International touring sensations The Villalobos Brothers make their TurnStyle Music debut at Mercury Lounge!
Masterfully blending the indigenous rhythms and melodies of their native Veracruz, Mexico with the intricate harmonies of jazz and classical music, the Villalobos Brothers deliver an intoxicating brew of musical brilliance, cadence and virtuosity that awakens the senses as it redefines the notions behind Latin music. The Villalobos Brothers have been acclaimed as one of today’s leading World Music and Classical Fusion ensembles.
A trio of virtuoso violinists, singer-songwriters, composers, and arrangers, they have performed at the Latin Grammy® Awards, Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, the New York Mets field at Shea Stadium, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New Victory Theatre, and Teatro Amadeo Roldán in Havana among other historic venues.
They’ve accompanied and collaborated with many artists, including Morley, Paloma San Basilio, Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Eddie Palmieri, Graciela, Dolly Parton, León Gieco, Leni Stern, César Camargo Mariano, Lila Downs, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, Pierre Boulez, Alberto Vázquez, Johnny Ventura, Dan Zanes and Rafael Escalona. Their first solo album, “Villa-Lobos”, was released in 2009, followed by their second album, “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability”, in 2012.
Joseph Campbell, a giant in the field of comparative mythology, boiled down the wisdom of the ages into his directive “Follow your bliss”.
It’s not every rock band that takes its mantra from academia, but frontman Phil Robinson isn’t just a rising rock star; he’s a soul-gazer and a Fulbright scholar who takes Campbell’s advice to heart. His material brings a mystical, intelligent bent to an otherwise straight-up, playful classic-rock sound.
When Robinson rebooted his pet musical project, The Bliss Jockeys, in early 2012, it was as a folk-style acoustic ensemble, with brother Josh Friedman joining him on jazzy guitar and a small cadre of backup singers anchored by long-time NY songbirds Ellen Weiss, Valerie Gomes and Leyla Mesic. But it took the March 2013 addition of a full rhythm section – with complex fills from drummer Casper Paludan and the driving electric groove of bassist Merter Yildirim – to bring to life the high-energy repertoire of Phil’s dreams (and start filling rock venues around New York City)!
The other surprising yet classic element in the BJ’s mix is a full gospel-style all-female choir, now comprised of 7 women, filling out the over-the-top sound. In August, The Bliss Jockeys took over Ella Lounge for an intimate 45-minute set highlighting new material, from the sunny “99 Days” and “Transcendental Cowboy” to the brooding “Looking for Someone” and “Through the Middle”. But the keystone of the set was an innovative cover of Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattva” (in case you’re missing the theme here of the path to enlightenment), showcasing the band’s exuberant instrumentals atop the tight, spirited harmonies of the choir.
The Bliss Jockeys, live at Ella Lounge, NYC on August 10th, 2013! (photo by Brian Lin)
Come stomp your feet to Gangstagrass this Saturday at Mercury Lounge. This truly unique band utilizes a fine mix of classic bluegrass instrumentals and rowdy rapping to promote a paradigm shift towards miscegenation, the idea being that fans of both genres can party together. Their album, Rappalachia, collaborates with artists from both genres such as T.O.N.E-z, R-Son, Aint No Love and Dead Prez, rapping about the rambler’s life and stompin’ people out. Their fearless lyrics and soulful style are sure to throw down. The “Two Fisted Tales of Twang” show starts at 7:30 and will also feature The Newton Gang, another Brooklyn band brandishing their signature “outlaw country” sound.
So from melody driven bands carrying the essence of psychedelia and the spirit of California, we will shift gears to bands whose psychedelia is more overt, heavier and darker. The first time I posted about Sleepy Sun, the song was one of their lighter, more acoustic based tunes, that definitely draws from the same vibe as Devendra Banhart’s freak-folk. Unlike Banhart, who primarily stays in that zone, Sleepy Sun leans more on rock, yet it differs from Howlin’ Rain, Blitzen Trapper and The Mother Hips as it’s ties to blues and other roots styles is much less direct. The sound is obscured by more stylistic use of effects and darker tones.
Below is a trailer that shows the band hard at work in a studio in the iconic desert near Joshua Tree. They are gearing up to release their third studio album, Spine Hits, on Tuesday, April 10th. I heard about this first from the nice folks over at Relix. From what we hear in this brief clip, it sounds as if the band is pushing their sound in slightly different direction. It will be really interesting to see if it retains enough of their core, while incorporating enough new ground to be a success.
The band will be touring the country in anticipation and support of the new album. Here are some dates in the Northeast:
It is more along those last two threads that I want to focus on. An entire sub genre has risen fronted by bands like LCD Soundsystem, The Faint, The Bravery and Bloc Party. Disco-Punk or in some cases Electro-Punk has become a major force in the underground music scene that seems to once again be receiving an adrenaline shot to the heart by the yet to break supergroup known as New Build. Boasting members of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, this band’s pedigree has them poised to make a big splash with the release of their debut album Yesterday Was Lived And Lost on Tuesday, April 3rd here in the U.S.
They will tour in anticipation of this release through March, but it will be primarily in Europe. For those fortunate enough to live in NYC, they will be making two appearances, back to back at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday, March 13th and Wednesday, March 14th. That is to say fortunate enough to have already purchased tickets, since it’s SOLD OUT! For those of us who can’t be there, listen to their lead single “Do You Not Feel Loved?” below and have a dance party in your bedroom. After all, it is much more introspective than traditional dance music you would listen to out at a club in the city.
Alright guys, one last push before Buy The Sky‘s debut at Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. The band is going to come out strong after a two and a half month hiatus, with new keyboard player Luke Palmer. There are rumors of a possible new song being added to the live repertoire, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that transpires. To amp you up before stepping into the hallowed back room of Mercury Lounge, watch the band perform one more staple from their Arlene’s Grocery show back on 6/15/11. This is the fan favorite “Shoebox”.
Remember to grab your tickets in advance here. You can also check out a few other great cuts from this same show, which we featured over the last weeks. Click here to listen to “Turn Up” and get some additional information about the other two acts on the bill. Click here to listen to “Squilson” and just jam out with the band.