Tag Archives: Speed the Plough

Speed the Plough putting on a not-to-be-missed show Saturday night

cdcposterIf you are within driving distance of Cranford, New Jersey, on Saturday night, Sept. 17, get yourself to the Cranford Dramatic Club theater to hear Speed the Plough, one of the best bands to come out of the extended family of The Feelies, and some other musical friends.

The North Haledon-based band is a little out of its element, and its home turf, at the Cranford playhouse that traditionally hosts theater rather than music.

“It’s a bit of a special endeavor,” says Toni Baumgartner, Speed the Plough’s flute player and one of its singers. “Like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, we’re putting on a show” at an old theater… This is kind of a first for them: An evening of music with no drama. We’re aiming for an intimate, café-style setting.”

While Speed the Plough’s beautiful chamber pop — featuring John Bamugartner on keyboards, Mike Baumgartner and Ed Seifert on guitars, Cindi Merklee on bass, and John Demeski on drums along with Toni Baumgartner — tops the bill, the other acts are well worth the price of admission.

The Songs of Winter Hours is a band led by Bob Perry, an original member of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, -based Winter Hours, that aims to keep alive the music of a great New Jersey alternative rock band.

Winter Hours, which included the late guitarist Michael Carlucci — the onetime owner of New York City’s Subterranean Records and CDs and also a member of indie supergroup East of Venus, another Feelies-related band whose debut album was completed shortly before Carlucci died —  had plenty of regional success from 1984 to 1991.

The Songs of Winter Hours features Perry on guitar and lead vocals, Ray Nissen on bass, James Higgins on guitar, Chris O’Hara on drums, and Paul Moschella on percussion. Joseph Marques, who was a songwriter and the band’s lead singer, died in 2003.

The first artist on the bill is Edward Rogers, a Britain-born, New  York City-based singer-songwriter. His new album “Glass Marbles” was released on Zip Records in March to rave reviews.

 

IF YOU GO

What: Speed the Plough, The Songs of Winter Hours, and Edward Rogers in concert

When: 8 p.m., (7 p.m. doors) Saturday, Sept. 17

Where: The CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Avenue, Cranford, NJ

Tickets: $15 online (GO HERE TO BUY)  or at the door. Includes a glass of wine or a beer.

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Stellar lineup pays tribute to Young Marble Giants’ “Colossal Youth” in Manhattan Thursday 

YMGCY

Stuart Moxham of YMG says he’d give, well, something precious to be in the New York audience. Read his comment after the jump.

What happens when a couple dozen veterans of the New York-New Jersey indie rock scene join forces to put on a tribute to a near-perfect — and perfectly simple — album released 35 years ago by three young, relatively inexperienced Welsh post-punk musicians?

We’ll find out at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, when the gang convenes at The HiFi Bar in Manhattan’s East Village for An NYC Tribute to Young Marble Giants ‘Colossal Youth.'”

The show, organized by Dumptruck bassist Tom Shad  and Renée LoBue, Elk City’s singer, will feature a slew of performers playing and singing the songs from the influential cult album’s 15 all-too-brief songs.

More after the jump.

Different singers will tackle the Young Marble Giants catalog. Here's a montage of a few of the vocal assignments posted on the event's Facebook page.

Different singers will tackle the Young Marble Giants catalog. Here’s a montage of a few of the vocal assignments posted on the event’s Facebook page.

Continue reading

Don’t miss Condo Fucks (you know who they are), Antietam and Speed the Plough at Cake Shop – with ticket link

11262126_10152742169286218_725668403335708432_n

Don’t risk missing this show: Read through to the jump for a link to advance-sale tickets

Cake Shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month by hosting shows featuring artists who have played the tiny but influential underground (literally and figuratively) Lower East Side club during that decade.

While most Cake Shop shows, including the #CS10 anniversary specials, are pay-at-the-door affairs, it seems that management made a wise choice to provide advance sale tickets for the gig on Friday, May 22, featuring Condo Fucks, a “Connecticut” band whose fictional bio offers clues for the uninitiated:

Eschewing such Condo Fucks originals as ‘Fuckin’ Gary Sandy’ and ‘Let’s Get Rid Of New Haven’, the trio – Georgia Condo (drums), Kid Condo (guitar), and James McNew (bass) – instead tear through covers of The Small Faces, Richard Hell, Beach Boys, Electric Eels, Troggs, Flaming Groovies and Slade classics in the style that previously won them so much acclaim from the Nutmeg State’s music journalists and radio programmers all those years ago.

Still not sure who these musicians are? You haven’t been paying attention. So shame on you. Continue reading

Speed the Plough takes over Union Hall next Friday

Speed the Plough at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Speed the Plough at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen Speed the Plough play live. It’s not that the band hasn’t been playing — while STP doesn’t mount major tours, there have been several gigs in the area since that appearance in May at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. Scheduling just hasn’t worked out for me.

So I’m looking forward to seeing them at Brooklyn’s Union Hall on Friday, March 20 — and making sure the scheduling works out this time.

The New Jersey chamber pop family band will be joined by two other notable outfits: the indie super group Heroes of Toolik and Jersey-rooted Deena & the Laughing Boys.

STP and its rhythmic, classically informed pop has been part of my musical life for a long time. I can’t explain that much better than in did in a blurb I was honored to have included in the band’s 2014 retrospective album “The Plough & the Stars”:

In this crazy, uncertain world, there are precious few constants. Speed the Plough is one of them. I feel like I’ve known this band forever, even if I didn’t really discover it until 1996 … It may never displace death or taxes as one of life’s certainties, but the world is a better place with Speed the Plough giving those two a run for the money.

The lineup has changed considerably over the years, but Toni and John Baumgartner have been there all along. And there’s usually been a Demeski (first Feelies drummer Stan Demeski, whose wife Janet is John Baumgartner’s sister, and now their son John) and, for a time, another member of the Feelies, Brenda Sauter, and her husband, Rich Barnes.

Heroes of Toolik is a band that hasn’t been on my radar before, and I can’t imagine why, given its heritage. But it’s there now, for keeps, and should be on your radar, too. It has quite a heritage, drawing its notable members from a bunch of important indie bands: Arad Evans, on guitar and voice, has performed with avant garde icons Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca; Peter Zummo, on trombone, with the Lounge Lizards; Ernie Brooks, on bass, was in the Modern Lovers; drummer Billy Ficca fropm Television and the Washington Squares; and fiddler Jennifer Coates from Jenny Get Around. The band’s sound has a lot in common with STP, as this clip demonstrates.

Deena Shoshkes is somebody I’ve been planning to write about for awhile. She may be best known as a founder of Eighties indie band the Cucumbers, which was a mainstay of the Hoboken scene centered on Maxwell’s. Her second solo album, “Rock River,” was released just last yea. It’s a delightful collection of 12 tunes  that continues the joyful, almost childlike sound that the Cucumbers created. For a sample of her latest album, tap or click here.

Doors open at 8 p.m., with the show starting at 8:30, on Friday, March 20, at Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn. Admission is $10, with tickets available online by tapping or clicking here. Call 718-638-4400 or email info@unionhallny.com for more information.

Intentional nostalgia: Mission of Burma and Speed the Plough played The Bell House

Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY, Feb. 7, 2014 (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh)

Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 7, 2014: Roger Miller, Clint Conley and Peter Prescott. (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh)

Back in February — it seems such a very long time ago — I stopped by at The Bell House in Brooklyn to catch a double bill featuring two of my favorite bands.

Speed the Plough at The Bell House in Brookly, NY, on Feb. 7, 2014.

Speed the Plough at The Bell House in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 7, 2014: Ed Seifert, Toni Paruta Baumgartner, Mike Baumgartner and Cindi Merklee.

Mission of Burma and Speed the Plough both factored heavily in my experience at the late, lamented Maxwell’s in Hoboken, so it was a real joy to see them together at the Bell House, which was becoming Maxwell’s musical successor even before the lights went out in Hoboken. (And it’s no surprise, given that former Maxwell’s booker and co-owner Todd Abramson has been booking bands at the great Gowanus club for quite awhile now.)

The show was awesome, as expected. And the crowd — packed with more than a few familiar faces from Maxwell’s — was enthusiastic.

So step into my time machine and get a look at some shots from the show. If you were there, the pics will spark some good memories. If you didn’t make it, I apologize if my images make you envious.

Either way, enjoy them.

Continue reading

If you haven’t seen Mission of Burma lately…

If you haven’t seen Mission of Burma lately, you don’t know what a great thing you’ll be missing if you aren’t at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Friday night. These guys still know how to raise the roof.

They did two amazing shows for the farewell series at Maxwell’s. I’m not sure they can top those shows, but odds are they’ll try really hard to do just that.

As an added bonus, the always wonderful Speed the Plough will open the show.

So go. And arrive early, in time to sample the craft beer and have plenty of time to settle in for STP and MOB.

Tickets appear to be available. They are $25, and worth it. Click here to buy: http://ow.ly/tmx9E