New York Music Daily

Love's the Only Engine of Survival

Category: art-rock

Funny Memes, Big News and Some Good Singles For Sunday

Today’s singles page has about a half hour worth of good tunes and a couple of good visual jokes, but also a blockbuster video from one of the heroes of the freedom movement…and a stunning admission of guilt for crimes against humanity by a government insider. Click on artist or author names for their webpages, click on titles for audio, video, or just a good laugh.

As Etana Hecht reports, “Dr. Grace Lee is a Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with a specialty in infectious diseases. She also currently serves as the chair of the US Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices, otherwise known as ACIP. ACIP is the only outside organization that the CDC consults with when recommending a vaccine. As such, she’s the perfect person to bring vaccine-related information to. When Yaffa Shir-Raz broke the story that the Israeli Ministry of Health covered up the true rate of vaccine side effects, Steve Kirsch thought it was critical that Dr. Lee be aware of the definitive data that came from that report. As it’s not information the CDC is acknowledging or publicizing, Mr. Kirsch assumed there’s a good chance that Dr. Lee had not yet come across that data. He proceeded to email her and call her at work to inform her of this critical information, yet all attempts at contact failed. He then attempted to deliver the news to her in person, as a process server would. On a visit to her door yesterday, Mr. Kirsch wrote a note asking Dr. Lee if she’d like to see the Israeli data, with a reminder that lives are at stake.”

Then Lee called the cops. Tension ensued – and Kirsch got it all on video. “Somebody is on the wrong side of history and it isn’t me.”

In 2 minutes 12 seconds, Dr. Paul Alexander reveals how the CDC’s Robert Redfield told him that the six-foot rule was completely made up and had no basis in science – via Celia Farber. “People died because of that six foot rule.”

Here’s 57 seconds of Holocaust survivor Vera Sharav on the psychology of compliance: pretty much all you need to know.

In a minute 20 seconds, the spiritual face of the Canadian freedom movement, Pastor Artur Pawlowski explains why “the fence belongs to the devil,” and you can’t sit on it. Either you’re on the side of the angels…or the other side.

Texas Lindsay compares lethal injection uptake and deaths by income to a familiar Pink Floyd soundtrack.

Chirpy singer Andrea Lynn’s band Iceblynk has a new single, Tragic, a skittishly catchy take on swirly/jangly early 90s Lush dreampop.

Julia Kugel of the Coathangers has a solo project she calls Julia, Julia. Her latest hazy, sad janglerock single, Do It Or Don’t, makes a good segue – with some gruesome imagery in the video!

Continuing with the dreampop, Emeryld’s Bombs Away is a louder, punchier take on it, as Garbage might have done it in the mid-90s. Speaking of creepy – check out the Jean-Paul Sartre visual reference in the first 20 seconds!

A.A. Williams‘ seven-minute art-rock trip-hop epic The Echo comes across as a less angst-fueled, self-absorbed Amanda Palmer, maybe

In addition to publishing one of the most intelligent, thoughtful daily news feeds out there, Joss Wynne Evans is also a connoisseur of poetry and a great reader. In about a minute and a half, he reads Nick Snowden Willey’s poem A Deep Perplexity That Has No Name. “Out on the moors last night I found the bones of memory…”

The Babylon Bee did a pretty hilarious skit about a Cali couple adjusting to a new life in the (mostly) free state of Texas, via Mark Crispin Miller‘s must-read Substack.

Another front-line freedom fighter, Brooklyn’s Brucha Weisberger gives us a newly creepy way to think of kids and smoking.

In addition to being one of the great prose stylists on the web, Amy Sukwan is the queen of memes. How do we solve global warming? Hint: the same way we got rid of Covid (not).

Let’s close this out with a harrowing look at the possible future and then a heartwarming alternate view. Want to know why the World Economic Forum is pushing so hard to keep muzzles on toddlers? Conditioning. This two-minute video of Chinese babies being groomed to submit to the New Abnormal will break your heart, via the 2nd Smartest Guy in the World Substack.

But there’s hope! Scroll to the very bottom for Tessa Lena’s look at cross-species compassion. The buffalos and the birds are showing us the way!

A Triumphant Return For Gorgeous Accordion and Accordion-Adjacent Sounds at Bryant Park

Last night at Bryant Park marked the very welcome return of the annual accordion festival there. At its pre-2020 peak, the festival ran weekly over a month or more beginning in late summer. This year’s installment mirrored the wild eclecticism and thrills that organizer Ariana Hellerman programmed there until the fateful events of 2020.

“Ultimately this is about love,” she told the crowd before the show, acknowledging New York’s debt to the immigrant communities who share her appreciation for portable keyed reed instruments. She’d begun programming the festival ten years ago after returning from Colombia, where she’d fallen in love with vallenato. “I’d never seen the accordion as revered as it was in Colombia. People would play air accordion in the streets.”

Heart of Afghanistan opened this year’s mainstage concert with a brooding anthem, frontman/harmonium player Ahmad Fanoos singing with a simmering intensity over his pianist son Elham Fanoos’ glittering, neoromantic cascades. It came across as part Bollywood, part Egyptian classical, mirroring the ensemble’s home country’s role as a focal point over centuries of cultural cross-pollination.

They followed with an elegantly syncopated, crescendoing take of a traditional Afghani New Years theme, Mehran Fanoos’ violin soaring distantly over Hamid Habibzada’s tablā. A dramatic, heroic minor-key theme fueled by lickety-split, meticulously ornamented piano and plaintively interwoven violin was next, the bandleader finally rising to an impassioned, melismatic peak.

The central Asian passion continued with an insistently syncopated, chromatically charged number, then the group resurrected the pre-Taliban Afghani national anthem as quasi art-rock with a shivery violin solo: it sure blows away the old drinking song that Francis Scott Key appropriated.

They took a detour into a jaunty ghazal, bouncing along with call-and-response and microtonal violin cadenzas, then a return to pouncing Middle Eastern-inflected modal fire, peaking out with an angst-fueled anthem. Music this gorgeous deserves to be vastly better known.

The Ukrainian Village Voices were next on the bill with an abbreviated set. From their home in the East Village, the rotating cast of this accordion-driven chorale have been New York’s nexus for traditional sounds from that imperiled part of the world.

The multi-generational, dual-gendered ensemble opened with a goofy, rousing, simple tune about harvesting buckwheat and making pancakes which the babushkas they’d met on their 2018 Ukrainian tour had asked them to sing over and over, as one of the group explained to the crowd.

A drinking song with the somber theme of “drink up because we may be gone tomorrow” was next – it came across as more of a work song. Make of that what you will.

They picked up the pace with a bristling, chromatic traditional warrior’s circle dance with violin from one of the chorus and closed with a pulsing party anthem sung from the point of view of a girl who doesn’t want to go home.

Balaklava Blues – a spinoff of fiery Canadian Balkan band the Lemon Bucket Orkestra – were up next. One of the trio’s two violinists – each of whom doubled on drums – built a long, suspenseful, shivery solo over an ominous low drone before accordionist Marichka Marczyk took to the mic with a plaintive, increasingly vocal, in Ukrainian. Her violinist husband Mark’s mask – mouth and nose open, most of the rest of his face obscured – spoke as much truth to power as any of the music on the bill.

Finally, at the end, Marichka switched to English: “Don’t tell me what to do” was the mantra. They followed by making glitchy trip-hop out of a rousing, defiantly stomping, whooping folk tune, like a slightly less thunderous Dakhabrakha. Marichka switched to piano and sang “Give me money or something” in a venomous turbo-folk-trip-hop anthem, with a searing violin solo from her husband.

As she told the crowd, the band’s raison d’etre is “To fight for freedom not only in Ukraine but for democracy all around the world.” Meanwhile, her brother is somewhere on the Ukrainian frontline, fighting off Russian retaliation to the NATO-provoked conflict. No wonder the piercing, angst-fueled art-rock lament that followed was about going home – and the prospect of never being able to. Remaining at the piano, Marichka continued with a slowly crescendoing, eerily chromatic tableau. They built a singalong with the crowd on a similarly macabre-tinged coda, the band’s second violinist echoing Marichka’s shivery, harrowing, imploring voice.

Since this happened to be Mexican independence day, a Selena cover band headlined. This pickup group of A-list New York musicians hail from the worlds of cumbia, Turkish music, klezmer and Americana, among other styles. Sure, it was a tr ip to see Michael Winograd – one of this era’s great klezmer clarinetists – step outside the box and take a turn on go-go sax. Unlike Selena, frontwoman Jenny Luna is a native Spanish speaker, and quickly revealed herself as an infinitely better and more seductive singer. The group were tighter than their debut before the lockdown at a crowded Brooklyn bar, but ultimately, the material wasn’t up to the level of the cast onstage. And that’s when it was time to call it a night.

The next concert at Bryant Park is tonight, Sept 17 at 7 PM with the the American Symphony Orchestra playing music by William Grant Still, Louise Talma and Mahler.

Revisiting the Prophetic Musical Side of One of This Era’s Most Visionary Journalists

Tessa Lena may be best known as one of this era’s most fearless investigative journalists, but she’s also something of a prophet. While covering the technology sector several years before Event 201, she warned how the infrastructure that would eventually enable the 2020 plandemic was being rolled out.

But Tessa Lena does a lot more than just write. She hosts a podcast, Make Language Great Again, where she interviews guests as diverse as historian Steven Newcomb, New Zealand freedom fighter Emmanuel Garcia and mass media polymath Mark Crispin Miller.

She’s also a musician. Trained in her native Moscow as a classical pianist, she has as many voices as a singer as she has as a writer, with a special fondness for Armenian music. And her songwriting is just as prophetic and colorful as her prose.

There’s a lot of Tessa Lena up at Bandcamp. Her 2017 album Tessa Fights Robots is the soundtrack to a multimedia project and most closely aligned to her current work (her article The Great Reset For Dummies is as definitive an analysis of the ongoing totalitarianism as anyone has written in the past two years). The album, a satire of social media obsession fueling a global takeover by tech oligarchs. is as venomously funny as it is prescient: “A bunch of metaphorical walking dead who figured out a way to siphon your creative energy into making money for them…they’re training you to act like viruses,” she intones. And the jokes aren’t limited to lyrics.

The music shifts from dystopic synthpop to delicate, moody Slavic psych-folk, to sarcastic Brechtian circus-rock and creepy, twinkling dystopic disco. There are also two covers: a witheringly icy version of Michelle Gurevich’s Party Girl, and a spare, poignant take of Tom Waits’ Blue Valentines.

Tessa Lena’s earliest track, a darkwave anthem, dates from 2013 and serves as a launching pad for her signature spine-tingling, operatic vocals. The next one, I Am This Child, is just as brooding and sounds like Portishead on acid.

The 2016 short album Tessa Makes Love is all over the map, ranging from jazzy noir cabaret to metal to a somber solo vocalese evocation of a duduk. Living Her Dream, a menacingly sarcastic 2017 art-rock tableau, could be David J with a woman out front.

Tessa Lena’s next appearance is not as a musician but as an activist onstage at the upcoming daylong Festival in a Field at at 55 Wenzels Lane in the town of Hudson, upstate, starting at 10 AM on Sept 10. Other freedom fighters scheduled to appear include Children’s Health Defense’s Mary Holland, hero attorney Bobbie Ann Cox (currently battling to stop Kathy Hochul’s appeal of the court ruling against her concentration camp edict), Autism Action Network’s John Gilmore and more. There’s music, too. It’s on the crunchy side. The highlight is shamanic multi-percussionist Kevin Nathaniel. Other artists scheduled to appear are Americana soul jamband the Mammals, multi-instrumentalist Bibi Farber’s Action Figures 432, kirtan-rock jammers Samkirtan Band, the Red Threat, Journey Blue Heaven and Americana guitar picker Jude Roberts, There’s also a haybale maze for the kids, local homemade food and crafts; it’s $25 for the whole day.

A Dusky Jewel and a Lower East Side Park Gig From Bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck

Bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck has pushed the envelope with what can be done on one of the world’s most soulful, expressive instruments for more than two decades. She loves extended technique, writes terse and translucent melodies and has no fear of darkness. Her latest, self-titled album – streaming at youtube – dates from the dark days of the 2021 lockdown, a series of rapturous and often plaintive duets with like-minded performers. Schoenbeck’s next show is a prime opportunity to watch her work a similarly intimate magic on Sept 5 at around 2:30 PM in the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex, where she’s playing as part of a trio with drummer TA Thompson and bassist Ken Filiano. Soprano sax wizard Sam Newsome opens the afternoon at 1:30 with flutist Laura Cocks and multi-wind icon Daniel Carter; reedman Andrew Lamb and his trio close out the afternoon starting at 4. Take the F or J/M to Delancey St.

The album’s opening track is O’Saris, Schoenbeck building distorted duotones and then a fond nocturne over drummer Harris Eisenstadt’s distant, mystical rumbles and what could be a gong, She provides a solid foundation, playing good cop to Nicole Mitchell’s rather coy responses until the flutist lures her into an increasingly dynamic conversation in the ten-minute Sand Dune Trilogy. Although there are moments of wry humor in places, the duo focus on creating a steely, modal poignancy as they move along.

Schoenbeck’s cover of Lullaby, by Low, with Nels Cline on guitar, is a dystopic dirge: the instant where his acidic spirals launch Schoenbeck’s introductory phrasing will take your breath away. Rising from from minimalist arpeggios, the du0 give you danger before any promise of a new dawn fades to a mechanical chill. It’s impossible to think of a more poignant or spot-on musical reflection of the past thirty months than this.

Then Schoenbeck pairs with Roscoe Mitchell for Chordata, a spacious moment of comic revelry. If you make videos, this makes a great soundtrack for the goofiest meme you can find.

She picks up the pace with pianist Matt Mitchell in Augur Strokes, exchanging enigmatic clusters equally informed by Messiaen and the baroque, punctuated by judicious use of space (a major theme in Schoenbeck’s work). Exploring brooding portents and puckish poltergeist motives, the duo rise to turbulence and then bring everything full circle.

She pairs with Mark Dresser for the aptly titled Absence, a warily expanding, distantly blues-tinged tableau, shadowed by the bassist’s sparse, broodingly bowed washes and flickers. Anaphoria, with Wayne Horvitz, never breaks free from a moody, Armenian-tinged undercurrent despite the pianist’s leaps and bounds.

Cellist Peggy Lee’s muted slashes contrast with Schoenbeck’s haunted explorations, then the two coalesce with their keening, resonant harmonics in Suspend a Bridge. Pianist/songwriter Robin Holcomb sings the allusively portentous final cut, Sugar as Schoenbeck floats elegically overhead:

What’s for certain no one can tell
It’s a low day
Sniper raven in the air
Stealing silver from my hair
Carve initials on the stairs
Then fly away
Your shadow feels the same as you
I wear it as you want me to
Now there’s so much more to do
Until it’s over .

Count this as one of the half-dozen most darkly gorgeous albums of the past year.

A Gorgeous New Album and a Williamsburg Gig by Purist Tunesmith Alice Cohen

Alice Cohen plays purist, often gorgeously melodic, artsy rock anthems and sings with an unpretentious delivery that’s sometimes cheery and sometimes borders on conspiratorial. On her new album Moonrising – streaming at Bandcamp – she plays most of the instruments herself, building a lush bed of acoustic and electric guitars and vintage synths over an unobtrusive drum-machine beat. Multi-reedman David Lackner and multi-percussionist Adrian Knight flesh out Cohen’s elegant arrangements. She’s playing Union Pool on August 24 at 9 PM. Since the venue has fallen under the spell of surveillance-state digital ticketing, the cover charge there lately has been measured in dollars and cents. It stands to reason that the door girl will round it up to sixteen bucks for those of us who are ahead of the curve and have gone to #cashalways.

Cohen opens the record with Wild Wolf, a swaying, twangy, Lynchian trip-hop ballad: this “eight-track Cadillac cruising through the milky way” seems to be on its way back from the Black Lodge. Then she looks back to the bittersweet starriness of 80s janglerock in Bodies in Motion. It could be a track from the Church’s Seance album, with a woman out front.

Cohen picks up the pace with Life in a Bag, an insistent, 90s-flavored downstroke anthem spiced with neoromantic piano flourishes. After the starry keyboard instrumental Inner Galaxies, she goes back to a pensive, richly textured sway with Under Chandeliers, her watery guitars and glimmering keys mingling with Knight’s vibraphone and Lackner’s echoing, spiraling soprano sax.

Baby’s Fine is a surreal mashup of early 80s new wave pop with hip-hop lyrics: it’s hard to figure out where the sax stops and what could be an old Juno synth kicks in. Vanilla Tea is a glistening backbeat stadium rock nocturne without the bombast – an oxymoron, sure, but just try to imagine.

The driftiest, most opaque song on the album is Telepathic Postcards. Cohen follows that with Queen Anne’s Lace, a breezy, jazz-inflected ballad in a Stylistics vein that she takes ten years forward in time – or forty years forward, depending on how neo-retro it seems to you. She closes the record with Fragile Flowers, following a serpentine series of chord changes with Lackner’s sax floating above. It’s been a slow year for rock records, at least compared to what we were used to before March of 2020, but this is one of the best of 2022 so far.

A Subtle, Soaring New Art-Rock Gem From Carol Lipnik

Singer Carol Lipnik‘s career was derailed by the lockdown in more ways than one. By March of 2020, she was already putting the icing on the sonic confections on her album Goddess of Imperfection, She ended up in limbo until March of this year, when she finally released that long-awaited follow-up to her 2015 art-rock masterpiece Almost Back to Normal in  But there’s more. She had two other albums in the can! She wrote the second of the three, Blue Forest – streaming at her music page – in an 1893 stone tower at the Yaddo artist retreat, where she’d been invited. It was worth the wait.

Lipnik may be a streetwise Coney Island-bred New Yorker, but her songs are galactic. Where Goddess of Imperfection is lavish and orchestral, Blue Forest is more intimately ethereal. Lipnik’s practically five-octave range mingles within a sometimes swirling, sometimes cascading mix of Kyle Sanna’s guitar alongside her longtime pianist Matt Kanelos, with Mathias Künzli on percussion.

The loosely connecting thread between the songs is the imperiled state of our natural world, a persistent theme throughout Lipnik’s music. She opens with the title track, a gorgeous, ELO-tinged mini-anthem with a towering, glistening coda from Kanelos.

“While our world was coming apart, we dreamed,” she intones soberly in the second song, All the Colors of the Sky, Kanelos’ stately, rippling, baroque-tinged piano behind Sanna’s spare fingerpicking. “Will we miss it when it’s gone?” she asks, on the way to one of her signature, breathtakingly operatic crescendos.

“There’s radiant energy, fire in the sky, darkness is coming to open our eyes,” she sings in the stately, similarly baroque Birds of a Feather. You want prophetic or what?

Sanna’s chiming guitar and drifting synth provide a starry backdrop for I Don’t Work Hard, an elegantly soaring cabaret number. The album’s only cover is Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes, a rare gem by Elizabethan composer and poet Thomas Campion, Lipnik channeling both grit and poignancy over Sanna’s elegant lute-like ukulele work.

She goes back toward a sly, knowing cabaret ambience as Sanna and Kanelos supply bouncy cheer in Tick Bite: “The flame that burns within you is the same flame that burns you,” Lipnik observes. The final cut is A Pure Dose of Mercy, a spacious, minutely nuanced meditation on the pros and cons of staying on the sunny side of the street…including when it gets dangerous. It’s a characteristic blend of deceptively simple, straightforward songcraft and vocal pyrotechnics. and an apt way to close the record. Even better, there’s another one on the way!

Singles to Start Your Week With a Smile…and a Mystery Song

OK, maybe with a snarky smile. If you know this blog, you know the drill. Memes to make you laugh, then a self-guided playlist, then maybe something serious to keep us grounded. Click on artist names for their webpages, click on titles for audio and/or visuals. About 25 minutes worth of tunes. Make sure you use a browser like Brave to block the ads at the youtube videos.

Who says the future is so scary? Fran Leader, one of the leaders of the UK anti-fracking movement, shares a vision of “the good reset” – in case you’re wondering, the punchline is at the bottom.

Is it Halloween already?” via El Gato Malo.

Artist Anne Gibbons has a good reason why all pregnant women should join the “rat race” to the DNA-altering Covid injection!

One of the few New York bands who date back to the late zeros and are still going strong, Changing Modes have a new video for Days, a characteristically acerbic, shapeshifting anthem: “These are the days I never spent with you.”

Does anybody recognize this song? If you know the answer, hit the comment button at the bottom of the page. Thanks! It’s a gorgeous orchestral arrangement of an old Hasidic nigun. Via Brooklyn’s #1 freedom fighter Brucha Weisberger, chronicling the ongoing holocaust in Israel.

“If the evidence points back, then why would they screen it?” Lula Wiles‘ frontwoman Mali Obomsawin asks in Television, the Boston band’s swaying psych-folk takedown of corporate media duplicity and false dichotomies.

Crone’s Abyss Road starts out like a peak-era 90s Versus-style downstroke anthem and goes back ten years to a heavier sound. Killer guitar solo!

Denial, by Onyria makes a good segue, a catchy, dystopic stadium rock stomp.

The devil is in the details in Mary Bragg‘s new single, Panorama, an allusive Crowded House-like haunter: “A real life diorama, to a starry-eyed pollyanna.”

Who would expect an oldschool 6/8 honkytonk ballad with a weird shoegaze interlude? But it works. Here’s Suzannah’s Losing Side of Town.

Finally, let’s get the word “philanthropath” into general circulation. Margaret Anna Alice, one of the great freedom fighters who sprang up in the wake of the 2020 totalitarian takeover, came up with that description for Gates, Soros, Bloomberg and the rest of the reptile oligarchs. She also shares the creepy depopulation scene from the late great Rik Mayall’s last film, One by One (scroll down)

Mary Fahl Reinvents Iconic and Obscure Art-Rock and 70s Songs

Like so many people around the world over the past year, singer Mary Fahl was dealing with the loss of two of her family members – her mom, and also her sister. To cope, the former October Project frontwoman immersed herself in music which had left an indelible mark on her early years, and the result was the album Can’t Get It Out of My Head, streaming at Spotify. That title is deliberate: the iconic ELO song is the centerpiece of this rare covers collection that’s worth hearing. Fahl is playing the album release show at City Winery on August 9 at 7:30 PM; you can get in for $22.

It’s a collection of ten songs, and an occasional return to the chilly, atmospheric, occasionally gothic-tinged October Project sound. The first is the title track: Jeff Lynne’s sweepingly orchestrated, bittersweet original set the stage for the rest of the classic 1974 Eldorado album. Reduced to lowest terms, it’s about being unable to unsee something. Is it ELO’s symphonic grandeur that imbues their version with so much hope, the blinding flash of discovering pure existential freedom? And is it Fahl’s sober, restrained vocals against her bandmate Mark Doyle’s elegant, pensive layers of guitars and keyboards that seems to more strongly underscore the tortuous inaction of the second verse, and crushing philosophical weight of the third? Or does this just reflect the zeitgeist, the horrors of the world post-March 2020? It’s never safe to read too much into artistic intention: Lynne always said he was ok with whatever interpretation a listener gave a song if it helped them somehow. Clearly it helped Fahl.

If Can’t Get It Out of My Head is about piercing the veil of maya, Comfortably Numb is the reverse of that. Fahl completely reinvents the song as a sinister seduction, speeding it up as Doyle becomes a low-key, one-man Pink Floyd.

Fahl does the album’s final cut, Richard Thompson’s The Great Valerio as spare, drifting, hypnotic trip-hop: it’s the real comfortably numb here, and the closest thing to the October Project. How does she manage to remake the Moody Blues’ Tuesday Afternoon? By finding its inner ghazal, stretching her voice to its formidable low limits! The sweep of the string section – violinists Edgar Turmajyan, Jonathan Hwang, Neomi Miloradovic and Joe Davoli, violist Jessica Tumajyan and cellist Kate LaVerne over Josh Dekaney’s elegant drums complete an exotically symphonic tableau.

Fahl and Doyle recast Nick Drake’s River Man as subtly turbulent Supertramp-style keyboard art-rock. Fahl’s cover of the Stones’ Goodbye Ruby Tuesday looks back to late 60s Marianne Faithfull, but with considerably more energy (and a great inside orchestral-Stones joke). Likewise, Fahl takes the Mamas and the Papas’ Got A Feelin’ to a simmering chamber-pop intensity: Lou Reed could only have wished to have coaxed half as much power out of Nico on the Chelsea Girl album. Fahl also infuses her take of Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down with welcome, wary energy.

The last two songs are more obscure. Fahl sticks with epic grandeur in Judy Collins’ Since You’ve Asked, then channels hope against hope throughout George Harrison’s Beware of Darkness: “It’s not what you are here for,” Fahl implores. There aren’t many rock cover albums that are worth hearing, but like Mary Lee Kortes‘ take on Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, this one’s in very select company and one of the best albums of 2022 so far.

Emily Jane White Turns Up the Amps on Her Dark Sound

At the more corporate music venues around the world, it’s often the case where an opening act blows the headliner off the stage. Such is likely to happen tomorrow night, July 29 at 7 PM at the Poisson Rouge, where brooding songwriter Emily Jane White opens for Scandinavian chanteuse Eivor, who plays a distinctively minimalist take on 80s darkwave. $30 adv tix are still available as of today.

White established herself back in the zeros as a major voice in folk noir and is now taking a plunge into gothic rock with her latest album Alluvion, streaming at Bandcamp. Anton Patzner – who also produced – assembles layers of ominous keys over the guitars of “John Courage” (the name is a brand of British beer) and Nick Ott’s drums.

An icily dystopic sequencer pulse anchors the opening track, Show Me the War. With the ringing reverb guitar and distant cumulo-nimbus synth, it has a very 80s feel – and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

Track two, Crepuscule, is far less shadowy than the title would imply, with a late 80s Cure ambience that grows more dense and orchestral. Portentous low piano crashes along with the drums to introduce Heresy – “Their eyes are watching, they drank a cup of poison,” White intones. “You surrender all your hope to be somebody.” A plandemic parable maybe?

“I saw the pain fall around you…I saw murder in the background,” White reveals in Poisoned, a brisk southwestern gothic elegy. She rises to full-blown High Romantic angst, the piano against stormy symphonic synth in Body Against the Gun. She stays with the same template, with more of a distinctive 80s Cure gothic atmosphere in The Hands Above Me, a defiant antiauthoritarian anthem.

“Enduring, scarred, can’t be undone by someone,” White sings with an angst-fueled shiver in Mute Swan, over a techier ambience: this also sounds like a lockdown narrative. The sinister reverb on the guitars comes up a notch over suspense-film piano in Hold Them Alive.

“Morbid reflection, a dying art,” is the chorus tagline in the crescendoing anthem Hollow Hearth – these days, maybe not so much anymore! Although it may well predate the lockdown and be more metaphorical, I Spent the Years Frozen aptly describes the alienation that’s pervaded the world since March of 2020

The album’s final cut is Battle Call, a noir-tinged reflection on the legacy of violence in the aftermath of war. There’s plenty of validation here for anyone who’s suffered in the totalitarian takeover of the past twenty-eight months.

An Eclectic Triplebill at a Legendary DIY Spot on the 26th

Rubulad might be the last attraction in New York that you would expect to have survived the lockdown. But the long-running warehouse party, which has been housed all over Brooklyn and occasionally Manhattan since the late 90s, is up and running again. With the massive exodus out of this city since March of 2020, it’s likely that much of the audience that gravitated toward that kind of full-blown excess has flown the coop. Just to be clear, this Burning Man-style confluence of what could involve space cake, bathtub absinthe, body painting, tarot readings and eclectic music is not everyone’s cup of tea. The organizers are now in their fifties, so the crowd is likely to be more mixed that you might imagine. For hardy souls who can handle it, the next party is on July 26. Music starts at 8 with a solo show by ambient/avant garde violist Jessica Pavone, then surrealist multi-instrumentalist Dave Ruder leading a quartet, and cinematic retro 60s soundtrack-soul group Dodi (f.k.a. Transistor Ray) headlining. The current Rubulad digs are on the Bushwick/Queens border and you have to email for directions. Cover is $10 cash at the door,

Transistor Ray’s lone recording so far is the short album You’ll Never Get to Heaven Without a Broken Heart, which came out right before the 2020 lockdown and is streaming at Bandcamp. The first track, Till the Trees All Leaf is a surreal mashup of loungey 60s jazz-pop with a hint of classic piano boogie-woogie, neoretro Italian film themes and full-blown psychedelia, in the same vein as Tredici Bacci. Brothers Giovanni and Giancarlo Saldarriaga pounce and linger on guitar and bass, respectively, over drummer Daniel Shubmeh’s dynamic shifts as frontwoman Suri holds it all together with an unassailable calm.

“I left my heart in the rain for much too long,” Suri confides in the bittersweetly soul-tinged April Sundays, Caley Monahon Ward’s Wurlitzer organ drifting over the band’s spiky tube-amp clang. The band go deeper into 60s blue-eyed soul-pop territory on last track, Hourglass in Sand: the counterpoint between the chiming guitar and Adrian Knight’s insistent piano as Tracy Brooks’ trumpet wafts through the mix is a neat touch. It’s a fair bet their live show is just as eclectic and will involve some of the other players on the bill.