New York Music Daily

Global Music With a New York Edge

Tag: jon ladeau

The Sway Machinery Release Their Richly Psychedelic New Album on a Killer Multi-Band Bill at the Knitting Factory

You might think that a song titled You Will Love No One But Me would be a creepy tale about a stalker. As the title track to the Sway Machinery’s new ep – streaming at Soundcloud – it’s a characteristically eclectic, warmly tuneful mashup of reggae, Afrobeat and psychedelia, frontman Jeremiah Lockwood’s enigmatic, deliciously jangly guitar solo at the center. Like most bands in this century, the Sway Machinery have recorded sporadically, if memorably: their previous album Purity and Danger, from earlier in the year, is a sparkling, psychedelic masterpiece, and this one picks up where that one left off. They’re playing smack in the middle of one of this year’s most enticing and eclectic bills on December 16 at around 9 at the Knitting Factory: country blues guitarist/songwriter Jon LaDeau opens at around 7, followed by funky psychedelic Ethiopiques band Nikhil P. Yerawadekar and Low Mentality, the Sway Machinery and then the People’s Champs, who lately have taken a hard turn from funk into Afrobeat at its most psychedelic. Advance tix at the box offfice, open on show nights, are a bargan at $10.

Beyond the title cut, the Sway Machinery ep’s other tracks are just as choice. Kith & Kin bubbles and dances on the wings of Matt Bauder’s sax and Jordan McLean’s trumpet up to Lockwood’s eerie, lingering minor-key twelve-string phrases, an uncanny approximation of a Middle Eastern kanun that works like a charm in the context of this Ethiopiques-tinged tune. Can’t Help But Stare veers from hints of garage rock, to reverb-drenched dub reggae over the steady pulse of bassist Yerawadekar and drummer John Bollinger, up to an almost stadium-rock grandeur.

This Kiss Blooms But Once a Year is the most straightforward and hard-hitting song here, Lockwood’s biting guitar and expressively melismatic baritone welded to a groove that’s part ominously foreshadowed Ethiopiques and part Marquee Moon-era Television. The final cut, My Beloved, is the most unselfconsciously gorgeous, a brass-spiced, simmeringly guitar-fueled, pouncing update on an ancient cantorial theme. As is typical with this band, there are allusions and frequently less oblique references to the Hasidic music that Lockwood came up in – his grandfather, Jacob Konigsberg, was legendary as a choir leader and soloist in that demimonde, and remains a profound influence in the group’s work as well as the guitarist’s many solo and theatrical projects.

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Sunday Salons 9, 10 and 11: Going Full Throttle Now

Some of you might see the weekly calendar for New York Music Daily’s Sunday Salon  at Zirzamin here week after week and wonder what’s up with it. Obviously, some of you have been in the house, either performing or watching, so this is a shout-out to you for being there and supporting, as well as to the musicians who make it so much fun. Case in point: cellist Serena Jost, whose own music is elegant and nuanced to the nth degree, wailing and thrashing her way through a long improvised solo on an even longer Rick Snyder country blues ballad. Rachelle Garniez graced the stage with her wickedly subtle, edgy, occasionally gospel-flavored retro rock and soul; Martin Bisi brought his pedalboard and haunted the room with casually menacing, slowly unwinding Lynchian art-rock songs. Jon Ladeau brought his original, soulful oldtime Americana; Carol Lipnik wowed everybody with her four-octave vocal range and mysterious, mystical, phanstasmagorical material. LJ Murphy ,with his thousand-yard stare and withering, politically-fueled lyrics, and  Walter Ego, with his nimble basslines and tough stance on gun control have also made frequent appearances.

The featured sets after the salon give some of New York’s best invited performers an opportunity to take some chances and do some unexpected things in Zirzamin’s intimate space. For Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons, that meant pulling back a little on the Canadian gothic ferocity, putting her excellent drummer on cajon, letting guitar genius Hugh Pool work his quieter side (it’s true – such a thing exists) and exploring the secret corners of some of her louder, more glam or punk-inspired songs.

For Mark Sinnis, longtime leader of artsy, dark Americana rockers Ninth House, justifiably acclaimed for his solo “cemetery and western” Nashville gothic stylings, that meant a rare Manhattan performance with James Brown (one of the living James Browns) playing gorgoeusly retro rockabilly and country lines on his big Gretsch guitar, mingling with the virtuoso banjo intensity of Stephen Gara. With his big baritone voice, Sinnis often evokes Johnny Cash, with this project now more than ever. And this past Sunday, Tracy Island a.k.a. Liza Roure and Ian Roure from the Larch (and the late, great WonderWheels) romped through a hypnotically jangly, psychedelically edgy mix of old favorites and darker new material. Ian brought out his new pedalboard, chock full of old effects for fiery 80s-influenced solos and fills while Liza channeled her classical training into a rapturous take of Leonard Cohen’s Stories of the Street as well as cynical versions of originals like Where’s My Robot Maid, Land of Opportunity and a warmly evocative new song inviting everybody down to Freddy’s Bar in South Brooklyn for the Mermaid Parade afterparty.

Every Sunday at 5 PM, New York Music Daily presents the Sunday Salon at Zirzamin, where some of New York’s edgiest songwriters and musicians trade songs and cross-pollinate in the old Zinc Bar space at Houston and LaGuardia. There’s never a cover charge; the club has cheap beer, good Tex-Mex food, and the public is welcome to attend. Participation is by invitation only. The featured set at 7 PM this Sunday, Jan 27 is by charismatic, ferociously intense acoustic punk-blues songwriter Molly Ruth.

Reaching Altitude: Sunday Salon #3

First time was a washout due to the hurricane; second time was an excellent if intimate gathering despite the lack of subway service. The third week of the new Sunday Salon series at Zirzamin was the best yet, with contributions from both the new and established vanguard of New York songwriters and players. As he did the previous week, cellist Calum Ingram kicked things off, this time with a trio, playing his raw, high-energy blend of blues and funk, this time beginning with an intriguing jazz waltz groove.

John Hodel is not a polished musician but he is unsurpassed as a storyteller. His inimitable sense of humor refuses to quit. The Bukowski of the NY acoustic scene knows his subject matter like the bottom of his glass and he is authentic oldschool New York to the core. This time out he treated the crowd to his classic, surreal, dead-accurate Tuesday Morning in a Bar and the chillingly aphoristic Love Has No Home.

Jon LaDeau, an adept blues guitarist, followed with the distantly ominous Stonewall, a southern gothic travelogue of sorts, along with a couple of other bluesy tunes. The Salon’s very own Lauraly Grossman, a cellist by trade, picked up her gorgeous resonator guitar and revealed that she has a beautiful voice with brassy edges and knows her way around an oldtime swing tune.

Anthony Haden-Guest, who has a new collaboration with Canadian gothic rocker Lorraine Leckie just out, ran through his latest snarkily savage lyric, this one a kiss-off to someone. He dared the sound guy to accompany him on piano, which was either an unfortunate or brilliant idea depending on what your tolerance is for out-of-tune piano and rehashed Ran Blake licks.

Leckie then took the stage for a wickedly deadpan take of her classic Don’t Giggle at the Corpse as well as twisted versions of Getaway Car and one of the Haden-Guest collaborations, Bliss, a spot-on portrait of an old couple who have completely lost it in more ways than one.

Pretty much everybody agreed that the star of this evening was Kelley Swindall. The Americana songstress wowed the crowd with a couple of brutal new murder ballads, the second one long and mysterious with a wicked payoff. Swindall is southern by birth and sings with a charming natural twang but also a persistent unease: you wouldn’t necessarily expect nuance in a murder ballad, but that’s what she gave them. And she knows her blues on the guitar too.

The guest spot afterward was by Viking. Viking’s real name is Victor. He’s from Texas, and he doesn’t have a website (for a laugh and not much more, you can google “Texas viking”). He’s a good guitarist and a good pianist as well. He opened with a twisted number about a guy on a crack or ecstasy binge and the nice people (REALLY nice, actually) who took him in. From there he found the inner Buddy Holly in Roky Erikson’s Starry Eyes, then did a skeletal, full length version of House of the Rising Sun with all the lyrics and drove home how absolutely morbid that song is. He also took a terse and purist stab at R.L. Burnside’s Penitentiary as well as a Hank Williams tune. Viking’s quirky deadpan delivery gave the songs considerable extra menace.

The Sunday Salon happens every week starting at 5 PM at Zirzamin, the lowlit subterranean music parlor in the old Zinc Bar space on Houston and LaGuardia. The public is always welcome to come out and spectate, and admission is always free. This coming Sunday’s featured guests at 7 PM are Coney Island noir chanteuse Carol Lipnik with brilliant pianist Matt Kanelos, performing some of the songs from their haunting Ghosts in the Ocean project.