Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jersey Fresh: Speed the Plough, Wild Carnation and The Thousand Pities

Photo by Katie Demeski

Speed the Plough (Photo by Katie Demeski)

It’s a great weekend for New Jersey rock and roll. In one fell swoop, three Jersey bands, all with links to The Feelies, are performing on a joint bill in NYC tonight and New Jersey tomorrow.

Shine is due out Aug. 16

Speed the Plough is using the shows to preview the sounds of its wonderful new album, Shine, which as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been telling you, is due out on Aug. 16. STP is a real family affair, fronted as it is by the husband-and-wife team of Toni and John Baumgartner and includes their son, Mike and STP co-founder Marc Francia and his sons Ian and Dan. New member Ed Seifert, another fixture on the New Jersey music scene,  is the only person in the band who, as far as we know, isn’t related to anyone else in STP.

 You can get a sample of the warm, rhythmic and familiar sounds of STP’s new work with the first single, “Something to Say,” which is streaming on the band website and on the Dromedary Records site.

STP is inextricably linked to The Feelies, in part through former member Brenda Sauter, who’s the longtime Feelies bass player and also a member of Wild Carnation, another band on this weekend’s bill.  STP grew out of the ashes of another legendary band, The Trypes, which also included Feelies members.

Wild Carnation bills itself as “the best Feelies spin-off band you never heard of,” is also on the bill, along with Montclair’s The Thousand Pities — which includes Michael Carlucci, who plays with Feelies singer Glenn Mercer.

Shows are 8 p.m. today (Friday, July 29) at at Piano’s, 158 Ludlow Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side ($10, tickets available here), and tomorrow (Saturday, July 30) at 8:30 pm tomorrow at Tierney’s, 138 Valley Road, Montclair, N.J. (No price announced.)

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Chapin Sisters: Sibling harmony at Rockwood Music Hall

The Chapin Sisters: Lily and Abigail Rose (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Abigail Rose Chapin and Lily Chapin have been playing as the Chapin Sisters since 2004, when they followed family tradition and started making music as a trio with half-sister Jessica Craven.

That family tradition runs deep. Their dad is popular folksinger Tom Chapin. He and his brothers, Steve and the late Harry, performed as the Chapin Brothers from the late 1950s into the ’60s before venturing into their own musical worlds. The Chapin Sisters’ grandfather, the late great jazz drummer Jim, was also in the Chapin Brothers band for part of its existence.  Their cousin, Jen Chapin, is also a contemporary folksinger.

Abby and Lily grew up in Rockland County, N.Y., which Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? calls home. Their mom, Bonnie Chapin, even named her longrunning women’s clothing shop in Piermont, N.Y., Abigail Rose and Lily Too, after her daughters. But they got their careers rolling in Los Angeles seven years ago. So while they’ve toured and played the East Coast before, we hadn’t gotten around to catching them live.

More new york area shows coming up

Proud dad Tom Chapin listens from the bar, leaning against the pillar, right.

Last night (Friday, July 15) we got our opportunity to hear the duo at Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side Rockwood Music Hall. And although they have other gigs coming up in the area — one of them just steps from the family home, at The Turning Point in Piermont at 8 p.m. July 19— their proud parents showed up to lend support.

The lightly attended set was a great treat — and far too short.

The sisters have really perfected the vocal harmonies so closely identified with the Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers, tackling classic folk themes and timeless relationship-troubles issues in their songs. Both of them have distinctive, strong, well-controlled voices that can come to the fore at a moment’s notice and then effortlessly dive back into seamless harmony. Lily’s voice is the lower of the two, and she’s a more physically expressive performer than her sister, who takes the high parts and has a sweeter, slightly more subdued approach to her performing.

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Sharon van Etten signs with a new label

Sharon van Etten at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in April. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Powerful singer Sharon van Etten, whose great strength is in the directness of her lyrics and singing, has signed a new recording deal with Jagjaguwar Records, her publicist has announced.

Congratulations are in order. It’s a great career move for one of the best, most honest singers active today.

The move puts Sharon in the company of top indie acts such as Bon Iver, Okkervil River, Black Mountain and Dinosaur Jr. Jagjaguwar will release her third album, being produced by The National‘s Aaron Dessner, in early 2012.

The National's Aaron Dessner performing with Sharon Van Etten at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn in June.

Sharon is the second hot artist to part ways with Brookyn’s Ba Da Bing label in recent months. Ba Da Bing released Epic, an album that really boosted her profile, last year. Her connection with the label is even deeper, though. Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? first met Sharon as a Ba Da Bing publicist, who was representing noise-rock duo WOOM.

Longtime Ba Da Bing labelmate Beirut announced in June that its next album would be self-released rather than on Ba Da Bing. The band is  continuing under Ba Da Bing’s management aegis, however. It’s unclear whether Sharon will do the same.

It looks like Sharon, an amazingly talented and genuinely nice person, is living up to our early expectations. This year alone she’s already played Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, and MusicNow. And she has dates scheduled later this year at  Bumbershoot, Musicfest NW and at the Hollywood Bowl with The National and Neko Case.

We’re thrilled to see Sharon’s continuing success.

The Feelies feeling independent

The Feelies at Maxwell's on Night 1 of the 2011 Independence Weekend. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

The Feelies kicked off Independence Weekend, as they’ve been doing for ages, at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last night (Friday, July 1)

It was a homecoming as always at Maxwell’s since that was the band’s home club for its entire existence.

Last night was the first of a three-night stand. The hometown crowd was not disappointed, with The Feelies starting just a bit after 9 p.m., the posted showtime, and playing until almost 12:30, with just one short intermission.

Click through to the jump for more photos and info about the first night show. Also, check out a great Paste Magazine slideshow of a day in the life of The Feelies from their recent Philadelphia show at World Cafe Live.

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Hoboken rallies for Los Straitjackets guitarist Danny Amis

Danny Amis, also known as Daddy-O Grande of the legendary surf instrumental group Los Straitjackets (and who once played with Hoboken surf instrumental band The Raybeats), was diagnosed with multiple myeloma recently. He was uninsured at the time, but he managed to get help through the new Affordable Care Act and through the assistance of his music-industry friends.

One of the things his friends have done is throw benefit concerts. His Hoboken buddies got together at Maxwell’s on Wednesday night, June 2. It was a blast-from-the-past show with an amazing lineup: Tall Lonesome Pines, The Purple Knif, The Schramms, The Raybeats (joined briefly by Adele Bertei, former keyboard player and singer with James Chance and the Contortions), The Individuals and an unannounced set by Yo La Tengo.

It was announced at the show that Danny’s had a stem cell transplant and is doing well. Danny writes about his situation on his website.

It was a fantastic show, with a lot of crossover among the bands. It went on until after midnight, a tough thing for some people at a midweek show, but it was worth the long night. Those who left after Bar/None founder Glenn Morrow’s band, The Individuals, wrapped up missed the YLT set.

Click through to the jump for exclusive photos of the show from Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

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Scenes from Solid Sound: Wilco and friends

Wilco (Nels Cline, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, from left) on the first night of Solid Sound 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? got off to a late start for the 2011 Solid Sound festival in North Adams, Mass. So we missed Purling Hiss, the first band of the weekend, on Friday afternoon, June 24.

Sharon and Neil Finn's Pajama Club.

But we made it to MASS MoCA in the Berkshires in plenty of time to catch the two big shows of the day, Neil and Sharon Finn‘s Pajama Club and the headlining set by Wilco, the band that made the festival happen.

The Pajama Club plays fun, no-worries pop. We didn’t know much about the band before arriving in North Adams, but discovered to our joy that the New Zealand band’s drummer is Alana Skyring, who until the beginning of this year was a member of one of our fave bands The Grates from Australia.

Click through to the jump for more photos and words about Night 1 of Solid Sound. And check back soon for photo and words about the rest of the music festival.

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