Thursday, November 14, 2013

Arcade Fire Announces "Reflektor" Tour (Two Brooklyn Dates); Metric Adds Small-Venue Show

Ever since Arcade Fire announced its new album "Reflektor," fans have been wondering when they would tour to support the new work. We got the answer today, when the band announced its "Reflektor" tour on Twitter.
Arcade Fire logo
Arcade Fire is hitting the road to support is new album, "Reflektor."

The band kicks things off with a show in Louisville, Kentucky on March 6th, and the tour comes to Brooklyn in the summer for two nights at the Barclays Center, August 22nd and 23rd. Tickets for all dates go on sale next Friday, Nov. 22nd.

Another Canadian band, Metric, is currently on tour, and is playing a rare small-venue gig next Tuesday (the 19th) at Bowery Ballroom. The gig is listed on their tour schedule, but clicking on the Buy Tickets link takes you to an information page, not a Ticketmaster link.

We'd guess the link to buy will go live tomorrow (the tickets are supposed to go on sale at noon Friday the 15th, according to Brooklyn Vegan). Also, the page for this show notes, "All tickets are for WILL CALL ONLY and will be available exclusively for pick up at the venue on the evening of the show with valid ID. Tickets are non-transferable."

UPDATE: I couldn't find the Metric ticket link searching on Ticketmaster, but Brooklyn Vegan found it: Metric Bowery Ballroom tickets.

Until tickets go on sale tomorrow, you can watch Metric perform on the Letterman show tonight.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spooky Music for Halloween & the Day of the Dead (Updated for 2015)

It's that time of year for scary, spooky music. And whether you want such tunes for a party, your workplace, or just to listen to at home, we're got some options below—and you can listen to some of them free online.

Scary classical music for Halloween- album cover
One of the inexpensive Halloween albums on sale at

Pandora has a few Halloween-themed stations this year. I've been listening to the Spooky Symphonies Playlist, which includes scary or creepy classical pieces like "Night on Bald Mountain" and Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt suite. Pandora also has Halloween Party, which lets you rock out to familiar Halloween pop tunes like "Monster Mash."

If you've got young people around, the Family Halloween Playlist might be more appropriate, with its holiday-themed songs designed not to strike fear into the hearts of children.

Interested in buying and keeping some ghoulish music? has a number of albums for the occasion. For example, there are two "Halloween Haunted House" collections for just three dollars each. One features 250 songs and sound effects for spooking your friends and other guests, while the other offers a continuous music playlist.

And there are soundtracks to movies including "Rosemary's Baby" and "Halloween II." 

Similar to Pandora's "Spooky Symphonies" playlist is Amazon's "99 Must-Have Halloween Classics" for $5.49, and "Scary Classical Music for Halloween" for $5.99 $7.99. They include familiar pieces such as the theme from "The Exorcist," "Ride of the Valkyries," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and several selections from "The Rite of Spring." (Note: both the Pandora and Amazon collections contain songs that aren't really spooky per se, but sound dramatic, or were used in a dramatic movement of a movie (such as tunes from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Harry Potter" films.)

If you want to observe Day of the Dead, check out my post from a couple of years back, "Spooky Spanish Tunes for Day of the Dead," which features videos from NPR Music's Alt.Latino program, and a list of the songs used in a seasonal episode of the defunct music podcast Ritmo Latino.

Update, Nov. 2015: Alt.Latino has put out a new Day of the Dead music mix this year, which it's calling the "horror movie mix-tape." See the tunes and listen to it here

Also new (new us) for 2015: Songwriter Andrew Gold (who penned such hits as "Thank You for Being a Friend" and "Lonely Boy") has a collection of Halloween songs for young people & adults called "Halloween Howls," which you can listen to on SoundCloud.

Happy scary listening!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 CMJ Music Marathon - Picks On What to See

UPDATE for 2014: See our write-up on the good stuff to see at CMJ 2014!

* * * * * * * * * * *
Yes, we're a couple of days late here, but the almost-24-hours-a-day extravaganza known as the CMJ Music Marathon is once again upon us.

It's on, now! See CMJ recommendations & more below.

For all the music showcases, panels, and other events, see the official CMJ schedule. You can also find some recommendations here:
Among the acts playing tonight, Oct. 17th: Body Parts at Piano's Upstairs, Tift Merritt and Over the Rhine at the Highline Ballroom, The Head and the Heart at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Real Estate at Bowery Ballroom, and Diane Birch at Gramercy Theatre.

KEXP is once again doing live broadcasts from CMJ in the daytime (Friday is the last one), and the shows are free and open to all ages. And you can stream tracks from CMJ 2013 artists at CMJ Radio.  (Also, don't forget to check out the free download of the latest CMJ mixtape.)

The CMJ Music Marathon runs through Saturday, Oct. 19th (actually, into the wee hours of Sunday morning). Check the CMJ schedule and get out and enjoy the abundance of live music in town this week!

Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 CBGB Fest Is On Now: Picks on What to See

The second-annual CBGB Festival is underway at venues near and far from the original Lower East Side club, and music lovers will be able to continue their festival bingeing when the CMJ Music Marathon starts on Oct. 15th. Here are some places to find listings of the many events, with picks by music critics and other sources.

CBGB festival poster
The CBGB Festival is back, with shows throughout the city.

See the official 2013 CBGB Festival schedule to get the lay of the land for the showcases, panels, films, and more still to come. The Village Voice offers its picks for bands and speakers to see, and for music-only events, check out the Oh My Rockness guide to the CBGB Festival.

As with last year's CBGB Fest, there will be a free concert in Times Square with multiple stages, and it's taking place tomorrow from 10 a.m. till 7 p.m. The festival says there will be five stages and more than two dozen bands and performers. The South Stage will feature Lisa Loeb, The Wallflowers, a DJ set by James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem), and My Morning Jacket.

The North Stage will have "up and coming artists," the site says, as well as supergroupthe Divine Fits and Brooklyn indie favs Grizzly Bear. There will also be music on acoustic stages.

Last year's free Times Square show was fun (though eerily sparsely attended until the late afternoon), and featured performances by The Hold Steady and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, among others. 

Out in the clubs, tomorrow features highlights including Bell X1 at Bowery Ballroom and Meat Puppets at Brooklyn Bowl. On Sunday, the festival's final day, the schedule looks to be all films, except for one notable live music event: legendary rock and jazz drummer Ginger Baker at Iridium.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hoboken Update: Feelies & Speed the Plough Play Hoboken Sunday; Maxwell's Reopens (Sans Music)

Maxwell's closed.
Maxwell's, the day after it closed this summer.

We've been on an unintended hiatus for some time, but are picking up pretty much where we left off last time: with news of Hoboken club Maxwell's and the bands it gave rise to.

• As we're noted many times before, Maxwell's closed at the end of July. What we didn't know is that it would reopen a few weeks ago, but as a bar and restaurant only. It's got a new menu, but it seems that at least some of the long-time owners are still involved. Maxwell's is listed with real estate brokers, but we've heard that the owners have re-opened it to make some money until a new party can be found to lease the place.

• While Maxwell's no longer hosts live music, two of the bands who got their start there will be playing in Hoboken on Sunday. That's the day of the Fall version of the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, and Haledon, NJ's The Feelies are headlining with a set at 4:30 p.m. Preceding them (and taking the stage at 3:15) are Speed the Plough, which features some members of The Feelies.

Other performers at the Festival include The Nerds, 17-year-old Jack Skuller, and regular Gene D. Plumber. Another notable artist appearing the the young singer-songwriter Brody, and if the name sounds familiar to area folks it's because he's the son of Don Brody, the much-loved Hoboken musician who died unexpectedly in 1997 (has it really been that long?).

The Festival runs from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. on Washington St. in Hoboken, and features many arts and craft stands as well as food vendors.

Don was half of the duo The Marys, and was in the band Cryin' Out Loud, but was known to many area musicians for his support and generosity in getting their music heard. (You can read a heartfelt essay about Don Brody here.) The essay says that Don Brody has a son, Perry, who was five when his
father died, so we're assuming that this now early-20s musician is him. For those who knew or remembered Don Brody, it'll be good to see his legacy carried on by a member of his family.

• And one final Maxwell's/Hoboken music note: when The Bongs played the final show at Maxwell's, they broke out some old tunes that were finally going to be issued soon on an album recorded in the 1980s but never released. That album, "Phantom Train,"will finally be released this coming week.

Listen to "My Wildest Dreams" from "Phantom Train" here:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Free Shows Saturday: Trixie Whitley, Nick Lowe, They Might Be Giants, & More

This could be considered the Super Saturday of the free summer concert season (or one of them, anyway)--and it starts early. At 1 p.m. this afternoon, Lincoln Center Out of Doors continues with its
30th Annual Roots of American Music festival. On the bill are Hurray for the Riff Raff (fresh off their well-received performance at the Newport Folk Festival), the Martha Redbone Roots Project, and Trixie Whitley (member of Black Dub, and daughter of Chris Whitley).

"Look Out Mama" by Hurray for the Riff Raff.

At 6 p.m. LCOOD continues with another great Roots of American Music show, this one featuring Nick Lowe, Jason Isbell (formerly of the Drive-By Truckers), and the Rockin' Rockabilly Revue (featuring Sleepy LaBeef and others).

For those seeking some quirky, catchy rock, the Brooklyn duo They Might Be Giants plays a hometown gig at Celebrate Brooklyn starting at 7:30 p.m. Opening the show is Moon Hooch, a brass and drums band which has gone from playing in the subways to being hand-picked by TMBG to open this show. (And they recently got a nice profile in the Wall Street Journal, which I'll link to if I find it.)

If hip-hop is your style, you'll want to check out today's Central Park SummerStage show featuring DJ Kool Herc, called the "Founder of Hip-Hop Culture." Starting at 3 p.m., the show will include plenty of special guests, including Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Marley Marl, and many more.

There's no rain in the forecast, so get out and enjoy some great free music outdoors today and tonight.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
1:30 p.m. - 30th Annual Roots of American Music
* Hurray for the Riff Raff
* Martha Redbone Roots Project
* Trixie Whitley
LCOOD description: "Swamp pop, Native American mountain sounds, and a blend of vintage country and new soul."
Location: Hearst Plaza

6:00 p.m. - 30th Annual Roots of American Music
* Nick Lowe
* Jason Isbell
* Rockin' Rockabilly Revue with James Burton, Charlie Gracie, Sleepy LaBeef, Johnny Powers, and Gene Summers
LCOOD description: "A celebration of Americana with country crooners, rockabilly, Southern soul, and early rock 'n' roll."
Location: Damrosch Park Bandshell

3:00 p.m.
40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Culture with DJ Kool Herc and special guests: Coke La Rock, Roxanne Shante, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Premier, GrandWizzard Theodore, DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, DJ Jerry Dee, Skoob from DASEFX, Soul Sonic Force & many more
Location: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park 

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Note: LCOOD's Roots of American Music fest comes to a close tomorrow with a "roots symposium" (film screening and live interviews with artists) at 12:30 p.m. (at the David Rubenstein Atrium), and then a show at 5 p.m.:
* Bobby Rush
* Allen Toussaint
* Como Mamas
* Eddie and Brian Holland
LCOOD description: "A soulful season closer filled with funky blues, intimate sets by New Orleans' and Motown's finest songwriters, and traditional gospel."

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Cherie Currie Playing NYC in November; Tickets on Sale Friday

It's been a long time coming but Cherie Currie, who gained fame as the lead singer of The Runaways, is touring again, and will play New York's Gramercy Theatre on November 6th. Tickets are $33.50 with fees and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

 Cherie Currie (holding microphone) at a promotional appearance for the movie "The Runaways" with (left to right) Floria Sigismondi (the film's director), Dakota Fanning (who plays Curie in the movie), and Kristen Stewart (who plays Joan Jett). Photo: Jon Lebkowsky (weblogsky) on Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Runaways were a trailblazer for having an all-female lineup, and after Currie left the group she released a few albums on her own, including one with her twin sister Marie. And she gained attention for her acting in the movie "Foxes," opposite Jodie Foster.

But Currie spent limited time in the public eye after that, save for occasional roles in TV in film (including the "Twilight Zone" movie and episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and "Matlock"). She re-emerged in people's consciousness a few years back when doing appearances and interviews in connection with the movie "The Runaways." Other than that, she's been content to lead a relatively quiet life, creating wooden works of art with a chainsaw... until now.
Fortunately for music fans, Currie is hitting the road again. She played a few dates in May and will be touring throughout the U.S. during August. She may well have other dates in November in addition to the New York gig.

It's not known if has been recording any new music to play on this tour, but in any case it's great to see one of the pioneers in female rock playing out again. Welcome back, Cherie Currie!


Other notable New York concerts going on sale soon:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Restavrant at Warsaw, Fri., Oct. 4th. On sale Friday at 10 a.m.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Beacon Theatre, with Al Jardine and David Marks, Tues., Oct. 15th. On sale Friday at 12 Noon.

On sale now:
The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) at Warsaw, Wed., Sept. 11th.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Farewell, Maxwell's: Club Wraps Up its Last Night with a Block Party & The Bongos (Who Play Unreleased Tunes)

Just as it said it would, the legendary club Maxwell's went out Wednesday night the same way it came in, with the band "a," the first musicians who played the place back in 1978. Oh, and a's successor bands, The Individuals and The Bongos also ripped it up, as well as a new-ish band, New Jersey's Delicate Steve.

Richard Barone and Rob Norris of The Bongos at Maxwell's Wednesday.
Richard Barone and Rob Norris of The Bongos at Maxwell's Wednesday.
The club took out the tables in the front-room restaurant to handle the overflow crowds, and the one-block street party was at times packed with celebrants/mourners (partly because only one lane of the divided 11th St. was used).

We were lucky enough to get tickets to see the second show, a and The Bongos, and the bands did not disappoint. We'd never seen a in person before, and were surprised at how many songs they had: enough for a one-hour show, not bad for a group that was only together six to nine months. The tunes had the jangly pop of The Bongos, but also featured changing time signatures and rhythms. You could see how the group evolved into the more polished, hook-driven Bongos.

That band delivered a strong set, starting with the rocker "In the Congo." Frontman Richard Barone looked much the same as he did in the old days, and still sounding strong vocally and ably handling his guitar riffs. We'd guess they must have been practicing a fair amount to be as tight as they were Wednesday night, or maybe they just know the songs so well by now. (See the Gothamist's coverage for many photos from the block party, and more videos like the one below.)

The Bongos perform the T. Rex classic "Mambo Sun."

And yes, as the headline indicates, they did play some old tunes that had never before been released but will be coming out soon. A new single, "My Wildest Dreams," became available on iTunes Thursday; the entire album, called "Phantom Train," will come out in October on Jem Records. The album, the band's follow-up to "Beat Hotel," was recorded in the mid-'80s but never finished or released. 

The set, and the last show ever at Maxwell's, ended with Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo coming on stage to play, later joined by club co-owner Todd Abramson and former owner Steve Fallon. The show wrapped up with three covers, Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll," Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Kicks," and Big Star's "Thank You Friends," written by the late Alex Chilton.

One part of the Bongos set finale, with Glenn Mercer (in sunglasses) and Ira Kaplan (far right).

 And with that finale, Maxwell's hosted its last show, and closed for good a couple of hours later. Now music lovers in North Jersey will have to wait and see if former owner Todd Abramson can manage to open another club in the area, perhaps in an oft-mentioned space in next-door Jersey City.

If it does come of, it won't be Maxwell's. But that's OK; in an area that's starved of clubs showcasing new, original music, it will no doubt be welcomed no matter how much it differs from its famous predecessor in Hoboken.

More coverage of the Maxwell's farewell: 
Photos and more from Gothamist and Spin (more from Spin here), and articles from (here and here), Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. Also: you can stream the new Bongos song "My Wildest Dreams" here.

Maxwell's gone dark, Thursday night. Perhaps appropriately, it was raining.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Maxwell's Closes Tonight with Block Party & Final Show

[UPDATE, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday: The Individuals and Delicate Steve are playing the first Maxwell's closing-night show, at 6 p.m. The Bongos and a finish off the evening with a 9 p.m. show. Unfortunately we weren't able to update this post in order to let you know about these gigs, which sold out quickly, but it's hoped that you found out one way or another.

The free block party is now going on in front of the club, on 11th St. east of Washington (Maxwell's address is 1039 Washington). Even if you couldn't get tickets to one of the final shows, come on down to the block party (see photo below), which runs until 11 p.m.]

Maxwell's closing-night block party.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It's been a great final few weeks of shows for the venerated Maxwell's, but it all comes to an end tonight with a block party and a final show in the back room (details still sketchy). More details on the last shows we've seen, but for now just a brief post on the party tonight: it will take place on 11th Street in front of the club, from 4 to 11 p.m. (according to this tweet from Maxwell's).

Exterior of Maxwell's in Hoboken.
Maxwell's, just as last night's show was starting.

There will be DJs and maybe some live music. The back-room show is said to feature The Bongos, a, and maybe The Individuals, too, but the gig has never been listed on the club's website, and even folks who work at Maxwell's aren't sure on tickets for the gig or whether it will be free, etc. (or how the countless people who want to attend the show would even be chosen).

In any case, do head on out to Hoboken this afternoon or evening and give Maxwell's a proper send-off!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hoboken's Bar/None Records Pays Tribute to Maxwell's in its Final Week

If longtime fans of Maxwell's hadn't started feeling the impact of its impending closing yet, they certainly were after Tuesday night's gig, an all-star show by artists from Hoboken's own Bar/None Records.

Speed the Plough on stage at Maxwell's.
Speed the Plough on stage at Maxwell's.

The label, which has been around since the mid-'80s, has put out recordings by a whole cast of musicians from Hoboken or associated with the town, and the club: The Feelies, the dB's, The Individuals, Freedy Johnston, Alex Chilton, Juliana Hatfield, Health and Happiness Show, They Might Be Giants, Speed the Plough, Kate Jacobs, and Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey, among many others. (See links to more articles about Maxwell's and its closing at the end of this post.)

The first band to take the stage was Speed the Plough, a band that grew out of the Trypes, which in turn was a spin-off of The Feelies. They played a solid set of a half-dozen or so songs, and were succeeded by acts that played anywhere from one song (Kate Jacobs) to 20 minutes or so (James Mastro's Health & Happiness Show).

Health and Happiness Show.
Health & Happiness Show, with Glenn Mercer (left) adding vocals.

Guitarist and songwriter Chris Stamey, a member of Maxwell's staple the dB's, played a satisfying set backed by Gene Holder on bass and Anton Fier on drums. Freedy Johnston, who also has played Maxwell's many times, played one song early in the show, but fortunately appeared later to play his own set, finishing with his classic "The Lucky One."

Chris Stamey at Maxwell's.
Chris Stamey, with Anton Fier on drums.

With this gig occupying the middle spot between two other shows at Maxwell's (... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead on Tuesday, and The Muffs on Thursday, we left the show at 12:30 a.m., after Johnston's set. We heard that the show didn't wrap up till nearly 2 a.m. Like early days of the Hoboken music scene, the show was sprawling, chaotic, and full of great music.

Freedy Johnston.
Freedy Johnston.
More about Maxwell's from around the Web:
"Val Emmich, one of Maxwell's' most successful post-millennial alumni, returns for one more show,"
"Farewell Maxwell's: Remembering the Legendary New Jersey Venue," talk with co-owner Todd Abramson,

"Remembering Maxwell's, New Jersey's Legendary Rock Club," videos, The New Yorker

"The Hoboken Sound: An Oral History of Maxwell's," New York Magazine

"Reliving Maxwell's glory days," Abramson notes the most memorable shows, New York Post

"Hoboken Moms Replace Maxwell’s Rock Fans in Housing Boom," Bloomberg

Friday, July 19, 2013

Maxwell's Adds More Shows: Mission of Burma, Freedy Johnson & Others, Terre T. Live Broadcast, & More

Mission of Burma, "Nu Disco," at one of Yo La Tengo's Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's in 2010. See the latest shows added to the Maxwell's schedule below.

Maxwell's in Hoboken continues to go out with a bang, adding more shows as it heads into its last week and a half in existence. (Get tickets to the shows here.) Just added to the lineup:
  • Wed., July 24th: Freedy Johnston, the Health & Happiness Show (led by former Bongo James Mastro), Anton Fier, and others (8 p.m.)
  • Sat., July 27th: WFMU's Cherry Blossom Clinic hosted by Terre T.—live remote broadcast starring Hackamore Brick (3 p.m.)
  • Sun., July 28th: Mission of Burma (9 p.m.)
  • Mon., July 29th: Bern and The Brights, Secret Islands, and Val Emmich (8:30 p.m.)
  • Wed., July 31st: Closing Night Block Party (DJ music) (4 p.m.)
The Wednesday show is billed on the website as "Bar None Records Presents A Night Of Folks and Fondue feat. Freedy Johnston, The Health and Happiness Show and Chris Stamey with Gene Holder and Anton Fier plus a host of special guests." That should be a great one, and it's only $15.

Maxwell's schedule
 The Maxwell's website shows a dwindling number of remaining concerts... and a photo of a sad puppy underneath "Upcoming Shows."

No show has been announced for the night of the 31st, though says that the final show will feature the first band to play the club, called "a," as well as the classic bands that grew out of "a": The Bongos and The Individuals.

Maxwell's has been hosting a number of sold-out shows in the last few weeks as it counts down to the end. We were fortunate to attend several of these concerts, all great stuff, featuring acts of wildly varying styles: garage-rock masters The Fleshtones, Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter, singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata, and Glen Rock punk rockers Titus Andronicus (on the first gig of their three-night run). Podcast Party be at at least five more shows at the club at 1039 Washington St.

Maxwell's to Rise Again in Jersey City?

Amid the sad news of Maxwell's closing, there is hope that it may live on (in some sense) in a nearby location. Various sources have reported that co-owner Todd Abramson is actively looking to open a club elsewhere in New Jersey, with Jersey City (next to Hoboken) as the most likely location. Particular attention has focused on the under-renovation White Eagle Hall, which is about a half mile from the Grove Street PATH station.

We hope that plan works out. Stay tuned for details.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tanya Donelly! (VIDEOS)

Tanya Donelly, a very gifted singer/songwriter/guitarist who has been making infectious indie pop-rock music for several decades now, turns 47 today. Known for her work in Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Belly, and her solo work, she hasn't recorded anything lately as far as I know, I'm guessing because she's been focusing on being a mother in recent years.

Tanya Donelly and Belly performing "Red" on The Jon Stewart Show.

Donelly has made some occasional live appearances, including a few weeks ago when she joined The Breeders on stage when they played in Boston (Donelly is from Rhode Island and I think still lives somewhere in that neck of the woods). A couple of years before that she took the stage at New York's City Winery as part of the Cabinet of Wonders series, which features John Wesley Harding curating performances by a number of musicians, comedians, and storytellers.

She's been one of my favorite artists since the 1980s, and whenever I go back to her old songs I enjoy them just as much as I did when they first came out.

Happy birthday, Tanya. Hope you'll be recording and performing new material sometime soon.

Video for "The Bright Light," from Tanya Donelly's solo album "Lovesongs for Underdogs."

Belly doing "Slow Dog" on "Later... with Jools Holland.'

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Great FREE NYC Concerts This Week (including B.B. King & DJ Kool Herc Tonight)

This is a big week for great free shows in New York (and you may, in fact, have to make some tough choices when shows conflict). Tonight is such an occasion, when the legendary B.B. King plays the first night of the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival at Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza (formerly the plaza at the World Financial Center). The show starts at 6 p.m. with the James Hunter Six.

BBKing free concert
B.B. King plays free in Lower Manhattan tonight; see other free shows below.

But B.B. King isn't the only legend playing a free show tonight: DJ Kool Herc, considered the "founder of hip-hop culture," is playing a SummerStage concert in Crotona Park in Queens, also at 6 p.m. And there are three great free gigs to choose from Thursday night.

There are also free SummerStage gigs as part of the annual Latin Alternative Music Conference, as well other free shows. Here's what's going on this week; check the links to shows for concert locations and directions:

Wed., July 10th:
* B.B. King and the James Hunter Six, Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival, Brookfield Place, 6 p.m.

* DJ Kool Herc, SummerStage (Crotona Park), 6 p.m.

Thurs., July 11th:
* Waxahatchee, Generationals with Sallie Ford, and the Sound Outside, RiverRocks, Hudson River Park (Pier 84), 6 p.m.

* Lila Downs, Natalia Clavier, Pamela Rodriguez, and Raul Campos, SummerStage (Central Park) in association with the Latin Alternative Music Conference, 6 p.m.

* Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos, and Alejandro Escovedo, Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival, Brookfield Place, 6 p.m.

Fri., July 12th: 
* Cheap Trick and The Cringe, Seaside Summer Concert Series (Coney Island), 7:30 p.m.

* War and DJ set by DJ Afro, SummerStage (Crotona Park), 7 p.m.

Sat., July 13th: 
* Julieta Venegas, Carla Morrison, and Alex Anwandter, SummerStage (Central Park) in association with the Latin Alternative Music Conference, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Concert Catch-Up: 4 Knots, Canada Day Concert, Ian Hunter at Maxwell's

Having fallen off the blog-posting wagon, we herewith present a round-up post of some recent concerts we've been to (two of them free, no less).

4 Knots Music Festival, South St. Seaport

Parquet Courts at the 4 Knots Festival.
Parquet Courts at the 4 Knots Festival.

The third edition of the successor to the Coney Island Siren Festival once again featured two stages with bands of varying styles. Most of the ones we saw at Saturday's festival were firmly in the indie pop/rock vein: The Men, Parquet Courts, The Babies, and White Lung (the latter having a punk feel to them). And then there was Marnie Stern, a New York singer/guitarist whose chops on the axe are impressive, but whose singing style resembles screaming too often for our tastes.

Sadly, we missed the two top-billed acts at 4 Knots, Reigning Sound and Kurt Vile and the Violators, because we had to head uptown for the next show..

Canada Day Concert, Central Park SummerStage

The Joel Plaskett Emergency at SummerStage.
The Joel Plaskett Emergency at SummerStage.

The variety of styles at the three-act Canada Day concert was even more evident. The concert started with a performance by a First Nations group (native Canadians) group, followed by the roots-Celtic band Spirit of the West, pop-rockers The Joel Plaskett Emergency, and electronic pop star Lights.

Plaskett really got the crowd going with tunes such as "True Patriot Love" and "Nowhere with You," and then the teen girls moved to the front of the stage for the very popular Lights. Although she started out writing and performing her songs by herself on electronic keyboards, for her current live shows she performs with a full band, including a drummer and two additional keyboard/laptop artists (who also play guitar and bass).

It was a good night of music, and even the non-Canadians in the house had to be touched when all the show's musicians came out on stage to sing the national anthem, "O Canada," along with show host George Stromboulopolous.

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band, Maxwell's

Ian Hunter on stage at Maxwell's Tuesday night.
Ian Hunter on stage at Maxwell's Tuesday night.

The final month of shows at Maxwell's is upon us, and the much-loved club is going out with a band with a schedule packed full of great gigs. Ian Hunter, who last year played the much-larger Highline Ballroom to launch his latest album, brought his six-piece band to the small stage in Hoboken for a sold-out out.

Hunter played songs old and new, from Mott the Hoople to his earlier solo works to a couple of tunes from last year's album "When I'm President." As with the Highline show, Hunter showed he can still rock, and his Rant Band is full of skilled veteran players (including former Hobokenite and Bongos member James Mastro).

The show was opened by the duo of Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric, two performers who have played Maxwell's many times over the years, together and individually. It felt nostalgic to see them on the stage for the last time, one of many such moments to come over the next few weeks.

One big moment (or rather, set of them) will be when The Feelies play their final year of 4th of July weekend shows at Maxwell's. The Haledon, NJ band formed just a couple of years before Maxwell's open, and it has played the club many times (as have its various spin-off groups).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Free NYC Concerts this Weekend: Canada Day at SummerStage, 4 Knots, & More

June is going out with a loud musical bang this weekend, and for some people (including me) it'll be tough to choose between two favorite one-day festivals. That's because Saturday, June 29th features both the 4 Knots Music Festival at South Street Seaport and the return to SummerStage of the Canada Day concert.

4 knots festival poster
The 4 Knots festival is one of several great free summer shows this weekend.

This third year of the 4 Knots Music Festival features another strong lineup (on two stages again), headlined by Philadelphia's Kurt Vile and the Violators (see lineup below). The festival runs from 1 to 8 p.m. near Pier 17 at the Seaport.

SummerStage used to have a Canada Day concert the weekend before the actual holiday (which is July 1st), but there hasn't been one for a number of years. This year it's back with a vengeance, as a whole-day event as part of Canada Day International (which includes a Great Canadian Picnic taking place for several hours before the concert).

The 2013 Canada Day concert is headlined by electro-pop musician Lights, and also features rocker Joel Plaskett and folk rock band Spirit of the West. Showtime is 6 p.m.

young girl wearing headphones
Young fan rocking out at last year's 4 Knots Festival.

SummerStage will host what sounds like another great show on Sunday: a live performance of the classic Big Star album "Third," featuring an all-star lineup of musicians including Mike Mills (of R.E.M.), Jody Stephens, Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Marshall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, Mitch Easter, and Reeve Carney. Oh, and a chamber orchestra. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Here's the 4 Knots lineup, as listed on the poster. Set times have not yet been provided, but I'll insert them as soon as they're announced. [UPDATE: 4 Knots set times were posted earlier this morning here; I've entered the info below.] You can also see the 4 Knots Twitter page for updates.

Pier 17 Stage
  • Steve Gunn, 1 p.m.
  • Hunters, 2 p.m.
  • White Lung, 3 p.m.
  • Parquet Courts, 4 p.m.
  • The Men, 5 p.m.
  • Reigning Sound, 6 p.m.
  • Kurt Vile & the Violators, 7 p.m.
Pier 16 Stage
  • Heliotropes, 1:30 p.m.
  • Fat Tony, 2:30 p.m.
  • The Babies, 3:30 p.m.
  • Marnie Stern, 4:30 p.m.
All of these shows are outdoors, of course, so let's hope for good weather. Enjoy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Yo La Tengo Plays its Final Show at Maxwell's

It was a poignant evening at Maxwell's Saturday, with local favorites Yo La Tengo making what is probably its final appearance at the club, which is closing at the end of July. Actually, fans in attendance got a double dose of the trio: YLT's cover-band alter ego Condo F*cks was to play the show with Scottish band The Pastels, but when the latter couldn't get into the U.S. because of visa problems, Yo La Tengo stepped in to fill the void.

Yo La Tengo playing their last show at Maxwell's
Yo La Tengo, as photographed from the back of a sold-out Maxwell's.

Opening for itself, in a way, YLT played a mellow, mostly acoustic set, setting a stage for the rocking electric sound of Condo F*cks. As you'd expect, many of the night's tunes touched on the end of the Maxwell's era. CF's first song was the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time," and their final song was The Kinks' "This is Where I Belong" (though both songs are in the band's repertoire of covers).

You can find the full Yo La Tengo/Condo F*cks set list here, giving the original artists for the covers. And did a good article on the night.

(There was one bizarre moment in the night when a young woman fell to the floor. One person said she slipped, but another said that she had passed out and was flat on the floor with no pulse. In any case, an ambulance came and took her away after the paramedics checked her out. We hope she's OK now.)

As Yo La Tengo has mentioned many times, it owes its very being to Maxwell's (as Ira Kaplan noted in a recent interview, he and wife-to-be Georgia Hubley worked at the club before they formed YLT).

Kaplan said it simply from the stage: "This band does not exist without this club."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

2013 SummerStage Highlights & Schedule (The Zombies Play Tonight)

The Zombies headline a free show at Central Park SummerStage tonight (above, playing a show in Essex County, NJ several years back).

Apologies for the short notice here, but legendary British invasion band The Zombies is playing SummerStage in Central Park tonight. The bill also features Django Django along with Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, and includes DJ sets by Modest P. The show starts at 6 p.m., and even if you're seeing this late on Saturday we hope you'll be able to get over there to see the headliners.

We caught The Zombies a few years back at a free festival show in North Jersey and they sounded just fine. You'll no doubt hear their classic hits such as "Tell Her No" and "She's Not There," as well as some deeper tracks from their canon.

See the SummerStage calendar for a full listing of events for this summer in parks throughout the five boroughs. Select "Music" on the left-hand side to see those events. you and also search by borough or by specific park.

June 15th - The Zombies, Django Django, Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, with DJ sets by Modest P. Central Park, 6 p.m.

June 18th - The Airborne Toxic Event featuring the Calder Quartet with Ensemble LPR. Central Park, 7 p.m.

June 29th - Canada Day celebration with Lights, Joel Plaskett, and Spirit of the West. Central Park, 6 p.m.

June 30th - Big Star's "Third": An Orchestrated Live Performance of the Legendary Album (with performers including Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Pete Yorn, Marshall Crenshaw, and more). Central Park, 7 p.m.

July 11th- Lila Downs, Natalis Clavier, Pamela Rodriguez, & Raul Campos- Central Park, 6 p.m.

July 12th - War; DJ set by DJ Afro. Crotona Park, 7 p.m.

July 13th - Julieta Venegas, Carla Morrison, and Alexander Anwandter. In association with the Latin Alternative Music Conference. Central Park, 7 p.m.

July 22nd - Trombone Shorty, Orleans Avenue, and Soulive. With Anders Osborne. Central Park, 6 p.m.

July 27th - Lianne La Havas, LP, and Quadron; DJ sets by DJ Center. Central Park, 7 p.m.

July 30th - Motown Revue and Felix Hernandez's Rhythm Revue. Tappen Park, 7 p.m.

August 11th - Shuggie Otis, José James, and Hiatus Kaiyote; DJ sets by OP! (I Love Vinyl).

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

2013 Celebrate Brooklyn Free Concerts Start Tonight with Patty Griffin

2013 Celebrate Brooklyn logo
Celebrate Brooklyn kicks off June 5th; see music schedule highlights below.

The new season of Celebrate Brooklyn kicks off Wednesday night with acclaimed singer-songwriter Patty Griffin. Starting out with spare, acoustic girl-and-guitar folk arrangements on her first album, Griffin ranged into rousing rock on her second album, and since then has recorded in various styles of Americana, and even gospel.

Griffin is an amazing songwriter (her tunes have been covered by The Dixie Chicks and Emmylou Harris, among others), and this is a great chance to see her free.

All Celebrate Brooklyn shows are held at the Prospect Park bandshell (see here for directions, full summer lineup, and more information). The shows are free, but a $3 contribution is requested for eac show, to help defray expenses.

Here are highlights of the 2013 Celebrate Brooklyn music schedule:
  • June 5th - 35th Opening Night Gala and Concert Featuring Patty Griffin, 8:15 p.m.
  • June 14th - Mavis Staples / Cody ChesnuTT, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 15th - Calexico / Susana Baca / Radio Jarocho & Akoko Nante Ensemble, 7:00 p.m.
  • June 20th - Big Boi / Phony Ppl / D-Nice, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 28th - Ladysmith Black Mambazo / Aurelio Martinez, 7:30 p.m.
  • July 12th - Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible / Mexican Institute of Sound / Mariachi Flor de Toloache, 7:00 p.m.
  • July 19th - The Waterboys / Alasdair Roberts, 7:30 p.m.
  • July 20th - The Lone Bellow / The Low Anthem / Joe Purdy, 7:00 p.m.
  • July 26th - Trampled by Turtles / The Devil Makes Three / Brown Bird, 7:00 p.m.
  • August 2nd - Jamie Lidell / Dan Deacon / The Stepkids, 7:30 p.m.
  • August 10th - They Might Be Giants / Moon Hooch, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Hoboken's Legendary Club Maxwell's to Close at End of July

Georgia Hubley & James McNew of Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's
Georgia Hubley and James McNew of Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's. The famed Hoboken club will close at the end of July.

Maxwell's, the little club that put Hoboken, NJ on the musical map and has kept it there for more than 30 years, will close at the end of next month. The news began to spread through Twitter this afternoon, with many comments referring to an article that appeared today on

Ironically, the reason is not an astronomical rent hike, as with so many other rock clubs in the NYC area. Instead, Maxwell's co-owner and booker Todd Abramson cites the city's changing demographics and the increasing difficulty in finding parking that customers, and bands, have found. Parking has always been tight, and it's gotten even more challenging in the last few years. A number of new high-rise apartment buildings have gone up in the uptown area of Hoboken where Maxwell's is located.

Maxwell's opened in 1978 and soon became known because of a number of up-and-coming bands that lived in or hung around Hoboken, including The Bongos, the dB's, and The Individuals.

This is obviously a huge loss for Hoboken and the NYC-area music scene. I started going to shows at Maxwell's in 1980, and can't even count how many shows I've seen there in the succeeding 30-plus years. In addition to the ones mentioned above, there was a rising Athens, Ga. band called R.E.M. (I saw them at Maxwell's in 1981, back when Michael Stipe still had hair).

They hosted many other bands that eventually became big stars; unfortunately, I missed them because I wasn't yet familiar with them. But folks who were more in the know than me were able to see Beck, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Soundgarden.

I did manage to see Throwing Muses, which played there many times (though unfortunately I didn't see them at Maxwell's until after Tanya Donnelly had left the band). In the last year or so I've seen bands there including Dum Dum Girls, Screaming Females, Trophy Scars, The Lemonheads, and the Psychedelic Furs (who played Maxwell's during their heyday in the 1980s).

And to kind of bring things full circle, last year I saw The Baseball Project at Maxwell's—a band that includes two former members of R.E.M.

Who else did I see at Maxwell's? I can't remember them all, of course, but some of the bands that stick out include The Fall, The Fleshtones, Japandroids, Lee Bains III and the Holy Fire, The Muffs, and of course Yo La Tengo (I may add more names as they come to me).

I'd already bought tickets to a few more shows at Maxwell's before I heard of the closing, including Rachael Yamagata and Titus Andronicus (whose one show became a two- and now three-night stand). I'll probably get tickets to a couple of more (sooner rather than later, since there may be a higher demand for the Last Shows Ever at the club).

Among the other acts appearing at Maxwell's in its last month-and-a-half: ChickFactor 21st anniversary show with The Pastels and Condo F*cks (June 15th), Sinkane (June 16th), Sky Ferreira (June 17th), The Trophy Scars performing "Goodnight Alchemy" (June 22nd), Os Mutantes (June 28th), The Feelies (July 4th, 5th, and 6th), The Flamin' Groovies (July 7th), and ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (July 23rd).

Many clubs have come and gone over the last few decades, and it's always sad to see a much-loved venue close. For me, this one hurts more than all the others combined. The good news is that there are still more nights of rocking to come at the legendary club at the corner of 11th and Washington.

[UPDATE, June 7th: More dates have been added, most of which (such as Ted Leo) quickly sold out. As of this writing, tickets for The Muffs are still available, as are those for Lee Ranaldo and The Dust.

Abramson has said that he plans to have the club go out the way it started, with a reunion of the band called "a" on July 31st (though the show does not yet appear on the Maxwell's website). That band, whose members went on to The Bongos and The Individuals, were the first act to play Maxwell's back in 1978.] 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Today Show, GMA Concert Series Kick Off May 24th (Schedules)

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, it's time for the free morning TV-show concerts to get underway, and you'll find the schedules for "The Today Show" and "Good Morning America" series below.
Today show concert series logo
See Today Show and GMA summer concert schedules below.

"Today" show summer concerts are held outside NBC studios in Rockefeller Center, with one exception: tomorrow's kickoff show, featuring indie-pop band Fun, will take place at the Jersey Shore. The GMA summer concerts take place at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. See the links for each series' show times, entry procedures, etc.

(Editor's note: We'll be posting articles in the new future on SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn, and other free concert series. And we'll be posting on a regular basis again.)

"The Today Show" Concert Series:
May 24 - Fun (at the Jersey Shore)
May 31 - New Kids on the Bock, 98 Degrees, & Boyz II Men
June 7 - Lionel Richie
June 14 - Maroon 5
June 21 - Hunter Hayes
June 28 - Phillip Phillips
July 5 - John Mayer
July 12 - Ed Sheeran
July 19 - Fall Out Boy
July 26 - Train
August 2 - The Band Perry
August 9 - Michael Buble
August 16 - Luke Bryan
August 23 - One Direction
August 20 - Chris Brown

"Good Morning America" Concert Series:
May 24 -  Mariah Carey
May 31 -  Pitbull
June 7 - Little Mix and Emblem3
June 14 - Carly Rae Jepsen
June 21 - John Legend
June 28 -  Demi Lovato
July 5 - Imagine Dragons
July 12 - OneRepublic
July 19 - Jennifer Lopez
July 26 - Selena Gomez
August 2 - Ne-Yo
August 9 - Kenny Chesney
August 16 - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
August 23 - The Wanted
August 30 - Alicia Keys

Monday, May 13, 2013

Now Streaming: Hear New CDs from Daft Punk, Majical Cloudz, the Handsome Family, & More

"Get Lucky" featuring Pharrell Williams, from the new Daft Punk album (see streaming link below).

The big news of the week in terms of streaming albums is the much-talked-about "Random Access Memories" by Daft Punk. It's streaming now on iTunes, where the group's fans gave it more than 4,000 five-star reviews before it was even posted.

Daft Punk fans have been posting their excitement all over the Internet today. And comments from the critics, while not quite as gushing as those of the diehard fans, are nevertheless quite positive (see Rolling Stone's review of "Random Access Memories.")

It includes contributions from Strokes singer Julian Casablancas, legendary producer and guitarist Nile Rodgers, electronic music composer Giorgio Moroder, Pharrell Williams, and more, and has a strong '70s disco vibe. Take a listen at iTunes, and see how the innovators in the electronic dance music genre are taking on the form now.

NPR Music once again has an eclectic mix of streaming albums, including the new ones from the Handsome Family and Latin rock group Piñata Protest. More albums may be added as I come across them. Dive in and enjoy, and leave your reactions in the comments section below!

[ADDED May 14th: Majical Cloudz]

iTunes Preview: 
"Random Access Memories" by Daft Punk (click on "View in iTunes," which will open that program. If you don't see a link to preview the CD, click on Daft Punk and it should come up.)


"Promises" by The Boxer Rebellion 
Pitchfork Advance: 
"Impersonator" by Majical Cloudz
NPR First Listen:
"Wilderness" the Handsome Family
"The Lighthouse" by G&D
"El Valiente" by Piñata Protest

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Concert Notes: Tickets for Bob Dylan, Laura Marling, Pere Ubu, Pet Shop Boys, & More On Sale Soon

Bob Dylan brings his Americanarama tour to Hoboken and Jones Beach; see ticket details below.

It's another big boatload of great concerts going on sale Friday (and some on Saturday). Among the most anticipated shows is the Americanarama tour featuring Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket, which will come to Jones Beach and to Pier A Park in Hoboken, which hosted its first-ever major show last summer when Mumford & Sons played there.

And, of course, there are plenty of gigs at indoor venues, for us vampires who enjoy see shows in dark, smelly clubs, even when the weather is bright and sunny outside. Enjoy, all...

Speaking of outdoor gigs, next week I'll start posting about the lineups for this summer's free outdoor shows, including SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn, and the televised Today Show and Good Morning America concert series.

On sale Friday, May 3rd: 
* Laura Marling at Roulette, Tues., May 28th. On sale at 12 Noon.
* The Olms (Pete Yorn and J.D. King) at Gramercy Theatre, Mon., June 10th. On sale at 10 a.m.
* Counting Crows and The Wallflowers at Hammerstein Ballroom, Thurs., June 27th. On sale at 10 a.m.
* The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream at PNC Bank Arts Center, Fri., July 5th, and at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Sat., July 6th. On sale at 10 a.m.
* The Polyphonic Spree at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Tues., July 9th, and at Bowery Ballroom, Wed., July 19th. On sale at 12 Noon.
* Pere Ubu at Bowery Ballroom, Thurs., Sept. 12th. On sale at 12 Noon.
* Pet Shop Boys at the Beacon Theatre, Mon., Sept. 16th and Tues., Sept. 17th. Both on sale at 11 a.m.

On sale Saturday, May 4th:
* Americanarama Tour at Pier A Park, Hoboken: Bob Dyan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Ryan Bingham, Fri., July 26th. Also at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (with Beck, but without MMJ), Sat., July 27th. On sale at 10 a.m.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Now Streaming: Hear New CDs from Savages, She & Him, Natalie Maines, & More

M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are back with their third non-holiday album as the duo She & Him, creatively called "Volume 3," and it's one of the new releases streaming online this week. Also streaming is the new solo album by Natalie Maines, former lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, the debut album by all-female British band Savages, and others.

On a related note, there may be fewer albums being streamed each week as the result of AOL's decision to close down AOL Music and its Spinner component. Even sadder than the loss of the music content is the fact that all the employees lost their jobs. Maybe other websites will pick up the slack, in terms of streaming and in hiring some of the now-former AOLers.

[Updated May 2nd: Patty Griffin added.]
[Updated May 1st: see below to stream new releases from Fleetwood Mac and The Boxer Rebellion.]

"Silence Yourself" by Savages (below)

"Promises" by The Boxer Rebellion

WSJ Music Journal:
"American Kid" by Patty Griffin

NPR First Listen:
"Extended Play" EP by Fleetwood Mac [streaming for a limited time] 
"Volume 3" by She & Him
"Mother" by Natalie Maines
"MCII" by Mikal Cronin
"Sera" by La Vida Boheme

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Bigfoot" by Cayucas
"Haunted Head" by Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds's Listening Party:
"The Still Life" by Alessi's Ark
"The Yesterday Will Never End" by Hawk and Dove
"Iron Man 3 Original Sountrack" by various artists (including Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Passion Pit, and Rogue Wave)

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Small Town Talk" by Shannon McNally feat. Dr. John

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Now Streaming: Hear New CDs from Meat Puppets, Kim Richey, Amy Speace, & More

Meat Puppets album cover
The Meat Puppets' "Rat Farm" is one of the new albums streaming this week.

Here's a brief (and quite late) post here on some of the new albums streaming online this week. At least you've got a few more days to enjoy these.

Among the items of interest is a new album by the Meat Puppets, who started out as a punk band in 1980 and influenced many bands including Nirvana.

Nick Drake lives on in a new collection of his songs covered by artists including Teddy Thompson and Lisa Hannigan, and Robyn Hitchcock. The collection was put together by Joe Boyd, one of Drake's producers, and was culled from several years of live "Way to Blue" concerts that Boyd put on around the world over a period of years.

And there's a new album by one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Kim Richey. In addition to putting out a number of her own discs, Richey has seen her songs covered by a range of artists, including Brooks & Dunn, which had a hit with their version of her "Every River." (Another talented female singer-songwriter, Amy Speace, also has a new album that's streaming this week; see below.)

Fire up your web browser and enjoy!'s Listening Party:
"Top of the Pops" by Art Brut
"Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake" by various artists
"Death" EP by Bloody Knives
"Rat Farm" by Meat Puppets
"Love Me, Love Me Not" EP by Ariana & the Rose
"As It Is On Earth" by Spacehog
"Weekend" by Underground Lovers

NPR First Listen:
"Sing To The Moon" by Laura Mvula
"Love Has Come For You" by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
"Twelve Reasons To Die" by Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge
"The Secret Will Keep You" by Brass Bed
"You Knew" by Mother Falcon

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat" by Amy Speace
"Thorn In My Heart" by Kim Richey
"Something Beautiful" by Oleander
"Stairway to Hell" by Ugly Kid Joe
"Stories" by The Bunny the Bear

Friday, April 12, 2013

Coachella 2013: Streaming Live Now!

If you aren't at Coachella, no problem: once again, the huge (and hugely popular) California music festival is offering a generous amount of its performances via live streaming on YouTube.

There are three separate channels you can watch, so at times you'll have to choose which of the overlapping acts playing at the same time you want to see—hey, just like being there! (Although you can easily switch from one channel to another, as opposed to running back and forth from stage to stage.

Coachella YouTube image
Watch live sets from Coachella 2013 this weekend. See Friday's schedule below.

 Head on over to the Coachella YouTube channel,, starting at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time (6:30 Eastern) and settle in for a long weekend of live sets from acts like Beach House, Purity Ring, Earl Sweatshirt, Bat for Lashes, The xx, New Order, Jessie Ware, Cloud Nothings, Wu-Tang Clan, and Dead Can Dance.

Friday's schedule (all times Pacific):
3:30 p.m. – Jake Bugg
3:30 – Stars
3:30 – Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
4:20 – Johnny Marr
4:30 – Beardyman
4:35 – Divine Fits
5:20 – Alt-J
5:20 – Metric
5:20 – Polica
6:10 – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
6:10 – Passion Pit
6:25 – Palma Violets
7:00 – Japandroids
7:00 – Local Natives
7:25 – Jello Biafra
7:50 – Sparks
7:50 – Of Monsters and Men
8:40 – Beach House
9:30 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
9:45 – Purity Ring
10:10 – Grinderman
10:35 – Infected Mushroom
11:15 – Jurassic 5
11:25 – Foals
11:40 – The Stone Roses (highlights)
12:10 a.m. – Tegan & Sara
12:10 – How to Destroy Angels
12:15 — Earl Sweatshirt

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Now Streaming: Hear New CDs from The Flaming Lips, Iron & Wine, Todd Rundgren, & More

One of rock's most legendary musicians/songwriters/producers, Todd Rundgren, has a new album coming out, and that's just one of the free streaming albums available for you to listen to this week. The Flaming Lips haven't been around as long as Rundgren (they have a mere 30 years of music making under their belts), but they also have a new album that's attracting a lot of interest.

Also of interest this week is the new album by singer-songwriter Iron and Wine, the latest from the rocking Portland trio The Thermals (who are great in concert), and a 10-year retrospective from Canada's Arts and Crafts label, a double album featuring songs and artists that have put that indie company on the map: Broken Social Scene, Feist, The Stills, Stars, The Dears, Dan Mangan, and Ra Ra Riot. (See the full track list here.)

And there's a disc by The Shouting Matches, the blues-rock side project by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.

Pitchfork Advance: 
"Desperate Ground" by The Thermals
"Floating Coffin" by Thee Oh Sees

NPR First Listen:
"The Terror" by The Flaming Lips
"Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love" by Shuggie Otis
"Grownass Man" by The Shouting Matches
"Ghost On Ghost" by Iron and Wine's Listening Party:
"State" by Todd Rundgren
"Beyond Was All Around Me" by Young Man
"The Boat of the Fragile Mind" by Belle Mare
"Henry Blak" EP by Henry Blak
"Electric Sounds" by Sad Baby Wolf
"Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013" by various artists

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"42: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" by various artists
"Stars In Stereo" by Stars In Stereo
"Talking Underwater" by Kree Woods

Monday, April 08, 2013

ChickFactor 21 Shows On Sale Now

A brief update on some great upcoming shows: Last year, the long-running zine ChickFactor celebrated its 20th anniversary with a series of shows around the country, including a number in the New York area.

ChickFactor logo
ChickFactor celebrates 21 years with shows in Brooklyn; see info below.

Now that ChickFactor is a legal adult at 21, its celebrating again with ChickFactor 21, a three-night stand at the Bell House in Brooklyn. The shows take place June 11th, 12th, and 13th (Tuesday through Thursday), and tickets went on sale today. ChickFactor says they're going fast, so if you're interested you'll want to act soon. Here's the lineup for each night (see brief descriptions and links to tickets here). Oh, and the website says there will be special guests each night.
  • June 11th: Lilys, The Cannanes, Versus, and Rose Melberg
  • June 12th: Future Bible Heroes, The Aluminum Group, Honey Bunch, and True Love Always
  • June 13th: The Pastels, Dump (featuring Yo La Tengo's James McNew), Jim Ruiz Set, and Lois
These are some great pop groups, some of which either don't play out very often or didn't perform in years before last year's ChickFactor shows. Get your tickets today if you're interested.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Concert Notes: Tickets for Governors Ball, Phoenix, Depeche Mode, & More On Sale Now (or Soon)

Governors Ball 2013 lineup
 See below for links to tickets for the Governors Ball and other concerts.

The summer music scene is taking shape, with tickets for one of the season's big festivals, the Governors Ball, going on sale today (the festival takes place early, the first weekend in June). The graphic above shows who's appearing, and as you'd expect tickets are going fast: three-day passes are already sold out, but single-day tickets are still available.

See links below for tickets to the Governors Ball and other shows. All went on sale Friday, April 5th, except where noted.

* Serena Ryder at Bowery Ballroom, Mon., May 6th.

* Aaron Freeman (former lead singer of Ween) at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Fri., May 10th. 

* Filligar plus Midnight Spin at the Gramercy Theatre, Sat., June 1st.

* Governors Ball Music Festival, Randall's Island, June 6th, 7th, and 8th.

* Subhumans at Bowery Ballroom, Sat., June 15th, and at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Sun., June 16th.

* Rancid at Terminal 5, Thurs., June 20th and Fri., June 21st.

* Fitz and the Tantrums at Irving Plaza, Sun., June 30th.

* Rachael Yamagata at Bowery Ballroom, Sat., July 13th.

* Depeche Mode at the Barclays Center, with Bat for Lashes, Fri., Sept. 6th, and at Nikon for Jones Beach Theatre, Sun., Sept. 8th. Both shows on sale Sat., April 6th, 10 a.m.

* Phoenix at the Barclays Center, Wed., Oct. 2nd. (May 13th show at the Apollo is sold out.)