Category Archives: Recordings

The wait’s almost over: First new album from the Schramms in 15 years is finished, awaiting release

Dave Schramm backs up Chris Stamey at Little City Books in Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 20, 2018. (Photo copyright 2018, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)The Schramms have finished their first new album in 15 years, the band’s founder and guitarist Dave Schramm tells us, and is slated for release sometime later this year.

It’s the Schramms’ first album since 2003’s live “official bootleg” collection, “2000 Weiss Beers From Home.”

Schramm, a Hoboken, New Jersey, -based guitar wizard who has played with Human Switchboard and Yo La Tengo, and is closely associated with the indie music scene centered on Maxwell’s, revealed the news the other day at Little City Books, co-owned by Kate Jacobs, another Hoboken music icon.

“It’s recorded,” he says, adding that it is slated for release sometime this year on Hoboken’s Bar/None Records, which has been busy this year with a sparkling new release “Everybody’s Insecure” from Elk City and a beautiful rerelease of “Shore Leave,” the debut album by Feelies percussionist Dave Weckerman’s Yung Wu.

Schramm said he has been hoping for a spring release, but indicated that didn’t seem likely now.

Nothing’s listed on the Bar/None website so far.

A post on the band’s website dated Dec. 2, 2009, which appears to be the latest update, said a new album was “nearing completion.” It looks like Schramm was a little optimistic about the timetable back then.

The band’s Facebook page, which appears not to have been updated since 2015, lists a lineup of Schramm on guitar and vocals, Andrew Harris Burton on keys and vocals, Jon Graboff on guitar and vocals, Al Greller on Bass, and Ron Metz on drums.

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Don’t miss TRØN & DVD: Free listening party in Nyack tonight, show in Manhattan Monday

TRONcolordad copy.jpgDon’t miss out on one of the best musical events of the year: the release of Nyack hip hop duo TRØN & DVD‘s first full length album.

“Afraid of the Dark,” the tough-but-funny pair’s debut, dropped Friday, Oct. 20, on Kiam Records.

Brothers Norvin and Darian Van Dunk, who perform as TRØN & DVD, sat down with me recently for an extended interview for The Journal News/lohud, which appeared on Page One of Wednesday’s newspaper and is also available online. GO HERE to read the interview. (They also got some love from Nyack News & Views a few weeks back.)

The Kiam Records Shop, the label’s home base at 95 Main St/. in Nyack, is hosting a free listening-and-CD-signing party at 7 p.m. Friday. Label chief Jennifer O’Connor promises drinks and snacks.

On Monday, TRØN & DVD will perform the album from start-to-finish at the storied Mercury Lounge in Manhattan. Tickets are a mere $10 for what is certain to be an excellent show. GO HERE to buy your tickets online.

 

Rockland County’s Martha Mooke performs music from ‘No Ordinary Window’ on Sunday

martha-mookeNyack composer and electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke brings her spectacular sounds to ArtsRock‘s Music at Union Arts Center series this Sunday afternoon.

She’s a spectacular violist, and her compositions on her latest album, “No Ordinary Window,” are beautiful, boundary-busting windows into her own sonic imagination.

“I slip through the cracks of defined boundaries,” she told me in a recent interview.  “I keep re-creating my way…. I try to take on challenges.”

Read my recent interview with Mooke for The Journal News/lohud.com by going here, and then grab some tickets for Sunday afternoon’s show.

IF YOU GO

When:  2 p.m., Sunday, April 3.

Where: Union Arts Center, 2 Union St, Sparkill, New York

Tickets: $20 in advance/$25 at door/$10 students, available online by going here.

 

2 classic Feelies albums to be reissued in March

The Feelies' "Only Life" and "Time for a Witness" will be rereleased on the Bar/None label on March 11. (The Feelies/Facebook)

The Feelies’ “Only Life” and “Time for a Witness” will be rereleased on the Bar/None label on March 11. (The Feelies/Facebook)

It’s been a long time coming, but the third and fourth albums from New Jersey indie rockers The Feelies are finally getting  proper reissues, complete with liner notes and bonus material.

“Only Life” (1988) and “Time for a Witness” (1991) are scheduled to drop on the Bar/None label — which released the band’s latest album, “Here Before” (2011) — on March 4. The Haledon, New Jersey, -based band — comprising Glenn Mercer, Bill Million, Stanley Demeski, Brenda Sauter, and Dave Weckerman — made the date official in post on Facebook over the weekend.

Just to make it official, these 2 LP’s will be re-issued by Bar/None 3/11/16. And there will be bonus tracks included with each.

Posted by The Feelies on Saturday, February 20, 2016

“Only Life” was reissued in 2008 by Water Records through Universal Music Special Products, without bonus tracks or the band’s involvement. As far as I know, this is the first reissue for “Time for a Witness” and hasn’t been widely available for years.

The two albums, originally issued on A&M, complete the band’s classic catalogue, joining the 2009 rereleases of the band’s first and second albums, “Crazy Rhythms” (1980) and “The Good Earth” (1986).

The albums will include bonus material — none of it from the original sessions, according to the band — and new liner notes. “The Ice Storm” author Rick Moody wrote them for “Only Life” and Michael Azerrad (“Our Band Could Be Your Life”) handled the “Time for a Witness”  notes.

The reissues are available for preorder from Bar/None now. Go here for ordering information.

 

Big day coming for Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O'Connor

Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O’Connor, the singer-songwriter and proprietor of The Kiam Records Shop in Nyack, New York, has a spectacular new album, “Surface Noise,” coming out next Friday, March 4.

That’s the same day she makes her debut at the Tarrytown Music Hall as she enters the home stretch of her tour with bad-ass indie singer-songwriter Neko Case.

I wrote about O’Connor’s album early in February, calling it “the best new album I’ve heard so far” this year. A month — and many other new albums — later and my feelings haven’t changed. It’s a great album that shows off an artist who has grown and developed a richer, more nuanced sound.

O’Connor hits Tarrytown with Case at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4. A few tickets remain in the side orchestra sections at $48, and about 100 balcony tickets are still available at $38. Go here to get your tickets online. It’s a great way to give O’Connor a nice Lower Hudson Valley welcome-home, and to experience a great show. (If you can’t make it to Tarrytown, you have a chance to check out O’Connor’s full set during her official record-release show at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge on Monday, March 7, with wife Amy Bezunartea opening. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. Go here for tickets, which are $12 in advance.)

Christopher Vaughan of The Journal News/lohud.com, sat down with O’Connor recently to talk about her big day. Go here to read his interview.

 

 

The best time for Speed the Plough is ‘Now’

Now slice.jpg

Mark your calendar now: Speed the Plough is ready to party.

The North Jersey chamber rockers have been playing the songs from their splendid new album, aptly titled “Now,” for awhile. But now they’re ready to make it official with a record release party.

STP will jam the tiny stage of The HiFi Bar (formerly Brownie’s) in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday night, Feb. 25, to celebrate its release.

nowcover “Now” is Speed the Plough’s eighth album, and is notable for its fresh-but-familiar sound and the fact that it’s the first release by the newly revived Coyote Records.

Coyote was responsible for some of the early releases by Yo La Tengo, The Feelies, Beat Rodeo, Chris Stamey,and other leading lights of the Hoboken indie rock scene that centered on Maxwell’s. It was co-founded by Steve Fallon, who also ran Maxwell’s before giving it all up and moving to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he opened a collectibles shop called Gidget’s Gadgets.

It’s fitting in so many ways that “Now” is Coyote’s first release in years. Speed the Plough  started playing in 1984, during the golden age of the Hoboken scene, and has persevered — with an evolving membership always anchored by stalwarts Toni and John Baumgartner — through so many changes.

“Now” is a perfect example of Speed the Plough’s ability to ability to adapt.

The album preserves the feel of the band’s earlier work without  sounding dated. This disc embraces the talents of the new members — vocalist/guitaristsEd Seifert and Michael Baumgartner, bassist Cindi Merklee, and drummer John Demeski.

Seven of the album’s 12 tracks are John Baumgartner compositions featuring vocals by him or Toni, along with Toni’s traditional wind instruments. They’re every bit as good as anything they’ve done before. The haunting “Midnight in the World” — with its refrain of “Calling you ’cause I don’t know what to do” — is a particular earworm.

Their son, Michael, comes on strong with three contributions: “Garden,” a rocker that is probably the first of the gravel-voiced songwriter’s that I ever heard live, “Hey, Blue,” a gentle love song, and a brief (1:47), driving, Hüsker Dü-ish rocker, “Ed’s Song.”  that closes the disc.

Seifert contributes “Be With You,” a delightful, loping folk-rocker with spare, repeated lyrics.

Merklee steps forward in a way that I’ve been waiting to hear, offering a beautiful, plaintive homage to novelist Carson McCullers wiht “Miss Amelia.”

IF YOU GO

What: Speed the Plough record release party

When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25

Where: The HiFi Bar, 169 Avenue A, Manhattan

Tickets: Free, donations accepted, with all proceeds going to the artists. Shows in this small venue tend to fill up, but if you arrive early, you’ll likely have no problem getting in. Making a donation in advance online guarantees entry.

 

‘Surface Noise’: A self-effacing title for Jennifer O’Connor’s brilliant new album

The cover of Jennifer O'Connor's album "Surface Noise" (March 4, 2016, Kiam Records) features an ambitious abstract painting, "There 48," by Brooklyn artist Joan LeMay.

The cover of Jennifer O’Connor’s album “Surface Noise” (March 4, 2016, Kiam Records) features an ambitious abstract painting, “There 48,” by Brooklyn artist Joan LeMay.

I’ve never been one to make best-of lists when it comes to music. I enjoy so much of what I hear that it’s difficult to pick favorites.

So I won’t say that Jennifer O’Connor‘s forthcoming album, “Surface Noise,” out March 4, 2016, on Kiam Records, is a sure-fire pick for my best of 2016 list, since I’m not likely to compile one.

I can say it’s the best new album I’ve heard so far in this still-young year — and I fully expect to feel that way about it when this year is winding down.

“Surface Noise” is packed with 12 songs that explore love, loss, and the challenges of life with a casual brilliance about this album that makes it the best work this talented artist has produced so far.

ORDER JENNIFER O’CONNOR’S “SURFACE NOISE” VIA KIAM RECORDS NOW — GO HERE

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