December 31, 2008
Welcome the last day of 2008! Give yourself a hearty pat on the back for making it through another year.
As action packed as 2008 has been, the future looks bright for 2009. To keep you company on your annual voyage, Jezebel Music is proud to offer a slimmed-down, lean, mean trio of entertaining entities: the Monthly Feature Show (taking place on the second Thursday of each month at Public Assembly beginning in February 2009), Resonance (at Bar Matchless starting January 7) and JezebelMusic.com.
If you’re at work today, here’s a little something, courtesy of Asthmatic Kitty Records and Mr. Sufjan Stevens, to make the day go a little quicker (and keep the holiday spirit alive a little longer): http://xmas.asthmatickitty.com/
Leave it to Sufjan to record a new Christmas record every year. 2008 saw the release of Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Infinity Voyage, featuring renditions of classics such as “Do You See What I See?,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” and “Joy to the World.”
To all who have read, listened, watched and participated in Jezebel Music events in 2008, thanks!, and we’ll see you in ’09…
“The future’s in the air / I can feel it everywhere / blowing with the wind of change”
What the Scorpions are so eloquently communicating in this epic power ballad – 18 years late, granted – is the exciting news that beginning Wednesday January 7, 2009, Resonance (like so many other young, hip things) will be leaving the Lower East Side and moving back to Brooklyn! Better yet, the most excellent Bar Matchless will be the new home of Jezebel Music’s weekly Wednesday songwriter showcase: Resonance. And best of all, even though rent is steep everywhere, Resonance will remain a FREE show!
Wednesday + January 7 + 2009 + 7:00pm + Bar Matchless + $0 = YOU!
December 30, 2008
The Sir Douglas Quintet
The Sir Douglas Quintet Is Back!
2000 | Sundazed Music Inc.
Just looking at the cover of The Sir Douglas Quintet Is Back!, you’d be excused for mistaking The Sir Douglas Quintet for a cheap Animals or Herman’s Hermits knockoff. Everyone’s doing their approximation of a young British Invasion sensation of the day: leader (and namesake) Doug Sahm doing his Pete Townshend and drummer Johnny Perez looks an awful lot like Keith Moon, albeit a Keith who’d spent a little more time at the beach. Organist Augie Meyers (later famous for his Vox work on Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind) could have been replaced by Mick Jagger, he’s got the look down pat. It’s almost as if somebody in a position of power thought they could make a quick couple of dollars fooling American teens into buying Is Back! based on cover photo, in hopes that Sahm and Co. could pass as lesser UK popsters. What a shock those kids would have suffered when they set the platter on the hi-fi and The Sir Douglas Quintet’s brand of weird “cosmic” country barreled through the speakers.
More on Record Review: The Sir Douglas Quintet Is Back!
December 29, 2008
Looking for a New Year’s mojo hand to rock you kind of slow and easy, to shake, rattle, and roll you out of your crumb-ridden, wine-stained, bath-robed holiday malaise? Looking to feed our needy economy, but don’t feel like another pair of gold-lamé leggings or spree of brunches is worthy of your Christmas pittance? Then look no further than a certain barn-stompin’ barn in a certain mystique-spoiled town ninety-miles north of New York City. This is the home recording studio and performance space of former-The Band member and current aural-Americana authority, Levon Helm, and his ongoing concert series, The Midnight Ramble.
More on New Year’s Resolution: Ramble More
December 28, 2008
2008 | Self-released
Heaven bless the internet. For, however against the odds, it remains not only a superlative source of penis enlargement opportunities, but also a conduit for discovering the new, the intriguing, the beautiful, and, yes, sometimes, even the sublime. And lately, amidst the literally depressing economic mayhem around me, I’ve been surfing around quite a bit, trying to discover the latter, particularly in music.
Fortunately, a few days ago I happened upon Tarrah Reynolds’ Myspace page out of this simple curiosity. A friend had mentioned that Reynolds, a wonderful violinist, has been making her way in the local singer-songwriter circuit. This is a very good thing. Reynolds’ music possesses a lush earthiness, like something subterranean that (for the best) can’t shake its fresh and tectonic nature even after having been brought to the surface and molded. An acute sensitivity burnishes her melodies, lyrics, and guitar playing; the story told through their composite has purpose.
More on Song Review: “Burden”
December 26, 2008
If you’re excited by the following description – “Gothic country music, all doom-y and fretful with what concerns the average poor American” – then you should immediately mark your calendar for March 3. On this date, Neko Case will be releasing a follow-up record to the highly acclaimed Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.
The album, entitled Middle Cyclone, was recorded in Brooklyn, Vermont, Tucson and Toronto, and is highlighted with a slew of guest appearances including M. Ward, Calexico and a handful of New Pornographers. Out of the record’s substantial 15 tracks, Case features two cover songs: “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth” by Sparks, and “Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson. See the full track list below…
More on New Neko Case LP Due March 3
December 25, 2008
Vince Guaraldi Trio
“Christmas Time Is Here”
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Music by Vince Guaraldi; Lyrics by Lee Mendelson
1965 | Fantasy Records
It’s strange to find myself wishing for the triumph of uber-consumerism to help the economy, especially when unchecked capitalism in many of its incarnations is what got this country into financial dire straights in the first place, but here I am, albeit sheepishly, doing exactly that, especially once Black Friday officially kicked off the season. Perhaps this uncomfortable irony explains the greater than usual cultural significance of A Charlie Brown Christmas, even to a nice Jewish girl like me, with its counterleveling message of the import of spirituality and community over commercialism and greed, all graced, of course, by Charles Schulz’s humor. The opening track of the second side, “Christmas Time Is Here,” with music composed by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi and lyrics by television producer Lee Mendelson, sets the more serious undertone, particularly in the last stanza with children’s voices singing “Christmas time is here / we’ll be drawing near / Oh that we could always see / such spirit through the year / such spirit through the year.” More somber than the other songs on this soundtrack scored by Guaraldi in 1965, it has just the right amount of Americana nostalgia without overdoing it to render it a classic, palatable to even the cynical. It’s also a beautiful melody, with a delicacy that matches Schulz’s underlying sensibility. Initially, CBS didn’t want to air the show and particularly disliked the music. They believed that it would be over the heads of younger audiences. Apparently not, since this project has proven to be one of the most successful of the 17 projects on which Guaraldi collaborated with Mendelson until Guaraldi died in 1973.
by Alicia Dreilinger
December 24, 2008
Andre Williams and the New Orleans Hellhounds
Can You Deal With It?
2008 | Bloodshot Records
Andre “Mr. Rhythm” Williams, a mainstay of the Motor City R+B scene for over fifty years and hands-down owner of his own style of “talk-singing,” churns out new new records semi-annually, and to varying degrees. Early hits for the Fortune label, such as “Bacon Fat” and “Jail Bait,” felt like a much bawdier cross between Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and early Motown-era Stevie Wonder. Best renowned for more popular performers’ (such as Ike and Tina Turner and Parliament/Funkadelic) versions of his songs, Williams earned a great deal of money and respect for his songs in the 50s and 60s, spent the 70s and 80s semi-retired and resigned to poverty, then reemerged in the 1990s for a third act varying between hokey and transcendent.
Can You Deal With It?, with its slicker-than-owl-shit production, falls into the former category. And it’s unfortunate, because when Mr. Rhythm’s, well, rhythm stick, is firing on all synapses, an Andre Williams record can sound like a sweaty, grimy dancefloor packed with hedonists bumping and grinding to archaic R+B grooves that reek of sex and never even approach irony. 1999’s country-inflected Red Dirt, which featured the ever-present Sadies as backing band, is the best platter of recent Williams tunes, but 2001’s Bait and Switch (featuring a duet with Rudy Ray Moore, of Dolemite fame) isn’t far behind. Can You Deal With It?, backed by a crackerjack team of New Orleans soul musicians, just doesn’t generate the same sweaty, sexy sound as those earlier, superior efforts.
More on Record Review: Can You Deal With It?