Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RIP Davy Jones

Davy Jones, the lead singer of the Monkees, died Wednesday February 29, 2012 in Florida of a heart attack.  Jones was 66.
Jones, third from left, with The Monkees

Jones joined the Monkees in 1965.  He rose to fame shortly after he joined the band, the Monkees, which was originally formed for the U.S. television show. Jones sang lead vocals such as I Wanna be Free and Daydream Believer.

Though I was never able to see The Monkees live in my lifetime, I remember their popular songs being played in my parents house growing up.  The most had a high reverence in the Stewart household and The Monkees were often aligned with The Beatles, in order of importance.

My most vivid memories were rerun episodes of the Brady Bunch, where Jones played himself, and the episode originally aired in late 1971.  In the episode, Marcia Brady, president of the Davy Jones Fan Club, vows to get him to play at a school dance.

However, Jones' will most be remembered for his musical talent and contributions as a member of The Monkees and other solo projects.

Lady Gaga gone gaga in her fashion?

Similar to musician Marilyn Manson, Gaga is looking for pure shock value rather than making a fashion faux pas.  Gaga often uses face masks, for this shock value, but also because most other female artists won't copy her with her fashion choices.  Gaga considers fashion an art form and being innovative or purely bizarre is how she expresses herself.

Gaga on the red carpet

Gaga in concert
Lady Gaga definitely likes to push the envelope with her fashions.  When she struts down the red carpet, one must ask themselves, not whether she looks good or bad, but rather, "Is she wearing actual meat?"
Gaga in lace mask

Gaga's outfits range from futuristic fairy tale creatures, bustier outfits with fire shooting from the bust area (shown above) and face masks  made out of pure lace.

 Perhaps her infamous meat dress was most cutting edge, when Gaga wore actual raw meat as clothing.  The meat was from Los Angeles and the dress weighed 50 lbs.
Gaga in meat dress
One positive fact about Gaga wearing meat is that the material is relatively inexpensive as opposed to other celebrity gowns and the meat will be dried into beef jerky after use.  Gaga may not always be sporting the latest designer duds but she is guaranteed to always turn heads and keep people guessing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Concert review: Summer Camp @Mercury Lounge

For sweet dreams in

    blushing pink PJ's

          come to


where teen dreams prevail



conquers ALL!

 The London Duo, Summer Camp, is nostalgic for the summer camp adolescent memories and creates this saccharine atmosphere with fluffy lyrics and a fabricated LA fictional city known as Condale, where teen dreams prevail and love conquers all.
 Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey comprised this musical duo.  Summer Camp released an EP "Youth" in 2010 and have appeared at the Mercury Lounge in 2011 and returned early February 2012. They played most of the EP in their second show in NYC and both Warmsley and Sankey are impressive live as compared to their recorded voices on the EP.  Ms. Sankey has an edgeless voice and Mr. Warmsley impressive switching between synthesizers and a filtered guitar provided a perfect ambience for the duo's lyrics.
It is ironic that Summer Camp yearns for the fun memories of camp, especially since they openly admit they have never experienced attending a camp in the past during their childhoods.

Classical cool

Maurice Ravel
    My days are often filled with dancing to classical music when I'm rehearsing with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.  I usually have listened to this accompaniment a hundred times before performing a particular piece and am usually tired of hearing it once the rehearsal period is over.  In some ballets I am not cast in, I usually get to watch other dancers rehearse and I get the great opportunity of simply listening to the music and taking in the beautiful, melodic sounds.

I recently found myself watching a rehearsal of George Balanchine's Sonatine, a piece for two dancers and music by Maurice Ravel.  Ravel's Sonatine for Piano is a 12 minute selection that allows one to be intoxicated in its soothing notes and playful harmonies.
NYCB in Balanchine's Sonatine


Sonatine was presented as the opening ballet of the New York City Ballet Ravel festival during the 1975 season, which marked the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth.  In this work the ballet dancers and pianist shared the stage during performance.

Single-worthy: Sleigh Bell's "Comeback Kid"

Sleigh Bell's blend hard rock with R&B, and are a band with style.  Their songs are loud, brash and addicting.  Their musical focus is on the late-80's pop-metal phenomenon, and the duo's personal wardrobe style is reflective of that, as they wear sunglass-and-jacket ensembles that evoke a cool tone.  Comeback Kid is their first released single off of their new album Reign of Terror. 

 Comeback Kid brings images of retro chic with Wayfarer sunglasses, Letterman Jackets, skateboarding and suburban streets.  The music is relatable and what's great about Sleigh Bells is that they do not wallow in the nostalgia but they rather create a new sense with these familiar ideas.

There's a manipulation of time in Comeback Kid and a strong overlaying emotional theme running through the lyrics.  This strong first release off Reign of Terror makes us look forward to the full release of the album.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Artist Spotlight: 5 things about Bon Iver

After winning alternative album in the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, Bon Iver went from a experimental folk act to becoming a household name.  This was the first year Bon Iver was nominated for a Grammy award.  Here are 5 things you should know about Bon Iver :

1. Justin Vernon, lead singer of the project, has previously performed on "Saturday Night Live" and collaborated extensively with rapper Kanye West on West's album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy".

2. awarded Bon Iver the number one album of 2011 for their self-titled album.

3. The band name is derived from the french term "bon hiver", meaning good winter.

4. Bon Iver teamed up with St.Vincent in 2009 to record "Roslyn" for the The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack.

5. Other band members that compose Bon Iver include Sean Carey (drums, vocal, piano), Michael Noyce (vocals, baritone guitar), and Michael McCaughan (bass, drum, vocals).

Hope you've learned more about Bon Iver and simply won't refer to him as that ambiguous Hipster Indie Singer!

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Just Kids" worth a read ... or rather a listen

Patti Smith's "Just Kids" is a worthwhile story regarding her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, the famed shutterbug.  Smith and Mapplethorpe were instantly attached from their very first meeting in 1967 though his death with AIDS more than 20 years later.

They were lovers until he came out of the closet, yet his conservative Catholic upbringing forced him to be fake married in front of his parents during his relationship with Smith.  Though Smith moved on to other partners after Mapplethorpe, her infatuation never diminished.
Add caption

However, this tale is best translated in audiobook format rather than paperback form due to the author's intriguing voice navigating the listener with each memory.  It's Smith's voice, both rough but comedic that parallels this tale so well.

To really experience "Just Kids", it will take a trip to ITunes and not Barnes and Noble to pick up your audio copy and get swept away with Patti Smith.