe’s Pub, $15.

1/31, 8 PM three sea chantey bands on one bill?!? The Johnson Girls followed at 9 by Geoff Kaufman – “one of today’s great voices in maritime music” – and then at 10 by Shapiro’s Shanty Shakedown”,  a 7-piece band with brass quartet, accordion, banjo and the Jalopy, $10

1/31, 8 PM trumpeter Frank London and guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood’s cantorial rock/jazz project Songs of Zebulon (no relation to the now-shuttered venue) at the Firehouse Space, 246 Richardson St., Williamsburg, $10

1/31, 8 PM two contrastingly eclectic artists leading trios with bass and drums: tropically -inclined vibraphonist Tyler Blanton followed by edgy eclectic saxophonist Geoff Vidal at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

1/31, 8:30 PM tongue-in-cheek, period-perfect early 50s style country from Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. at Otto’s.

1/31, 9 PM Willie Martinez & La Familia Sextet play salsa jazz grooves at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, $10.

1/31, 9:30 PM bassist Omer Avital & Band of the East play his edgy Middle Eastern jazz compositions at Smalls.

1/31, 10 PM wild violin/accordion duo Skogen play Balkan music at Shrine

1/31, 11ish noir ska ensemble Tri-State Conspiracyat the downstairs studio space at Webster Hall.

1/31, midnight the Brew – excellent, trippy, majestic oldschool 70s style art-rock band – at Sullivan Hall, $10

2/1, 7 PM eclectic pianist/songwriter Lee Feldman plays selections from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier Book II, original music including Duo for Two Violins and the world premiere of Joel Forrester’s newly commissioned piece Tease for Two at Third St. Music School Settlement, free.

2/1, 7:30 PM ferocoiusly intense Italian gypsy band Canzonieri Grecanico Salentino at the Schimmel Center on Spruce St. downtown at Pact University; $35 tix, but give them promotion code 5off  at the box office and get a $5 discount.

2/1, 7:30 PM legendary Colombian feminist performance artist Maria Evelia Marmolejo premieres a politically-fueled 1981 piece: “The artist is using the space to connect her personal experience of a violent, chaotic past to a present time marked by great technological advances, but where the dynamics of social violence remain or have worsened.” at MAAS, 36-01 36 Ave. 3rd Floor North. Long Island City. 2/2, 5 PM there’s a talk with the artist plus audience Q&A.

2/1, 8 PM an Edward Said tribute concert at the Miller Theatre with Daniel Barenboim and members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra., $25; Barenboim leads a pre-performance discussion of the great thinker at 7.

2/1, 8 PM Matt Siffert at ZIrzamin: songwriter with string quartet. Don’t let the gentle voice fool you, he’s got bite and the arrangements are gorgeous

2/1, 9 PM fiery, ecstatic, brass-driven live banghra funk orchestra Red Baraat at Bowery Ballroom, $15 adv tix rec.

2/1, 10 PM fiery, lyrical anthemic rockers Wormburner at Arlene’s. If Springsteen was still writing the great songs he used to write 30 years ago, he’d sound like Wormburner.

2/1, 10 PM dark art-rock pianist/songwriter Eve Lesov at Sidewalk

2/2, 4 PM a feast of new classical works at the Music of Now Festival at Symphony Space feat., $20, too many artists/composers to list here, the complete eight-hour lineup is here.

2/2, 7 PM violinist and Salomé Chamber Orchestra co-founder Sean Avram Carpenter and violist David Aaron Carpenter, playing period instruments currently on display for the first time in the museum’s musical instruments section, are the soloists in Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, $35 adv tix very highly rec., this will sell out.

2/2., 8 PM Single Red Cent play edgy, biting, lyrically smart, sometimes really funny, bouncy/funky postpunk at Santos Party House

2/2, 8 PM third stream experimental jazz with composer Laura Andel collaborating with Daniel Binelli (bandoneon), Elliott Sharp (guitars), Carl Maguire (Fender Rhodes), Andrew Drury (percussion), Richard Garet (video art) at Roulette, $15/$10 stud/srs.

2/2, 9/10:30 PM lyrical cutting-edge jazz pianist Kris Davis plays the cd release show for her new one with Ingrid Laubrock, tenor sax;  Mat Maneri, viola;  Eivand Opsvik, bass;  Tom Rainey, drums at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

2/2, 9ish the Cannabis Cup Reggae Band at B.B. King’s playing a Bob Marley birthday tribute show, $25 adv tix rec.

2/2, 11ish (you know Nublu – guess the time, it’s probably late) fun, high-energy, eclectically entertaining gypsy punk/oldtime swing band Kagero plays the cd release show for their long-awaited new one at Nublu

2/2, 9:30 PM smart, politically aware newschool bluegrass harmony crew 2/3 Goat at Hill Country.

2/3, 3 PM the Momenta Quartet with amazing, charismatic pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-Fen at Flusing Town Hall, $15.

2/3, 4 PM the Alba Consort plays classic Sephardic and Armenian tunes, featuring virtuoso oudist Haig Magnookian at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted.

2/3, 7 PM brilliant Americana guitarist and wry, clever, eclectic songwriter Homeboy Steve Antonakos plays the Sunday Salon at Zirzamin, 7 PM, free.

2/4, 8 PM an avant garde summit: Alarm Will Sound, Argento Ensemble, Either/Or, International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet and Talea Ensemble play Marc-André Dalbavie’s Fantaisies plus Periodes by Gérard Grisey with Michel Galante conducting the Argento Ensemble, Giacinto Scelsi’s Pranam II (1973) played by Either/Or led by Richard Carrick, Matthias Pintscher’s Study IV for Treatise on the Veil (2009) with the JACK Quartet, Olga Neuwirth’s Hooloomooloo (1997) with Eduardo Leandro conducting the Talea Ensemble, and Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel with Alarm Will Sound at Merkin Concert Hall, $25

2/4, 8:30ish a rare free concert by members of the the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, program TBA at the Lincoln Center Atrium.

2/4, 9:30 PM Sandra Lilia Velasquez of Pistolera plays the album release show for her imaginative, eclectic yet purist Mexican-tinged new janglepop  ep with Meshell Ndegeocello on bass at Joe’s Pub, $15

2/5, 7 PM Kevin Puts and ensemble perform works by David Lang, Harold Meltzer, Derek Bermel, Tarik O’Regan, Andrew Austin and Missy Mazzoli at the Robbins Theater at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, W. 37th between 9th and 10th Ave., $10

2/5, 8 PM violist Nadia Sirota leads an ensemble playing the album release show for her new one, Baroque, featuring contemporary composers  Daníel Bjarnason, Paul Corley, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, and Shara Worden, at the Kitchen, $15.

2/5-10, 8/10:30 PM bassist Ron Carter leads a quartet with Renee Rosnes, piano; Payton Crossley, drums; Rolando Morales-Matos, percussion at the Blue Note, $20 standing room avail.

2/6, 7:30 PM Frank London (trumpet) and Lorin Sklamberg (vocals, accordion) of the radical klezmer band, Klezmatics, join jazz pianist Rob Schwimmer doing their own radical reinterpretations of classic Jewish liturgical themes at Symphony Space, $30 adv tix req.

2/6, 7:30 PM uneasy new pastorales with Sarah Kirkland Snider and Orchestra for the Next Century; the composer also plays with Clogs for a a stripped-down trio set at Merkin Concert Hall, $25.

2/6, 8 PM the raw, hard-hitting Hard Times play roots reggae at Shrine.

2/6, 8:30 PM check out this lineup, sparks will be flying but in a purist and articulate way: Mike Baggetta – guitar; Jason Rigby – saxophones; Jeremy Stratton – bass; George Schuller – drums at Seeds, 617 Vanderbilt Ave (Bergen/St. Marks), Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, $10, B/Q to 7th Ave.

2/6, 9 PM S t. Croix roots reggae stars Midnite play a Bob Marley bday celebration at SOB’s

2/6, 10:30 PM eclectic, edgy guitarist Travis Reuter with  Peter Evans, trumpet;  Miles Okazaki, guitar;  Jeremy Viner, tenor sax;  Danny Sher, drums at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

2/7, 7:30 PM darkly torchy chanteuse Peg Simone followed by intense, lyrically haunting Americana soul rocker Matt Keating at Zirzamin

2/7, 7:30 PM fiery jazz pianist/composer Bobby Avey premieres his jazz suite, Authority Melts from Me inspired by Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution, at Symphony Space, $30/$15 for 25 and under

2/7, 8:30 PM Americana jazz maven and saxophonist Jeremy Udden plays the cd release show for his new one with Brandon Seabrook, banjo;  Jeremy Stratton, bass;  Kenny Wollesen, drums at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

2/8, 7 PM politically fueled, smart powerpop /Americana rocker Neil Nathan at Bowery Electric, $8.

2/8, 7 PM pianist Edmund Arkus plays music by Mendelssohn, Haydn and Liszt at Third St. Music School Settlement, free

2/8, 8 PM the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra with pianist Di Wu performs Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2; conductor Guerguan Tsenov concludes the program with Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 at Symphony Space, $20/$14 stud/srs.

2/8, 9/10:30 PM Boston free jazz legends the Fringe – George Garzone, bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gulotti, who absolutely slayed at Winter Jazzfest back in January – at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min.

2/8, 10 PM clever, artsy, ethereal and often haunting indie pop band Clare & the Reasons at Littlefield, $10

2/8, 10ish unstoppable 80s postpunk legends the Wedding Present play Hit Parade and other material at Maxwell’s, $15 adv tix rec.

2/9, 7 PM the Ebony Hillbillies, NYC’s only black oldtime country/bluegrass band,  at Flushing Town Hall, $15.

2/9, 8 PM perennially intense, relevant literate glamrock songwriter Ian Hunter at City Winery, $30 standing room avail.

2/9, 8 PM Ensemble Mise-En plays an enticing bill of world and US premieres: Quinn Collins – Summer Music for chamber orchestra ; Elliott Schwartz – Texture; Hans Abrahamsen -String Quartet No. 3; Edison Denisov (Russia) Five Studies for Bassoon Solo; Bent Sørensen – Ständchen (2007, at the Cell Theatre,  338 W 23rd St (8th & 9th Aves, free, early arrival very highly advised

2/9, 8 PM an all-Sofia Gubaidulina program performed by International Contemporary Ensemble  with the charismatic Rebekah Heller solo on bassoon at the Miller Theatre, $25.

2/9, 8:30ish intense oldtimey band Roosevelt Dime, ferocious outlaw country/psychedelic rockers the Newton Gang, Gangstagrass and the eclectic, artsier, more rock-oriented Hollows at the Bell House  $15

2/10, 3 PM the Park Ave. Chamber Symphony plays an all-Beethoven program:
Beethoven Symphony No. 1 and No. 7 with Piano Concerto No. 4 feat. Spencer Myer, piano in the middle at All Saints Church, 230 E 60th St (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

2/10, 5 (five) PM soulful, politically spot-on African roots reggae with Meta and the Cornerstones at the  Canal Room, $10.

2/12, half past noon Kentucky organist Wesley Roberts plays a free recital , program TBA at Central Synagogue, 54th/Lexington Ave.

2/13, 7 PM eclectic jazz/Americana violinist Charlie Burnham’s Hidden City at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.

2/13, 7:30 PM the MSM Brass Orchestra with special guest Peter Evans on trumpet at the Borden Auditorium at Manhattan School of Music, free, early arrival advised

2/13, 8 PM up-and-coming tenor saxophonist Joel Miller makes his NYC debut with an all-star cast: trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, pianist Gary Versace, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Greg Ritchie at Shapeshifter Lab.

2/13, 8 PM haunting, politically astute Malagasy chanteuse/songwriter Razia Said at Shrine.

2/14, 7:30 PM the Cassatt Quartet, joined by Vermeer Quartet cellist Marc Johnson play a new quintet by Daniel Godfrey plus the Schubert Quintet. at Symphony Space, $30/$15 for under 25.

2/15, 7 PM EVYIAN Ensemble featuring Czech singer/violinist Iva Bittova, guitarist Gyan Riley and Bang on a  Can clarinetist Evan Ziporyn play each others’ new works at the Bohemian National Home, 321 E. 73rd St. free.

2/15-17, 7:30/9:30 PM the Mingus Big Band’s annual showcase of outstanding high school soloists from the 5th annual Charles Mingus High School Festival & Competition at the Jazz Standard, $25 ($30 on the weekend). See what the stars of tomorrow can already do with some of the most exhilarating stuff from years past, at the Jazz Standard, $25 ($30 on the weekend; there’s an additional 11:30 PM set Fri/Sat)

2/15, 8 PM intense Argentine pianist Emillio Solla with Chris Cheek (soprano/tenor), Victor Prieto (accordion), Jorge Roeder (bass), and Ziv Ravitz, (drums and cajon) at Flushing Town Hall, $15.

2/15, 9 PM loud squalling avant jazz with Mike Noordzy, saxophonist Bonnie Kane’s Big Plastic Finger and scenemaker/drummer Weasel Walter’s latest project at Goodbye Blue Monday.

2/15, 10 PM Royal Khaoz play roots reggae at Shrine

2/15, 11ish ferocious, fearless, tuneful and sometimes hilarious punk-Americana band Spanking Charlene at the Ding Dong Lounge, 105th/Columbus uptown.

2/16, 8  PM vibraphonist Stefon Harris and Blackout  at the Miller Theatre, $25.

2/16, 9 PM M Shanghai String Band’s Matthew Brookshire followed at 10 by the cd release show for charismatic, vengefully literate oldtimey ukulele siren Kelli Rae Powell‘s live album at the Jalopy, $10, get there early, this will sell out.

2/17, 4 PM Trio Lumine Pianist violinist Luis Casal and clarinetist Neil Rynston play the Brahms 2nd violin sonata; Berg’s Op 5 clarinet/piano pieces, Robert Xavier Rodriguez’ “Semi-Suite” and the Khachaturian Trio  at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted.

2/17, 7:30 PM intense, lyrical, politically-fueled Americana songwriter Joe Pug – sort of this era’s version of Steve Earle – at the Mercury, $14.

2/17, 9 PM well-loved harmony-driven all-female Americana trio Red Molly at City Winery, $15 standing room avail.

2/18, 7:30 PM the American Composers Alliance presents new works by Elizabeth Bell, Lawrence Dillon, Phillip Rhodes, Christopher Shultis, Peter Westergaard, and Lewis Nielson at Symphony Space, $10/$5 stud.

2/19, 7:30 PM wild and crazy indie classical ensemble Lunatics at Large play recent works by Richard Brooks, Richard Cameron-Wolfe, Eleanor Cory, Brian Fennelly, Thomas Flaherty, Jan Gilbert, and Louis Karchin at Symphony Space, $10/$5 stud.

2/19, 8 PM an evening of new works for strings presented by the New York Composers Circle incl. Roger Blanc, Maneuvers, for vln & vla; Eugene Marlow, String Quartet No. 4; Richard Brooks, Lamentations; Jacob E. Goodman, Variations for a Rainy Afternoon; Carl Kanter, Summer Quartet, for string quartet; Debra Kaye, Duet After Winter, for 2 violins; Richard D. Russell, Two Songs from IMAP, for soprano and ensemble at St. Peter’s Church, Lexington Ave and 54th St, $20 sugg don.

2/20, 7 PM violinists Jaroslav Sveceny and Julie Svecena play works including the world premiere of Sveceny’s Strings for New York at Bohemian National Hall, 321 E. 73rd St., free, reservations suggested

2/20, 7:30 PM Deerhoof and Dal Niente play new works by Brazilian composer Marcus Balter at Merkin Concert Hall, $25, adv tix highly rec, this will sell out.

2/20, 8 PM pianist Deanna Witkowski leads a trio with bassist Linda Oh and drummer Willard Dyson plus a 12-member choir playing a Mary Lou Williams tribute including her iconic gospel-jazz suite Music for Peace at Park Avenue Christian Church, 1010 Park Avenue at 85th, $20 seats avail.

2/21, 7:30 PM Shofar Trio—guitarist Raphael Roginski, saxophonist and bass clarinet player Mikolaj Trzaska and drummer Macio Moretti plus accordionist Olga Mieleszczuk’s Polesye Project – who’re revitalizing the rare pre-WWII Polish klezmer repertoire – at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival highly advised.

2/21-24, 7:30/9:30 PM powerhouse alto/soprano saxophoinst Tia Fuller leads her postbop group at Dizzy’s Club

2/21, 8 PM charismatic oldschool soul siren Meah Pace – who’s sort of like Sharon Jones for a younger generation – at Bowery Electric.

2/21, 8:30 PM tuneful guitar jazz with the Assaf Kehati Trio with Ehud Ettun on bass & Ronen Itzik on drums at Bar Next Door,

2/22, 7 PM lurid charismatic steampunk violin virtuoso/chanteuse/dramaturge Emilie Autumn presents her new art-rock opera Fight Like a Girl at the Gramercy Theatre, $32

2/22, 7:30 PM torchy contralto noir chanteuse/David Lynch collaborator Chrysta Bell at le Poisson Rouge, $15 adv tix a must, this will sell out.

2/22, 8 PM a night of perfidiousness, revenge, murder and payback for hubris: “Heirs of Tantalus – from the House of Atreus to the Palace of Nero” – works by Monteverdi, Scarlatti, and Handel iluminate theatre from Aeschylus, Euripides, and Suetonius in an intriguing look at the origins of opera with soprano Jessica Gould, countertenor Jose Lemos and Jory Vinikour accompanying not only the musicians but also the actors involved, at the Broad St. Ballroom, 41 Broad St., downtown, $35/$20 stud

2/22, 8 PM Our Defensive Measurements, a new collection of songs by avant chanteuse Gelsey Bell. “Songs can be a mechanism for tracing a home – creating space for oneself.” at Roulette.

2/22. 8 PM fiery, eclectic classical/worldbeat/folk string ensemble Bowfire at NJPAC in Newark, $20 adv tix avail.

2/22, 9:30 PM slinky Washington DC Afrobeat crew Elikeh at Drom $12 adv tix rec

2/22, 11ish the Brooklyn What – the borough’s most exciting, ferociously tuneful, amusingly insightful anti-gentrification rockers, with a hot new album out, play the Lab, 224 Wyckoff Ave, Bushwick, L/M to Myrtle-Wyckoff.

2/23, 8 PM a composer portrait of lively postminimalist Enno Poppe’s work featuring piano/percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire plus the Jack Quartet and onstage discussion with the composer at Miller Theatre, $25 seats avail. ($15 stud

2/23, 8 PM the  Alaria Trio Yuri Vodovoz, violin; Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello; David Oei, piano play Turina: Piano Trio No. 1, Op.35; Peter Schickele: Piano Trio; Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 at Bargemusic, $35/$30 srs./$15 stud.

2/24, 4 PM the Apollo Trio – violinist Curtis Macomber, cellist Michael Kannen, and pianist Marija Stroke joined by Ah Ling Neu on viola and Peter Weitzner on bass and play Mozart’s Trio in G Major, Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elégiaque and Franz Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A Major, D.667, “The Trout Quintet”  at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted.

2/25, 7 PM the Graffe Quartet with pianist Michiko Otaki play the NY premiere of Martinu’s Piano Quintets at the Bohemian National Home, 321 E. 73rd St.. res rec.

2/26-3/3, 7:30/9:30 PM Ravi Coltrane – who absolutely slayed at Jazz for Obama last year – plays with a bunch of different ensembles, 2/26-27 with  Billy Childs (Fender Rhodes), Lonnie Plaxico (bass), Nikki Glaspie (drums); 2/28 with  Tim Hagans (trumpet), Christian McBride (bass), Bill Stewart (drums 3/1 with Jason Palmer (trumpet), Christian McBride (bass), Bill Stewart (drums); 3/2-3 David Virelles (piano), Dezron Douglas (bass), Johnathan Blake (drums) at the Jazz Standard, $25 ($30 on the weekend)

2/26, 7:30 PM the Talich Quartet play the Debussy and  Ravel string quartets at le Poisson Rouge, $15 adv tix rec.

2/27, 10ish the Brooklyn What – the borough’s most exciting, ferociously tuneful, amusingly insightful anti-gentrification rockers, with a hot new album out, play Shea Stadium in Bushwick

3/1 a good drummerless doublebill: the Broken Reed Saxophone Quartet with the Uptown Brass Quintet at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, 58 7th Ave at Lincoln Pl. (equivalent of DeGraw St), Park Slope

3/1, 7:30 PM the MSM Jazz Orchestra with special guest Dave Liebman on alto sax play Miles Davis’ Miles Ahead in its entirety at Milowsky Hall at Manhattan School of Music, 120 Claremont Ave. uptown, $12/$7 stud/srs.

3/2,  8 PM intense, politically fueled, brilliant Americana rocker James McMurtry at City Winery, $25 standing room avail.

3/2, 9 PM intense Argentinian neoromantic/tango/indie classical pianist Fernando Otero and chamber ensemble play the album release show for his haunting, lush new one Romance at the 92YTribeca, $12 adv tix very highly rec.

3/2 delightfully retro 60s psychedelic/chamber pop songwriter Jacco Gardner at Death by Audio

3/10, 3 PM the Greenwich Village Orchestra with Pierre Vallet, guest conductor and David Heiss, cello play an all-Tchaikovsky program: the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Variations on a Rococo Theme and the Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique” at the Old Stuyvesant Campus, 345 E 15th St (between 1st/2nd Aves), $15 sugg don.

3/12. 7 PM, repeating 3/17, same time Opera Hispánica presents Astor Piazzolla’s tango operetta “Maria de Buenos Aires”, performers TBA at le Poisson Rouge, $15 adv tix avail.

3/13-14, 7:30 PM, repeating 3/15-16, 8 PM Alan Gilbert conducts the NY Philharmonic and choir performing Bach’s B Minor Mass at Avery Fisher Hall, $33 tix avail.

3/13 roots reggae legends Israel Vibration, still going strong since 1977, at B.B. King’s

3/14 the adventurous  Cassatt String Quartet continue their residency at Symphony Space, program TBA.

3/15, 8 PM Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble honors the first round of victims of 3/11 with music by Japanese composers Takemitsu, Sasaki, Kobayashi, Fukishima, Shimoyama plus Michael Schelle and Richard Auldon Clark at Symphony Space, $20.

3/15, 8:30 PM the Chelsea Symphony plays Brody: Drones, the peaceful kind (World Premiere); Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102 – Amanda Lo, Violin, Oliver Hsu, Cello; Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 “Classical” at St. Paul’s Church at 315 West 22nd Street. The program repeats at 7:30 PM on 3/16, switching out the Brahms for the Beethoven Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61, $25 sugg don.

3/16, 3 PM the East of the River Ensemble explores medieval music of the Mediterranean, Balkans, and Middle East at Flushing Town Hall, $25.

3/17, 6 PM the intriguing Bonnie Kane/Chris Welcome sax/guitar improv duo at
Downtown Music Gallery, free;

3/17 timeless, politically-fueled, catchy-as-hell Celtic punk/anthemic rock legends Black 47 at B.B. King’s.

3/17, 8:30/10:30 PM this year’s 40th anniversary of the New England Conservatory’s improvisation program opens auspiciously with the Tanya Kalmanovitch/Anthony Coleman/Ted Reichman Trio at the Cornelia Street Café, $10 plus $10 min.

3/17 bhangra beats, Irish anthems: Delhi 2 Dublin at Webster Hall.

3/20, 8 PM this year’s New England Conservatory celebration continues with a powerhouse concert of Jewish and klezmer-fueled jazz feat. Frank London, Hankus Netsky, Greg Wall, Lily Henley, Marty Ehrlich, Matt Darriau, Anthony Coleman  at Symphony Space, $22 adv tix higly rec.

3/20 one of the world’s most exhilarating electric blues guitarists, Debbie Davies at Lucille’s, 8 PM.

3/21, 7 PM New England Conservatory alumns Matt Darriau, Frank London, Ashley Paul, Mat Maneri, Andrew Hock, Judith Berkson and special guests join forces for a night of improv at Barbes, note $10 cover

3/21, 7:30 PM mesmerizing Syrian chanteuse Gaida with her great band: oudist Zafer Tawil, pianist George Dulin, bassist Jennifer Vincent, and percussionist Tony DeVivo at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

3/21, 7:30 PM dark alt-country chanteuse Tift Merritt and classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein play songs from their reputedly amazing forthcoming art-rock album at Merkin Concert Hall, $25 adv tix a must, this will sell out.

3/25, 8 PM the Vital Vox Festival (rescheduled from just after the hurricane) kicks off with the theatrical vocalscapes of Philip Hamilton, socially aware global chanteuse Sabrina Lastman’s Lorca-inspired Encounter with ‘El Duende’ and edgy violinist/singer Sarah Bernstein’s Unearthish with percussionist Satoshi Takeishi at Roulette, $15

3/26, 7:30 PM Attacca Quartet plays John Adams’ John’s Book of Alleged Dances, for string quartet (1994) and his 2008 String Quartet at le Poisson Rouge, $20 adv tix rec.

3/26, 8 PM day two of the Vital Vox Festival features multimedia artist Lisa Karrer, Sasha Bodanowitsch with Loom Ensemble playing “original wind instruments, such as the syrinx, fujara, and koncovka and entertaining bicoastal avant vet Pamela Z at Roulettte, $15.

3/23, 7:30 PM the New England Consevatory winds up the celebration of the 40th anniversary of their improvisation program with a spectacular, intense lineup including iconic noir pianist Ran Blake,  chanteuse/songwriter Dominique Eade, John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet, Christine Correa, Sarah Jarosz, Anthony Coleman and Eden MacAdam-Somer among others at Symphony Space, $28 adv tix very higly rec.

4/6, 8 PM eclectic blues/hip-hop songwriter Chris Thomas King – co-star of O Brother Where Art Thou – at Lucille’s.

4/18, 8 PM Voices of Ascension sing works by Mendelssohn, Weber, Vaughan Williams and the world premiere of Eve Beglarian’s commissioned work for choir and organ, Building the Bird Mound, inspired by the spectacular Poverty Point paleo-American bird mound in northeastern Louisiana, at the Church of the Ascension, 5th Ave/10th St., $10 seats avail. but going fast.

New Links Page – It’s About Time

Just added a links page with both global and NY-centric stuff. It only took a year and a half to do this. Just wanted to let everybody know that’s it’s up and working now…

The 100 Best Songs of 2012

Was this the best year ever for music, or what? There could have been 500 songs on this list and they’d all be amazing. In order to give credit where credit is due, it became necessary to pare this down to just one track per artist.

Bookmark this page and visit often. Virtually every link here will take you to a stream or download of each song. Where this year’s 50 Best Albums page was all about rock, this page offers a chance to explore some of the best acts outside of the rock world. While these days, an “official release” tends to be the day someone uploads the song to youtube, there are a handful of tracks here which are so new that they haven’t made it to the web yet.

Outside of the top ten here, this list is in completely random order: trying to rank a jangly rock song against a lushly orchestrated Middle Eastern anthem, a bittersweet honkytonk song or a Serbian brass jam is absurd. So don’t think any less of the tracks at the bottom of the list: they’re all good. Rachelle Garniez, who happened to land on #99, is every bit as fun as Julia Haltigan at #9, or Lorraine Leckie at #19.

For the first time ever, this year’s top spots on the lists of best New York concerts, best albums and best songs were swept by a single group, Ulrich Ziegler. The noir guitar instrumental duo of Stephen Ulrich and Itamar Ziegler took top honors for their debut album, their album release show at Barbes in August and for their song Ita Lia, a morbidly reverb-toned, icily chromatic Nino Rota-inspired theme which you can play here. For those who’ve followed Ulrich’s career, that should come as no surprise, considering that his previous band Big Lazy pretty much ruled the top ten, year after year, at this blog’s predecessors on the web and in print.

2. Walter Ego – Sunday’s Assassin. This is an LJ Murphy song that Walter Ego used to play bass on when the two were bandmates back in the 90s. Murphy long since dropped this from his set list, and that’s too bad, because this casually lurid serial killer’s tale is one of the best things he ever wrote. Thanks to Walter Ego for resurrecting it. Watch the video

3. Mike Rimbaud – Idiot Wind. On one hand, to not put what could be the greatest rock lyric ever written in the top spot here is absurd, especially considering how Rimbaud reinvented it as straight-up, snarling rock. It’s also very hard to find: if you have Spotify, it’s here, otherwise here’s a sound snippet.

4. Chris Erikson – Ear to the Ground
Best jangly rock song of the year comes from this popular lead guitarist, who finally put out a debut album, Lost Track of the  Time, which includes this richly allusive, wickedly catchy track. He teases you with the hook and then makes you wait til the very end for the payoff. Watch the video

5. Saint Maybe – Everything That Rises
An epic masterpiece of volcanically guitar-fueled, psychedelic southwestern gothic rock from Patti Smith’s guitarist and Bob Dylan’s drummer. From their debut album Things As The Are. Play the song

6. Hannah vs. the Many – Jordan Baker. Prettiest sad noir 60s pop song of the year: girl finally finds guy she actually likes…and then the apocalypse swirls in. From the amazing new album All Our Heroes Drank Here. Play the song

7. The Sometime Boys – Good People of Brooklyn. Soaring lush acoustic chamber pop from this artsy Americana band. Frontwoman Sarah Mucho sings uneasily about her “city of trees,”  from the new album Ice & Blood. Play the song

8. Jon DeRosa – Birds of Brooklyn. Metaphorically loaded noir 60s chamber pop at its most cinematic, old guy eyeing a girl he could never have as the strings swoon behind him. From his new Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes album. Play the song

9. Julia Haltigan – Over the Fields. Looks to be too new to make it to the web yet – over careening southwestern gothic backbeat rock, the New York chanteuse amps up the suspenseful brassiness. She slayed with this at Make Music NY this summer.Stream some similar tracks

10. Changing Modes – Firewall. Nebulously narrative macabre chromatic Botanicaesque art-rock tune from this three-keyboard band’s brilliant latest album In Flight. Play the song

11. Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores – Fire Shuffle. This is the most swirlingly psychedelic of the many macabre gypsy-tinged tracks on the Rhode Island band’s chilling latest album Sister Death. Play the song

12. Chicha Libre – Papageno Electrico. Like Alec Redfearn above, the Brooklyn Peruvian surf rock band’s latest album Canibalismo is loaded with trippy, creepy tracks and this is the creepiest, like a Japanese video game theme done as psychedelic cumbia. Watch the video 

13. Beninghove’s Hangmen – Surf & Turk. New York’s premier noir cinematic surf jazz monsters hit last year’s list with their debut album. This is a new creepy surf track; you can catch them at Zirzamin on Mondays at 9 where they play it frequently. Play the song; stream the first album

14. Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird – Sunday After the War. Coldly wise, crushingly cynical klezmer-rock. “They’re always recruiting, after the war.” Kahn slayed with this at Lincoln Center Out of Doors this past summer. Watch a video

15. Emily Jane White – Clipped Wings. The murderess leaves a suicide note at the lake house and this is it: a great story and a chilling song. From her latest album Ode to Sentience. Watch the video

16. When the Broken Bow- Giving Up the Ship. Apocalyptic ukulele waltz with bloodcurdling screams at the end from this smart, raw, female-fronted Portland, Oregon art-rock crew. Play the song

17. Lianne Smith- The Thief. Now co-leader of the Golden Palominos, Smith has been playing this gorgeous but chilling oldschool country smash for years and finally released it on her debut Two Sides of a River. Sing along: “I found out, yeah, I found out too late. ” Play the song

18. Jan Bell – The Miner’s Bride. One of the great voices in Americana music, Bell makes the connection between Appalachian music and the British folk songs it sprung from. This is a Karen Dahlstrom song about a mail-order bride going off to what looks like disappointment and early death in the old west, from Bell’s new album Dream of the  Miner’s Child. Play the song

19. Lorraine Leckie – The Everywhere Man. This party crasher has come to kill everything in his path: a wicked serial killer tale from Leckie’s elegant new chamber pop collaboration with social critic/writer Anthony Haden-Guest, Rudely Interrupted. Play the song 

20. The Japonize Elephants – Melodie Fantastique. Lush sweeping majestic circus rock doesn’t get any more entertaining than this. Title track from the band’s sensational new album. Play the song  

21. Mac McCarty – My Name Is Jack. Another song about a killer, and one that hasn’t made it to the web yet, from one of the darkest voices in Americana. For awhile he had a monthly residency at Bar 82, where he would always play this, and he’s got other videos you can watch.

22. Dimestore Dance Band – Wren Wren. Might as well go with two relatively brand-new ones, this being an urbane, wry gypsy-inflected number from guitar virtuoso Jack Martin and his bassist accomplice Jude Webre. The band is back together and playing this from time to time, and you can hear more of their stuff here.

23. Jodi Shaw – The Witch. In the old days, dotty old women used to get burned. The Brooklyn pianist/songwriter works that metaphor for all it’s worth in this chilling art-rock ballad. From her latest album In Waterland. Play the song 

24. Choban Elektrik – Valle E Shquiperise Se Mesme. A classic Balkan folk song done as trippy psychedelic rock with funereal organ and searing violin, from the band’s sensational 2012 debut album. Play the song

25. Eilen Jewell – Warning Signs. Her 2012 album is called Queen of the Minor Key, which pretty much says it all: this is a killer backbeat noir Americana rock tune with cool baritone sax and reverb guitar. Watch the video

26. Kayhan Kalhor & Ali Bahrami Fard – Where Are You. Anguished alienation has never been more hauntingly restrained than it is on this epic instrumental from I Will Not Stand Alone, the transcendent new collaboration between the Iranian spiked fiddle and santoor virtuosos. Watch the video  

27. Damian Quinones y Su Conjunto – Barrio. This lead guitar-fueled epic from their brilliant 2012 album Gumball Ma-Jumbo is a throwback to the classic latin soul sound of the late 60s and early 70s, right down to the inspired, analog-sounding production.  Play the song

28. Matt Keating – Punchline. Bouncy, metaphorically charged vintage soul-infused cynicism from Keating’s characteristically literate, intense latest album Wrong Way Home. Play the song

29. Clairy Browne & the Bangin Rackettes – Vicious Circle. Dramatic, intense, theatrical oldschool soul anthem that may or may not be a bitter Amy Winehouse homage. From their album Baby Caught the Bus; they killed with this in their New York debut this fall at Webster Hall. Play the song

30. J O’Brien- Cottonmouth. Classic New York songwriting: a torrent of images of the kind of twisted people, and twisted psyches, you meet on the train home after work, from the former leader of fiery mod-punk rockers the Dog Show. Play the song  

31. Out of Order – Gimme Noise. Hammering hardcore riffage from this volcanic all-female noiserock/punk/postpunk trio’s deliciously assaultive new album Hey Pussycat! Play the song

32. Beware the Danger of a Ghost Scorpion – Denton County Casket Co Typically intense, macabre, breakneck horror surf from this unstoppable Boston band’s Five After Midnight broadcast recording. Play the song

33. Tri-State Conspiracy – The Clone. The high point of their Nuisance album from 2008, the noir ska/swing band’s savage version of this was the high point of this year’s Atlantic Antic festival, a cruel broadside directed at all the posers and gentrifiers. Watch the video

34. Les Sans Culottes – DSK. Another highlight of the Atlantic Antic, this viciously funny garage-psychedelic sendup of Dominique Strauss-Kahn hasn’t made it to the web yet, but you can check out a lot of other amusing stuff from the faux French rockers here.

35. David J – Not Long for This World. The ominous title track to the goth songwriting legend’s latest album, the once and future Bauhaus bassist/playwright turned in a riveting version of this backed by Botanica’s Paul Wallfisch at the Delancey this past spring. Watch a video

36. The NY Gypsy All-Stars – Sen Sev Beni. Their latest album Romantech is full of scorching gypsy vamps driven by clarinet powerhouse Ismail Lumanovski: this audience favorite  is the best of them. Play the song

37. Auktyon – Mimo. These Russian art-rockers have been around forever, and they put out a typically surreal, jazz and gypsy-influenced new album, Top, this year. This is the best track, a haunting, towering minor-key anthem. Play the song

38. Harmonia – Songs from Vojvodina. This prosaic title doesn’t give any idea of the ferocity and exhilaration of this lickety-split suite of gypsy music from the Cleveland band’s equally adrenalizing 2012 album Hidden Legacy. Sound snippet 

39. Nathan Halpern – The Mirror. A creepy Philip Glass-ine theme from the soundtrack to the documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, written by the esteemed Brooklyn noir rocker and composer. Sound samples from the score

40. Sam Llanas – Shyne. Low-key, brooding nocturnal noir 60s pop with an Americana edge from the longtime BoDeans frontman’s recent solo album 4 AM. Sound snippet

41. Super Hi-Fi – We Will Begin Again. The darkest and most mysterious track from the twin trombone deep-dub band’s debut album Dub to the Bone (get it?) Play the song 

42. LJ Murphy – Waiting by the Lamppost. The legendary New York noir rocker has a reputedly phenomenal new album due out next year and this might or might not be on it; it’s an uusually low-key, broodingly surreal soul song. Watch the video 

43. Mighty High – High on the Cross. Of all the drugs Brooklyn’s best-loved stoner rock parodists chronicle in their songs, none is more powerful – or funnier – than religion. Play the song

44. Band of Outsiders – Gods of Happenstance. Television and the Grateful Dead may both be history but these 80s New York garage-pychedelic-punk legends are still going strong; this is the standout track from their 2012 ep Sound Beach Quartet and it evokes the best of both of those bands. Play the song  

45. Spanglish Fly – The Po-Po. Oldschool 60s style latin soul about a familiar New York crisis: getting busted for an open container by cops who haven’t yet met their quota of summonses for harmless offenses. Play the song 

46. Love Camp 7 – Beatles VI. An especially loud, growling vintage 60s psychedelic style track with one of frontman Dann Baker’s characteristically sardonic lyrics, the 60s as a gloomy backdrop to the Fab Four. From their brilliant Beatles-themed album Love Camp VII. Play the song

47. Musiciens Sans Frontieres – Legalize. This song from cinematic guitarist/composer Thomas Simon’s artsy rock-pop project won an award for best video at a hemp film festival  and you can watch that video here.

48. Marcellus Hall – Afterglow. This might not be the right title, and it doesn’t seem to be anywhere on the web, which is too bad: it’s one of the former White Hassle frontman and Americana-punk songwriter’s funniest, and most withering – and catchiest – critiques. Band info 

49. The Ryan Truesdell Big Band – Punjab. Not what you might expect to see here on a daily basis – a recently rediscovered, epic Gil Evans big band noir classic, with lustrous Indian and Middle Eastern shades. From the new album Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans. Play the song

50 The Universal Thump – Opening Night. What an absolutely gorgeous song: late-period ELO with better strings, bigger theatrics and much better vocals from bandleader/singer Greta Gertler. She meets a girl in her dream who offers her a deal: if you bring me from the dream world to reality, you’ll never cry again. Think about that. Play the song  

51. Slavic Soul Party – Draganin Cocek. The high point of the ten-piece Balkan brass band’s scorching, eclectic new New York Underground Tapes – which don’t seem to have made it to the web yet. Stream some similar tracks

52. Magges – Ena Vrathi Pou’Vrehe. It may be all Greek to you, but even if you don’t speak the language, the ringing twin bouzouki riffs and haunting gothic undercurrent of their psychedelic classics will pull you under. From their new album 12 Tragouthia. Play the song

53. Wadada Leo Smith – Emmett Till. An epic narrative from the trumpeter’s Ten Freedom Summers concept album about the Civil Rights movement, this cinematic tale eventually hits a horrific crescendo, equal parts jazz and indie classical. Play the song

54. Bettye LaVette – Choices I’ve Made. The soul survivor took this old George Jone song and made a theme for anybody who’s ever lived to regret something or another. She sang an especially shattering version at Madison Square Park this past summer. Watch the video

55. Marcel Khalife – Palestinian Mawwal. The great Lebanese oud player and composer put out a titanic double album, Fall of the Moon this year and this is one of its high points, a lush Middle Eastern anthem with full orchestra and choir. Play the song

56. Alfredo Rodriguez – Fog. Noir soundtrack music doesn’t get any more haunting or evocative than the Cuban-American jazz pianist’s epic from his latest album Sounds of Space. Play the song 

57. Hot Club of Detroit – Midnight in Detroit. Proof that noir can be done just as well by a gypsy jazz bandk, in a minute 45 seconds. From their latest album Junction. Play the song 

58. EST – Three Falling Free. A rare outtake from the now-defunct, artsy, eclectic trio, this epic, Floydian monstrosity builds to a crushing crescendo with the piano and bass going full blast: you want adrenaline? Watch the video 

59. Israel Vibration – Ball of Fire. This apocalyptic roots reggae tune goes back almost as far as Culture’s Two Sevens Clash, and it’s even better. And the band kicked ass with it at Central Park Summerstage this past August. Watch the video 

60. Klezwoods – Charambe. One of many standout tracks from their new album The 30th Meridian – From Cairo to St. Petersburg With Love, this is a wicked blend of 60s style psychedelic rock and klezmer, like something the Electric Prunes would have done. Play the song

61. Glass Anchors – Winter Home. Sadness and longing set to wickedly evocative, catchy janglerock from the female-fronted, Americana-tinged Brooklyn band’s debut album.  Play the song

62. Bobtown – Battle Creek. High-voltage noir soul anthem from the point of view of a country girl steadily losing it in northern Midwest rust belt hell, sung electrifyingly by Karen Dahlstrom. From the noir Americana band’s killer new album Trouble I Wrought. Play the song  

63. Chicago Stone Lightning Band – Tears & Sorrow. Creepy, brooding  early 70s style acid blues from the Chicago band’s considerably more energetic debut album. Play the song  

64. Single Red Cent – Dilettante. A hilarious postpunk-flavored putdown of spoiled trendoids, “stealing a page from the better bands, nothing in common with the working man.” Play the song 

65. Wahid  – Looking for Paradise. New Middle Eastern instrumental sounds: hard to imagine that just an oud and drums can create a sound that’s this majestic and intense. From the duo’s new album Road Poem. Sound snippet

66. The Larch – Monkey  Happy Hour. Wry, spot-on double entendres abound in this psychedelic new wave look at the last people you’d ever want to hang with after work. From their excellent new album Days to the West. Play the song  

67. Sex Mob – Juliet of the Spirits. Even though the noir-ish jazz quartet’s version of the classic Nino Rota film theme is nowhere to be found on the web, it wouldn’t be fair to leave it off the list: the riveting version they played at the World Financial Center this past fall might have been their first time, and it was amazing.  Band info

68. M Shanghai String Band – Sea Monster
This offhandedly eerie, symbolically-fueled, gypsy-tinged cut might be the best one on the massive Brooklyn Americana band’s new album Two Thousand Pennies. Play the song 

69. Clare & the Reasons- Colder. An icy art-rock mini-epic from the Brooklyn band, with a chilling mantra on the way out: “When will it get better?” Watch the video 

70. Animation – Transparent Heart. The epic, cinematic instrumental title track from saxophonist Bob Belden’s concept album about how New York (and the country) went to hell, as the Bush regime used 9/11 as a pretext for dismantling 200 years of democracy, and New York became a haven for chain stores and suburban yuppie cluelessness. Play the song

71. Yankee Bamg Bang – Silver Bullet. The backlash against gentrifier music is in full effect from these Bollywood-influenced Brooklyn rockers, poking fun at “love songs we couldn’t swallow from musician/actor/models.” Play the song/free download

72. My Education – For All My Friends. Syd Barrett meets Nektar in this roaring ten-minute art-rock theme,  rising to a titanic wall of frantic tremolo-picking. From their latest album A Drink For All My Friends. Play the song

73. Amniotic Fluid – Be Careful Children. Creepy cinematics with virtuoso clarinet, accordion and percussion in under two minutes. From their fiery debut album. Sound snippet

74. Theo Bleckmann & ACME – To the Night. Like Sex Mob at #67 above, the list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the rich, otherworldly debut that this crooner and indie chamber ensemble gave to Phil Kline’s new song cycle, Oud Cold, this past November. This is its high point, a feast of lustrous close harmonies. Not on the web yet, but you can check out the composer’s other intriguing song sequences.

75. Tom Shaner – She Will Shine. One of the highlights of the southwestern gothic rocker’s new album Ghosts Songs, Waltzes & Rock & Roll is a hilarious song called She’s an Unstoppable Hipster. This is sort of that song in reverse: gentrifier girl goes to the country because she’s sick of the city…or she just can’t hack it? This one’s not on the web but the first song is, in a very funny video

76. Tift Merritt – Small Talk Relations. The Americana chanteuse’s latest album Traveling Alone is the best guitar album of the year, with Marc Ribot’s noir playing off Eric Heywood’s steel and slide work. Ironically, this quiet, elegant countrypolitan number is the album’s best cut. Play the song/free download

77. Ramzi Aburedwan – Rahil. An absolutely sizzling, smashingly catchy theme for buzuq, accordion and percussion by the Palestinian virtuoso/composer, from his latest album Reflections of Palestine. Watch the video

78. Arturo O’Farrril & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra – River Blue. One of the best concerts in New York this year was the first of two nights by this amazing, titanic band right after the hurricane: thsi darkly majestic  Rafi Malkiel Middle Eastern jazz epic is arguably the high point. Watch the video 

79. Ran Blake & Sara Serpa – Dr. Mabuse. With piano and wordless vocals, the noir jazz legend and his protegee evoke a troubled world of the spirits. From their live album Aurora, which is on Spotify if you have it; otherwise, good luck looking around.

80. Tom Warnick & World’s Fair- The Impostor. Kafkaesque rock doesn’t get any more intense than this: watch the keyboardist/bandleader finding it impossible to refrain from jumping back into the vocals after he’s handed them over to guitarist John Sharples on this noir classic. Here’s the video

81. Terrible Feelings – Blank Heads. This female-fronted punk band sounds like a dead ringer for the Avengers circa 1979, with rich Steve Jones style production. No streaming audio, but a free download from the band

82. Karthala 72 – Diable du Feu. Horror surf guitar grafted to a classic Afrobeat vamp with evil, buzzy bass by this period-perfect Brooklyn crew. Title track from their excellent new album. Play the song.

83. Spottiswoode -Enfant Terrible. This one came out a few years back, but the veteran art-rocker killed with this savage anti-trendoid broadside at a haphazardly assembled but absolutely brilliant show in the West Village right after the hurricane. Watch the video

84. Jaffa Road – Through the Mist of Your Eyes. A luscious Middle Eastern psychedelic rock tune from the eclectic female-fronted Canadian band. Play the song/free download 

85. The Funk Ark – El Rancho Motel. In case you think that Ethiopian cumbia is a crazy idea, check out this wickedly fun, creepily surfy track from the Washington, DC Afrobeat band’s excellent new album High Noon. Watch the video

86. Deleon – A La Nana. A creepy, stately minor key flamenco-flavored waltz with banjo as the lead instrument from this excellent Sephardic rock band. Play the song

87. Raya Brass Band – Melochrino. The hard-charging Balkan brass jamband is just as good at brooding, slowly unwinding, chromatically charged tunes like this one. From their phenomenal debut album Dancing on Roses, Dancing on Cinders. Play the song  

88. Andrew Collberg – Back on the Shore. A frequent Giant Sand collaborator, he writes period-perfect mid-80s style paisley underground psychedelic rock. This is a lush, hauning noir southwestern gothic anthem. Watch the video  

89. Tim Foljahn – New Light. From his brooding, pessimistic, absolutely haunting apocalypse concept album Songs for an Age of Extinction, this one artfully doubles the vocals: one track blithe and clueless, the other less so. Play the song

90. The Sweetback Sisters – Texas Bluebonnets
The harmonies and the melody of this oldschool western swing/Tex-Mex tune are so charming and chipper you know there has to be a sad undercurrent…and there sure is. “Those Texas bluebonnets just blew me away.” From their excellent album Lookin’ for a Fight. Watch the video

91. The Brixton Riot – Keep It Like a Secret. Snarling two-guitar rock from this New Jersey band, all too aware of how the Bush-era police state still lingers and makes you watch your back. From their scorching new album Palace Amusements. Play the song

92. Botanica – Manuscripts Don’t Burn. How the hell did the most epic, intense, grand guignol track from this era’s greatest art-rock band end up way down here? Roll of the dice. Sorry, guys. From their arguably most haunted, brooding album What Do You Believe. Play the song

93. Black Fortress of Opium – Afyonkaharisar Battle Cry. The female-fronted Boston band artfully crescendo from stately Middle Eastern sonics to a ferocious cauldron of dreampop guitar. From their new album Stratospherical. Play the song

94. Leigh Marble – Holden. The last of the anti-trendoid anthems here might be the funniest, which is ironic (in the true sense of the word) in that the Portland, Oregon songwriter’s latest album Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows is otherwise extremely dark. The title here is a Salinger reference. Play the song  

95. Marissa Nadler -The Wrecking Ball Company. Metaphorical, inscrutably deadpan, deathly noir atmospherics from this era’s unrivalled mistress of that style. From her latest and possibly best album The Sister. Play the song

96. Mucca Pazza – Last Days. An artsy, Russian-tinged accordion waltz from this titanically powerful gypsy punk brass band’s latest album Safety Last. Play the song

97. Niyaz – Shosin. A characteristically hypnotic, pulsing track from the Persian-Canadian dance/trance band’s latest album Sumud (Arabic for “resilience”). Watch the video

98.  Tribecastan – Jovanka. The darkest song on the eclectic-beyond-belief New York kitchen-sink worldbeat band’s latest album New Deli is sort of a balalaika bolero except that the web of stringed instruments is everything but a balalaika. Watch the video 

99. Rachelle Garniez – Land of the Living
The unexpectedly triumphant closing track on the inscrutable accordionist/chanteuse’s latest album Sad Dead Alive Happy, it starts with a devious dream sequence of sorts and ends with a warmly wry, indelibly New York stoop conversation. Play the song

100. Catspaw – Curl Up & Die. Let’s wrap up this list with a careening ghoulabilly track from this brooding 2/3 female New York retro rock trio. It’s a staple of their live show but hasn’t made it to the web yet – although you can hear their classic, even more haunting Southbound Line here.

The 30 Best New York Concerts of 2012

Of all the end-of-the-year lists here, this is the most fun to put together. It’s the most individual – everybody’s got a different one.  Last year’s list had 26 shows; this year’s was impossible to whittle down to less than 30. What was frustrating was looking back and realizing how many other great shows there were. Erica Smith, Rebecca Turner, Love Camp 7 and Pinataland all on the same bill at the Parkside? The club didn’t list it on their calendar. Neil Young in Central Park? Completely spaced out on that one. Pierre de Gaillande’s Georges Brassens translation project, Les Chauds Lapins and Raya Brass Band at that place in Tribeca in January? That night conflicted with Winter Jazzfest. The Brooklyn What at Littlefield, Rachelle Garniez at Barbes, Ward White and Abby Travis at Rock Shop, Spanglish Fly at SOB’s…all of those conflicted with having a life. But it was still a great year, arguably better than 2011.

Of all the multiple-act bills, the longest marathon, and arguably most exhilarating show of the year was Maqamfest on January 6 at Alwan for the Arts downtown with slinky Egyptian film music revivalists Zikrayat, haunting vintage Greek rembetiko oud band Maeandros, torchy Syrian chanteuse Gaida, rustic Iraqi classicists Safaafir, deviously intense Palestinian buzuq funk band Shusmo and then a crazy Middle Eastern jam with the brilliant Alwan All-Stars. Maqamfest 2013 promises to be just as good.

Rather than trying to rank the rest of these shows, they’re listed chronologically:

Walter Ego at Otto’s, 1/28/12 – the witty, brilliantly lyrical multi- instrumentalist/songwriter, minus his usual theatrical shtick, instead running through one clever, pun-infused, catchy song after another.

Eva Salina at the Ukrainian National Home, 3/31/12 – this was the debut performance of brilliant Balkan chanteuse Eva Salina Primack’s new band with Frank London on trumpet and Patrick Farrell on accordion. She swayed, lost in the music and sang her heart out in a bunch of different languages over the haunting pulse behind her.

Closing night at Lakeside Lounge, 4/30/12 with co-owner Eric Ambel’s Roscoe Trio, Lenny Kaye from Patti Smith’s band, Mary Lee Kortes, Boo Reiners from Demolition String Band, Charlene McPherson from Spanking Charlene and many others giving the legendary East Village rock venue a mighty sendoff.

Little Annie, Paul Wallfisch and David J at the Delancey, 5/7/12 – the smoky, sureallistically hilarious noir cabaret chanteuse, Botanica’s brilliant keyboardist playing three sets, and the legendary Bauhaus bassist/songwriter/playwright at the top of their brooding noir game.

Ben Von Wildenhaus at Zebulon, 5/14/12 – at one of his final shows before leaving town, the noir guitarist played solo through a loop pedal and turned the club into a set from Twin Peaks.

LJ Murphy & the Accomplices at Otto’s,  6/16/12 – backed by the ferocious piano of Patrick McLellan, Tommy Hochscheid’s classic Stax/Volt guitar attack and a swinging rhythm section, the NYC noir rock legend careened through a politically-charged set of songs from his reportedly phenomenal forthcoming 2013 album.

Black Sea Hotel in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, 6/17/12 – the trio of Willa Roberts, Corinna Snyder and Sarah Small sang their own otherworldly, hypnotic a-cappella arrangements of surreal Bulgarian folk songs from across the centuries, their voices hauntingly echoing in the cavernous space of an old synagogue.

Veveritse Brass Band at Barbes, 6/28/12 – over the absolutely psychedelic, bubbly pulse of the trubas, this ten-piece Balkan jam band burned and roared and turned the club’s back room into a cauldron of menacing chromatics and minor keys.

Kotorino at Joe’s Pub, 6/29/12 – transcending a series of snafus with the sound system, the lush, artsy chamber-steampunk band evoked other countries and other centuries throughout a set that was as jaunty and fun as it was haunting.

Aaron Blount of Knife in the Water with Jack Martin from Dimestore Dance Band at Zirzamin, 7/9/12  – although the two hadn’t rehearsed, Martin evoked the ghost of Django Reinhardt against the reverb cloud swirling from Blount’s guitar amp, through a mix of moody, gloomy southwestern gothic songs.

Magges at Athens Square Park in Astoria, 7/10/12 – the Greek psychedelic rockers played a long show of spiky, often haunting songs spiced with Susan Mitchell’s soaring electric violin and Kyriakos Metaxas’ sizzling electric bouzouki – it seemed that the whole neighborhood stuck around for most of it. Too bad there wasn’t any ouzo.

Neko Case out back of the World Financial Center, 7/12/12 – the stage monitors weren’t working, which messed up opening act Charles Bradley’s set, but Case, Kelly Hogan and the rest of the band didn’t let it phase them, switching up their set list and playing a raw, intense set of noir Americana.

Niyaz at Drom, 7/22/12 – a  long, mesmerizing cd release show by the artsy Canadian-Persian dance/trance ensemble, frontwoman Azam Ali slowly and elegantly raising the energy from suspenseful to ecstatic as it went on.

Dimestore Dance Band at Zirzamin, 7/23/12 – since reviving this group, guitarist Jack Martin has become even more powerful, more offhandedly savage and intense than he was when he was leading them back in the mid-zeros when this witty yet plaintive gypsy/ragtime/jazz band was one of the finest acts in the Tonic scene. This show was a welcome return.

The Secret Trio, Ilhan Ersahin and Selda Bagcan at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, 7/28/12 – the annual “Turkish Woodstock” began with short sets of haunting classical instrumentals, psychedelic jazz and then the American debut of the legendary psychedelic rock firebrand and freedom fighter whose pro-democracy activism landed her in jail at one point.

Bettye LaVette at Madison Square Park, 8/8/12 – the charismatic underground soul legend took songs from acts as diverse as George Jones, Paul McCartney and Sinead O’Connor and made them wrenchingly her own, a portrait of endless struggle followed finally by transcendence.

Bombay Rickey at Barbes, 8/11/12 – jaunty, jangly, surfy , psychedelic Bollywood rock fun, with guitar, accordion and frontwoman Kamala Sankaram’s amazing operatic vocals.

Daniel Kahn & the  Painted Bird at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, 8/12/12 – grim, politically spot-on, lyrically brilliant klezmer-rock songwriting from the Berlin-based bandleader backed by an inspired New York pickup group.

Ulrich Ziegler at Barbes, 8/17/12 – of all the single-band shows, this was the year’s most intense, over an hour of eerie. reverb-driven noir cinematic instrumentals from genius guitarist Stephen Ulrich and his inspired colleague Itamar Ziegler, celebrating the release of the album rated best of 2012 here.

The Byzan-Tones at Zebulon, 8/22/12 – the recently resurrected Greek psychedelic surf rockers traded in the electric oud for Steve Antonakos’ lead guitar, and the result sent the haunting, Middle Eastern-fueled energy through the roof.

J O’Brien and Beninghove’s Hangmen at Zirzamin, 9/10/12 – a fascinatingly lyrical, characteristically witty set, solo on twelve-string guitar, by the former Dog Show frontman followed by New York’s best noir soundtrack jazz band at their most intense and psychedelic.

The Strawbs at B.B. King’s, 9/11/12 – it’s amazing how almost 45 years after the psychedelic/Britfolk/art-rock band began, they still sound strong, their lyrical anthems still resonant even in a stripped-down acoustic trio setting.

Sam Llanas at Zirzamin, 9/11/12 – rushing downtown to catch a solo show by the former BoDeans frontman paid off with a riveting, haunting set of brooding, austerely nocturnal songs, especially when J O’Brien joined him on bass.

Sex Mob at the World Financial Center, 9/27/12 – the downtown jazz legends got the atrium echoing with a hypnotic, absolutely menacing set of classic Nino Rota film themes – and they didn’t even play the Godfather.

Julia Haltigan at 11th St. Bar, 10/2/12 – the eclectic southwestern gothic/Americana/soul siren and songwriter at the top of her torchy, sultry, intense game, backed by a brilliant, jazzy band.

M Shanghai String Band‘s cd release show at the Jalopy, 10/5/12 – an hour of cameos from too many New York Americana luminaries to name, followed by two long sets from the massive oldschool string band, moving energetically from bluegrass, to Appalachian, to sea chanteys, gypsy sounds and Britfolk, sometimes fiery and intense, sometimes hilarious.

Theo Bleckmann backed by ACME, crooning Phil Kline song cycles at BAM, 10/25/12 – this was the premiere of Kline’s lushly enveloping chamber-rock arrangements of his acerbically hilarious Rumsfeld Songs, his eclectic Vietnam-themed Zippo Songs and his brand-new, luridly haunting new Sinatra-inspired cycle, Out Cold.

The Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at Symphony Space, 11/2/12 – in the wake of the hurricane, O’Farrill decided to put on a couple of free concerts to lift peoples’ spirits. This was the first and better of the two nights, the brilliant latin big band pianist joined by special guests including Anat Cohen, Sex Mob’s Steven Bernstein, Rafi Malkiel and Larry Harlow, playing long, broodingly intense, towering themes, many of them based on classic Jewish melodies.

Katie Elevitch at Zirzamin, 12/16/12  – goes to show that you can’t really count the year’s best concerts until the year’s almost over. Backed by her fantastic four-piece band, the haunting, intense rock siren improvised lyrics, roared, whispered and seduced the crowd in the plush space with her voice and her achingly soul-inspired songwriting.

The 50 Best Albums of 2012

About five years ago, people were saying that the album was a thing of the past. How wrong that turned out to be! This year’s crop of albums was so absurdly good that it felt criminal to whittle it down to a hundred, let alone fifty. And the only way of getting it down to that number was to cut out all the “world music,” including reggae and Afrobeat and most of the gypsy sounds, because there was so much of that and it was all so good.

Bookmark this page and return often. Virtually all of these albums are streaming (click the links) or are available as free downloads: consider this your place to discover some amazing sounds that were too smart for the Bushwick and Wicker Park blogs, and too dangerous for corporate radio and tv.

1.  Ulrich Ziegler – their debut album
Dating back to the 90s,  guitarist Stephen Ulrich has been New York’s most distinguished noir composer. When he wasn’t writing film and tv music, he was leading the ferociously creepy instrumental trio Big Lazy. When that band broke up (the drummer left to join Gogol Bordello), Ulrich eventually teamed up with Itamar Ziegler from Pink Noise, and then released this haunting, reverb-drenched, surf/skronk/jazz/soundscape masterpiece. Stream it

2.  Chicha Libre – Canibalismo
Chicha Libre’s 2008 debut album Sonido Amazonico landed in the top ten and this one is arguably even better, a trippy, wickedly dub-influenced mix of Peruvian surf rock, slinky Andean and latin grooves, and surrealistic psychedelic rock. There is no more fun, or more danceable, band in New York than Chicha Libre. Band info and audio/video

3.  Raya Brass Band – Dancing on Roses, Dancing on Cinders
This fiery Brooklyn crew distinguish themselves from the hundreds of other excellent Balkan brass units by virtue of their long, scorching jams: nobody does that better. Stream it

4.  Botanica – What Do You Believe In
This era’s pre-eminent art-rock band’s most brooding, haunted album, a rich blend of gypsy-tinged melody, raw, roaring guitar, edgy piano and spooky organ. Stream it

5.  The Universal Thump – their full-length debut
The final and concluding installment of the most massive, richly orchestrated album on this list, a lushly symphonic double-cd mix of chamber pop, art-rock, psychedelia and quirky, theatrical indie pop. Stream it

6.  Rachelle Garniez – Sad Dead Alive Happy
The iconic, eclectic accordionist/chanteuse – who has sort of become the Dorothy Parker of underground rock – took a deep dive into soul and gospel sounds, with richly soaring results. Stream it

7.  The Japonize Elephants – Melodie Fantastique
One of the original gypsy bands, this enormous, theatrical circus rock crew took their game to the next level with this one. Stream it

8.  Lianne Smith – Two Sides of a River
An iconic presence in the New York Americana and rock scene since the late 90s, Smith’s debut album was legendary before it was finally released – and it’s as eclectic, psychedelic, haunting and funny as anything else on this list. And her amazing voice is better than ever. Stream it 

9.  Bobtown – Trouble I Wrought
Nobody writes more cleverly creepy acoustic Nashville gothic and bluegrass than Bobtown. With four first-rate songwriters, their sound is as diverse as it is dark. Stream it

10.  Jan Bell – Dream of the Miner’s Child
One of the great voices in Americana music, Bell made this into a concept album that linked British folk with the American country and bluegrass sounds that grew out of it  with a vivid sense of history and a tantalizing mix of classics and originals that sound like Appalachian standards. Stream it/free downloads

11. M Shanghai String Band – Two Thousand Pennies
The mighty eleven-piece Brooklyn acoustic Americana crew’s most lush, haunting, diverse and ultimately best album, ranging from gypsy and chamber pop to brooding Appalachian ballads and the rousing singalong songs they’re best known for. Stream it

12.. Love Camp 7 – Love Camp VII
An expertly wry, tuneful, catchy janglerock concept album looking at recent history through the prism of the Beatles, with a jaundiced eye and expertly labyrinthine polyrhythms. Given up for dead after the tragic loss of brilliant drummer Dave Campbell, the band has recently regrouped and is as playful and fun as ever. Stream it

13. Hannah vs. the Many – All Our Heroes Drank Here
Ferociously literate, white knuckle intense female-fronted punk and powerpop, with some noir cabaret and Jarvis Cocker-style art-rock thrown in for good measure. Stream it

14. The Larch– Days to the West
The follow-up to their 2010 masterpiece Larix Americana finds the Brooklyn retro new wavers sounding more psychedelic and more savagely lyrical than ever. Stream it

15. Lorraine Leckie and Anthony Haden-Guest – Rudely Interrupted
A blackly amusing, gorgeously orchestrated chamber-pop collaboration between the caustic social critic and the Canadian gothic rock siren.  Band info and a/v

16. Black Fortress of Opium – Stratospherical
Lush, roaring, darkly psychedelic Middle Eastern-tinged art-rock from this powerful, female-fronted Boston band. Stream it

17. Matt Keating – Wrong Way Home
The respected Americana rocker’s best single-disc album, a brooding, offhandedly menacing blend of classic soul, country and elegant chamber pop. Stream it

18. Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores  – Sister Death
Not to have this album in the #1 spot is pretty absurd: the Rhode Island band’s swirling, psychedelic, gypsy-tinged art-rock masterpiece is the most downright macabre collection on this list. Stream it

19.. The Sometime Boys – Ice & Blood
The second album from cabaret siren Sarah Mucho and art-rocker Kurt Leege’s sharply lyrical acoustic Americana project finds them funkier, more lush and more intense than ever. Stream it

20. Animation – Transparent Heart
As historically important as it is richly arrranged, saxophonist Bob Belden’s collection of cinematic instrumental themes traces the decline of New York over the past couple of decades, centered around 9/11 and the fascism that ensued. Band info and a/v

21. Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone
Marc Ribot’s guitar is amazing beyond belief, and Merrritt’s pensive Americana songs and nuanced vocals are as vivid as always.  Band info and a/v

22. Out of Order – Hey Pussycat
The loudest album on this list is by this assaultive all-female Long Island noiserock/punk trio, raw but richly produced by John Sharples. Stream it

23. Changing Modes – In Flight
With three keyboards and edgy lead guitar, these women and guys play biting, lyrical art-rock and new wave-influenced sounds. Stream it

24. Chris Erikson & the Wayward Puritans – Lost Track of the Time
Erikson has been one of the great guitarists in Americana for years, in other peoples’ bands. This is his long-overdue debut as a leader, a careening, gorgeously twangy mix of Americana, paisley underground psychedelia and riff-rock. Stream it

25. Marissa Nadler – The Sister
The Nashville gothic/noir cabaret chanteuse/songwriter’s most haunting and atmospheric album since her debut, a darkly nebulous, allusive gem. Stream it/free downloads

26. Spanking Charlene – Where Are the Freaks
Female-fronted Americana punk band with  powerful, intense lead vocals, hooks that run the gamut from the Stooges to X and a potently snide, sarcastic, spot-on worldview. Stream it

27. Frankenpine – In That Black Sky
Creepy original bluegrass, Appalachian ballads and elegantly dark acoustic sounds from this diverse Brooklyn band. Stream it/free dowloads

28. Choban Elektrik – their debut album
A side project by members of Zappa cover band Project/Object, they take classic Balkan and gypsy themes and make trippy psychedelic rock out of them. Stream it

29. Slavic Soul Party – New York Underground Tapes
The wildly popular Brooklyn Balkan brass band at the top of their funky, surprisingly eclectic, intensely danceable game. Stream it

30. Saint Maybe – Things As They Are
A throwback to the paisley underground bands of the 80s like True West and the Dream Syndicate, this project by a Patti Smith guitarist and Bob Dylan’s drummer mixes surreal, apocalyptic imagery and raw, surreal, psychedelic Americana rock. Stream it 

31. Mike Rimbaud – Can’t Judge a Song By Its Cover
The New York underground rocker – who also put out an excellent album of originals last year, and constantly releases video singles – puts his indelibly New York spin on politically charged classics by Phil Ochs, Dylan, the Stones and others. Stream it

32. When the Broken Bow – We, the Dangerous Weapons
A surreal, fearlessly political, apocalyptic concept album by this Oregon band  that runs the gamut from soul-pop to careening art-rock to goth and gypsy sounds. Stream it

33. Tim Foljahn – Songs for an Age of Extinction
Grimly lyrical, pensively psychedelic noir chamber pop and Americana-influenced songwriting. Stream it

34. Demolition String Band – Gracious Days
The well-loved New York Americana/bluegrass/rock twanglers’ best electric album, an intoxicating blend of guitars, mandolins, banjo and Elena Skye’s velvet vocals. Stream it

35. The Brixton Riot – Palace Amusements
Sort of the missing link between the Jam and Guided by Voices, this New Jersey band blast their way through a series of hard-hitting, swirling, lyrically biting three-minute songs. Stream it

36. L’il Mo & the  Monicats – Whole Lotta Lovin
Americana chanteuse Monica Passin’s most intimate and eclectic album to date, with soaring harmonies from fellow Americana siren Drina Seay. Song samples

37. Leigh Marble – Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows
Brooding, bitterly lyrical songwriting with a mix of hypnotically psychedelic and Americana-flavored tunes from the Portland, Oregon bandleader. Stream it

38. Eilen Jewell – Queen of the Minor Key
Truth in advertising – Jewel excels at noir Americana, ghoulabilly, garage rock and oldschool psychedelic sounds. Band info and a/v

39. Mucca Pazza – Safety Fifth
A characteristically high-voltage mix of short but sonically titanic gypsy punk and gypsy rock songs from the brass-heavy Chicago dance orchestra. Stream it

40. Chicago Stone Lightning Band – their debut album
With a raw, guitar-fueled edge, their twin-Gibson assault covers classic 60s style Chicago blues, riff-driven stoner rock, original soul and funk. Stream it

41. Emily Jane White – Ode to Sentience
Intense, broodingly lyrical, intricately orchestrated Nashville gothic and art-rock sounds. Band info and a/v 

42. My Education – A Drink for All My Friends
The Austin postrock/instrumental band have never sounded more lush or guitarishly intense on this mix of desert rock and cinematic themes. Stream it

43. Tom Shaner – Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock n Roll
That such a great album would be this low on the list attests to how amazing this past year was for music. The former Industrial Tepee frontman has never written more richly or lyrically than he does on this southwestern gothic gem. Band info and video

44. Jon DeRosa – A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes
The Brooklyn crooner comes across as sort of a cross between Jarvis Cocker and Leonard Cohen, with a mix of lush chamber pop, Americana and 80s-influenced gothic art-rock. Band info and a/v

45. The Sweetback Sisters – Lookin’ for a Fight
This amazing two-frontwoman honkytonk band not in the top ten? How can that be possible? Take a look at the rest of the list. Stream it

46. Band of Outsiders – Sound Beach Quartet
The 80s psychedelic punk legends are still going strong, with a richly jangly, snaky new ep that evokes Television as well as the Jesus & Mary Chain, both groups whose careers they’ve now eclipsed. Stream it 

47. Mighty High – Legalize Tre Bags
The funniest album of the year blends roaring Motorhead-style biker rock with woozy stoner riffage and some of the best weed jokes ever put on vinyl. Stream it

48. The Weal and Woe – The One to Blame
Gorgeously harmony-driven oldschool honkytonk and 1950s style proto-rockabilly sounds from this wonderfully retro Brooklyn band. Stream it

49. Guided by Voices – The Bears for Lunch
Agelessly energetic, prolific indie surrealist Robert Pollard hasn’t lost a thing: this is the third and best release in the band’s incredibly productive 2012, not including Pollard’s own solo releases. Band info and a/v

50. Ian Hunter – When I’m President
Last but hardly least on this list, another ageless rocker from an even earlier era put out an album that could be the great lost Stones classic from 30 years ago. Band info/free downloads 

Two Dark New York Crooners at the Top of Their Game

It may have been a Xmas party, but Tom Shaner wanted no part of the holiday. As he took the stage at Bowery Electric last Tuesday, he made a point to ridicule how a celebration that espouses spirituality has become the epitome of crass commercialism run amok. “If Jesus was here, he’d have to make a sex video for anyone to recognize him,” Shaner snarled. He and his five-piece band – lead guitar, melodica and rhythm section –  followed with a powerful, all-too-brief set taken mostly from his brilliant new album Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock n Roll (which you will see high on the 50 Best Albums of 2012 list here in a couple of days).

For anyone who was around during Shaner’s tenure fronting southwestern gothic band Industrial Tepee ten years ago, the show was a fond look back. Shaner was good then; he’s even better now, after an on-and-off monthly residency at the late, lamented Lakeside Lounge that went on for years. His baritone is deeper than it was then, his guitar just as biting, and the band behind him was excellent. They opened on a pensive note with a brooding, minor-key Jeff Buckley dedication, Unprotected Heart and followed that with the seductively shuffling Lou Reed inflections of  Sister Satellite. The lead guitarist took a careening ride up the scale and then back down again on a surreal, vertigo-inducing take of the brooding desert-rock bolero Viva Las Nowhere; then they picked up the pace with the Irish folk anthem Streets of Galway. They rode a dusky desert rock ambience the rest of the way, from Everything Is Silver  -a sort of Ray Bradbury/Springsteen hybrid, as Shaner told the crowd – followed by a surprisingly funky version of the caustic southwestern gothic anthem Sinner’s Highway, a soulfully pulsing take of the country-flavored Rosa Lee and then Forbidden Drug, a familiar crowd-pleaser from the Industrial Tepee days that the band would  serenade crowds with at places like Manitoba’s or the C-Note. In the time that’s passed since then, Shaner has only gotten more intense and interesting, both as a songwriter and as a frontman: this show was typical in that respect.

Jon DeRosa also has a brilliant album out, A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes, recorded at the same studio where Shaner did his. Backed by a chamber pop band with upright bass, cello, violin, glockenspiel and piano, DeRosa was improvising harmonies before he’d reached the end of the first verse of his opening number, Birds of Brooklyn. It’s an art-rock classic, an understatedly bitter, electrically metaphorical look at a borough changing for the worse, from an oldschool point of view, and DeRosa sang the hell out of it, coolly and cruelly. He kept the intensity at redline for the brooding after-hours anthem True Men and its boxing metaphors – “He who bleeds earns, this is true” – and then the Nashville gothic pop of Who Decides, which as it turns out is an LD Beghtol song – who knew?

DeRosa went further toward the gothic with a couple of older songs from his long-running Aarktika project, then hit a high note with an absolutely evil version of the creepy, pulsing, Cure/Pulp style murder ballad Snow Coffin before closing with another Jarvis Cocker-esque number, the wryly sarcastic Teenage Goths. Although DeRosa gets rave reviews across the web, it’s stunning that he isn’t better known. He’d be the perfect opening act for that Leonard Cohen show at that evil venue built on land stolen from private owners at that already rusting, cheap new Brooklyn arena.

Missy Mazzoli Writes a Brooding, Lingering Homage to a Legendary Nonconformist

Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar – The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt (out recently from New Amsterdam) is billed as an opera, but it’s closer to mid-70s art-rock in the vein of Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway than it is to, say, Verdi. If you have to hang a name on it, you could call this album a song cycle. It’s a potently moody, cinematic suite. The lyrics (not written by Mazzoli) are prosaic and don’t really add anything, but the music is intense and often haunting. Mazzoli is a star of the indie classical world, walking the uneasy ground between the avant garde and rock with a style that’s ethereal and hypnotic yet often wary and brooding. This album – a recording by the original cast who premiered the piece earlier this year in New York – attempts to trace the life of the legendary, chameleonic, crossdressing 19th century Swiss adventurer and feminist who traveled throughout North Africa as a man, embraced Islam and ended up dying at 27 in a flash flood shortly after reuniting with her Algerian husband. Mazzoli seizes on this and the many other tragic aspects of a stalwart nonconformist life with a tumultuous, sometimes tormented score, played with verve and intensity by NOW Ensemble conducted by Steven Osgood.

Mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer ably channels her inner soul sister, along with sopranos Celine Mogielnicki and Amelia Watkins, alto Kate Maroney, tenor Tomas Cruz and baritone Peter Stewart. And as dynamically charged as the ensemble’s performance is, the star of this show is pianist Michael Mizrahi, who shines especially on Mazzoli’s pointillistic, often hard-hitting, challenging staccato passages. This is a long album: fifteen tracks, almost an hour and a quarter worth of music. Since this is billed as an opera, most of the tracks segue from one to the next.

Wordless vocal harmonies rise with a rainswept ominousness as it opens, over wary, dark layers of piano chords, shifting back and forth from quiet to anxious with surreal flickers of electronics: it’s Mazzoli at her lingering best. Sara Budde’s bass clarinet pulses alongside Alexandra Sopp’s flute and Mizrahi’s insistent piano pedalpoint on This World Within Me Is Too Small, followed by the hypnotically shifting choir juxtaposed with cascading piano on Capsized Heart. A lush but tense seashore scene is followed by the lively polyrhythms and contrapuntal vocals of I Have Arrived, which manages to foreshadow doom despite its upbeat intricacies.

A Godspell-ish faux soul song, an aria for Fischer over an ambient backdrop and then a trickily rhythmic number sung in French continue the narrative and maintain an understated unease: by now, it’s obvious that this is not going to end well. Eberhardt survived an attempt on her life, illustrated by another eerily echoing round of vocals, followed by an Indian- and Middle Eastern-tinged piece featuring lushly psychedelic guitar from Mark Dancigers. After that, The Hunted is as ironically bubbly as Oblivion Seekers is downright menacing, Mizrahi leading a doomed lovers’ theme as it rises with the flute over the orchestra.

Dancigers’ searing guitar and Fischer’s increasing sense of dread peak as the next track rises and falls, followed by a death scene, echoes of plainchant amid the torrents and whirlpools. It all ends with Here Where Footprints Erase the Graves, a bitter requiem where the whole ensemble eventually rises to a machinegun crescendo driven by the guitar and flute. If you’re not a fan of opera, don’t let that designation scare you off – this is a strong and decidedly un-fussy album that in a perfect world would be as easily embraced by the kids who discover Pink Floyd year after year as the lonely minority who prefer to blast Philip Glass or John Adams on their playlists.

Ravi Shankar: Eternally Vital in His Tenth Decade

For fans of Indian music – and psychedelic sounds in general – there’s a fascinating and rather heartwarming new Ravi Shankar DVD, Tenth Decade, just out from East Meets West Music. A live concert recording from October, 2011 at California Center for the Arts in Escondido, it captures the timeless avatar of the sitar at the top of his game, undiminished by the ages. 45 years after his legendary performance at the Monterey Folk Festival, Shankar amazingly still has his chops, and his genre-smashing vision. As you would expect, the rest of the ensemble elevate their game to match the master. Sitarist Parimal Sadaphal serves as sort of the rhythm guitarist in this band, frequently interchanging elegantly with Shankar alongside Ravichandra Kulur on flute and kanjira, Barry Phillips and Kenji Ota (who also plays swamandal zither) on tampura lutes, and Samir Chatterjee and Tanmoy Bose on tablas. There’s tantalizing footage from the DVD streaming here.

They open the concert with a nocturnal raga, working their way dreamily but purposefully as the piece coalesces out of the ether, Shankar judiciously developing subtle thematic variations as he shifts to the upper registers over the tablas’ steady sway. The practically 23-minute Khamaj begins with the theme that George Harrison may have appropriated for Within You, Without You, Shankar’s resonant bent-note legato picking up and then ebbing, the rhythm cleverly hinting at a gallop and finally kicking in with Shankar’s fast flurries. The tablas scamper, there’s a trick ending, the sitars trade eights…and then it’s done. The crowd goes wild.

Then there’s a long drum interlude that frankly adds nothing to the concert (other than giving the string players a breather, maybe) followed by a relaxed piece for twin lutes over a drone. The full ensemble closes with the majestic, magisterial Raga Mala, Shankar’s understated joie de vivre anchoring this slowly crescendoing masterpiece as the group rises and then falls back behind him. They finally end it with a jaunty dance, flute joining with the sitars as it bounces its way out. Simply to make it through 84 minutes of music at 91 years old is a feat; that Shankar plays as transcendently and with as much of a biting edge as he does is another story entirely. Director Alan Kozlowski has a long affiliation with Shankar, having produced two previous documentaries, one a collaboration with George Harrison. In the classic music doc style, he lets the music do the talking, focuses on interplay and individual contributions and doesn’t get in the way. For those who don’t need the visuals, there’s also a stand-alone soundtrack available.

Brilliant Sideman Releases Another Solo Record

In the postapocalyptic world (not) of 12/22/12, what could there possibly be to listen to? Homeboy Steve Antonakos’ new acoustic album. As a sideman, Antonakos’ resume is second to none. Right now he plays with psychedelic rockers Love Camp 7, psychedelic surf rock band the Byzan-tones, haunting Greek psychedelic band Magges (a pattern is starting to emerge here, no?), torchy Americana siren Drina Seay’s band and also cajun rockers the Dirty Water Dogs. Somehow he finds the time to write songs and record them. He put out an album of several of his signature clever, wry Americana-flavored tunes a couple of years ago, and now he’s got a new one, all of it streaming at his Bandcamp site.

It’s the rare Xmas-themed album that doesn’t suck. The first track, a country waltz titled Poor Santa, finds the guy passsed out at the North Pole, where the the ho-ho-ho’s had taken their toll. As it turns out, the guy’s pension’s gone, his HMO won’t cover his health problems – in other words, this is a metaphor for everything that’s wrong with the world right now and in typical Homeboy Steve fashion, it’s funny – the jokes are too good to give away.

Then there’s December Roses, a pensively optimistic fingerpicked country-folk ballad. The big hit here is I Don’t Miss Summer, which screams out for a good janglerock band to cover it. This acoustic version only hints at the deliciousness of where a couple of Rickenbacker guitars could take these catchy changes, and Antonakos’ cynical lyric makes a good contrast with the sunniness of the tune. The ep ends with Dear Santa, a psych-folk tune with a weird twist – any way you look at it, it’s creepy and gets creepier as it goes along. Homeboy Steve Antonakos plays the Sunday Salon at Zirzamin at 7 PM tomorrow, Dec 23.