Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012: Some Live Music Choices in NYC

Looking for something music-related to do on New Year's Eve to welcome 2013? There are plenty of choices in the NYC area, as always. A good place to start is the Oh My Rockness guide to New Year's Eve gigs.

 Amanda Palmer plays "Purple Rain" and more at Terminal 5 on New Year's Eve.

Having been out of town for the last week, however, I haven't had time to check on which of these shows still have tickets available. Some are definitely sold out, including the Punch Brothers and Michael Daves at Bowery Ballroom and the Felice Brothers at Mercury Lounge.

Others still seem to be on sale as of this writing, a few of them being:
If you're in Hoboken and want a cheap evening with free tunes, head to Maxwell's for a FREE night of two DJs spinning tunes (including Maxwell's co-owner Todd "Todd-O-Phonic" Abramson).

If you're staying in and want some musical accompaniment that swings, WNYC Radio will once again broadcast a John Pizzarelli Radio Deluxe special for New Year's Eve. The show starts at 10 p.m. and can be heard on 93.9 FM and 820 AM. You should be able to listen online from the station's website too, if you're out of the station's listening area.

The description of Radio Deluxe from WNYC's website:
"Radio Deluxe
Airs Monday, December 31 (New Year's Eve) at 10pm on 93.9FM & AM820
Radio Deluxe returns for another New Year’s Eve program on WNYC.  Join musician John Pizzarelli and singer Jessica Molaskey, as they get together in their "deluxe living room" to make music, play CDs and have fun with their musical guests and introduce listeners to a new generation of performers who know the greatness of the American songbook."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Free Streaming Christmas & Holiday Music - Something Traditional, Something Different

Looking for some options for listening to Christmas tunes and other holiday music free online? Last year I wrote about some options for listening to holiday music online, but didn't manage to post the article until the day after Christmas. I'm slightly ahead of the game this year, getting the information to you just before the clock marks the arrival of Dec. 24th in the Eastern U.S.

Streaming Christmas music player offers a sleighfull of streaming Christmas radio stations.

As with last year, has an extensive selection of all kinds of Christmas radio stations, from traditional to rock, classical, country, and R&B. And AOL Music's album-streaming service once again is featuring holiday music at this time of year, including "Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album Volume 3" and "Now That's What I Call Christmas 5," featuring seasonal songs by Carly Rae Jepson, Justin Bieber, Sara Bareilles, Lady Gaga, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, and many more. AOL's other two streaming holiday albums this year are "Bing Crosby Christmas" and "A Rat Pack Christmas."

For more information on Christmas music listening, you can check out the music section of the bulletin boards of Christmas 365.(see in particular the posts "Christmas Music/Radio Odds and Ends" and "The Week Link - Yule Audio Sources all year!").

If (mostly) classical music and carols are more your taste, check out the special 24-hour stream of seasonal music from New York's classical radio station, WQXR. (It'll be running until Jan. 6th.)

Darlene Love performing "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home" on Letterman last week.

One of the most sought-after Christmas music collections from last year was Bill Adler's "Christmas Jollies," a mix CD of off-the-beaten-track songs that the New York City record collector and former record-company executive put together for his friends.

I've searched online a number of times in recent weeks but can't find mention of what songs are on the 2012 edition of "Christmas Jollies"—perhaps the publicity over last year's collection brought too much media attention to Adler's door, intruding on his own holiday enjoyment. In any case, you can hear the 2011 version of Bill Adler's "Christmas Jollies" here (playing each tune one at a time). P.S. If anyone reading this knows where to hear the 2012 edition of Adler's mix, leave a comment for us below.

Though you may not be lucky enough to spend Christmas in Hawaii with the President of the United States and his family, you can enjoy a bit of an island holiday with another item I featured in last year's post, "Aloha, Merry Christmas From Hawaii" by Ian Stearns (disclosure: we're related).

  Aloha, Merry Christmas From Hawaii by IanStearns

Choose your favorite holiday music stream, grab a mug of spiked eggnog, and enjoy. Merry Christmas, all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Recap: "A Loveletter to New York" Show at City Winery

It was a great night of music Tuesday night at City Winery, with about a dozen acts (and various backing musicians) playing a benefit to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Despite all the talent that took the stage, the event, called "A Loveletter to New York," had the relaxed feel of a coffeehouse concert. Some artists sang and played guitar, while others performed with only one or two additional players, rather than the full band that might otherwise accompany them.

Jesse Malin
Jesse Malin (right) at Tuesday's show.

For me, this was a plus: the low-key, mostly acoustic setting meant that there was no downtime between acts for hauling amps, drums, etc. on and off the stage. So the performers got to spend a maximum amount of time singing and playing.

Each artist did two or three songs, and I got to see performances by acts that I'd heard of for years but had never before seen (Sasha Dobson, Ari Hest, Alberta Cross, and most of all, Nicole Atkins), as well as artists I'd seen before and enjoyed (Joan Osborne, Jesse Malin, and Matisyahu). And there were some performers who were new to me: Kevin Devine, Chris Ayer, Lesley Pike, and Bobby Long.

Matisyahu, one of the Tuesday's crowd favorites.

There were many highlights; among them: Jesse Malin rocking the crowd with "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" and "Burning on the Bowery"; Ari Hest singing "The Wake"; and Matisyahu (backed with guitar and stand-up bass) doing "Crossroads," "Live Like a Warrior," and "Happy Hanukkah."

The last two acts were Nicole Atkins and Joan Osborne, and they lived up to what amounted to headline billing. Accompanying herself on guitar, Atkins sang with a voice full of emotion as she did two of her songs, including "Neptune City" (the ode to her Jersey Shore hometown), and a cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying."

City Winery concert finale
Most of the evening's musicians take the stage for the night's finale.

I had seen Joan Osborne once before, maybe a decade or so ago, and last night her voice sounded as good as it did before. I haven't kept up with her album releases since then other than hearing a tune or two on WFUV, so I was glad that two of the three songs she did were from her first album, "Relish": "St. Teresa" and her ubiquitous hit, "One of Us."

The show ended with most of the musicians returning to the stage to perform "Silent Night" and the Beatles' "In My Life," a beautiful and fitting pair of songs considering both the time of year and the concert's occasion, about seeking peace and recalling the people and places that are special to us. All in all, it was a fine concert featuring a great line-up of experienced artists.

The concert was webcast live, and an emcee at the show said some of the songs would be released on an album (no specifics yet on where or when).
All proceeds from "A Loveletter to New York" were to benefit the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity set up in memory of FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, who perished in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Matisyahu, Joan Osborne, Nicole Atkins, & Many More Playing Sandy Benefit Tues. at City Winery

Matisyahu has been added to what was already a great Hurricane Sandy benefit show at City Winery Tuesday, Dec. 18th, the venue announced Monday. The show, called "A Loveletter to New York," features a lot of artists who either live in the City or have close connections to it. [Update: Matisyahu announced today on his Twitter account that he will be performing three acoustic songs at the show.}
City Winery benefit concert logo
Lots of musicians with an NYC connection play a benefit at City Winery.

On the bill are Joan Osborne, Ari Hest, Nicole Atkins (who recently recorded a new version of her song "Neptune City" as a benefit), Alberta Cross, Bobby Long, Kevin Devine, Sasha Dobson, Jesse Malin, and Chris Ayer, as well as what City Winery is billing as "many more VERY big surprise guests."

Matisyahu, the international rap-reggae star, is a native of the NYC area, and performed at Terminal 5 this past Saturday.

There are still tickets available for "A Loveletter to New York," ranging from $35 to $65. The concert is listed as starting at 7 p.m. The show benefits the Tunnel to Towers foundation.

Another talent-packed with a local flavor takes place on Thursday, only this time "local" means the Hoboken/north Jersey area. Maxwell's is the site for the Holiday Banding concert, which features performances by Chris Butler, Tammy Faye Startlite, Julio Fernandez, The Gefkens, Abbe Rivers, Karen Kuhl, Jack Skuller, Dave Calamoneri, The Cucumbers with Jon & Deena, Lloyd Gold, Bianca Bob, Gene Turonis, Emily Turonis & The Ideals, Sputnik, Jim Testa, AnnaLee Van Kleeck, and Tom Vincent & The Holiday Banding House Band.

The show starts at 7 p.m., costs only $7, and all sales will benefit Rebuild Hoboken.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Photos: Matisyahu at Terminal 5, Dec. 15th

Matisyahu rang out the final night of Hanukkah with a bang Saturday night, Dec. 15th at New York's Terminal 5. With his solid three-piece band and several guest musicians and rappers, he skipped the acoustic songs he's been doing on a number of dates on his "Festival of Lights" tour and kept the set rocking.

Matisyahu on stage at Terminal 5.
Matisyahu on stage at Terminal 5.

Performing in front of a large blow-up of the child's face seen on the cover of his latest album, "Spark Seeker," Matisyahu did his best to create a festive holiday atmosphere in the cavernous venue on the eighth night of Hanukkah. A disco ball shaped like a dreidel hung from the ceiling and there was a giant menorah on stage, which was lit by a young child (with some help from the Matisyahu) that the singer called up from the audience.

The set, which lasted nearly an hour and forty minutes, included a couple of staples of Matisyahu performances: a dive into the audience for some crowd surfing, and the singer pulling audience members up on stage to dance during the final song of the evening.

Matisyahu was no doubt in a good mood because of the holiday, but in the two times I've seen him live he seems to perform with a joy that's contagious. Nobody knows where his spiritual and life journey will end up, but he's sure enjoying the trip—and wants everyone else to, as well.

Matisyahu on stage at Terminal 5.
Matisyahu on stage...

Matisyahu crowd surfing at Terminal 5.
...and surfing in the crowd.

Matisyahu crowd surfing at Terminal 5.

Matisyahu crowd surfing at Terminal 5.

Matisyahu on stage at Terminal 5.

Matisyahu and fans on stage at Terminal 5.
Matisyahu and fans on stage during the concert's finale.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Photos & Setlist: Yo La Tengo Hanukkah Show, Night 6

Yo La Tengo finished its six of eight straight Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's on Thursday, but the band shows no signs of slowing down. Beginning with a semi-acoustic version of "Big Day Coming" (with Ira Kaplan playing keyboard), the trio played an hour and a half set before another sold-out crowd (which Kaplan said included many old friends). See photos from Night 6, and a setlist below.

Yo La Tengo stage
Sadly, the Yo La Tengo 2012 menorah is almost complete.

San Francisco-based indie singer-songwriter Barbara Manning was the music opener, accompanying herself on a beautiful old silver Gretsch guitar. She has been in a number of bands, including World of Pooh. Manning noted that she had known YLT for a long time, and that they flew her back east just for this show.

Eugene Mirman served as the comedic guest, doing routines that included Abraham Lincoln/Daniel Day Lewis calling tech support to get a Blu-Ray player working, and Mirman "marrying" a couple from the audience.

The night's mix CD was created by Three Lobed Recordings.

James McNew, with part of Georgia Hubley at left.

James McNew

Ira Kaplan

Barbara Manning
Musical opener Barbara Manning.

Eugene Mirman
Eugene Mirman was the night's comedian.

[Courtesy of Frank & Earthy blog; Twitter: @bourgwick]

Yo La Tengo at Maxwell’s
13 December 2012
*(Hanukkah, night 6)*

Barbara Manning and Eugene Mirman opened
benefit for the Ali Forney Center
mix disc by Cory Rayborn of Three Lobed Recordings

Big Day Coming (quiet)
Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop
Frenzy (The Fugs)
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck)
Winter A Go Go
I’m On My Way
I’ll Be Around
Cherry Chapstick
Styles of the Times
Little Honda (The Hondells) (no noise jam)
Blue Line Swinger

Christmas Is Lonely (When You’re A Jew) (The Yule Logs) (with Barbara Manning on guitar and vocals and Dan Vargas on vocals)
B4 We Go Under (Barbara Manning) (with BM & DV)
Tried So Hard (Gene Clark)

Concert Notes: Tickets for Bob Mould, Fleetwood Mac, Stars, & More Going on Sale Soon

Now that the 12/12/12 Concert is over (and what did you all think of it?), you're probably revved up to go and see some live music. And at prices a bit more affordable than that big show at the Garden. Fortunately, there are a lot of great shows going on sale in the coming days, including Bob Mould, Stars, Fleetwood Mac, two nights of the Don Giovanni Records Showcase, and an added show of Tegan and Sara.

Below is information on just some of the quality shows going on sale this weekend.

Don Giovanni Records showcase poster
Don Giovanni Records presents a two-night showcase in Feb.

* Tegan and Sara at the Beacon Theatre, Jan. 28th (already on sale) and Jan 29th (on sale Friday at 11 a.m.)

Don Giovanni Records Showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Feb. 8th (featuring Laura Stevenson & the Cans, Jeffrey Lewis, Waxahatchee, Lemuria, and Hilly Eye) and Feb. 9th (featuring Screaming Females, Black Wine, Stormshadow, Home Blitz, and Shellshag) (both on sale Friday at 12 Noon)

* Bob Mould at Bowery Ballroom, Feb. 26th and 27th (both on sale Friday at 12 Noon)

* Stars at Music Hall of Williamsburg, March 8th and March 9th (both on sale Friday at 12 Noon)

* Brandi Carlile at the Beacon, March 22nd and 23rd (rescheduled dates; original shows postponed due to Hurricane Sandy) (on sale now)

* Frightened Rabbit at Terminal 5, April 4th (on sale Friday at 12 Noon)

* Fleetwood Mac at Madison Square Garden, April 8th and the Prudential Center, April 24th (on sale Monday, Dec. 17th, 10 a.m.)

* Rod Stewart with Steve Winwood at Madison Square Garden, April 19th, and Prudential Center, April 21st (both on sale Sat. at 10 a.m.)

* Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band with the Felice Brothers at Terminal 5, May 18th (on sale Friday at 12 Noon)

In case you didn't stay awake for the ending of the 12/12/12 Concert, Alicia Keys finished "Empire State of Mind" sometime after 1 a.m., with Paul McCartney and a large gathering of are police, fire, and other workers on stage. And the much-dreaded teaming of Paul McCartney with the members of Nirvana actually was pretty rocking. The combo some have dubbed "Sirvana" played just one tune, a new song called "Cut Me Some Slack."

(See a recap of the 12/12/12 Concert by Spinner's Dan Reilly, and a review by veteran music writer Caryn Rose.)

The concert is said to have raised $30 to $35 million in ticket sales alone (though it's not clear if that's the total take or the amount that will go to charity). Figures aren't yet available for how much money was raised by people offering donations via phone or Internet (you can still make contributions at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stones Add Guests to Their Sat. NJ Show; Yo La Tengo are Rocking Maxwell's; More

It's pretty quiet again on the streaming-album front this week, so we'll focus on other musical goings-on (particularly live shows) in today's post.

Rolling Stones banner
The 800-pound-gorilla of rock & roll comes to Newark this week.

As we mentioned last week, the Rolling Stones have been added to Wednesday's blockbuster 12/12/12 concert, and now the Stones have announced that some big-name special guests will be joining them at their NJ concerts this week (the 13th and 15th at the Prudential Center in Newark): Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys, and Lady Gaga. [Update: It sounds like these special guests may only be at the concert on the 15th, which the Stones will televise on pay-per-view on many cable/satellite systems.]

(Speaking of the 12/12/12 concert, it's estimated that it's televised presentation will now be available to as many as two billion people. It will be shown on countless websites and TV stations, including PBS, MTV, and many others in the U.S. Good news, since tickets have been listed on StubHub for as much as $36,000 each for floor tickets.)

Another multi-night stand is now underway in Hoboken, though one on a much smaller scale: Yo La Tengo's annual Eight Nights of Hanukkah at Maxwell's. For those counting, tonight is night three, and if you didn't score tickets to any of the sold-out shows, you can follow allow on the band's tour diary. Part of the fun is finding out who the special guests will be, and here's the roster so far: the Raybeats on Saturday, Sun Ra Arkestra Sunday night, and The Feelies tonight.

Note: You can download the first two nights of the Yo La Tengo shows (and possibly more later on) from NYC Taper at The sets by the comedians and the opening musicians aren't available.

Another way to get a Yo La Tengo fix if you can't be at Maxwell's is to read Jesse Jarnow's book, "Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock."Jarnow is a freelance writer and a DJ at famed freeform radio station WFMU, where YLT has played many times.

Matisyahu plays in NYC on Saturday.

Also this week, Matisyahu plays Terminal 5 on Saturday with his full band (surprisingly, tickets are still available). And New York's Nada Surf plays twice at Bowery Ballroom, on Friday and Saturday. (Saturday's show sold out, but there are tickets available for Friday. And there are tickets for both shows available from brokers, some selling for below face value.)

There's lots of great pre-holiday live music out there, get out and enjoy it...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Music Notes: Stones Added to 12/12/12 Concert; Breeders to Tour; Grammy Nominations; Shazam Predicts 2013 Hits?

Here's a round-up of music news from the last few days:

* The star-studded 12/12/12 concert got another star today, as it was announced that the Rolling Stones will be joining the line-up. But if you didn't get in on tickets and don't want to pay the ridiculously high prices being charged at ticket broker websites, don't worry: the show will be televised on CBS and streaming on many websites. (via Consequence of Sound). If you're willing to spend $900 and up per seat, check out the 12/12/12 tickets for sale on StubHub.

[UPDATE, Dec. 11th: Concert organizers have announced that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will open the 12/12/12 concert, and will go on at 7:30 p.m. sharp]

* Dang, has it really been nearly 20 years since the Breeders' "Last Splash"? Apparently so, and the band is re-assembling its line-up from that album and undertaking a play-the-album-in-its-entirety tour next year. (That means drummer Jim MacPherson and bassist Josephine Wiggs, in addition to the Deal twins, Kim and Kelley.) So far the only confirmed Breeders dates are the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in the U.K., in June. There'll be a 20th-anniversary reissue of "Last Splash" too, to be called "LSXX." (via Brooklyn Vegan)

* The Grammy nominations were announced the other night, and despite the usual head-scratchers and predictably bland choices, there was some good news. The Black Keys got five nominations, including Album of the Year and Best Rock Album, and Dan Auerbach (who produced not only his own band but Dr. John and Hacienda) was nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. (via Rolling Stone)

In other worthy Grammy nominations, The Lumineers and Alabama Shakes got nods for Best New Artist, Jack White picked up a few nominations, and even Aimee Mann's "Charmer" was nominated (though it was for Best Recording Package). See the full list of Grammy nominations here.

* While everyone is assembling their best-of-2012 lists, the people behind the music-tagging software Shazam are issuing their predictions for the top songs of 2013. Several of its predictions for 2012 did well, so there's some science behind the prognosticating. Read the article to see how they make their predictions. Among their top 2013 songs: Haim, Angel Haze, and Tito Lopez. (via Billboard)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Concert Notes: Titus Andronicus Ends Tour in NYC; Nick Cave, Fleetwood Mac Announce Tours; Another Sandy Benefit; More

Some concert notes from the (near) past and the future:

* New Jersey's Titus Andronicus rocked Webster Hall Sunday night to wrap up its Fall tour. It was tough to get good photos, with the band members in constant motion (especially frontman Patrick Stickles). And fans were stage-diving throughout the show; a few times, there were four fans on stage at the same time. This is only my second time seeing the band, and as before, they delivered a great, high-energy show. They played a good mix of songs from their three albums, as well as a couple of fun covers: the Dave Clark Five's "Do You Love Me" and the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar."

Hardcore band Ceremony played before Titus and revved the crowd up (and Stickles wore the band's t-shirt during the Titus Andronicus set). See photos below and at the bottom of the page.
Titus Andronicus at Webster Hall Sunday night.

* Tickets are still available for Wednesday's WFUV Holiday Cheer benefit concert at the Beacon, featuring Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynne, Shawn Colvin, special guest Steve Earle, and Lake Street Dive.

* Pitchfork is presenting a Hurricane Sandy benefit Dec. 14th featuring The Men, Widowspeak, Lust for Youth, and Waxahatchee. More guests will be announced later. The show will take place at St. Vitus in Brooklyn; tickets are $12.

* Fleetwood Mac will tour next year, playing 35 dates beginning in April (including Madison Square Garden on April 8th). Some sources say a new album is in the works, too. (via Pitchfork)

* Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are headed out on tour, too, and will do two nights at the Beacon March 28th and 29th to support their upcoming album, "Push The Sky Away." Sharon van Etten will open on the U.S. dates. A presale will be held Dec. 5th from 12 Noon to 10 p.m. (promo code: CAVE) before the general public sale on Dec. 6th at 10 a.m. (via CMJ and MSG)

* Arcade Fire tried out some new songs in a Montreal club show over the weekend, performing under a pseudonym. Expect a new album from them late in 2013. (via Spin)

More Titus Andronics photos:

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Concert Notes: 12/12/12 Tickets Go on Sale Monday; Neil Young Plays Brooklyn; More

Heads up, live music fans: tickets for the star-studded "12/12/12" concert supporting Hurricane Sandy relief go on sale this Monday, Dec. 3rd at 12 Noon Eastern via Ticketmaster. As the logo above indicates, the concert features Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Who, Bon Jovi, Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, and Kanye West. See more details on the concert at its website,

Lineup for the 12/12/12 Sandy benefit concert
Tickets for the big 12/12/12 concert go on sale Monday.

People with Chase credit or debit cards will have access to a limited number of tickets for the 12/12/12 concert beginning at 9 a.m. on Dec. 3rd.

* Speaking of The Who, they're in town for a few shows this coming week to play "Quadrophenia" in its entirety plus other songs. They perform Wednesday at the Garden and Thursday at the Prudential Center in Newark; tickets are available for both.

* After jamming at the Garden on Tuesday, Neil Young & Crazy Horse play the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday night. As before, Patti Smith and Everest open. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.

* Eric Clapton is bringing his Crossroads Guitar Festival to the Garden for two nights, April 12th and 13th. This charity concert features a bunch of guitar greats including Albert King, the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, and many more.

I completely forget when these were going on sale (it was yesterday), and they are sold out already. (Although StubHub lists about 1,200 tickets for each show, and the prices you see there may well come down as the dates approach).