Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Mountain Goats and Anonymous 4 bridge the centuries at Merkin Concert Hall

Anonymous four and John Darnielle, right, of the Mountain Goats at Merkin Concert Hall

UPDATE: Audio link to full concert added

Hear the full concert by clicking here.

Who knew John Darnielle had a secret wish to work with Anonymous 4, the a cappella quartet that specializes in music of the 12th through 15th centuries? The Ecstatic Music Festival, created by New Amsterdam RecordsJudd Greenstein, gave him a shot, and the result was Transcendental Youth, a song cycle presented Saturday,  March 24, at Merkin Concert Hall.

Darnielle, the writer and singer who performs as the Mountain Goats (and for this evening, he was the lone Goat) got the “why” question out of the way first.
As he was getting ready to finish college, his dad gave him a gift — a CD of A4’s 1993 An English Ladymass— an intense listen, he said, and one he returned to over and over as he coped with the more mundane stresses of completing two thesis papers (in English and Classics).

The Mountain Goats set list is after the jump.

John Darnielle (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

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Have you seen The Total Bent yet?

Stew, Heidi and members of The Loser's Lounge at Barbés in Park Slope, Brooklyn. (Photos © Steven P. Marsh)

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was supposed to see The Total Bent, the new show by Stew and Heidi Rodewald of Passing Strange fame, in one of its very first Public Lab performances at The Public Theater in downtown Manhattan last month. But then construction delays at the theater — the Public is undergoing a massive, and much-needed, facelift — got in the way.

That created some pretty massive chaos, forcing The Total Bent‘s schedule to push back. Some shows, including ours, were canceled and rebooked.

So we haven’t seen the show yet. We’ll be there for the penultimate performance on Sunday afternoon, March 18.

All the changes also forced the scuttling of interviews and press access to the creative team.

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Charli XCX cuts loose at Santos Party House

Charli XCX at Santos Party House in Manhattan. (Photos © 2102, Steven P. Marsh)

British phenomenon Charli XCX is, at the ripe old age of 19, a seasoned veteran of the pop music scene. After all, she exploded on the dance scene in the UK all of four years ago, at the tender age of 15, self-releasing two EPs, Emelline/Art Bitch and !Franchesckaar! in 2008.

Charli XCX (real name Charlotte Aitchison) has supported Robyn and The Ting Tings, and just wrapped up a tour opening for Sleigh Bells. Now she’s ready to take on the U.S. Her first official U.S. release is due this spring. So she decided to check out the lay of the land with a show in Philadelphia and two in New York City before heading to Austin for the South By Southwest music conference.

Her second stop in NYC was at Santos Party House in Chinatown on Monday night, March 12. The line of fans waiting outside the 400-plus capacity club stretched up the block on Lafayette Avenue and around the corner for the absurdly early set.

She eased the pain of the wait a bit when she came outside to smoke a cigarette after her rather belated soundcheck and saw the fans queued up. She stopped and chatted with fans, and even posed for some snapshots before going off to the smoking corral. Very attentive, sweet, personable and normal,

Onstage Charli adopted a much more in-your-face persona, which suited her overall delivery.

Read on for more photos, info and a set list after the jump.

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Jenny Scheinman, pregnant and full of energy, played (Le) Poisson Rouge with her band Mischief & Mayhem

Jenny Scheinman, right, and her Mischief & Mayhem bandmates. (Photo by Michael Gross)

Brooklyn’s own Jenny Scheinman has long been a strong side player, fiddling for lots of rock and pop heroes, from Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Rodney Crowell and Carla Bozulich to Bill Frisell, Vinicius Cantuaria and Ani DiFranco.

She’s straddled the divide between “popular” music (rock, folk and country) and contemporary experimental sounds.

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The La’s remain a phantom on the American music scene

Lee Mavers of The La's

We are gutted. Completely. How could it happen that Lee Mavers, the voice of The La’s, could destroy our hopes of seeing the band in New York City?

One-album-wonders from Liverpool (yes, it’s not just the hometown of The Beatles), The La’s — or perhaps more specifically, lead vocalist Lee Mavers and a band of merry hired guns — were supposed to show up at Webster Hall in Manhattan’s East Village for a long-awaited show on March 12.

But an unhappy email arrived in our inbox on Thursday:

“It is with regret that The La’s have had to cancel their show at the Webster Hall on Monday, March 12th, 2012. Unfortunately, front man Lee Mavers has damaged the tendons in his index (playing) finger.  He has been to see a doctor and been informed that it will not have recovered in time for his New York show.”

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Bachelorette playing an intimate show in Brooklyn before hitting the road with The Magnetic Fields

Annabel Alpers of Bachelorette

One-woman act makes dreamy, psychedelia-tinged pop

There’s something about Bachelorette, the nom de rock of New Zealander Annabel Alpers, that’s immediately appealing. Our very first impression of her is that she’s a self-directed Beth Orton who charts her own course without being at the mercy of producers and DJs.

If your first exposure to this Drag City recording artist’s dreamy, pyschedelic girl-group sound is via her most recent recordings, you might not agree. But check out this video, recording in someone’s living room, on the Australian music blog Polaroids of Androids, and you’re more likely to understand.

She’s not as folkie as Beth Orton, but she has a dreamy, somewhat fragile voice and a knack for lovely melody that evokes an Orton for a new generation, one who knows how to loop and manipulate sound live.

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