New York Music Daily

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Tag: noir music

The Best-Ever Playlist on This Page

Today’s playlist is a murderer’s row of singles. Just for starters: a deviously subtle new video for the best song of 2020, and a new electric recording of the best song of 2016. There’s about half an hour worth of music here, plus some funny visuals. If you know this blog, you know the drill: click artist names for their webpages, click titles for audio or video.

Karla Rose’s allusive, slinky serial killer parable Battery Park topped the charts here in what was a pretty nightmarish 2020. She’s got a new video for it: see if you can spot her!

Another noir-inspired artist, LJ Murphy earned the top spot for 2016 with his cruelly prophetic Panic City. It was mostly acoustic then; it’s an electric scorcher now.

We live in perilous times, and Grace Bergere offers a more metaphorical take in A Little Blood, one of the most offhandedly chilling songs of the past several years.

Mark Breyer made a name for himself as sort of the Elvis Costello of powerpop and janglerock with his long-running studio project, Skooshny. And he keeps cranking out sharp, jangly anthems as Son of Skooshny. His latest is Runs in the Family: imagine the Church at their lyrical peak in the 80s..

Atlanta band Faithless Town‘s roaring slide guitar-driven protest anthem New World Order has a great newsreel video: protestors battling SWAT teams in Europe in the summer of 2020, images of the Lockstep tabletop exercise and Event 201, and plenty of usual Davos suspects.

Amy Rigby was not idle during the lockdown here in New York. Here’s her hauntingly hazy cover of Bob Dylan classic Not Dark Yet

From the anonymous protest songwriter known as POTP – the same guy responsible for the viral video Bill Gates Sings – here’s Vaxx in the Cradle, sung to the tune of the old Harry Chapin hit. Beyond the snarky jokes, it’s amazingly well-crafted – it even follows the plotline of the original. “This song has Emergency Use Authorization to be deployed far and wide in the effort to stem the epidemic of infant experimentation.”

Loosie‘s No Future is the catchiest, most anthemic thing the band’s ever done, with a wistful Lynchian edge. A scruffier Sharon Van Etten, maybe?

You might know Mike Adams as the scientist in the lab coat who founded Brighteon, home to innumerable good censored videos. Want to know what video is at the very top of the search page today? The full stream of the Plandemic II documentary!. But believe it or not, Adams also has a history as a rapper. Check out his hauntingly prescient 2010 video Vaccine Zombie, which has resurfaced courtesy of the consistently brilliant and provocative Midwestern Doctor Substack page.

Moirai’s Völuspa is a starkly gorgeous recreation of an ancient Icelandic dragonslayer myth. Is this classical music? Folk music? 21st century minimalism? Maybe all of the above?

Let’s close with some funny stuff. First, click and scroll down the page for a 45-second tv ad for Oomph’s new “human meat plant based burger” via Jeff Childers’ indispensable Coffee & Covid. Reputedly the jury’s out on how it tastes compared to genuine human flesh.

And here’s a meme from cartoonist Anne Gibbons: a spot-on take on the FDA’s self-declared “future framework,”  where if they get their way there will be no more safety trials for any pharmaceutical products.

A Gorgeously Drifting, Lynchian Album With a Tragic Backstory

New York instrumentalists SussNight Suite album, released earlier this year, was a gorgeously evocative, drifting travelogue akin to the recent Freedom Convoy, tracing a highway trip from New Mexico to the California desert. The equally picturesque sequel, Heat Haze – streaming at Bandcamp – continues the journey in a similarly southwestern yet less gothic vein. Tragically, one of the band members only appears on this road trip in a metaphorical sense. Keyboardist Gary Lieb died suddenly in March of last year shortly after wrapping up recording, just as so many musicians have in the wake of the lethal Covid injections. It’s not known what role, if any, that may have played in his untimely death.

In a cruel stroke of irony, Lieb’s floating synth plays a major role throughout the record, mingling with the guitars of Pat Irwin and Bob Holmes and the pedal steel of Jonathan Gregg. It’s often impossible to figure out who’s playing what, beginning with the slowly shifting, tectonic ambience of the title track, at least until Gregg’s steel and a few low, ominous reverb-guitar notes come into focus over the horizon.

Lieb’s keyboards pulse hypnotically behind spare, loopy acoustic and electric riffs in the second track, aptly titled Shimmer. Gregg’s steel takes centerstage over gentle acoustic strums and the occasional low clang in Grace: the group seem to be emerging into more populated territory by now.

Lieb layers calmly circling layers beneath reverb riffs that pan the speakers on track four, Train: this is the real midnight in the switching yard, with a sonic joke or two which are too good to spoil. The most immersively ambient track here is the final one, Pine. If this is all that’s left of the band’s recorded output, it’s a memorable departure.

Lurid, Lyrical, Lynchian Sounds From Eclectic New Mexican Kristy Hinds

Songwriter Kristy Hinds has played everything from 80s-inspired rock, to bossa nova and other tropical, often trippy sounds. Mentored as a gradeschooler by Bo Diddley – a fellow rancher in her native New Mexico – she began as a singer and percussionist, moved to guitar and most recently, ukulele. Lately she’s taken a surreal, absolutely Lynchian plunge into dub reggae. Just as auspiciously, she scored John Funkhouser – a rare triple threat on jazz piano, organ and bass – to join her on her latest short album Play Me Out, streaming at her music page.

“This is when the road divides, this is when I’ll break your heart, this is where the violence starts…play me out,” she teases luridly in the ep’s title track. “Rich men in the white coats, and the shark teeth” don’t hold up too well here.

On the second song, Feeling Good, Hinds rises out of murky mystery to stark, spare reggae with a sleek, slinky organ solo. Funkhouser’s creepy bass drone underneath is luscious. For the last song, Hinds reinvents Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman at just about doublespeed, as straight-up backbeat rock – and, it’s cool to be able to actually understand the song’s lyrics for once! Funkhouser winds it up with a crashing, crescendoing piano solo.

Hinds also has a ton of music up at her Soundcloud page, a mix of rock, jazz and latin styles. And she has a fearlessly populist sensibility: check out Images in a Box, her snarky anti-corporate media broadside. Her next gig is at 5 PM on July 18 at Corrales Bistro Brewery, 4908 Corrales Rd. in Corrales, New Mexico.

A High-Voltage Klezmer Twinbill in the East Village on the 15th.

For those outside of New York, Midwood is a comfortable tree-lined Brooklyn neighborhood full of single-family woodframe homes (and unfortunately now, McMansions where some of those homes once stood). It has a robust Jewish population. This blog’s owner used to live there.

There was also a band called Midwood, led by a prime mover in the New York klezmer scene, violinist Jake Shulman-Ment. He’s playing on a killer twinbill on June 15 at 7 PM at Drom, leading his Fidl Kapelye with a global cast of klezmer singers: Zhenya Lopatnik, Sarah Gordon, Margot Leverett and Lorin Sklamberg, Klezmatics trumpeter Frank London‘s Klezmer Brass Allstars, who have become epically symphonic in recent years, headline; you can get in for $20 in advance.

Midwood’s mostly-instrumental album of electrified klezmer art-rock , Out of the Narrows came out in 2018 and is still streaming at Bandcamp. Guitarist Yoshie Fruchter machete-chops acidic, clanging chords as Shulman-Ment blasts through a thornily ornamented chromatic dance melody over drummer Richie Barshay’s scampering forward drive in the first tune, Isaac. Then it’s Fruchter’s turn to wail, scream and peel the paint off the walls

Anxiously allusive violin dances over a spiky, loopy guitar phrase and creepy glockenspiel as the group make their way into the second track, Ansky, Fruchter alternating between jangle and crunch as Barshay supplies a lithely boomy groove. It has a very late zeros/early teens Tzadik feel.

The group follow a slow, broodingly resonant trajectory in Ahava Raba: it sounds like Big Lazy with a violin, no great surprise considering that Fruchter would eventually work with that group’s mastermind, Steve Ulrich. They takes it out with a growling, bluesy Fruchter solo and a splash on Barshay’s gong.

Eléonore Weill sings the bittersweet love ballad Dortn over Fruchter’s starry, wide-angle tremolo guitar. The group reinvent Bughici Nign, a famous Romanian Jewish theme, with a lingering spaciousness but also an expectant unease. From there they segue into the similarly stately Bughici Khusidl: it’s cool to hear a distorted guitar behind Shulman-Ment’s meticulous melismas.

The next track, simply titled Waltz has a familiar minor-key feel, in the same vein as another hyphenated guy, Avi Fox-Rosen‘s work, reaching a scorching klezmer-metal peak. It’s the high point of the album.

Weill reaches for a stern intensity as the band sway precariously behind her in Az in Droysn. The closing cut, Gute Nakht is a gorgeously slow waltz and a good closer to this underrated gem of a record.

Singles For the Second Week of May: Mega-Laughs and Some Creepy Stuff

Been awhile since the last collection of singles on this page: with so much more happening around town these days, it’s been harder to keep an eye on the rest of the world. Today’s self-guided playlist has about 25 minutes worth of music and a ridiculously funny thread to wind this up. As always, click artist names for their webpages, click titles for audio or video. Suggestion: download the Brave browser to avoid the hassle of having to mute the ads in the youtube clips.

In what is fast becoming a time-honored tradition, let’s open with one of Media Bear‘s signature snarky plandemic-themed cover songs. This one, mRNA is one of the funniest of the bunch. It’s a remake of YMCA, the big 1970s disco hit by the Village People. “Hey man, if you do not comply, contact tracers they will be stopping by…you must learn how to kneel, comply with the Green New Deal.”

Thanks to John C.A. Manley, author of the novel Much Ado About Corona, for passing along Martin Kerr’s smart, funky, sharp chamber-folk hit Little Screen, probably the only song ever to rhyme “creative” with “sedative.”

You don’t need to read the news today, it’s mostly lies
If you wanna know you’re not alone,
Get your fingers off your phone,
Get up out of your comfort zone and improvise..

Chillantro, by Miranda & the Beat is a cool minor-key fuzztone surf b-side that the band bravely put out in the ugly depths of May 2020…and sank without a trace

Let’s slow it down but keep the Lynchian ambience going with Natalie Saint-Martin‘s 2nd Place. It’s minor-league Hannah vs the Many – an understudy’s lament set to a phantasmagorical piano waltz

Tantalos, by Kuhn Fu is eight creepy minutes of 21st century cinematic big band jazz built around an allusive, macabre guitar loop. Dig that pregnant pregnant pause at 3:20!

Former Turkuaz frontwoman Nicky Egan‘s This Life is twinkly, vampy oldschool 70s soul with clangy guitar and echoey minor-key Rhodes piano

Check out this very subtle anti-lockdown video for Belgian pop star Angèle‘s latest single, Libre. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just bimbo synthpop – watch the costume change after the second chorus. She’s sick of falling into “Les pièges de fous….libre libre, crois-moi ça va changer (“The lunatics’ traps – we’re free, we’re free, believe me this is gonna change.”)

Just for the record: this is a diehard anti-social media blog. Elon Musk is a creep, and Twitter is not a place you want to be found, ever, unless you want to be surveilled. That being said, here’s Eugyppius – one of the best Substackers out there – on the benefits of Zoom versus real-world academic conferences. The thread just gets funnier and funnier

A Strong, Dark Return From an Individualistic Northern English Band

The Inca Babies are not a cumbia band. They occupy a unique spot in the history of Manchester rock: their darkly kinetic sound was typically more closely attuned to American gutter blues than the gothic and industrial esthetics that surrounded them during their 80s heyday. Over the years, they’ve had some turnover among group members. The great news is that this latest edition, a power trio of guitarist Harry Stafford, bassist Vince Hunt and drummer Rob Haynes have put out a new album, Swamp Street Soul – streaming at Spotify – which finds them more eclectically inspired than ever, exploring all kinds of fresh territory.

They open with the title track, a slow, surrealistically crawling mashup of Lynchian dub and the Cramps, guest trumpeter Kevin Davy a one-man orchestra with his soaring, reverb-iced harmonies.

Track two, Walk in the Park is a horror surf strut fueled by Stafford’s repeaterbox guitar strobe. Hunt turns up the grit on his bass amp for Slingshot, a catchy, impressively funky apocalyptic reflection. They keep the slinky groove going for Dear English Journalists, a knowing chronicle of political blowback: this is what happens when populations are demonized, Stafford reminds as he hits his chorus pedal to let the chill in under the door.

“I think this is the last station before hell,” Stafford relates over scrambling, Stoogoid riffage in Crawling Garage Gasoline, one of the band’s older tunes. Bigger Than All of Us is a surprising detour into brisk, enveloping dreampop, followed by I’m Grounded, a cynical, ba-bump blues tune with roller rink organ from Stafford.

Haynes’ steady Atrocity Exhibition rolls propel the next track, Oh, the Angels How I Bless Them, up to a roaring funeral pyre on the chorus. Stafford anchors his gloomy crime rap with spiky Bauhaus chords in Windshield Gnat, Haynes adding icicle percussion in the background.

Davy’s trumpet returns, backward masked in Mine of Bones. a catchy, stalking noir blues. The trio wind up the album with a pounding dub version of the opening track. After all this band has been through, even before 2020, it’s impressive to see this version of the group still going strong.

A Darkly Memorable Duo Album by Saxophonist Thomas Giles and Pianist Liana Pailodze Harron

Under ordinary circumstances, an album titled Mysteries of the Macabre would be most likely to be found here during the annual, October-long Halloween celebration of all things dark and creepy. But these last several months have been all that. And it wouldn’t be fair to make you wait til this fall to hear saxophonist Thomas Giles and pianist Liana Pailodze Harron‘s album, streaming at Spotify. It’s a powerful and vivid reflection of our time.

Both artists dedicate themselves to popularizing the work of new and obscure artists: they make a good team. The album comprises four medium-length pieces, which are in general more haunting than outright macabre. The first work is Poeme for Saxophone and Piano, a partita by Asiya Korepanova. Giles enters on alto sax with just short of a shriek, then follows a steady, subtly dynamic series of allusively grim chromatic variations, employing a crystalline, oboe-like tone punctuated by foghorn trills. Harron doesn’t get to join the disquieted parade until the end. The obvious influence is Messiaen, a composer the duo will explore shortly.

They intertwine in a similarly somber, skeletal stroll in the next part, Harron fueling a turbulent drive and liquidly articulated cascades. Giles’ spacious, uneasily soaring minimalism finally lures Harron in to rise and fall, in an increasingly agitated theme. Korepanova may be best known as a pyrotechnic concert pianist, but this speaks mightily to her prowess as a composer.

Messiaen’s Theme et Variations is next, the two following a similarly determined if more muted path, Harron’s meticulous, icepick attack balanced by Giles’ floating legato, through the composer’s eerily chiming tonalities and an unexpectedly jaunty if enigmatic dance. Giles’ rise to a shivery, theremin-like timbre right before the piece winds down is breathtakng.

The two revel in the Gyorgi Ligeti piece from which the album takes its title, through initial poltergeist flickers, scrambling phantasmagoria, a dazzling display of circular breathing, from Giles, and some playful spoken word.

The concluding work is Jay Schwartz‘s Music for Saxophone and Piano. Giles parses spare, somber motives over just the hint of resonance from inside the piano, serving as an artful echo. From there Harron develops a bounding melody line as Giles’ tectonic sheets bend, weave and flurry. Rising and falling from a muted pavane to tense doppler sax and a grim quasi-boogie in the low lefthand, the musicians reach an ending that will take you by surprise. It’s a fitting conclusion to this darkly beguiling album.

Singles for the Last Week of March

Gonna keep the playlist short and sweet today. Some funny stuff, some dark stuff: same old. Click on artist names for their webpages, click on titles for audio or video.

Since June of 2020, Media Bear has put out a barrage of protest songs set to tunes from across the ages, starting with spoofs of 80s pop and moving forward. All of them, and the videos as well, are pretty hilarious. The most obvious and maybe most ridiculously funny one is Because I Complied. Just so you get the joke, the chorus is “Because I complied, because I complied, because I complied.”

Here’s a snarky new 90-second Peggy Hall comedy clip: she considers what your doctor would have said to you in, say, 2019, if you walked in and asked them to test you for something twice a week.

Disturbed’s dirgey art-rock cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence has a killer video by Sage Hana. The song itself isn’t quite is good as the Move’s version but it still packs a punch.

To 10 (as in turn it up to 10) by guitarist Sylvia Rose Novak is catchy powerpop with an early 90s angularity. You wouldn’t think it works but it does – and no autotune on the vocals either

Love’s Sudden Death, by Darkher is a gritty melange of doom metal, Renaissance fair folk and 90s trip-hop, in a dark Portishead vein

Let’s end this on a fun, high energy note with New Stamp (that’s Australian slang – you figure it out), by Andy Golledge. It’s a mashup of Legendary Shack Shakers hillbilly noir and Oasis. Thanks to Micky C. – always on top of what’s happening down under – for the heads-up on this one.

Singles, Amusement and Inspiration for Mid-March

Today’s self-guided playlist is about a half hour of great songs, some snarky comedy and useful information. Click on artist names for their webpages, click on song titles or descriptions for audio/video.

Top of the list today is Austrian group the Mona Lisa Twins I Bought Myself a Politician, a venomously funny oldtimey-flavored swing parable of the plandemic. The video is great too. “Who would have thought I’d bring the whole world to its knees?” Thanks to Mark Crispin Miller – the other New York Music Daily – for passing this on.

Here’s a succinct, blockbuster two-minute clip by former BlackRock hedge fund manager Edward Dowd, whose analysis of insurance industry all-cause mortality data reveals how the Covid shot killed more young people in the second half of 2021 than were killed in ten years in the Vietnam War. Data like this is what’s going to crash Moderna’s stock value down to zero.

It would have been nice to be able to save this next video for the annual Halloween month celebration of all things creepy, but it can’t wait. This is the World Economic Forum‘s three-minute promo for their planned facial recognition tech-based Known Traveler Digital ID, scheduled to be rolled out in Canada and the Netherlands in 2023. It’s a platform for a Chinese communist-style social credit scheme. Forewarned is forearmed! Thanks to Unacceptable Dr. Jessica Rose, astute analyst of VAERS data, for passing this along

Here’s a beautiful off-the-cuff nine-minute video of the reliably poetic Dr. Paul Alexander – the Linton Kwesi Johnson of the freedom movement – with fearless native New Yorker Dr. Pierre Kory chatting with Laura Lynn at the Freedom Convoy encampment in Maryland after a productive and peaceful day.

Soul songstress Dee Ponder‘s latest single Poor Man has sparkly, expansive retro reverb guitar over a trip-hop beat, up to a surprising late-Beatles outro. “Who’s gonna listen to a poor man’s pain?” The final mantra is Freedom! Fun fact: she’s a former public defender from Rochester.

Paper Citizen‘s Heart on Fire juxtaposes quirky techy verse, catchy swirly chorus and an unselfconscious sense of humor from frontwoman/multi-instrumentalist Claire Gohst

Julia Gaeta‘s Weight of You is dense late 80s/early 90s goth as Siouxsie would have done it: uncluttered and merciless.

Deviously Evocative Noir Cinematics From Oan Kim & the Dirty Jazz

Multi-instrumentalist Oan Kim has just put out one of the most evocatively beguiling albums of recent months, under the name Oan Kim & the Dirty Jazz, streaming at youtube. He’s like a one-man Twin Peaks soundtrack, playing sax, keys, guitar and occasionally taking the mic, frequently abetted by drummer Edward Perraud and trumpeter Nicolas Folmer. It’s a dissociative, nonlinear film noir for the ears. The layers grow more surreal and psychedelic as the album goes on, but the juicy hooks remain. .

The opening track, Whispers, sets the stage, a brooding sax riff kicking off a spare, broodingly syncopated minor-key piano theme peppered with the occasional smoky curlicue. In whatever place characters go after the movie’s over, the protagonist in David Lynch’s Lost Highway is giving this a trace of a smile.

How agonizing is the second track, Agony​? Not at all. It’s a loopy swing tune, Kim reaching for what Little Jimmy Scott did with Angelo Badalamenti. Track three, simply titled Mambo, has smoky sax, slithery vibraphone and eerie synth oscillating in the background to enhance the menace.

With its slow sway and dubwise touches, the mood becomes more wryly carefree in Symphony for the Lost at Sea. Wong Kar Why is an improbable mashup of Orbisonesque noir Nashville pop and a spiraling sax-driven theme. Appropriately enough, the music in Fight Club veers in and out of focus, icy chorus-box guitar filtering through the layers of loops over a soca groove.

Likewise, dissociative layers shift through the frame in Fuzzy Landscape, coalescing into an unhurried sax solo. Kim’s sax flickers and flares over a distantly ominous, bolero-tinged guitar figure in the Interzone – an original, not a Joy Division cover. One of the album’s most disquietingly interesting tracks is The Judge. a no wave/surf rock mashup.

“As I fall down the stairs, people stare or hold my arms,” Kim relates in Smoking Gun, the loopiest and most hypnotic track. There’s even more sunny, circling calm in Thelonious, interrupted by a few jagged peaks: there doesn’t seem to be any Monk influence. Then Kim fleshes out the theme in the Quintet variation that follows. a long, steadily brightening sax solo at the center.

Funeral Waltz is closer to New Orleans soul than, say, a morose Belgian musette. There’s a lingering pall in The Lonesome Path. at least until Kim’s sax floats in and pushes the clouds away. He offers a final goodbye in a disjointed crooner tune that seems to offer a flicker of hope.