jazz

MARIAN HILL IS ONE BEAUTIFUL ACT
July 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Have you ever watched The Music Man? A brilliant film from the era of great musicals. The soundtrack is inspirational and it is quite the timeless movie. The main characters, Harold Hill and Marian Paroo, are a wonderful duo and bring a lot of life to the movie. Production artist Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol are huge fans of The Music Man and took the main characters’ names for their electronic and R&B duo band calling it Marian Hill.

The sound that comes from songs like Lips and One Time may sound very generic at first, almost bland, but if given time to really soak in, the are many surprises. There is a lot of talent here between the two and the also often get the help from their jazz friend Steve Davit.  There is something really special here.

It is not special because of the powerful lyrics or good beats alone, it comes from the beautiful mix of them together. Gongol has a sweet voice that give the appearance of innocence, while piercing the ears with deep emotion that surpasses the normal filters and can mean so much more if carefully listened too. Lloyd compliments her perfectly. His production capabilities rivals OK Go and Flume in my opinion, simple and creative on level that only those who carry music in their blood can wield.  

I can’t stress enough how bland I thought their music was at first, I listened to it in the background of my other work and playing games and was totally unimpressed. BUT after listening to it more, the true beauty and power manifested itself. Their debut album ACT ONE is a demonstration to the world what true creativity can and should be, like the master duos The White Stripes and Matt and Kim, creativity is their most powerful tool.

I highly recommend “I Want You,” “Lips” and “I Know Why” to really see these two at work. I hope you’ll enjoy their music because I know I’ll be listening to it for the rest of the year. Here is “Down,” another great example of their stunningly amazing talent.

MILAN TO MINSK TO MERCURY LOUNGE: EP RELEASE
February 26, 2016 10:15 am

Brooklyn based indie art-pop act Milan to Minsk were out this past Tuesday night to release their debut self-titled
EP at Mercury Lounge. The show brought life and color to an otherwise grey and rainy New York City day. Opening the night was Gobbinjr and a particularly energetic set by atmospheric indie rock band Isadora.

DPP_017Milan to Minsk are a special case of Brooklyn indie rock – a rare combination of classically trained and jazz musicians who initially met within the musical community of Tel Aviv, Israel. The bond is clear in the tightness of their unique sound. A sound which has a definite 90’s influence, with the sophistication of Coltrane, the obscurity of Bowie, and a possibly unhealthy obsession with Sting. The musicality of Milan to Minsk’s rhythm/horn section, coupled with the intellectual yet humorous songwriting of lead singer Daniel Rote is absolutely a show worth seeing.

While the band lacks the visibility that some of the Brooklyn indie scene has garnished, their style remains true to the DIY, community oriented ethos that defines the bushwick neighborhood music scene. It’s a humble approach to an at times vanity filled, ego driven scene which seems to forget about the music.

If true creativity, musicality and originality is something that you have been missing in your musical consumption as of late, then the Beasts highly suggest you take a listen to the brand new Milan to Minsk EP and make sure to check them out at an upcoming show. You can find the dates here.

BOWIE BLOWS US AWAY WITH HIS SWAN SONG, BLACKSTAR
January 12, 2016 1:16 pm
THERE’S SUCH A THING AS NOSAJ THING
November 25, 2015 8:28 am

The West Coast’s hip-hop cannon has had an undeniably pervasive imprint on modern underground music. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.  The G-Funk of Dr. Dre’s Death Row counterpoints with the esoteric heady vibes of Madlib’s Stones Throw. ‘Glitch-Hop’ is the latest  flavor of LA’s eclectic beat-driven stew: a cathartic fusion of bop jazz, funk, disco, and sci-fi theatrics converge seamlessly via laptop sampling tools.

LA-native Nosaj Thing is the intergalactic space capsule by which Jason Chung vacuum-sucks you through your earphones and warp drives you into deep space. Nosaj Thing crafts sharp-edged jolts from the conclaves of empty pockets that fill the corners of your room. He has produced tracks for Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, and Chance The Rapper. He’s remixed an even wider bandwidth of artists including: Portishead, Little Boots, and The XX.

However, This dark matter auteur’s best work is found locked within his full-length records. his palate of sounds is highly varied: Drift was released via Alpha Pup Records in 2009—a label that is also closely related to fellow glitch-hop-innovator Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder henchmen. Drift has been described as a domestic standout of the early dubstep wave; a breathing document of disjointed hiss, cracks, snaps, fluctuations, and bass warbles highly reminiscent of Burial’s Untrue. Home via Innovative Leisure/Timetable continued down the same vein but featured a handful of guests: Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino contributed vocals on “Eclipse/Blue” and fellow J Dilla acolyte Toro Y Moi jumped in on “Try“.  Nosaj Thing’s most recent outing, Fated, came out this past May, again on Innovative Leisure / Timetable, and featured slightly softened edges and layers of dark ambient noise and deep throbbing bass that encapsulate you in a black hole of blissful noise–notable tracks include “Cold Stared” (below) which features Chicago up-and-comer Chance the Rapper.

Fair warning: don a pair of decent pair of earphones and there is high risk of being sucked into Chung’s infectious headspace: it’s a deep rabbit hole to jump into on a whim, but this is music that exists for the audiophile junkies and crate-diggers searching for something completely new and out-worldly. Bon Voyage.

FREE EVENTS IN BROOKLYN FEATURING SUNDAY SOUNDS
November 24, 2015 8:19 am

Sundays don’t have to be reserved for watching football, doing laundry and nursing your pre-Monday blues. Enter Sunday Sounds: a FREE bi-weekly concert series held at 61 Local in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s coziest neighborhoods, Cobble Hill.

61 Local is a fabulous gastropub with delicious food, craft beers and a welcoming communal vibe. The location also boasts an intimate yet beautiful DIY event space right upstairs from the main dining area. Every other Sunday, this event space is home to Sunday Sounds.

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Photo by Phillis Kwentoh & Jo Chiang

Sunday Sounds was started as a joint venture between producer/musician Jessica Best and Dave Liatti, the owner of 61 Local. Best had been working at 61 local as a part of their food service team. Frustrated after playing a number of shows at the various loud local bars, Jessica partnered with Dave to, as she says, “develop the ideal creative space for performance – a place that is intimate, focused on listening, and really fostering a community between performers and audience.”

Each event is carefully curated by Jessica to showcase up-and-coming musicians in a space where audiences can listen to and discover new music. Past acts have included: Singer-Songwriter Henry Hall, Soul-Rock four-tet Trot Fox, Improvisational Drummer Walker Adams, Vocalist Elysse, Experimental Extraordinaire Jake Sherman, and Indie-Electro darlings Overcoats. Sunday Sounds has also played host to a number of special events including Art Girl Army’s fall kick off. Each event is cohesive yet eclectic, making for an excellent way to mix it up and discover new music for free without sitting on your couch surfing Spotify.

As for the purpose of it all, Jessica says her goal is “for the space to be a meeting place for musicians and audiences – for people to want to come out because they know they’ll make some sort of connection.” Fostering a connection between artist and community through kick-ass music, now that sounds like an ethos us BEASTS can get behind!

If you are interested in playing at future events hosted by Sunday Sounds at 61 Local, please email Jessica Best at jessbestmusic@gmail.com.

sounds

THE MOST GLAMOROUS MAN IN NEW YORK CITY
June 24, 2015 2:03 pm

Still feeling hungover from Governor’s Ball? Maybe it’s time to chill out and opt for a classy alternative. In all the hype of festival season, there is another gem held on Governor’s Island for two weekends this summer. The Jazz Age Lawn party, hosted and conceived by Michael Arenella, is a delightful throwback to the roaring 20s.

Governor’s Island will come to life with all the zest, charm and magic of the jazz era. Guests enjoy authentic music and cuisine from the 1920s on the beautiful landscape while dressing up in period appropriate outfits and dancing the night away. I got the chance to sit down with the musician-turned-entrepreneur at his recent album release show at the Clarkson Restaurant in the West Village, where we discussed his music, his inspiration and the Jazz Age Lawn Party over a glass of wine.

What inspires Arenella to return to this bygone era? He says “I feel it’s an obligation that I have been called upon to give the music of the past a new life. As a society we have been floundering for a while, we are lacking certain glamour, sophistication, elegance, maybe even a little bit of dignity. This music is essential to those attributes.” Simply taking a listen to any of Arenella’s music instantly gives one this feeling of elegance, a time-machine to a funner, freer and superbly marvelous time.

Michael Arenella was first a trombone player, an instrument he says “implies its own heritage and repertory. The ‘pop’ music of the 20s and 30s was all horn driven.” The lead musical act at the Jazz Age Lawn party is Michael Arenella & The Dreamland Orchestra, a jazz/swing group dedicated to this very “pop” music.

The Jazz Age Lawn party is in its 10th year which has a latent importance to it. An event that in its first year had 50 guests is now expecting close to 5,000. “We are always trying to throw a better, more fabulous party, and the more popular we get the more that responsibility grows” Arenella says. He takes on a very “if you build it they will come” attitude, and is very committed to conveying “the zest and beauty of the era.” Others sharing Arenella’s enthusiasm are the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, claiming the Jazz Age Lawn Party to be the most anticipated event of the summer.

So while you are getting your Governor’s Ball, EZOO and Bonnaroo festival tickets you may want to consider The Jazz Age Lawn Party. Tickets are still available for the August 15th and 16th parties and you can hear Michael Arenella & The Dreamland Orchestra’s beautiful and charmingly nostalgic album on soundcloud, although, by just doing this Michael thinks you’re missing out. “If you listen to me at home, you won’t come hear me play. I’m not interested in recording, I like the natural expression of music as it is manifested live.”

Written by Alessandra Licul