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LICNotes Events:

    • Monday, January 24th 2011
    J Walter Hawkes Residency

    J Walter Hawkes residency at LIC Bar featuring JWH Trio and special guests The Jacob Varmus Group!

    • Location: LIC Bar
    • Time: 8-11pm
    • Tickets: No Cover
    • Contact: 718 786-5400


    • Tuesday, January 25th 2011
    Steve Blanco Trio

    Catch Steve Blanco Trio Tues and Fri nights at Domaine Wine Bar!

    • Location: Domaine Wine Bar
    • Time: 9-midnight
    • Tickets: No Cover
    • Contact: 718 784 2350


    • Tuesday, January 25th 2011
    Steve Blanco Trio

    Catch Steve Blanco Trio Tues and Fri nights at Domaine Wine Bar!

    • Location: Domaine Wine Bar
    • Time: 9-midnight
    • Tickets: No Cover
    • Contact: 718 784 2350


    • Wednesday, January 26th 2011
    The Hand Band, Dave Diamond, Jason Crosby

    The Hand Band at 8pm, Dave Diamond at 9pm, Jason Crosby at 10pm live at LIC Bar!

    • Location: LIC Bar
    • Time: 8-11pm
    • Tickets: No Cover
    • Contact: 718 786-5400


Displaying items by tag: rock

 

Somewhere where Skeptical and Surly meet, you can find my December “seasonal spirit”. Cold winds, dark days, and the tinsel-deep repetition of glazed tradition hammer me into a brittle brassy hrmphingness. Yes, I realize that the return of all this cheers many people, and I realize that I want to coax, then celebrate, the sun’s return – we all do, and that underlies (without implying that it covers much of the meaning of) Christmas/Chanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Solstice… which I’ll call, as a convenient metonomy based on my background rather than a form of exclusion, Christmas.

 

Well, some good news. On December 8, after I wrote this but before you read it, the sun will set a few seconds later in New York, rather than earlier, as it has for six months. So that’s the first sign of spring, something I always celebrate as the beginning of Christmas. And the definition of cold comfort, mutters Surly.

 

To deal with that dude, I turn to music. Lily Sparks is a bluesy, rocking local band I’ve heard play a couple of times. They’re well-suited for a Sunday BBQ at LIC Bar, accompanied by beer, burgers, sunshine, and humidity. Knowing that they’re working on a new disc, I wanted to check out a recent show - indoors, pasta, chill gusts through the door, but still bluesy and rockin. Afterward, their lead singer Niamh Hyland handed me what could have been a credit card (she didn’t have to fight any line forming to do that these days), but in reality provided access to download their new single, “Bright Christmas”. Skeptical and Surly sauntered over.

 

And promptly got their asses kicked. The tune is refreshingly different from any Christmas song I’ve heard. It deals directly with holiday malaise, noticing that connecting our childhood joy with the joy of people in the city allows us to draw what we want and need from Christmas. There’s nothing preachy or sanctimonious about this mid-tempo blues shouter, fringed with a swinging horn section; it’s fun.

 

The musicality of its rhythm, melody, lyrics and harmony have a single rival in the genre, Ralph Blane’s original “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Yes, it’s a thin field, but that’s no damnation via faint praise. If you’re skeptical (or Skeptical), our tech folks have provided a nearby, convenient link so you can download it. No, I’m not going to hand out credit cards – I’m always a bit surly anyway.

 

 

Listen to "Bright Christmas" on ReverbNation or download it on Lily Sparks' iTunes!

 

Lily Sparks' latest, Cooper Cobra, is also available on iTunes.

 

The Silver Shark is always moving, just under the surface of the LIC scene. He comes up suddenly to snap up some wine and music, and perhaps bare his teeth at nearby lovely mermaids – though he generally doesn't bite. You can catch an occasional glimpse of him at your favorite LIC venue, and regularly here at his blog.

Published in Shark Bites

El Chico Blanco, the band of Long Island City improvisational stalwarts Steve Blanco, Anthony Riscica, and Geoff Gersh, played an inspired set last Saturday night at LIC’s The Creek & The Cave. After a full set earlier in the evening, the group was joined at midnight by LPS on turntables to improvise a full score to the 1982 movie Tron. It was an appropriate choice: the film’s long awaited sequel is being released this year, and more to the point, the band’s gamut of sounds is perfectly suited to the movie’s iconography.

 

The neighborhood was out in full force for the show. The band passed around glow sticks for audience members to wear as their own facsimiles of the suits worn by the program avatars in the electronic world of the movie. When the lights went out for the performance, the space was lit up with neon halos, like a vision of the future from the 1980s. The range of sounds the group worked with was less ambiguously contemporary, tending towards precise layering of grooves and spectral lines instead of hazy synthesizer nostalgia.

 

The group was wise in choosing not to reference the iconic themes of the original score by Wendy Carlos. In their place, the group improvised an original score in their familiar style. LPS added scratching effects and looped vocal samples of the film’s dialogue on top of the band’s heavily effect-laden guitar riffs, keyboard sounds, and drum rhythms. The band shifted fluidly from groove to groove, responding to the film’s plot and visual themes with new motives and shifts in timbre.

 

The set was split in half by a brief intermission. The break came at a seemingly arbitrary point in the movie, and it highlighted the show’s one flaw. Even though the band continually engaged with the film on the level of its images and editing, the story of this very diagetic feature was pretty much left aside. The dialogue of the film was muted along with the rest of the film’s original soundtrack, and this made the progression of the narrative difficult to follow for spectators not already familiar with the film. It was a necessary omission, perhaps, but one that made this more of a multimedia music event than a film screening with music.

 

The evening was an impressive showing by a band that’s already become a fixture of the scene. The band has been exploring a sound world beyond the scope of all but the most cutting-edge musicians, and the Tron event saw them in appropriately idiomatic form. It was an ambitious, engaging night of music and film, and hopefully a sign of what’s to come. El Chico Blanco plays at Domaine Wine Bar every Tuesday evening at 9:30, and you can also stay updated with the band on Facebook.

 

 

 

Drew Jaegle is an LIC resident and musician. He is currently working on a new rock-oriented project with his band, The Icons, and on material with a hip-hop group that is still to be named.

 

The videos are dark due to the lightning, but sound quality is great – have a listen below and get a feel for ECB! Check out more videos of the band here and here.

 

Published in Vox Populi
Young rockers take initiative!

 

LICNotes interviews members of Astoria-based bands Digamy and Freedomhead (singer/guitarist David of Digamy, guitarist John of Freedomhead, and Samantha, manager of both bands) to discuss their part in the rebirth of Gussy's in Astoria as a new ALL AGES venue for live local music.

 

Shot & interviewed by Tom Tancredi; edited by Dominick Dimola.

 

 

LICNotes Interview: The rise of a new venue - with Digamy and Freedomhead from LIC Notes on Vimeo.

 

 

Flyer from 4th of July show to raise money for Gussy's P.A. system

 

Catch the bands on Facebook for more info and details on their upcoming shows: Digamy and Freedomhead. Support local music!

Published in Vox Populi
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 16:39

Impressions of El Chico Blanco

The month of not understanding, Part II

 

I’ll continue this whining session by adding some blatant self-promotion (ah, the glories of the blog!)

 

There’s another LIC musical phenomenon I can’t grasp, and with even less excuse than for the SWM [see: The month of not understanding, Part I], as it’s ECB – El Chico Blanco. Well Shark, you may say (if you allow me to feed you your lines), How can that be?? You are after all helping produce the ECB Live at Domaine disc/download thingie that you talk about constantly, and you’ve spent many hours inebriated on Robert’s finer bottles while listening to the band. And even some sober ones listening the rough mixes for whatever album will see the light of day. If you don’t get this group (you might say if I wrote longwinded scripts for you), how the hell can you presume to tell us out here on the Greater Interwebs just what goes down at the wine bar?

 

You make a lot of sense for a kid from Queens.

 

What manner of creature is the ECB? Metal electronica? Acid improv alt-soul? Distorto-trip free hop? It’d be easier to come up with a marketing-friendly cheeseball label if the sound didn’t seem to change every two weeks. I had hoped that the short respite provided by an interlude in Prague (yes, great name for a French espionage/relationship film) for Steve Blanco, who fronts the group, would allow me to get ahold of it.

 

Well, it did allow me to realize I didn’t need to get ahold of anything. This past Tuesday, I met D., a friend – not sure why we’re friends, as he’s into wine, knows finance, noodles around on keyboards, and is a decent tennis player – at Domaine. Now D. was already a Steve Blanco fan, but had only heard the Trio, and had only been to Domaine, once, some time back. This was a perfect test for my theories of how to label, and then maybe corner and capture, this sound.

 

Phfft. D. heard the music as primarily rock-based, and mentioned that Jon Schaefer – yes, the same WNYC guy who cameoed in part 1 – has classified a good deal of current music as ‘post-rock’: it uses the language of rock, eschews vocals, and is structured in ways closer to jazz or classical. Schaefer intends the label to be a non-genre, not a limitation but simply a ”not that, but something (though not quite anything) else”. Well look, ‘new wave’ was a useful term for a few years in the 70’s. “Post-rock’ is true as a referent for ECB as far as it goes; it just doesn’t go very far. I’m going to let myself stay confused, and enjoy ECB as the music evolves.

 

The Silver Shark is always moving, just under the surface of the LIC scene. He comes up suddenly to snap up some wine and music, and perhaps bare his teeth at nearby lovely mermaids – though he generally doesn't bite. You can catch an occasional glimpse of him at your favorite LIC venue, and regularly here at his blog.

 

* Photo by Ferny Chung, from ECB Facebook

Published in Shark Bites