Music Hall of Williamsburg
A Benefit for Jonathan Toubin with Chain And The Gang, 5 Dollar Priest, Eleanor Friedberger, Nicole Atkins, Dorit Chrysler and theremin, Shilpa Ray, An American Dream, TWO TEARS

A Benefit for Jonathan Toubin with Chain And The Gang, 5 Dollar Priest, Eleanor Friedberger, Nicole Atkins, Dorit Chrysler and theremin, Shilpa Ray, An American Dream, TWO TEARS

Chain And The Gang, 5 Dollar Priest, Eleanor Friedberger, Nicole Atkins, Dorit Chrysler and theremin, Shilpa Ray, An American Dream, TWO TEARS

Thu, January 12, 2012

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$20 advance / $25 day of show

This event is 18 and over

With DJs JG Thirlwell (Foetus / Manorexia) / Jim Sclavunos (Bad Seeds / Grinderman / Silver Alert) / Mick Collins (Dirtbombs)

A Benefit for Jonathan Toubin
A Benefit for Jonathan Toubin
Jonathan Toubin, the DJ and proprietor of New York Night Train, was struck by a vehicle in his Portland, Oregon, hotel room on Thursday, December 8. He was severely injured and is still in critical condition in ICU. He is receiving outstanding care at one of the best medical facilities in Oregon. His family is with him and is grateful for the international outpouring of concern and support.

For updates on his condition, please go to www.facebook.com/IheartJT or www.iheartjt.com

Proceeds will go to benefit Jonathan.
Chain And The Gang
Chain And The Gang
"Offering a funky, stripped-down fusion of indie pop, funk, garage punk, and lo-fi experimentalism, Chain and the Gang are a vehicle for the thoughts and talents of Ian Svenonius -- musician, author, actor, Internet talk show host, and frontman with the groups Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, Scene Creamers, and Weird War. Like many of Svenonius' earlier projects, Chain and the Gang are a band with an overriding philosophy; as Svenonius sees it, freedom and liberty have been used by the lazy and corrupt to pollute the environment, promote greed, pit class against class, fill our cities with ugly buildings, and stuff our faces with greasy fast food, so the time has come for us to embrace a new sort of bondage and seek out convicts, hobos, and other outlaws as spiritual brethren. Svenonius has filled his new band with a handful of noted indie rock musicians, including Fred Thomas of Saturday Looks Good to Me, Brian Weber of Dub Narcotic Sound System, Brett Lyman of Bad Thoughts, and Sarah Pedal of Seahorse Liberation Army. Chain and the Gang made their recorded debut with the album Down with Liberty...Up with Chains!, released by K Records in April 2009. To support the album's release, Chain and the Gang set out on a North American tour with the Hive Dwellers, a new band featuring K Records founder and Beat Happening/Halo Benders/Dub Narcotic Sound System leader Calvin Johnson; as it happens, the Hive Dwellers feature the same backing musicians as Chain and the Gang, with Johnson replacing Svenonius as lead vocalist." - Mark Deming, AllMusicGuide
Eleanor Friedberger
Eleanor Friedberger
NEW VIEW

New View, the third solo album by Eleanor Friedberger, was rehearsed in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park and recorded in upstate New York. The former is a place where characters in Warren Zevon songs get clingy with their old lady while toughing out heroin withdrawal; the latter is where Bob Dylan got clingy with Robbie Robertson after flying off his motorcycle and revisiting the highway with his face. Fittingly, there’s a fair amount of recovery in the songs of New View (though you won’t find much in the way of smack or motorcycles). “Today I’m frozen but tomorrow I’ll write about you,” Friedberger sings, and much of the album seems set in that post-traumatic tomorrow, when stuff’s calmed down, the figurative road rash has healed, the metaphorical junkie sweating up your mattress has finally packed his bags.

Counting the albums she made with her brother Matthew as the Fiery Furnaces, this is Friedbergers twelfth full-length. I’ve been listening since the beginning, and to me New View seems like just that — a vista that’s opened up when I thought I’d seen everything Friedberger had to offer. (Then again, I believed her last album Personal Record was indeed her best to date, so maybe I’m just susceptible to album titles.) Before she entered the studio with New View producer Clemens Knieper, Friedberger made a playlist of reference songs. A live version of “Warm Love” by Van Morrison was on there, as was 80s-era Dylan, Neil Young at his most bummed out, a scattering of Robert Wyatt-era Soft Machine, and the odd gem by Slapp Happy, Fleetwood Mac, Funkadelic, et al. There are ghost notes of all of those influences on New View, but mostly you hear Eleanor Friedberger. She’s never lacked confidence — this is someone who once took a fractured nine-minute ballad about the international blueberry trade and put it across like it was “Thunder Road” — but there’s a new kind of confidence on this record. You can hear it on the warm, stately “Your Word,” which holds a special place for Friedberger. She says:

“It was the last song I wrote for the album. I finished the lyrics with lines taken from a dream that Jonathan Rosen had about me. I stayed at a friend’s house in LA who had a bunch of later George Harrison CDs– already a huge fan, I thought I knew it all. But I heard ‘Love Comes To Everyone’ and it kind of blew me away. Everything I love about Harrison– beautiful slide guitar and vocals and vaguely spiritual lyrics– plus a weird disco thing. That was the big influence for the sound.”

The songs on New View were recorded live to tape with simple instrumentation: drums, bass, Wurlitzer and 12-string acoustic guitar on almost every track, courtesy of the band Icewater (Malcolm Perkins, Jonathan Rosen, Michael Rosen, Noah Hecht), with Dorian DeAngelo contributing a handful of well-placed guitar solos. Producer Knieper (son of Jurgen Knieper, the German composer whose credits include the score to Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire) gives the album a classic sound, like something that’s existed forever on a record collector’s shelf, wedged in with Dylan’s New Morning and John Cale’s Vintage Violence.

For everything new about New View, it still fits comfortably in the continuity of Friedberger’s work. By coincidence, Knieper’s studio in Germantown, NY where the album was recorded is in a barn that was once rented by Matthew Friedberger and stored the furniture of their grandmother — the same grandmother whose spoken word reminiscences were the basis of the Fiery Furnaces LP Rehearsing My Choir. You won’t hear much of that album here, but songs like “Open Season” recall the Furnaces at their most magisterial. The wry, plainspoken “Because I Asked You” builds on the style Friedberger first polished on her solo debut Last Summer. And then there’s “A Long Walk,” the sun-striped finale that lends a memorable afterglow to New View. It’s a sweet, aching goodbye from an album that seems full of them.

— SCOTT JACOBSON
Nicole Atkins
Nicole Atkins
A neon noir tour de force of hi-def late-night pop, Slow Phaser marks Nicole Atkins’ most ingenious and indelibly modern collection to date. Produced by Tore Johannson - with whom she partnered on her now-classic 2007 debut, Neptune City - the album is a milestone for the acclaimed singer/songwriter, her restless creativity fully realized via the addition of some surprising colors to her already diverse paintbox. Songs like the poptastic “Girl You Look Amazing” and the sultry “Red Ropes” positively swirl with day-glo danceability, the bright hues setting Atkins’ distinctive creative voice in a brilliant and undeniable new light. Bittersweet yet life affirming, Slow Phaser is Nicole Atkins at her confident and unpredictable best – spirited, sexy, and determinedly forward thinking.

“I wanted to make something that no one’s ever heard before,” she says, “including myself.”

A charismatic and committed live performer, Atkins followed 2011’s adventurous Mondo Amore with a long year on the road. Upon her return, the New Jersey-based artist began to rethink her overall approach. Atkins went on creative walkabout, visiting various musician friends across the country and starting a productive collaboration with veteran drummer/producer Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Cramps, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks). The two clicked immediately, penning three songs on the very first day they set to work.

“Jim really helped me articulate a lot of what I was feeling,” she says. “He helped me make the things I was writing sound more like when I just wrote songs for myself. He taught me a lot about writing… again.”

Luckily – or perhaps not – she was in Memphis when Hurricane Sandy wreaked its havoc on the Jersey Shore and her familial home.

“It was awful,” she says. “The whole first floor was flooded, we didn’t have power for 18 days. Everything is pretty much back now, but its different. Everybody in the town aged a lot this year.”

As she pondered her next move, fate rang long distance. Hearing of her recent travails, her old producer Tore Johansson – known for his work with Franz Ferdinand, The Cardigans, and many others – invited Atkins to come record at his residential Malmö, Sweden studio.

“He said, ‘As soon as you can get here, get here,’” she says. “It was the perfect double whammy. Here was someone who was going to help me make my record and give me a place to live.”

Atkins packed up two years of songs, poetry, and journals, not to mention the hundreds of beat-based musical ideas stored on her iPhone. With Johansson’s able assistance, she devised a compelling new sonic approach, melding psychedelic energy, prog rock adventurism, after hours disco ambience, and the raw emotional purity of the finest country soul. Atkins stripped her traditional instrumentation to its core – Johansson handled bass duties, joined by The Cardigans’ Lars-Olaf Johansson on guitar, keyboardist Martin Gjerstad, and Asbury Park’s own Sam Bey behind the drum kit – placing considerably more emphasis on electronics than on her previous recordings.

“It sounds large but not cluttered,” she says. “We only used four instruments and tracked everything live. Instead of layering on a bunch of strings and horns and bells, the idea was to try to make everything have such complex melodies that they fit together like a puzzle. Every little bit counts.”

The result is remarkably vivid and varied, with songs like the opening “Who Killed The Moonlight?” blazing with transcendent pop hooks and floor-filling rhythms unlike anything Atkins has done before. She further pushed her songwriting by penning a series of wry, candid songs casting a mordant eye at pretentious boyfriends (“It’s Only Chemistry”), ponderous hipsters (“Cool People”), and the endless highway that is her perpetual home (“Gasoline Bride”). Slow Phaser comes to its poignant emotional close with “The Worst Hangover” – replete with images of shattered disco balls glittering on the storm swept Jersey shoreline – and the sparse, powerful “Above As Below,” which finds our heroine alone at sea, “surrendering to the void, just me, seagulls, and the gods.” A committed believer in the enduring power of the album-as-art form, Atkins embraced a classically tripartite sequencing inspired by Alejandro Jodorowsky’s notorious psychotropic western, El Topo.

“When it starts out, the protagonist is really cocky and sure of himself and makes terrible decisions without thinking about the repercussions,” she says. “In the second part, he has everything taken away and is really put in his place. Then, in the end, he accepts it and tries to find spiritual meaning in order to be a better person.”

Atkins plans to release Slow Phaser on her own Oh’Mercy! Records, an assertion of ownership that embraces her ever fervent fanbase, who are helping fund the project through a successful PledgeMusic campaign. In addition, the always ambitious artist plans to indulge her defiantly prog dreams with the most theatrical live performances of her career thus far.

“I’m going to wear a cape and shoot lasers out of my hands,” she says. “Really.”

Inventive and irresistible, Slow Phaser positively radiates with idiosyncrasy and a palpable sense of fully empowered musical discovery.

“It’s taken me a while to figure out who I really am,” Nicole Atkins says. “Musically, and as a person. It’s constantly changing. I’m not just this one character. I’m an artistic person trying to figure shit out.”

September 2013
Shilpa Ray
Shilpa Ray
Nobody grows up wanting to be an artist’s artist. Appreciated by the sub sect of the sub sect is like being the beauty queen at the leper colony. Hell, anybody who claims they grew up wanting to even be an artist rather than an astronaut or a Cthulhu is probably lying or was a corny kid. Art is hard and degrading and generally bullshit. Your friends will find you irritating and your parents will certainly not throw you a parade. But if you’re an artist you’re an artist; the soul will fuck you every time, what can you do?

Shilpa Ray is, through no fault of her own, one of our unsung great artists. Having made her bones with the gothic Sturm und Drang of Beat The Devil and moving forward to the blues erosion of “…and The Happy Hookers” Shilpa Ray has been, armed only with an incomparable voice and harmonium haunted by the ghosts of dead lovers, perpetually crying in the wind, hoisting both middle fingers in the general direction of god. It’s not a life a wise man would choose. Shilpa Ray kicks against the pricks but the pricks keep coming. But, again, what can you do?

Well, that’s been the narrative until now. With Last Year’s Savage (maybe a nod to Leonard Cohen maybe a nod to Barrence Whitfield) Shilpa Ray has taken the pain and dark funk of earlier sounds and made explicit the sublimity that was always there just below the surface. The conversation has become less a break up with doors ripped from their hinges and more the last pained pillow talk before parting. The obsessions with sex, death, bodily functions, and betrayal (not necessarily in that order) remain but Shilpa has expanded the palate to convey the resignation, the simmering discontent of an artist disenfranchised and held down. This is a quieter rage than the music Shilpa Ray has made before, more plaintive and considered, even if it’s the quiet of a hand gripped tight on the axe handle. The music remains gorgeous and stirring in its directness while Shilpa herself remains, thankfully, entirely and inappropriately threatening.

Shilpa Ray has, up till this, point, yes, been an “artist’s artist.” Just about every musician in New York City, who doesn’t hate her, loves her. Nick Cave sings her praises to all with the ears to listen (he brought her along a European tour as an opener and as a backup singer in the States). Obviously there are some who will always prefer lesser versions of the Shilpa Rays of the world (as if there could be more than one), preferably with blue eyes and On Brand Waifishness, but the truth will, eventually out. Talent this big can only be kept down for so long before the sky cracks and we all drown in the blood of angels. Either way, this is Shilpa Ray’s year.
TWO TEARS
TWO TEARS
THE TWO TEARS features KERRY DAVIS on guitar and vocals with a rotating cast of musicians, combining pop influences and clever lyricism with elements that come straight from the garage. Davis started out in 90's LA girl group the RED AUNTS who boasted producer credits by BRETT GUREWITZ and the much revered MICK COLLINS of GORIES and DIRTBOMBS fame. She went on to join Collins as drummer in THE SCREWS (In The Red Records) and played in BEEHIVE AND THE BARRACUDAS (Swami Records), featuring San Diego's finest musicians. Special guest drummer on these dates only will be ex-Red Aunts bandmate, LESLEY ISHINO (The Intelligence)!
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/