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Category: brass band

Singles and Memes For a Week of Big Reveals

Long time since the last deluge of snarky visuals and protest songs here: click on author or artist names for their webpages, click on titles for audio, visuals or both.

What’s been most heartwarming about the general perception of this past week’s Davos summit is the level of derision the World Economic Forum elitists have drawn. Brucha Weisberger’s coverage of the meetings has plenty of goodies. John Kerry shows the world his extraterrestrial side in his mad quest to reduce global carbon dioxide levels…plus a damning two minutes of Albert Bourla of Pfizer on the run from reporters outside the WEF compound. Brucha also includes some excellent background on Klaus Schwab’s Nazi roots and an insightful Paul Craig Roberts commentary on the audacity of the WEF to assume control over us. Five minutes of snarky fun.

This one goes back a few months, but it’s essentially hilarious: the Essential Schwab album commercial “on In-Q-Tel Records

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declared Kamala Harris President a couple of days ago. Slip of the tongue, predictive programming, or will the cadaver in chief finally be buried this weekend? Good catch by RNC Research via Kerriedawayinnyc on Twitter.

Five Times August, this era’s foremost protest songwriter, has a latin soul side. Who knew. Check out his latest single Ain’t No Rock N Roll: “All the actors say what they’re paid to say, every pop star’s bought and sold.”

Rapper L’il Kremlin’s I’m a Shill makes a good segue: no end to the lows corporate rappers will sink to for pageviews, via Riley Waggaman’s “Edward Slavsquat” Substack page

Sticking with that theme, let’s get local. Spotted on a Manhattan utility pole by Mark Crispin Miller, the preeminent historian of our time: screenshot it, make it a meme, print it out here

NY State drivers are using leaf magnets on their license plates to avoid paying tolls – and funding the genocidal Hochul regime, who are in the process of filing an appeal to bring back her concentration camp mandate. Also scroll down to the third meme that starts with Zuck telling us “I delete your posts.” via Amy Sukwan

In sixty fact-filled seconds, Naomi Wolf nails how many of the architects of the plandemic in government, academia and the media are switching jerseys

A hilarious parody of “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Brand” via Australian freedom fighter Rebekah Barnett

Art-pop protest song maven Turfseer‘s latest hit Where Have You Gone Tiffany Dover, is a cynical-AF mashup of an oompahing oldtimey march and late 70s ELO art-pop.

Speaking of missing famous people, here’s a minute 15 second compilation video of Tiffany Dover and others collapsing with the Pfizer logo onscreen to send out to everyone – via Emerald Robinson.

Take the L train at 3:38 in the morning recently? You may have run into Too Many Zooz. This is this wild horn band doing their dancefloor jam Bedford on the platform and then the train: imagine microtonal Moon Hooch.

Hip-hop artist Hi-Rez‘s new viral video 2+2=5 with comedian JP Sears speaks truth to woke insanity – the visuals are as funny as the lyrics

Joel Smalley, one of the world’s foremost experts on morality data somehow manages to keep his sense of humor. In four minutes, here’s his hilarious Hitler documentary parody

Likewise, Dr. Jessica Rose is best known as perhaps the world’s foremost expert on the VAERS vaccine injury and death database. But she’s also a composer, keyboardist, and memestress. She pushed out this one about the FTX crypto-laundering scandal

Cartoonist Anne Gibbons visits Depopulation Park

Before it gets totally stale, here’s Ireland’s funniest protest rapper, Doctor Dr. Mc Honk-Honk’s xmas single – which actually/sadly has shelf life beyond the past month. Via freedom fighter attorney Jeff Childers’ must-read C&C News (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Ashley Everly gives us a deliciously snarky video of dancing nurses, a collage of plandemic headlines and Covid misdiagnosis with a familiar Blue Oyster Cult soundtrack

Let’s wind this up with another one that’s been bouncing around for awhile, but it’s timeless and fits well with this week’s past events: Spacebusters’ It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Genocide.

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Drop Party Bring Their Wildly Original Horn-Fueled Mashups to Alphabet City This Friday

Otto’s Shrunken Head is best known as a relic of a long-gone, gritty East Village punk rock scene – and one of the most notorious tourist traps in town on the weekend. Be that as it may, Otto’s was one of the first New York venues to reopen after live music had been criminalized in 2020. Vestiges of its second-gen claim to punk rock fame remain, and these days there are still punk and punk-adjacent sounds like ska and surf rock in the little back room on the off weekend. This Friday night, Jan 20 there’s a ska bill that looks pretty awesome, starting at 8 with Skappository – who are anything but anal – followed at 9 by Drop Party, one of the most original and unpredictable bands who sprang from the ska scene in the zeros. The mystery headline act call themselves Cenzo: good luck finding them on the web.

The centerpiece of the show is Drop Party. They play a wildly multistylistic blend of Crescent City brass band music, oldschool soul, ska, funk, classic disco and psychedelia, typically in the same song. Their musicianship is as tight as their jams are unpredictable. They put out a debut album, Lean Into the Wave, in 2018, which is still up at Bandcamp as a name-your-price download. Even better, they managed to regroup and put out a handful of singles last year, all of which you can snag for whatever you feel like paying, or not.

The first is Disco Ranger, which starts out as a straight-up wah-wah disco tune. But then the band turn it into a ferocious mashup, part New Orleans second-line march, hard funk and a wistful cinematic theme. New York used to abound with imaginative, outside-the-box horn-driven bands like this: the Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Mamarazzi, Super Hi-Fi, to name a few.

The second single is Mental Health, which is more of a straight-up New Orleans tune, with blazing horns from trumpeter Dan Raccuia and tenor sax player Jacob Raccuia over the slinky swing of bassist Jake Krasniewicz and drummer Zach Rader. Guitarist Jeff Wickun contributes a couple of jagged, tantalizingly brief solos.

Likewise, the band rise from an undulating groove to a sprint and then a dubwise LA lowrider interlude in the third single, Horns Up. Wickun takes over the mic briefly on the last one, What Can I Say, a sly disco strut.

The album is also worth grabbing. It’s a lot harder and more solo-centric. The opening track is a darkly blazing ska tune that’s skittish bordering on frantic, with a smoky sax solo midway through. The Mountain is a cinematic gem, veering from roadhouse funk to getaway theme to icepick skank.

The first of the big epics is On the Up & Up, part classy 70s soul-jazz, part sunny roots reggae and eventually a hard-driving minor-key ska theme. In First Contact, the band veer from Booker T soul, to a second-line march, some oldschool disco and noir ska, with a goofy joke that’s too good to give away.

The band do the same in Big Harry, switching on a dime between noir ska, dub and bluesy, psychedelic soul. One Small Favour is twelve minutes of eerily lingering psychedelia, Lynchian soul, twisted circus rock and an irresistible trick ending.

The final cut Captain’s Orders, a wild mix of oldschool soul, action film score and smoky reggae. Grab this while it lasts.

Big Halloween Finale, 2022: A Mighty History Book, For Free and More

The last batch of singles here was supposed to be the final Halloween dump, but things are unfolding so fast around the world that today requires another, A free magnum opus, outrageously funny memes and some tunes too. As always, click on artist or author names for their webpages, click on titles for audio, visuals, a quick read and probably a laugh.

Jason Powers is one of the hardest-working investigative journalists on the web. He did a killer piece on Renee Wegrzyn, the recently appointed US genetic engineering tsar, complete with receipts and Hunter Biden connection. Just for today, he’s put the new fifth edition of his book Operation Virus up at his Substack as a free download. It turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, October 31.

This working history of the plandemic and its origins is long, meticulously linked and has as many footnotes as Bobby Kennedy’s The Real Anthony Fauci. Powers is quick to remind that it’s as much a guide to where the gaps are as it is to what we actually know. Where Sage Hana is the avenging angel of the freedom movement, Tessa Lena is our soul guide philosopher and Mark Crispin Miller is the erudite, polymath department chair, Powers is a dogged, tireless, quintessentially down-to-earth Indiana sleuth. Grab this book now and sink your teeth into it: it’s many days of reading. Then find your own rabbit hole and do your own research and reporting.

MCM has great taste in music and since 2020 has been a prime source of protest songs. Here’s his latest playlist. Highlights: Safe and Free, Jude Roberts’ deadpan, Appalachian-tinged chronicle of how the plandemic destroyed independent businesses, and Safe and Effective, Chris Porro‘s snarky honkytonk tune. Stick around for the surprise ending!

Have you seen the ThinkTwice Team‘s memes? The first batch are spot-on parodies of lockdowner propaganda posters: muzzles, idiot circles, antisocial distancing, the works. There’s one for every divide-and-conquer scheme. If these last 31 months have been hard on you, this will leave you with a redemptive smirk.

Song lyric puzzle: this is Doo Wah Diddy, via El Gato Malo for more laughs:

The Juice Media in Australia have been having a sublimely amusing time with global politics. Here’s Zoe Amanda Wilson and Lucy calling bullshit on the Oz/US nuke submarine deal (thanks to Sage for finding that one).

Meme maven Anne Gibbons on the Hochul concentration camp regulation, its initial defeat and possible resurrection.

St. Petersburg, Florida whistleblower OB/GYN doctor Kimberly Biss drops a truth bomb: miscarriages up 50%, infertility up 50%, cervical cancer up 25% since the lethal Covid injection rollout.

Broken Peach just recorded The Night of the Halloween Specials, a live 23-minute medley: quirkily creepy punk rock versions of Tainted Love, Personal Jesus, I Put a Spell on You, Don’t You Want Me Baby and originals with impeccably choreographed four-part harmonies.

Let’s end this with Funkrust Brass Band playing an inspiring live take of theit latest single, Ignition. Set the night onfire!

Wild Balkan Brass Icons Slavic Soul Party Stage a Queens Blowout

How cool is it when you find out you were in the crowd when one of your favorite bands was making a a live album? This blog was in the house on August 20, 2019 when Brooklyn’s best-loved Balkan brass band, Slavic Soul Party recorded a handful of tunes which appear on their latest concert record, streaming at Bandcamp.

What was the show like? Blurry. That was one wild night. If you missed it – or the mostly-weekly Tuesday night series in Park Slope that they played for the better part of sixteen years before the 2020 lockdown – you can hear them outdoors on August 2 at 7 PM at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City. You can take the 7 to Vernon-Jackson, walk to 48th Ave. and take it straight to the river, or take the G to 21st/Van Alst, take 45th Ave. as far toward the water as you can and then make a left.

Back in 2016, Slavic Soul Party put out a deviously erudite Balkan brass remake of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite, and the opening number, Amad opens this record. Accordionist Peter Stan provides an intro to this version, from March of the following year, launching a suspenseful river of sound, then torrents of chromatics, then the brass kick in over the clip-clip beat of Matt Moran’s bubanj. Tapan drummer Chris Stromquist keeps a slinky groove going on as the horns pulse closer and closer to New Orleans.

Nizo’s Merak, from one of the band’s last pre-lockdown shows there in November, 2019, begins as one of the Balkan/hip-hop mashups they made a name for themselves with and shifts into bracing, chromatic Serbian territory on the wings of a trumpet solo. For a band who had so many members who play in other projects, it’s remarkable how little the lineup has changed over the years. That’s John Carlson and Kenny Warren on trumpets, Peter Hess on sax, Tim Vaughn and Adam Dotson on trombones and Kenny Bentley on tuba.

Considering how much of a party the Tuesday night residency was, the split-second precision of the horns on this July, 2018 version of Balada is pretty amazing, Stan’s liquid accordion lines holding it together. Same with the rapidfire minor-key brass flurries over the subtle side-step rhythm in Romano Pravo, from the March 2017 gig. The tantalizingly brief accordion-and-drums breakdown was always a big audience hit, and this is a prime example.

Truth is one of their rarer, slower, more balmy numbers, Stan methodically working his way from choosing his spots to his usual supersonic pirouettes. The next number, 323 is a showcase for the band’s funkier side. The three tunes from the August 20, 2019 show – Romski Merak, Sing Sing Čoček, and Missy Sa-sa – appear here as an increasingly delirious, roughly seventeen-minute suite that covers pretty much all the bases. Steve Duffy plays tuba here as the band fire off biting doublestops, enigmatic whole-note solos, and a couple of hailstorm drum breaks.

After a brief rat-a-tat “Latino Band Medley,” the band close with FYC, a feast of disquieting Eastern European tonalities with a couple of careening trumpet and trombone solos recorded in July of 2018.

Since these are field recordings that the band released as merch during the time that disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo had criminalized live music in New York, the sound is on the trebly side, although there surprisingly isn’t a lot of audience noise. At the Queens show, you won’t be able to hear any of the “amazing music that Quince puts on at the end of the night” at the Park Slope gigs, as the group mention on the Bandcamp page. But all New Yorkers will be able to see the show since the bar was weaponized to discriminate against patrons who didn’t take the lethal Covid injection.

Sonny Singh Reinvents Ancient Sikh Themes As Catchy, Slinky Dance Tunes

Sonny Singh is best known as the soaring trumpeter in New York’s well-loved, ecstatically brassy bhangra dance group Red Baraat. But he’s also a composer and bandleader. His debut album Chardi Kala – streaming at Bandcamp – resembles his main band in that the music draws on ancient traditions from the Hindustani subcontinent, but it’s less thunderously percussive and more enveloping. Tantalizing hints of the Middle East and Afrobeat filter in and out of the music as well. For lyrics. Singh draws on medieval Sikh chants which celebrate subversion and defiance in the face of repression: spot-on choices for this moment in history.

To open the record, Singh and ensemble make a ringing, resounding guitar rock anthem out of an old Punjabi melody. Red Baraat are a large band, and there’s a small army playing on this album. Singh sings, plays trumpet and harmonium, joined by the core crew on most of the rest of the tunes: Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, Wil Abers on bass and Dave Sharma on drums, plus Ernest Stuart on trombone.

The title track is a balmy, lilting tune with brightly sailing trumpet. Track three, Ghadar is a darkly gorgeous bhangra-rock number with Andalucian-tinged chromatics and flaring Goldberger guitar. Singh makes a swaying, starry anthem out of a kirtan theme in the album’s fourth cut, followed by an undulating melody with bright horn counterpoint, swirly harmonium and stinging guitar from Nadav Peled.

After that, we get psychedelic trip-hop with swooshy keys; a bright Punjabi soul song; a chugging bhangra brass anthem that sounds like a Punjabi Burning Spear song; an ecstatic, dub-tinged ghazal; a revolutionary-themed Bollywood spy theme; and an airy coda. All of this you can dance to.

Singh’s next restriction-free New York show is July 10 at 5 PM in the parking lot at Culture Lab in Long Island City.

Rapidfire Pyrotechnics From an Iconic Balkan Brass Band

Fanfare Ciocarlia, the iconic brass band, have represented Romania perhaps better than anyone for the past two decades. And they have a new album, It Wasn’t Hard To Love You streaming at Bandcamp. Interestingly, as much as these guys can blast along on a dance tune for minutes on end, most of the songs here are pretty short. And there are a lot of them, a grand total of sixteen jams to get you dancing in minor keys.

They open with a joke, a deadpan brass band cover of Just the Two Of Us, Grover Washington Jr.’s 80s cheeseball smooth jazz hit: it’s pure punk rock. Then the group get down to business. Babo Never Worked a Day has a steady but understated dancefloor thud from drummers Paul Benedikt Stehlescu and Costel “Gisniaca” Ursu and tantalizingly serpentine solos from clarinetist Costel Oprica Ivancea and alto saxophonist Dan Ionel Ivancea.

The Hungarian Wild Bunch features rapidfire staccato trumpets over icepick baritone horns: that’s Costica “Cimai”Trifan, Paul Marian Bulgaru, Craciun Ovidiu Trifan and Lazar Radulescu on trumpets, Laurentiu Mihai Ivancea and Constantin “Sulo” Calin on baritone horns, Mihaita Sergiu Nastase and Vasile Stangaciu on helikon.

The brief and indomitably cheery Pannonicated Polka has vocals. A rough translation from the Romanian:

And when the evening
Turns into an everyday life full of tears
Our younger days are gone
But we barely noticed

Escape From Baltimore turns out to be made via the railroad tracks: gotta love that kettledrum. The lickety-split Song For Noga will take your breath away. The group slow down just a little for the catchy chromatic sway of Hobo Kolo and then go into circus rock bolero territory with The Trumpeter’s Lament.

First Aid Klezmer has clarinet front and center, as you might expect. There are wry classical flourishes in Porsche Polka and spine-tingling microtonal sax in Gypsy Mambo No. 555.

Red Moon has a mix of latin and Balkan flair, and a surprisingly plaintive trumpet solo, while Busbus is packed with all kinds of slyly orchestrated tradeoffs. Demon Dance, predictably, is a springboard for sabretoothed precision but also suspensefully wafting trumpet. Then the band go Cruzzzando El Campooo with hints of cumbia and dixieland.

The “digital bonus track” is Mosquito Swamp, where the horns are so liquid it’s almost as if they’re a giant accordion. It would be out of character for this band – and for this blog – if this wasn’t on the best albums of 2021 list at the end of the year.

Fun Brass Band Sounds in Park Slope This Weekend

If you’re in Park Slope this Saturday evening, July 31, you can catch a free outdoor show by irrepressible, all-female street band the Brass Queens at 5th Ave and 3rd St., a barely ten-minute walk from the Atlantic Ave. subway.

There are three singles up at the 7-piece group’s Bandcamp page. Casanova is in the same vein as the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble‘s hip-hop/New Orleans second-line mashups, Bad Brass Bunnies is a funny trip-hop groove with some absolutely luscious harmonies on the high end.;

The latest single is Love How You Wanna, which comes across like an oldschool 70s soul ballad with a bright, increasingly animated interweave of voices and a solid, slinky sousaphone bassline. Catchy sounds, sophisticated arrangements, and you can dance to all of this.

Hard-Rocking Balkan Brass, Romany and Indian-Flavored Sounds From Black Masala

Black Masala‘s 2016 album I Love You Madly made the best albums of the year list here; at the time, this blog equated them to a Washington, DC counterpart to Slavic Soul Party. The Washington DC group’s most recent album, Trains and Moonlight Destinies – streaming at Bandcamp – rocks harder, with more of a roaring punk edge, through a typically diverse mix of Balkan, Indian and hard funk themes.

The album’s title track is closer to Gogol Bordello than the Slavic Soul guys, layers of guitars beneath the blazing brass of trumpeter Steven C and trombonist Kirsten Warfield, pushed along by Monty Montgomery’s oompahing Balkan ska sousaphone. The band’s axeman Duff Davis contributes a slashing doubletracked guitar solo.

Percussionist Kristen Long takes over the mic, adding a sultry edge to the dramatically pouncing Midnight Bhangra. Again, there’s as much guitar roar as biting brass here, like Red Baraat at their most rock-oriented. Above the Clouds could be a majestic early 70s Earth Wind & Fire hit…with a sousaphone.

Drummer Mike Ounallah hits a strutting minor-key Balkan reggae groove with Tell Me Again, Davis slashing through the mix when he isn’t doing droll chicken-scratch accents. The party anthem Empty Bottles shifts between brassy rocksteady and ska; then the band mash up New Orleans with Bo Diddley in Whatcha Gonna Do,

The kiss-off anthem Big Man is a mix of Balkan brass, hip-hop and punk rock, trumpet and trombone duking it out from opposite channels. The band wind up the album with the deliriously blasting Romany dancefloor stomp Chaje Shukarije.

Nation Beat Bring Carnaval to Mardi Gras, and Vice Versa

Before the lockdown, Brooklyn group Nation Beat had a long run as one of New York’s top party bands, mixing up Brazilian sounds with New Orleans second-line shuffles, Americana, and in the early days, even surf rock. Happily, this rotating cast of musicians from around the world is are still together and releasing records. Their new album The Royal Chase – streaming at Bandcamp – is their most New Orleans-flavored and best release yet.

The opening number, Forró de Dois Amigo has Joe Correa’s sousaphone pulsing behind drummer’bandleader Scott Kettner’s surprisingly subtle mashup of Brazilian and Mardi Gras shuffle beats, reggae-tinged, bronzed horns, and solos from trombonist Mariel Bildstein and tenor sax player Paul Carlon. That sets the stage for the rest of the album.

Morô Omim Má has a more hypnotic groove, with resonant horns and spare guitar, Rob Curto’s organ anchoring a pensive Mark Collins trumpet solo. The album’s title track has a brisk strut: it’s practically ska, a mashup of rustic 19th century marching band music and a little dub.

They follow with a muscular, brassy reinventino of the Meters’ Hey Pocky Way with impassioned vocals and a slinky tuba solo. The group edge back toward reggae with the moodily vamping, minor-key Paper Heart, a brooding trombone solo at the center.

Forró no Escuro is a playful blend of Brazilian forro rainforest folk with bright frevo brass band flavor and more than a hint of calypso: down in the tropics, sounds get around fast. Ciranda for Lia is the album’s most lyrical number, a syncopated, pulsing ballad: it’s a song Grover Washington Jr. could have heard back in the 80s and thought to himself, “I’ve got to cover that.”

A tricky circling sax riff kicks off the jubilantly strutting, bluesy Big Chief, a launching pad for bright trumpet and suave trombone solos. With its rapidfire, icepick rhythm, Feira de Mangaio is the most specifically Brazilian tune here, although the sousaphone adds beefy flavor from further north.

Algunas Cantan has gentle Portuguese lead vocals from “Carolina Mama” over what sounds like an African balafon. The band wind up the record with Roseira do Norte, its pounding maracatu beat, jubilant brassiness and hints of vintage Burning Spear.

Live Music at Lincoln Center Again: #exhale?

What a beautiful, heartwarming experience it was to be walking past Lincoln Center in the early evening of August 7, right at the moment when a fifteen-piece brass ensemble was premiering a newly commissioned Anthony Barfield piece.

That’s not to imply that there hasn’t been plenty of live music all over New York during the lockdown. But lately a lot of it is restaurant gigs. On one hand, it’s great to see musicians being able to get at least a little paying work. But there’s no need for reportage on background music that hungry crowds with cabin fever are bound to talk over.

And much of the rest has been been fraught with anxiety. What if somebody on the invite list is a collaborator? Are we being too loud and obvious? Are we going to end up in some hideous new Auschwitz somewhere in the wilds of Arkansas if a sinister, nameless squad in riot gear shows up and catches us sitting a comfortable two or three feet from one another? The Afghani people dealt with issues like that under the Taliban. A wide swath of population from the Black Sea to the Danube dealt with similar situations under the Ottomans. Who knew that we ever would under Cuomo.

Which is why Barfield’s brand-new Invictus – latin for “unconquered” – was so uplifting to witness. He’d obviously sussed out the sonics on the Lincoln Center plaza to maximize the natural reverb that bounces off the opera house and back past the fountain, the musicians spaced at least ten feet apart in a semi-ellipse. The work itself is a guardedly optimistic, circular series of variations on a catchy three-note riff, with more than an echo of Philip Glass. The group played it twice, with some impromptu rehearsing in between. You can watch the final take at Lincoln Center’s streaming page. Introducing it, the composer explains that it reflects both the hope of the Black Lives Matter protests as well as the grim uncertainty of the lockdown.

Looking toward the center of the campus from the street, was that New York Philharmonic principal trombonist Joseph Alessi in the hat? Actually not. The group, a mix drawing from several Lincoln Center ensembles, played with dignity and seamlessness. Hats off to trumpeters Marcus Printup, Marshall Kearse, Raymond Riccomini, Christopher Martin, Neil Balm and Thomas Smith; trombonists John Romero, Colin Williams, David Finlayson, Dion Tucker and Zachary Neikens, horn players Anne Scharer, Richard Deane and Dan Wions, and tuba player Christopher Hall.

There’s likely to be more like this in the weeks to come; you will probably have to be in the neighborhood to catch it live. And the Philharmonic are sending a truck featuring various small groups around the five boroughs for impromptu performances. They’re not disclosing where they’ll be for fear of drawing crowds. If such a beloved and life-affirming institution as the New York Philharmonic are that worried, you know we’d better be too.