Reviews written by Gabriel Levitt unless otherwise noted.
|April 25, 2006:
Last week was one the most original and talent heavy showcases of the year.
So come back when they do.
|| Less is so much more with this super tasteful duo because
they only use the choicest harmonies, guitar/keyboard orchestrations, and
the sparsest lyrical inclusions are supremely filling. They're so good in
this minimalist sense that I've already said too much.
|| A serious and intelligently lyrically driven indie songsmith with an
equally sharp communicative delivery, Louis' debut with Jezebel Music was
what I hoped it would be. Song themes of desperation and desolation are
themes that Louis doesn't f--- around with but treats with a comical wit
that is profound but reachable.
|| Slowly and delicately is how UV takes you into a song, with the
melodies shifting shapes in unexpected and unique ways that leave you glad
you paid attention. Consistently compelling vocals sooth the listener to
learn to just sit back and enjoy the UVibe.
|| A magnificent intensity is an inherent part of Keith's songs,
delivery and stage presence. That's right, "magnificent intensity:" a
feeling of "this is getting to heavy but bring it on, baby." Anger and love
are slung like precision arrows on the bullseye of your lyrical
April 11, 2006:
|April 18, 2006:
|| Outspokenly post-punkish songster parading her trade via solo
acoustic means, Elisa craftily communicates love and anger with wit and
off-kilter, hypnotic rhythms. A comedic edginess pervaded Elisa's set in a
most enjoyable way.
|| Upon hearing Beau's set last week, the listener
was fast and furious to pay attention to this gentleman's blend of
alt-country and straight up rock music. A voice that is recognizably strong
is also unique and memorable for its modest confidence, range, and dynamics.
|| In the absolute best sense Josh writes and
plays quintessential indie-folk (when going solo). What does this mean? He's
carved a new, truly "independent" song writing sensibility that's delivered
with a quiet subtle strength. Sublime melodic changes are characteristic of
his entire repertoire.
|| On keys and guitar, Karl, just days from heading back to his
native UK, treated the room to a well-conceived and performed Premier and
farewell show. With a sweet and strong voice, Karl communicates loss and
love in a direct and authentic way for the rainy day's where those songs are
Reviews by Alex Lowry.
Tom Hayes: Scottish by birth, Tom's music filled up the room with a wistful sense of soul. The Scottish have always been steeped in the art of song, and it showed in his set tonight. Beautiful ballads and clever songsmithing made his set a fantastic start to the evening.
Josh Moore: Blending American country and pop sensibilities, Josh brought a clean cut and solid premiere performance.
Mat Gibson: Mat gave us a singular sense of what Americana from the UK sounds like. It was reminiscent of the charmed sound that was created when the British starting playing the blues. Different, but the same in so many ways. . .and so much more exotic. Delivered strong, the room was enchanted throughout the set.
Cameron Hull: Well, there's nobody else like Cameron Hull. Nobody. An expert songsmith with a wicked sense of humor... sometimes Cameron's art form is so far ahead of it's time people are completely oblivious to it. His guitar playing was superb and his material continued to astound the crowd as it does each time he plays. There's just nobody else like Cameron.
March 29, 2006:
Mecall: Her music: Authentically written, underground, off-balance rock music with a hard, velvety edge. The lyrics have a female ruggedness that is not forced or based on fantasy but a real twisted yet refined contemplation.
Richie Miletic: When you hear Richieer roll off song after song after song, blissfully rocking his "Chinese" country-folk, a genre that is recognizable and still refreshingly unique, you can't miss his strongly commendable guitar and vocal talents that perfectly match his professional ability to entertain the audience while remaining to true to his art!
Spencer Chakedis: A superior risk-taker in the craft of writing and performing songs, Spencer is a wonderful poet agitator with his in-your-face with grace lyrics and romantic ranting. Through all the gymnastics Spencer surprises you with yet more straightforward and commonly accessible cuts that still maintain the 'Spencer Je ne sais quoi'!
Jack Southerland: Speaking of Je ne sais quoi, Jack came back to Laila last week with his sundry, mysterious songs that are in fine tune with the essence of introspective songwriting and his down and out way of performing without self-consciousness. A budding performer, Jack is just starting to grow...
March 22, 2006:
Reviews by Alex Lowry.
John Daugherity: John gave us an intense solo look at an electric guitar player & songwriter with intense lyrics and a Cobain-ish flair. Feeling the music, his set was solid and delivered well.
Chris Merkley: Chris, of the famed band 'The Crooners', offered a serving of bluesy instrumentation and songs that took us to the delta in a hurry. It is obvious where the blues element of The Crooners' sound comes from. He topped off his set with some stellar slide guitar giving the evening the feel of an old Arkansas shanty.
Edward Gorch: Edward brought a different mood to the evening. With an alternate approach to folk, he took the listeners down another, darker alley with his music. The music was delivered well. From an emotional standpoint, the set flowed smoothly and kept people right in tune.
Dave Doobinin: Dave took us on a ride with some of his new material from his new record "One Station Away". Coupled with his own video footage playing behind him, Dave has the uncanny ability to put you into his childhood with his music.
March 15, 2006:
Octavio La Fuentes: Super edgy in a sensitive sort of way, Octavio's songs treat you to some well-deserved sociological commentary on the pathetic enchantments of the so-called hip culture. His performances are laden with dry humor and a Lou Reed-esque delivery. I dig it.
Ben Krieger: Working with a noticeably multi-genre repertoire, Ben, along with John on pedal steel, greatly entertained the audience with what I'm terming 'Krieger-Rock," a music defined by appreciation of the absurdity of life, crafty, humorous lyrics, compelling melodies, and incorporation of the term "rock always".
Kristin Diable: A darling of the LES, Kristin finally made her way out to Williamsburg and, while late, really proved how good she is. So dynamic and enticing is her stage presence it's possible she could make it on this alone. A strong repertoire of soul-searching songs that come across as sincere, sung with an interesting alt-blues vibe. Kristin's indisputable talents combined with awesome accompaniment consisting of stand-up bass and lead guitar made for a very good show.
Jeremiah Birnbaum: One of the finest guitar players on the New York songwriter circuit, Jeremiah generously bestowed some new folk-blues numbers on an appreciative and attentive audience. Uncanny were the strong orchestrations put together by Jeremiah and djembe percussionist John Embree. They "jammed" without ever over doing it. Sweet. Also, this performance yielded one of the best covers every played at the Jezebel Music Showcase; a tasty, slow, and off-kilter rendition of Dylan's "Just like a woman."
March 8, 2006:
Chris Cubeta (and the Liars Club): Playing with his lead guitarist Jeff X, Chris essentially rocked Laila. I write "essentially" because, hey, it's a two-man show, but the songs, skillful instrumental orchestrations, powerful harmonies, and stage performance resulted in a very, very happy audience.
Attention Driver: Currently a one-man act, Dan D'ippolito is establishing a tradition of artistic excellence in the practice of songwriting. His different past band permutations were a mere introduction to his lyrical abilities, which reflect different themes of death and fear of dying, but are oddly serious and amusing at the same time. He has the uncanny ability to put his prose into enchanting melodies. Top it off with intricate, well-played, chord arrangements and finger-pickings.
Dan Costello: I finally got to see Dan play a full set of his original work and he exceeded my expectations in perfect form. This folk-rapper-poet is in magically in-your-face in a pleasant way (but not too pleasant). Humorous social criticisms percolate tastily throughout his songs, a refreshing blast of lyrics in a songwriter climate of confessionals and narcissisms.
March 1, 2006:
The Featured Wednesday crew did not disappoint last week. New songs from Black Bunny's Brandon Wilde wowed the uncontrollable hordes with bitter/sweet melodies; Len Monachello (All Night Chemists), the consummate showman and melody-master dazzled and dazed; and Alex Lowry of LOWRY was back in full-form from the road, with new songs carrying his staple authentic sarcasm, humor, and wonderment, and great Lowry standards to sing-a-long to.
February 22, 2006:
Greg Bucking: There's no bones about it, Greg's got it going on with the funky, bluesy, soulful, acoustic songwriting and upbeat performance thing. With a soothing voice, playing foot-tapping groove-laden rhythms, and singing understandable and thoughtful lyrics, Greg gave us all a good show. If you missed him, don't worry he'll be back.
Lola Johnson: What else is there to say, I'm psyched that Lola has entered the world of Jezebel Music and I have high hopes for her. With a raspy, cabaret vocal quality with jazzy overtones, Lola writes and sings about the New York scene around her, dreamy worlds, and... caffeine!
Erika Simonian: Lyrics are taken very seriously by this accomplished and talented songwriter, and this facet of Erika's art was aptly on display during last week's showcase. Unexpected changes in melodies, stories, and, interestingly, the pace of her songs, are noticeable highlights in Erika's repertoire.
Jack Southerland: You've got to get him, to get how good he is. It's not that Jack is bizarrely out of the mainstream, it's that he's quiet, subtle, and mysterious, but if you listen you'll learn. Poetic and serious, and unmistakably angry, I recommend him highly to the daring among us.
February 15, 2006:
Reviews by Jeff Stultz.
Michal the Girl: Pop songs with smart alternative stylings a la electric violin and cello accompaniment.
Sourtongue: Bohemian acoustic folk-rock duo, songs for change.
Jeff Taylor: Sending his voice from ground level to the 13th floor taking stops along the way, Jeff vented exuberant confidence throughout his set.
Kaz Nouvellehamburg: Very strong songwriting with a brit-folk/pop affectation. Undoubtably a Monkees influence, but Kaz's songwriting and imagery are entirely his own.
February 8, 2006:
Dave and Mike Trio: Reviews on this page seldom use comparisons with established acts but I can't help it. Think Simon and Garfunkel's harmonies and song formatting with the multi-tier melodies, an REM rock sensibility that includes Michael Stipe's lyrical abandon, and yet pulling-off originality. Once again, they are uncommonly professional harmonists. While their songs lend themselves to humor and a certain lightness, their exceedingly well-rehearsed sets are an indication of their musical seriousness and do justice to a litany of well-written songs.
Kelli Rae Powell: We learn once and for all that size isn't everything. With her little guitar and diminutive stature, Kelly Rae's performance is kick-ass big. A cabaret bad-girl's persona sets the theme for many of her songs, yet you know this is a vehicle for metaphor about all our desires and social human folly. Challenging songs, both in variety among songs and within songs, and difficult melodies are performed with little effort. Her voice is to say the least very strong, unique and one of the best out there.
Basement Band: This band, a trio of guitar, bass, and drums, has the potential to do super cool things over the next year because of their ability to maintain the element of surprise within an accessible alt-rock-country style. Also, within this genre, they're unmistakably a natural musical product, not a re-write. Lyrics are thoughtfully understandable in meaning and intent, unpretentiously individual in a way that you know the author is sincere that a "book on a counter...makes you think about love in a different way" is one that he's truly read (See Song of the Week "Kick Me.")
David L.K. Murphy: His passion pours, sweats, and storms into every song he performs on stage. Each word, line, and stanza is given full priority as David gives total expression to a wide-range of human emotion, from loss to love to frustration. Pervasive throughout, however, is a focus on the confusion of life, and melodies seem to soar and reach a point of tension at exactly those phrases where DLKM find so many ways to scream, using poetry and melody, "Why?" Admirably lyric-driven songs are a hallmark to this staple of LES songwriter scene. Thanks from coming out to the Burg! Come again.
February 1, 2006:
Featured Wednesday wrap up: Last week's Featured Wednesday was perhaps the most magical ever. Our artists Len Monachello (All Night Chemsts), Brandon Wilde (Black Bunny), Leah Siegel, and guest stars Greg Bucking and Kat Hayman were all magnificent. I use the corny word magic because their talent seemed to feed off of each other set-after-set, inspiring awe and admiration, literally, in the moderately sized audience.
Putting away the keyboards, Len treated us to a tightly knit, stripped-down, energetic acoustic guitar set, allowing us into the heart of his melodic masterpieces that comprise his latest self-titled CD.
Brandon's mojo has never been so turned on as he brilliantly crooned his repertoire of socially inspired, satirical yet heart-felt alt-rock songs. Check out song of the week - "Rag Doll."
Leah, what else can I say? Really? I love her band (a lot) but it's very special to see her solo so don't miss her at the Showcase because these intimate performances won't last forever.
Special guest Greg Bucking is new to the scene, a very skillful songwriter with catchy guitar rhythms and has a show that you should not miss in two weeks at Laila.
Kat Hayman's new songs equal and in some cases surpass the sultry raw elegance of the songs we've come to know and love.
January 25, 2006:
Reviews by Gabriel Levitt, Jeff Stultz and UV Avnur.
The Shivers (Keith Zarriello): When you catch a rare perfomance by an artist like Keith you're enthralled in the process of watching as much as you are listening. Tangled up in Keith's immediate, if not timeless songs, is a sense that you're watching someone untie a knot or wind up a garden hose, and their personality just comes pouring out as they do it. A violent barrage of frustration and release, infectuous and honest songs, and a completely rewarding experience if you're attentive. "L.I.E." by The Shivers is Song of the Week. -JS
Vivan (Clinton Scheibner):
Vivan gives a rustic, yet elegent and friendly performance that's hard to talk through. He has a rare talent of conveying a personality (presumibly his own) very clearly and vividly (or vivanly), to such an extent that you feel you know him, and like him, by the time he gets to the second verse of the first song. It's a special charisma, and it already was drawing a medium sized crowd at Laila. It's quite possible that Vivan will be on a poster near you, soon. -UV
Andy Guthrie: A whispery cabaret-rock vocal aesthetic is a highlight of Andy's performance and on the best songs the listener can really take flight within his voice. Soft, emotive melodies guide his lyrics through the travails of family anguish, love, and hope. On top of that his jazzy style is a refreshing genre-twist for the New York City songwriter scene.
Jonathan J. Johnson: At the ripe age of 21, Jonathan is already one of the better songsters to play the Jezebel Music Showcase. If you heard the quiet charisma of his performance, the unpretentious poetry of his lyrics, and the skillful guitar execution he displays, you’d know why expectations are high for Jonathan around Jezebel Music HQ. -GL
January 18, 2006:
Reviews by Jeff Stultz.
Richard Thorne: Borrowing from folk and hints of bluegrass, Richard's songs are light hearted like an afternoon ride, at times not unlike early Cat Stevens. Lyrically spun around a character who seems to 'get it' and knows everyone else can too.
A strong voice without unnecessary affection, David's conviction comes off as wholly genuine. Sharp wit and keen observations trickle through David's songs about private notions of friendship, love, and confessions.
Barney Miller: With a little grit (a la a beat up strat and overdriven amp), Barney's clever, upbeat and wholly unpretentious songs will make you smile. Barney has song of the week, and with a title like "My Funeral is Gonna Be Packed" you get the idea.
Christopher Hartman :
Chris would not be out of place playing for friends off the boardwalk. Acoustic moderate rock with themes of inner direction and determination.
January 11, 2006:
A note on last week: Ladies and Gentleman, it was unbelievably difficult to decide Song of the Week for last week. Many songs were, frankly, superb. And those that weren't were either pretty good or solid. Please come check out these nights and learn more about the art of song... Gabriel
As Frank started playing, I realized that I had only caught a glimpse, a mere token of his music, in the past. From the first song I realized the magic behind his songwriting and performances. Lyrically he shines with irony and wittiness that is not unnecessarily curt or sarcastic in that all-too-common hipster fashion. A party aura made up of alt-country, folk, and rock surrounds the music and vocal delivery. Thank you. AND CHECK OUT HIS SONG OF THE WEEK.
Catchy guitar and pedal steel orchestrations provided a perfect foundation for Ben's super-satirical, energetic, and original songwriting. His music can be slapstick-parody but for the discerning listener the other levels of Ben's insights will keep you thinking for the rest of the week! Few are as versatile as Ben in the songwriting department.
Christian (from the Last Attraction): In the spirit of Nick Cave, Christian's songs are often laments from Salome's (you know, the dancer) bedroom. In dramatic form and measure Christian brought us some light from the dark, with biblical themes, low-penetrating vocals, and a healthy dose of death.
Jack Neatus: A really talented singer/songwriter in the traditional sense, with well-crafted lyrics, a sweet sense of melodic variety, smooth vocal delivery. With tasty accompaniment by Mike X on the electric guitar, and all the skills aforementioned, Jack played a superb set. Don’t get me wrong with the “traditional” and technical sound of this review, Jack can really make a name for himself as a top performer in the singer/songwriter scene.
January 4, 2006:
Reviews by Rebecca Capua
This was Jeff's first time playing at the Jezebel Music Songwriter Showcase, and he pretty much blew the audience away with his soulful voice. Jeff's songs sneak up on you with unexpected empathetic moments - he utilizes his impressive vocal range and sense of timing very skillfully, and his lyrics create an impression of emotional vulnerability that is, at the very least, irresistible to females.
Horrible announcer. Stick to the singing and the songwriting. (Editor's Note: Rebecca is in fact an incredibly skilled songwriter with... don't miss her at the 2005 Songwriter Revue at Galapagos on January 19.)
Kelli Rae Powell: Kellie's got a phenomenal voice and she gets some very complex songs out of that ukulele. She's able to go back and forth between songs that emphasize the more irreverent and slightly campy qualities of the instrument, such as "Magical Mystery Thing," and songs that are more edgy and romantic where the ukulele is played more like a harp or a zither. Very refreshing.
December 28, 2005:
A down home alt-country songster with a subtly twisted comic style that New Yorkers could learn from. Vince played a good premier performance and I look forward to hearing more...
Ben Krieger: Choosing to wait for Ben's next show - next week (You must check him out) - for a full review let's just say I'm super psyched that Ben is on the scene.
Kat Hayman: Playing with her entourage, Brandon Wilde (Black Bunny) on bass, and Len Monachello (All Night Chemists) on drums, Kat once again wowed us with her sizzling, sexy songs. A couple of new songs, superbly crafted, were enough to show us all that Kat's success is all in the palm of her hand.
Matthew Breinich: A real pleasure to hear an upbeat, entertaining, well executed set of unpretentious original songs. Hat's off to Matt.
December 21, 2005:
Mike K: An impressive premier performance, Mike K showed us an eclectic array of creative chord changes played with flowing rhythms and well-conceived lyrics. We’re looking forward to more in 2006…
Fergus McCormick: His fantastic performance last week proved that Fergus is a rising star in the New York folk-rock songwriter scene. What a very thoughtful and skillful travel-writer does for literature, Fergus does for songwriting! The sights encountered and impressions made by wandering the globe are shared by Fergus through song. You can hear Fergus's Jezebel Music Song of the Week on Radio Jezebel!
December 14, 2005:
A joyously melodic acoustic-pop troubordor, Colin is light unto the songwriter scene. It is virtually impossible not to like or love Colin's music and performance. Impossible. Don't miss his next show!!!!
Attention Driver: In this last performance Dan D'Ippolito, the Attention Driver personified, showed us a new electric ambient sound - edgy emo thing that represents a bold departure from his work with K9 Photography and Machines Aren't Loud. It something that needs to be heard and is difficult to explain, but it's definitely very good. Even in this new universe, Dan's songs possesses a core contemplative musical sensibility and strong vocal quality that has shown in all his work.
Dorie Vance: My new favorite singer/songwriter is definitely Dorie Vance. She is not inventing a new genre and will not raise the eyebrows of cool kids looking for the next "new sound." She will rock your world with the solidity of her songwriting, featuring eyebrow-raising melodic variation, naturally blissful finger-pickings, and a dynamite voice, one that contains jazz, pop, and country elements. Check out the Song of the Week.
What a great line-up last week. Please come by this Wednesday. It just keeps getting better!
November 30, 2005:
Reviews by Jeff Stultz
Jim Barron: Jim writes gentle but electrified songs from a steady and balanced perspective. "You've got to be a bigger star, so damn lame," a chastising dedication to the rise/fall of musical icons whose muse lies in the erratic fate of success rather than a true dedication to craft. A sentiment that gathers weight through Jim's conviction as a performer.
Tom Rhodes: Tom runs the gamut from subtle spoken lines to gritty but pop driven alt-country verse. With a cast of guests including Doug Siegel and Liz Clark, Tom's skill as a performer and showman is some of the best around. Listen to "Lion", which is one of Jezebel Music's Songs of the Week.
Doug Siegel: A cool performing composure and confidence retains the inviting effect that Doug's songs emit. A rallied cover of Neil Young's 'Helpless' with accompaniment fit nicely in between original numbers and heightened other song's individual effects.
Scott Peterson: A clever weave of self-deprecation, humor, and optimism. Songs step out from Scott's personality with the aid of punch line driven choruses and melodic vocal spires.
November 23, 2005:
Not feeling well, Bill Mann took the stage for a short but
sweet set that shows what a pro he truly is. If you don't know Bill, he is
one of the strongest guitar players out there (sometimes playing with the
Animators), a fun and clever rock-pop lyricist who knows how to entertain
Super-edgy post-punk acoustic angst. Intelligent lyrics and,
for a singer-songwriter night, a damn good party attitude. Think Murphy's
Law if you can believe it. This short review is strong and punchy like
Ollie's cool songs.
Edward Gorch calls Kelli Rae: A duo of Edward Gorch and Kelli Rae
(Shocking) - we were treated to some homey alt-country with well executed
harmonies and orchestrated instrumentals with Edward's talented
finger-pickings and Kelli Rae's "little guitar" rhythms. Edward is now a
welcome veteran of the Jezebel Music Showcase and we very much look
forward to Kelli-Rae's first solo appearance.
November 16, 2005:
Switching between piano and guitar for different songs, playing with particular skill on the piano, Gretchen's voice stands out right away as a powerhouse among the songwriter scene.
Erika Simonian: One of the best Jezebel Music Showcase premiers of the year, Simonian's songs danced, shouted, laughed, and argued with exceptional cleverness and poise. In several songs, the futility of love is comically tempered with the need for hope in Simonian's unique lyrical style. Check out her song, "Pretty Good Wife", which is the Jezebel Song of the week.
Adam Snyder: With wit and irony, Adam Snyder very skillfully performs a repertoire of originals that respect the intelligence and perhaps frivolity of the audience in that the lyrics require you to pay attention and have a sense of the daftness of life, which is truly refreshing.
UV's soft-spoken music is highlighted by powerfully felt and written lyrics. With his calm delivery the audience can be dazzled by the intensity and precision of the melodies. Playing with a bassist, in front of enthusiastic admirers, UV performed a super strong show.
November 9, 2005:
Bob Van Pelt: One of the finest Jezebel Showcase premier performances in a long time, Bob has developed a strong repertoire of introspective and lyrically-driven, folk-rock music. Newer songs have a bitter-sweet confessional vibe like in the vocally powerful "All that I have done" in which mistakes of the past are lamented but celebrated at the same. Bob might sing, "haunted by all that I've done" but psyched about the songs his mistakes have created.
Brook Pridemore: Truly one of the best artists coming out of (or finding) the anti-folk scene, Brook's "Get Back" is one of the Jezebel Music Songs Of the Week. Fast guitar rhythms with punk overtones are deftly executed to an intense delivery of poetic ranting and raving about running around, taking in, putting off, New York City and the trouble you can find yourself in. I'm down with it.
Joshua Gabriel: No newcomer to the Showcase stage, JG is an artist with many portfolios. In music, his ability to express anger and frustration using his signature rap/folk/punk acoustic style is truly unique. Cranking out rhymes about the earth's destruction due to man's incompetence are done so with severity and yet if you don't get the humor from this Show the you're missing the fun of JG's Mojo.
October 26, 2005:
Rob Troise: Able to stretch out of the common song construction in a single bound, able to have a booming voice that penetrates while keeping in tune, excelling at playing with various themes in one song while getting to the point, and rocking you with some agile rhythm guitar, is Super Rob Troise. A must see.
Kat Hayman: When Kat sings "cause you've given me so much substance for a song" in her song "Act Accordingly" it is imperative that this "YOU" knows he has my gratitude. In a beautiful, sexy melody, with edgy, mellow, almost dirge-like, acoustic rhythms, Kat unleashes lyrics in the form of a dialogue and where so many fail at this she f-ing rocks. Last week's performance with All Night Chemist's lead Len Monachello on percussion and Black Bunny's lead Brandon Wilde on bass, this trio had a Stevie Nicks meets the Velvet Underground feel to die for. See Song of the Week to hear a sweet recording of "Act Accordingly" recorded by Jezebel Music's own producer Len Monachello.
Octavio La Fuentes: One of the few able to have an "I don't give #$%& attitude" in a welcoming manner, Octavio's songs are discussions, diatribes, passing thoughts, and wisdom that make you smirk and say under your breath "Hell ya" or "Right." With speak/sing deadpan style, Octavio's music and performance is evolving into a it's own unique punk-folk craft.
Jane Herships: With a very understated style, Jane is a quiet powerhouse with her interesting alternative-blues, cabaret rock songs. A lovely singer whose lyrics don't waste time and are purposeful without pandering for a reaction from the audience. I need to hear more of this Femme-balladeer
October 19, 2005:
James Frey (of Inferno Merchants): A fine premier
performance, James came with some passionate and introspective rock
material with a lot of heart and skillful delivery.
Mariana Bell: When we were little kids in school
and someone won an award for the "most improved" category,
right or wrong, it wasn't the most desired prize. After Mariana's
(and the Awesomes) incredible showcase last week I hold that prize
in new esteem. Always a good performer, and promising songwriter
with a sweet voice, I witnessed a transformation in professionalism
and creativity in Mariana very rare in my promotion career. The
backing band, which we named "The Awesomes" were awesome:
Two members of The Animators, co-songwriter Alex Wong on percussion,
and Bass player Phil Galitzine Rosi Golan offered fantastic back-up
vocals and last but not least Jovy was a super tasty lead guitar.
Doug Keith: It took me two years to realize that
Doug Keith is a SUPER talented lyricist. I don't no why but he is.
His deep, gruff but sensitive vocals offer a sexy sincerity that
deepen the lyrical presentation. Without pomp Doug also treats us
to fabulous, hypnotizing guitar-pickings and phrasings. Just come
see the next Doug Keith show and listen to Song of the Week, "West Coast".
Slow Learner: An very strong trio of drums, bass,
and keyboard, concluded the evening with enticing orchestrations,
learned and insightful lyrics and songs that played with an exceptional
October 12, 2005:
Reviews by Claire Bowman
Ole Garup, visiting only for a short time from
The Netherlands, graced us with a short, lovely set to start off
the rainy evening. His sweet tone lilted gently over delicate guitar
chords set the right mood.
Kristen Gass immediately adopted a friendly, confident
stage presence and maintained an engaging presence throughout her
entire set. Her songs were approachable, friendly, sincere and
sweet, leaving the audience smiling almost a wide as Kirsten herself.
Toby Goodshank fascinated us with his brief, quirky
tunes, cool guitar riffs, expert microphone technique, controlled,
striking vocal tone, and fresh, bold lyrics. .
Miki Huber transcended the soggy evening, taking
us around the world and into the night sky with her eccentric, artsy,
strong vocals and powerful, imaginative imagery. Miki received
a well-deserved encore for her excellent performance.
28 , 2005:
Rebecca Capua: Songs with a special simplicity
that allure the listener to attention as they ingest Rebecca’s
beautifully sweet vocals and sincere, well-crafted lyrics. If you’ve
missed Rebecca’s shows so far, you have missed out a part
of the Jezebel Music experience, as she is one of Jezebel Music’s
most highly valued artists.
John Laprade: An especially strong performance
last week, John exercised the most of his already strong guitar
playing skills, intertwined with a fabulously varied lyrical repertoire
covering themes such as a friend turned born-again Christian, the
foibles of Dubya, and interesting introspective vignettes. One of
his best vocal displays to date, last week John demonstrated he
has the pipes to showcase his strong songwriting craft.
Barney Miller: Kind of a one-man rock star and
stand-up comic but don’t let these quirky observations detract
from the fact that Barney writes excellent songs. Seldom using comparisons
to existing artists in this journal, it’s impossible to avoid
mentioning the Costelloesque-quality because Barney so artfully
uses this influence to craft his own works for art. It’s super
cool. Song of the Week "Not Blue About You".
Fleza Doza: An uncommon ability to bring an abundance
of high-energy rock-pop to the Jezebel experience with a solo performance.
Fleza is very much a professional vocalist with notable range and
voice control, matched by similarly seasoned guitar playing ability.
One memorable number aptly critiqued the commercial machine by which
we are bombarded around-the-clock, which displayed a heartily catchy
chorus, a mainstay of Fleza’s songwriting.
Fergus McCormick: An Alt-Irish-country-folk balladeer to rival the best in
his class! Fergus shows us over and over again why he is one of the most
professional and skillful singer-songwriters in the New York circuit.
Gabriel Levitt: A sound songwriter with a lyrically-driven, satire-centered
repertoire but morbidly out-of-practice.
Jeff Stultz (of Limbs): Deeply in tune with an earthy post-punk sound,
Jeff's solo performances are a rare glimpse into the origins of some of the
best Limbs tunes. Jezebel Music's Song of the Week w/ "Root".
Matt Rumley: Clearly the most passionate and rocking act of the night. This
WLSC finalist came up from North Carolina to show us how a solo performer
can wail on the guitar while belting a super dynamic rock voice always on
pitch. Keep an eye out for more Rumley.
Jezebel Music's Featured
Alew Lowry (Lowry): Alex treated us to a laid back,
stripped down, solo show in which his songwriting craft was on full
display. The honesty of his lyrics, the unique tenor of his voice,
and his well-played and original finger-picking arrangements were
the bedrock of a sweet performance.
Len Monachello (All Night Chemists): Len also made
it a night of solo matierial with his guitar (well, guitars) and
treated us to the most seasoned, savvy, and succulent melodies that
are his specialties. Please listen to Jezebel Music's Song of the
Reason" for a taste of Len's songwriting mastery.
Theo Eastwind: On his mellower side, Theo played
a super serene and soulful set. As he sat and played more quietly
than normal we witnessed once again one of the most distinctive
voices and engaging performers on the New York City circuit.
Leah Siegel: Leah has AWESOME NEW SONGS. Need I
say more! Ok, I will. The magic vocals, intricate and thoughtful
guitar phrasings were in full effect last week. Once again, Leah
treated us to new songs that match and excel the material that you
have come to love.
With a jazzy, almost R+B bent, Matthew's premier performance displayed
some well-crafted songs with intricate melodies, and a lot of promise
for the future.
Michael Shaw: With a uniquely understated and calm
vocal delivery, Michael has an uncanny ability to effortlessly convey
the moods and attitudes of his songs. This dynamic combined with
accessible and intelligent lyrics are the secrets of Michael's powerful
The Bowmans: In short, The Bowmans are the best
vocal duet to grace the Jezebel Music Songwriter Showcase. Sarah
Bowman's lyrics are deceptively mysterious in that the listener
catches one level of the meaning to later find the dark twist of
the story. Their beautiful harmonies can be heard by listening to
Kitchen Song", the Song of the Week.
Derek James: Taking good old-fashioned rock music,
splicing it with swing sensibility, and an alternative twist, Derek
makes music that you will love. With his guitar player (whose name
escapes me and I apologize) oozing catchy licks and phrasings and
mingling savvy harmonies, we were treated to a fun set of music
with some top songwriting by the upbeat Mr. James.
Fergus McCormick: A consummate performer both for his songwriting craft and musicianship,
Fergus beautifully brings together folk and country, with an Irish
twist, in his songwriting. One song he played last week, and on
a his album, "Bed of Sorrow" wonderfully and seriously narrates
the story of having contracted Malaria. This honesty and narrative
style are trademarks of Fergus' music.
Rasp Thorne: Much more than a songwriter, but that
too, Rasp in an experience! Observing characters and life in the
dimly lit alleys of Americana, and perhaps trolling them himself,
Rasp's voice is a sexy weather-beaten face of experience. And while
unmistakably funny at times, Rasp is serious about conveying the
deepest blues of loneliness, political injustice, and the sunshine
of the darkest parts of town.
Grant Withington: Hats off to Grant who came up
from Chapell Hill, NC, to perform at the Jezebel Music Songwriter
Showcase. Grant possesses a unique vocal emotional intensity and
he puts it to introspective lyrics that display a passion for everyday
Joshua Gabriel: Jezebel Music Song of the Week
Century Blues", JG is uncannily artful at weaving punk-folk
lyrics that go in all directions but come back to the same point
with surprising clarity. He howls with a rap sensibility. Ranting
and raving with style, JG is profound but great entertainment all
Fleza Doza: The
leader of an energizing rock-pop band, Fleze Doza came unplugged
with a 3-piece and treated us to some songs with catchy melodies
and accessible lyrics with a bite of sympathetic melancholy. Super
strong vocals and savvy guitar/bass arrangements were a driving
force of this showcase!
Colin Steel: If you have not heard Colin, then
your life is lacking a large repertoire of imaginative, intricate,
fun-loving, and sweetly performed, enjoyable songs. In the songwriting
tradition of Matthew Sweet and Evan Dando, Colin's vocal delivery
and style are refreshingly unique.
Heath Brandon: For some reason, I'm always down
when someone brings compelling acoustic-rock songs and mixes it
with an R+B flavor and the product impresses all listeners, even
those that aren't into R+B. Wait, this really almost never ever
happens, except if you catch Heath Bandon playing the Jezebel Music
Songwriter Showcase. A funky, percussive guitar style and raspy-jazz
vocal quality really makes this fun.
Rebecca Capua: Jezebel Music Song of the Week for "Agent
99", Rebecca, 23, is a veteran of our showcase. An
intimately sweet voice resonates into your skin as you listen to
her well-written and thought out songs about mistakes made while
growing-up, the flightiness of love, and misunderstandings between
people: and while the words use metaphors, imageries, etc, if you
listen, you'll always get it, which is super cool.
Rob Troise: After
a long hiatus, Rob is back with an eclectic repertoire of songs
characterized by chord progressions with an energetic intensity
and lyrical themes portraying shadowy perspectives with humor. Noticeable
is Rob's unique musically sensibility, which is disturbing and wonderful
at the same time.
Kevin Mullaney: A fine premier performance, Kevin
brought us a laidback folk-blues set of originals to enjoy. Lyrically
Kevin's songs portray a cast of characters about which he narrates
as observer and occasionally joins as participant. Catchy guitar
riffs and a deep, upbeat vocal style are the trademarks of Kevin's
Jonathan J. Johnson: Alternative-urban-country
with a New York vibe, Johnson's songs have a subtle quality where
you find yourself gradually enjoying the melodies, only to realize
you become the happy captive of intelligently written and well-performed
August 3, 2005:
Jezebel Music's Featured
Wednesday: If you don't already know, on the first Wednesday
of every month Jezebel Music showcases its featured songwriters
at the Laila Lounge; Leah Siegel, Len Monachello (All Night Chemists),
Brandon Wilde (Black Bunny), and most recently Alex Lowry. Please
help get the word out about this fantastic night of music!! Because
these artists have an ongoing residency there's only so much I can
write on them so I'll point out the hightlights.
Brandon Wilde: From an auditory sensory perspective,
Brandon's song "Rag Doll" sucked me in last week in the way that
a Caribbean sunset touches your visual sensory perception. For the
latter, the red, oranges, and streaky cloud colors capture your
attention but slowly you realize you can't turn away and you're
hypnotized by this sight. When Brandon sings "Rag Doll" this happens.
Alex Lowry & The Bowman Twins: Well, we made his
you got" the Song of the Week so that says a lot. Some
how Alex is just doing his own thing musically and it's really cool
to hear it. It's great to have Alex on board the Featured Wednesday!
Leah Siegel: Whether it's Galapagos, the Living
Room, or the intimate setting of the Laila Lounge, Leah brings the
audience to rapturous applause both with her extraordinarily intricate
guitar parts that are as percussive as melodic or more well-know,
her never-ending vocal celebration of great range, pitch and intensity.
Len Monachello: My focus on Len this week is his
new tune "Isabella". Sitting with just his keyboard and microphone,
Len tells the story of a cabaret singer, Isabella, through the eyes
of an off and on lover. Piano bar style, a la Billy Joel, meets
the melodic mastery of Elliot Smith in this original. Can't do much
better than that. Actually, Len does do better by adding perfectly
placed keyboard hooks that tie it all together.