New York Music Daily

Love's the Only Engine of Survival

Month: August, 2022

The Dream Syndicate Return With a Haunting, Stomping Masterpiece

Much as the Dream Syndicate will always be best known for their volcanic jams, those unhinged duels wouldn’t mean much without frontman Steve Wynn‘s allusive, frequently menacing songs.

And just when it might have seemed that the Dream Syndicate had finally gone off on an odyssey to the far shores of jazz, they return with their most song-oriented album since their iconic 1982 release The Medicine Show. The resolutely shapeshifting jamband’s latest vinyl record, Ultraviolet Battle Hymns and True Confessions – streaming at Bandcamp – is basically a light side followed by a dark side, with a trippy coda to bring it full circle.

Wynn’s songwriting is as novelistic, deviously allusive and counterintuitive as it has been ever since the band busted out forty years ago: is there anyone alive who has written more good songs? Hearing one catchy verse and chorus after another is a real mindfuck, in contrast to the slowly unwinding, symphonic AACM-rock epics on the band’s previous album, The Universe Inside, which was a rare bright light amid the relentless gloom of 2020.

The opening track, Where I’ll Stand has the classic Dream Syndicate backbeat sound, but with more of the dreampop swirl that Wynn has explored in recent years – and maybe a little Bowie in the mix too. The gist is “don’t bullshit me” – in more reflective, articulate terms.

Track two is Damian, a lithe 70s Tom Petty-style bounce that suddenly winds into one of Wynn’s signature series of unpredictable changes. His conspiratorial narrator seems to be telling his beaten-down bud that all omens aren’t necessarily grim. Lead guitarist Jason Victor fires off a tantalizingly sinuous guitar solo as it fades out.

“I’m a scrapyard and a barking dog, everything must go,” Wynn intones in Beyond Control, the band rising over drummer Dennis Duck’s brisk spacerock drive as keyboardist Chris Cacavas throws in a quirky mbira-like setting. Hearing Victor playing a skittish, staccato chorus-box pattern is a trip.

The Chronicles of You is a gorgeously vindictive, enveloping number glistening with layer after layer of guitars along with wafting horn harmonies from Marcus Tenney, who doubles on sax and trumpet. Wynn has been one of the great voices in rock noir for years, and this is prime: “Was it really scripted in the sky by your own private plane? Was it the undertaker’s arms that laid you down in the grave?” As usual, there are infinitely more questions here than answers.

Victor’s lapsteel and the horns resonate uneasily throughout Hard to Say Goodbye, a slowly strolling requiem for someone who couldn’t resist the lure of shiny objects that flicker. It comes across as pastoral Pink Floyd done Steve Wynn style, The band shift to a cyclotron take on the Jesus & Mary Chain in Every Time You Come Around, bassist Mark Walton rising to pierce the veil. “Tell me what you think is inappropriate, I’ll tell you why you’re wrong,” Wynn cryptically avers.

A searing Victor riff kicks off Trying to Get Over, a stampeding Wynn study in conman doublespeak. With Victor’s searing, careening lead lines, the song looks back to Wynn’s volcanic 90s work: say, the Melting in the Dark album.

Wynn’s rapidfire lyrics deliver a grimly aphoristic payoff in Lesson Number One, a withering portrait of someone slithering to move his own goalposts as damage control gets more complicated. It could also be a portrait of somebody recently scheduled for an exit from the NIAID – and could be the best song of the year.

The sarcasm remains at redline for My Lazy Mind, one of those tango-flavored struts that Wynn does so well. It wouldn’t be out of place in the Ward White catalog, all the way through the “curtain call from Frankenstein.” The album’s final cut is Straight Lines, a breathlessly charging garage rock number, the Seeds as played by mid-70s Can maybe. You’ll see this on the best albums of 2022 page here if we’re all still around..


Soulful Vintage-Style Gospel in Williamsburg on the First of September

More about that killer twinbill this Sept 1 at 7 PM at Baby’s All Right on the south side of Williamsburg where psychedelic Afrobeat band Super Yamba share an evening with the retro 60s-inspired Harlem Gospel Travelers. No idea of who’s headlining, but it really doesn’t matter: both bands get everybody on their feet. Cover is $15.

The Harlem Gospel Travelers – main songwriter Ifedayo (Thomas) Gatling, singers George Marage and Dennis Keith Bailey III – write vintage soul songs with messages of praise and uplift. Their latest vinyl record Look Up is scheduled to hit their Bandcamp page toward the end of next month. The energy is infectious and the hooks come at you nonstop: although the message is Christian, the music transcends any particular denomination or lack thereof.

They open with the title track, Gatling’s vocals swooping up to falsetto-land in a tale of making a big comeback from spiritual estrangement. Considering how atomized people in this city have become over the last thirty months, it’s inspiring, to say the least.

The band shift from a tricky intro to a bouncy 6/8 beat in Hold On (Joy Is Coming). Bailey takes over lead vocals on God’s In Control, a fervently bristling clapalong propelled by guitarist Eli “Paperboy” Reed’s biting, purist, reverbtoned minor-key riffage.

The group stay in the same swaying groove for Help Me to Understand: reduced to lowest terms, it’s a twinkling love ballad. They hit a breezy take on a classic, stomping Four Tops sound in Nothing But His Love, pushed along by Jesse Barnes’ bass and Noah Rubin’s drums.

Gatling builds to a big optimistic peak over Colin Brown’s keening organ, then the band hit an undulating psychedelic soul groove in Fight On!, an indomitable protest song: “Get your knee off my neck, get your bullet off my chest!”

Reed hits his fuzzbox for Hold Your Head Up – a cheery call-and-response original, not the interminably cheesy 70s pop hit. The band keep the upbeat sway going through That’s the Reason, a vampy early 70s-style soul-jazz tune and follow with Let Me Tell You, Kendall “Youngblood” Kent on the mic and airing out his low register .

The group rise from a gentle, dusky ambience toward jubilation in God Will Take Care of You. Pastor Cynthia McCants guests on the brisk, propulsive final cut, I’m Grateful (Gatling), the whole crew joining voices in a big singalong designed to get the whole congregation involved. How serendipitous it is that we can congregate for music like this again without fear of reprisal – for the moment, anyway.

Another Protest Soul Masterpiece From Van Morrison

Van Morrison is on the greatest creative tear of his life. Now in his mid-70s, the inventor and greatest exponent of Celtic soul has reinvented himself as arguably the world’s foremost protest songwriter.

His latest album What’s It Gonna Take – streaming at youtube – isn’t quite as lavish as his landmark, sardonically titled previous release, Latest Record Project No. 1, from last year. But it’s every bit as catchy, and anthemic, and redemptive: if that one was his Sandinista, this is his London Calling. Morrison has never written more strongly, he’s never sung more affectingly, and that’s from a guy who easily could have coasted on his epic back catalog for the rest of his career if he felt like it.

The opening track is Dangerous. As far as the plandemic is concerned, Morrison is over the target and he’s drawing flak, and he’s cool with that, vamping along as guitarist Dave Keary flings jagged shards of chords into the mix. Throughout the album, Richard Dunn’s lush, swirling Hammond organ is Morrison’s not-so-secret weapon. The bandleader handles electric guitar as well as sax on a handful of tracks this time out, backed by the low-key, purist rhythm section of bassist Pete Hurley and drummer Colin Griffin.

Morrison picks up the pace with the title cut. Throughout the album, there’s a frequent Jamaican rocksteady influence, and this brass-infused wakeup call is a prime example: “Government doesn’t represent us at all,” Morrison reminds us, “Big Tech’s gonna take it all.”

“Fighting back is essential, gotta stop sitting on the fence,” he insists in Fighting Back Is the New Normal, an upbeat, optimistic blues shuffle. Morrison keeps the upbeat energy going with the ska-tinged, organ-fueled Fodder for the Masses: “You don’t accept their drift, call you a conspiracy theorist…you really don’t exist, you don’t play any role for those who seek control.”

Can’t Go on This Way is a steady, swaying soul groove, Morrison cataloguing the normal things we used to enjoy but aren’t allowed to anymore since “Klaus is the wizard, Gates is playing God..don’t know what to do with a common cold in the head.”

“How do you like the New Normal? Did you overcome the restrictions? Is this something we’ll live to regret?” Morrison taunts as he picks up the pace again in Sometimes It’s Just Blah Blah Blah. “Sometimes chickens come home to roost…sometimes it’s mind control amnesia…sometimes you don’t know where you are, then they tell you it’s about the weather,” he smirks.

He and the band reach for a psychedelic Creedence vibe in Money From America, a cynical, aphoristic look at the perils of not biting the hand that feeds. “We’re staring at the Gates from hell!”

Morrison isn’t done telling the fence-riders to cease and desist, as he reminds in Not Seeking Approval, a Motown-flavored tune. “Watch the psychos on parade, they just want to enslave the population…”

Dunn’s incisive barrelhouse piano propels the next track, Damage and Recovery: “How long can this go on this time, guess they tried it on for size….is freedom just a memory?” Morrison wants to know.

He introduces the instruments Sly Stone-style in Nervous Breakdown, a scampering, pulsing go-go-flavored tune: “To be told you’re nonessential is a crime against humanity,” he reminds.

Teena Lyle’s congas drive the darkly latin-tinged gospel anthem Absolutely Positively the Most, a defiant call for unity with an explosive organ crescendo. The band hit a jaunty skiffle rhythm in I Ain’t No Celebrity, which comes across as a humblebrag.

Morrison contemplates the advantages of going incognito in Stage Name, arguably the album’s catchiest (and maybe funniest) track. The best song title here is Fear and Self-Loathing in Las Vegas, a devious parody of Rat Pack crooner pop.

The final cut is Pretending, a gorgeous, bittersweet portrait of lockdown-era dissociation. “Pretending I’m not depressed…pretending that it’s not real…pretending I’m someone else, pretending I’m in the present tense, I’m really miles away in a trance.” And as troubled as the song is, Morrison hasn’t lost his sense of humor: the ending is too good to give away. For the second time in eight months, Morrison has jumped to the top of of the shortlist for best album of the year. And the album cover is a meme in itself.

A Vivid, Thoughtfully Immersive New Album From Vibraphonist Sasha Berliner

Vibraphonist Sasha Berliner is all about creating a mood or painting a picture: crazed volleys of mallets are not her thing. Instead, she gives you tunes and ideas. Her latest album Onyx is streaming at Bandcamp. She’s got a show on August 31 at 7:30 PM at the Django; cover is $25.

The opening number, Jade, is tone poem of sorts, a warmly wafting Jaleel Shaw sax riff over a fluttery, layered glimmer from the vibes and James Francies’ Rhodes as drummer Marcus Gilmore coalesces from light-fingered flurries toward a mist. Almost imperceptibly, Berliner emerges and spirals around, Gilmore and then Shaw picking up where she leaves off. If Alice Coltrane had been a vibraphonist, she might have written something like this.

Bassist Burniss Travis II’s momentary downward portents introduce Crescent Park (In Elliptical Time), Thana Alexa taking over the mic with a lingering angst. then doubling the bandleader’s spare, moody, increasingly noirish lines.

Switching to piano, Francies delivers stern, spacious modalities to introduce Polaris, Shaw taking a break in the clouds: beneath the steady upward trajectory is a clever study in lithely syncopated rhythm, and the whole band are having fun with it.

Ephemerality is more energetic than the title would imply, piano and vibes mingling with an allusive unease until good cop Shaw busts it wide open. There are two takes of My Funny Valentine here, each a platform for Berliner’s coyly nimble, rapidfire precision. She plays the first solo.

NW, a shout-out to Berliner’s San Francisco home turf, is a lively, emphatic stroll. Those hills take it out of you, but the view from the top is worth the effort, Shaw floating over Gilmore’s shuffling clusters, the bandleader adding sprightly color before Francies leads the charge out. Berliner closes the record with a brief, summery, glistening shout-out to Milt Jackson. This album draws you in and eventually you get lost in it.

Sizzling Afrobeat and Gospel at One of the Year’s Best Twinbills to Kick Off September

One of the best twinbills of the year is happening this Sept 1 at 7 PM at an unlikely spot, Baby’s All Right on the south side of Williamsburg, where psychedelic Afrobeat band Super Yamba share a bill with the rousingly soulful Harlem Gospel Travelers. The venue has reopened and the bands’ publicist advises that there are no restrictions; cover is $15 for what promises to be an awesome dance party. The venue webpage isn’t clear on who’s playing first, but it doesn’t matter because both acts are worth sticking around for.

Super Yamba have been one of the best party bands in town for several years. Kaleta, their frontman brings a deep background to the music after getting his start in Nigeria as a sideman with King Sunny Ade and then Fela Kuti in the late 70s.

Super Yamba’s most recent album Medaho came out in 2019 and is streaming at Soundcloud. The title means “big brother,” but in a good way. It’s a shout-out from Kaleta to his older brother, who is tragically no longer with us but was responsible for introducing the bandleader to Afrobeat.

The album is best appreciated as a cohesive whole, ideally with everybody on their feet. Throughout the playlist, organ swirls and blips tightly over strutting bass and drums. The opening number, Gogo Rock has a long, sinuous wah-wah solo from the bandleader. Track two, Mr. Diva has bitingly catchy minor-key brass riffage that Kaleta artfully picks up with his guitar as the song winds along, and a grittily insistent vocal: there’s no mistaking this for a dis!

Briskly stepping rhythms circle through Hungry Man, Angry Man as the organ keens and chirps overhead. The album’s title track is an edgy, practically punk jam with deep-space wah guitar and a clattering, circular groove. The band work a tastily quadrangulated, understated call-and-response from bass, to guitar, to organ and then horns in the next track, Goyitò

The rhythms get trickier in Jibiti, then the band kick into the Super Yamba Theme, pulsing along on the album’s catchiest bassline and stabbing horn interplay. It’s also the album’s most hypnotic interlude.

Adjotò is a big concert favorite and the most intense, careening number here. The band take the album out in a blaze of brass and staccato distorted guitar in La Gueule (Afro-French insult: “shut up”).

This blog has been in the house at several Super Yamba shows, in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The most recent one was a private event in Williamsburg in the fall of 2019; whether playing for the public or just the cognoscenti, they jam like crazy.

A Rare New York Concert by a Paradigm Shifter in Indian Music 

Violinist Rupam Ghosh got his start in his native India when he was a gradeschooler and has since toured the world playing not only the North Indian repertoire he mastered as a child, but also blending in many other styles. This irrepressible innovator’s latest New York show is on September 3 at 7:30 PM with Utpal Ghosal on tabla at the Chhandayan Center For Indian Music in midtown; cover is $25. Considering the venue, Ghosh will probably be playing more traditional sounds, which he excels at.

His music page has about an album’s worth of both intriguingly cross-pollinated and centuries-old melodies. The first video features Antoine Narhem on violin, Eric Navet on vibraphone and ghatam and Antoine Marineau on percussion. Quickly, it becomes clear that they’re playing a pulsing series of variations on Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1! From there they straighten out into a steady waltz rhythm and the piece shifts closer to a wistful Romany theme. Ghosh’s elegant melismas and stark resonance raise the underlying plaintiveness, while Narhem spirals around with an Indian-influenced Stephane Grappelli liveliness. When’s the last time you heard that at a performance of traditional Indian music?

Ghosh and the band take their time building a suspenseful, anticipatory theme with his judicious swoops and striking ornamentation in A L’Aube (Daybreak): when they finally bust through the clouds: the effect is breathtaking. The vibraphone plays a lilting Balkan groove in the third number, From Serbia to India, the two violins rising and falling as they shift uneasily between chromatically-charged, transcontinental modes.

Ghosh also has four tantalizingly brief clips with tabla  player Ananya Banjerjee, where he ranges from lyrical, to mystical, to grittily rhythmic, including two excerpts from Raga Bhairavi and Raga Bageshree. The latter features an excellent, unidentifed santoorist. The final tune is a cheery country dance. Clearly, Ghosh has a lot of flavors and likes to explore all of them.

A Rare Solo Show and Yet Another New Album by Guitarist Gordon Grdina

Guitarist Gordon Grdina didn’t let the lockdowns in 2020 snuff out his creativity. He kept writing, and fortuitously found a way to keep documenting that creative output, which by any standard has been pretty amazing over the last three years. Grdina has not one but two new albums out., One of them, Pathways – streaming at Bandcamp – is his second with pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist Mark Helias. Grdina’s next New York gig is a very rare solo show tomorrow night, August 28 at 8:30 PM at Downtown Music Gallery. Left to his own devices, Grdina likes dynamics, a full sound and has a flair for the unpredictable: this could be a real treat.

What does the new album have going on? Although Grdina’s defiantly opaque compositions often seem more spontaneous than they actually are, this definitely seems to be one of his most improvisational records. It’s also one of his funniest. It starts with a wryly triangulated conversation that the three voices quickly build into a somber, spacious, allusive blues theme in the first number, Palimpsest. Essentially, they’re overwriting Summertime, sometimes hazily, sometimes hinting at a much more bittersweet ballad.

The album’s second track, Deep Dive expands to an unexpectedly stern quasi-stroll out of a thicket of playful, bubbly riffage punctuated by similarly tongue-in-cheek references to a certain famous and supposedly occult-adjacent children’s movie.

There’s a little palimpsest of My Favorite Things in the album’s title track, even as Shipp crushes rocks, finally luring Grdina into a deliciously noisy inferno that recedes for a rainy-day pavane.

Shipp’s icy incisions and pedalpoint square off with Helias’ slinky bounces and punches as the bandleader plays drummer with his buzzy lines for awhile before joining Shipp on the icepick team in the next track, Trimeter.

Helias holds the center steady as Shipp descends out of an eerie constellation in Amalgam. Flutter is aptly titled, a tightly clustering yet careening exchange of voices and an ending that’s hardly what you would expect. Ossicles is surreal to the extreme, Shipp’s uneasy, carillonesque cascades in contrast to Helias’ mutedly incisive accents and the bandleader’s goofy barnyard antics; they bring it full circle at the end.

The trio have gritty, insistent fun with a simple half-step riff and echo effects in Synapses. In the album’s final cut, Sanctum, the band alternate between anxious ripples and hints at a moody, sparse ballad, Grdina leading the way to what is ironically the album’s most sepulchral interlude. What an inspiring and distinctive body of work this guy is building right now.

This Is Not a Movie But It’s a Venomously Good New Album

What happens when member of two of the edgiest bands in New York join forces? Guitarist Andrea Sicco of the noir-tinged Twin Guns and bassist Derek Davidson of venomous garage-punk band the Electric Mess decided to work up an album of catchy, anthemic powerpop, and the result is Movie Movie‘s first album Now Playing, streaming at Bandcamp. It’s one of the best short albums of the year so far.

The opening track, Bright Lights sets the stage with a lush blend of guitars, tracing a sad Day of the Locust trail, legends in their own minds on an obsessive quest for fame. It could be an early Mark Sinnis song. It sets the stage for the rest of the record.

No Long Goodbyes is a lushly layered kiss-off anthem spiced with Sicco’s slide guitar leads over a bed of six and twelve-string guitars. He breaks out his repeaterbox and turns his reverb all the way up as organist Dave Amels holds the center in Big City Tonight, up to a lavishly clanging outro.

Sicco’s counterintuitive changes propel Love Has Come and Gone, a cynical account of the one that got away….or maybe the one that got away just in time! He finally reaches for his signature chromatic menace before the third verse kicks in. The final cut is She’s Man’s Best Friend, a canine-themed, enigmatic anthem that could be metaphorical or not, drummer Alan J. Camlet holding it to the rails until the organ winds out.

Colorful Guitar Icon Jim Campilongo Continues His Rockwood Residency

It took a long time after the lockdown, but Jim Campilongo made it back to one of his oldest haunts, the Rockwood, where he’s played an on-and-off monthly residency, practically since the venue opened in 2005. Revered in guitar circles, Campilongo is not quite as well known as Bill Frisell, but the two have much in common beyond erudite and eclectic chops. Each player infuses jazz with Americana and a frequent noir sensibility. And each has his shtick: Frisell with his loop pedal, Campilongo using the neck of his Telecaster for a wammy bar effect by bending it ever so slightly. His next Rockwood gig is in the big room on August 29 at 7 PM; cover is $15.

Right before the lockdown, Campilongo was spending a lot of time in low-key, intricate duo situations. But one of this blog’s favorite Campilongo albums, Heaven Is Creepy, goes all the way back to 2006 and remains one of his most picturesque releases to date. An added element of creepiness is the tragic loss of bass player Tim Luntzel, who was stricken by Lou Gehrig’s Disease and died eight years later. Like a lot of musicians have been doing, Campilongo has discovered the utility of Bandcamp as a marketing tool and has put most of his albums up there, including this classic.

The first track is The Prettiest Girl in New York, a cheery lattice of bluegrass licks and coy harmonics over drummer Dan Rieser’s shuffle beat. Track two, Monkey in a Movie is a wry, slightly skronky strut with moments for the rhythm section to gnaw on the scenery.

There are two versions of the album’s first cover, Cry Me a River. The first is an instrumental. Campilongo’s surreal, slipsliding, lapsteel-flavored licks never quite coalesce out of an increasingly agitated, psychedelic thicket, shades of Dave Tronzo, until the very end. The second, with Norah Jones on vocals, is faster and more straightforwardly haunting, even if it isn’t on the same level as Erica Smith‘s shattering version with Dann Baker on guitar.

The album’s darkest and best track, Mr & Mrs Mouse veers all over the place, from Campilongo’s bracing wide-angle chords, to horror surf, to a cynically tiptoeing cha-cha that could be Big Lazy. Then the trio bring it down with the skeletal, brooding rainy day theme Because You Like Trombone.

Hamster Wheel (Slight Return) is a swampy trip-hop theme. Menace is less outright creepy than sardonically skronky, when Campilongo isn’t leading the trio scampering through Django Reinhardt’s shadow. The album’s chromatically snarling title track could just as easily be called Creepy Is Heaven: it’s the most enigmatically ominous, disquietingly strange tune here.

Nellie Bly, as Campilongo seems to see the prototypical investigative journalist, is a Beatles fan with a vintage country streak. The final cut on the album is Pepper, part lullaby, part suspense film theme. It says a lot about how much ground Campilongo can cover in under five minutes. There’s also a brief, aptly Victorian-flavored cover of Beautiful Dreamer with Martha Wainwright on vocals.

The Sun Ra Arkestra Make a Welcome Return to a Laid-Back Outdoor Williamsburg Space

As far back as the 90s, the Sun Ra Arkestra had become a fixture on the New York summer outdoor festival circuit. A Central Park twinbill with Sonic Youth earned the sprawlingly cinematic jazz ensemble a brand new audience with the indie rock crowd. In the years immediately leading up to the 2020 lockdown, they’d been scheduled to play a more intimate space than usual, the courtyard at Union Pool. As it turned out, it took a few cancellations and some rescheduling to get them there. That’s where they’ll be this August 28 at around 3 PM. Under ordinary circumstances, it would make sense to get there early. But the circumstances we face today are anything but ordinary, and in a city that by some estimates has lost a quarter of its population, there probably won’t be an overflow crowd (and if there is, you’ll be able to hear the missing link between P-Funk and the Art Ensemble of Chicago just fine from the sidewalk around the corner).

The Arkestra were DIY pioneers, releasing much of their legendarily voluminous output themselves. Today, most of those original recordings, along with limited-edition pressings on long-defunct European free jazz microlabels, command auction-level prices on the collector market. Serendipitously, the group have been digitizing and re-releasing select albums from throughout their career. The latest one to hit their regularly updated Bandcamp page is the 1983 recording The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab In Egypt, a collaboration with the Cairo Jazz Band. It’s noteworthy for being a slinky, sometimes haphazard, utterly psychedelic collection of compositions by pioneering Egyptian jazz composer, percussionist and bandleader Salah Ragab.

The first track is Egypt Strut, a surreal mashup of a New Orleans second-line groove, a chromatic Middle Eastern-tinged theme and the blues. In Dawn, the second track, the groups combine to balance a blithe flute tune against galloping percussion, followed by a cantering, hypnotically circling theme echoing sounds from the southern end of the Sahara.

Ramadan begins with a muezzin-like call-and-response, then the ensemble flesh it out with darkly dramatic vocals, horns and tumbling drums followed by a biting solo from the bandleader – who went back to Saturn to stay in 1993 – and a spirited flute outro with a nod to Take Five.

Oriental Mood is the catchiest and hardest-hitting track here, with jajouka-like brass, animated sax solos and piano. The ten-minute Farewell Theme is a more robustly orchestral series of variations on that theme, and considering the length, about twice the fun. Throughout the album, Sun Ra switches between glimmering, echoey Fender Rhodes and organ, backed by punchy massed horns, and sailing and spiraling solos. How does all this sound compared to the group’s sound now? Much the same, if you leave out the distinctive Middle Eastern and North African references.

The last time this blog was in the house at a show by the Arkestra, it was at the Union Pool courtyard, over the Labor Day weekend in 2018. The crew onstage were a mix of veterans, some of whose time in the group went back to around the time of this album or before, along with some more recent additions. The yard was crowded but wasn’t completely sold out, and the group’s long, slowly crescendoing trajectories kept everyone on their feet.