While the year 1993 may be historically arbitrary, what this art world cross-section offers instead is a turning point. “It’s a moment in which you can see the 80s coming to an end and a new era, for better or for worse,” said curator Massimiliano Gioni.
Our weekly look ahead at the live music scene.
Streets of Your Town: This week's live music with Lee Fields, Mavis Staples, Freddie Jackson, Dave Grohl and more
Lee Fields' 2002 album Problems is full of tense, twitching funk, capturing the same clammy anxiety as Sly & the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On, and last year's Faithful Man gave a similarly panicked treatment to tales of troubled romance. Songs like this are what Fields' voice is built for; raw and ragged, it barrels forward from within the smoky horn charts and grainy guitars, a bleeding heart in search of some relief.
Streets of Your Town: Live shows in New York, featuring the 'Ecstatic' festival, folk heroes and punk standbys
Tonight, another British act, Mumford and Sons (Feb. 6, Barclay's Center) takes a heavier hand with rustic music. Their arena folk, with its hurried tempos and hollered choruses, is simply stadium rock in Western garb. Better are Michigan's Frontier Ruckus (Feb. 9, Mercury Lounge), who deliver rollicking folk with lyrics that feel like short stories.
Cat Power’s spent a lifetime working around certain types of music, and Sun was a step into the unknown. Mistakes, like the vocal mix on “Human Being” and a few other tracks, are bound to happen. But the peaks she’s reaching are higher than ever before.(1)
After veering a bit too close to AM-radio soft rock on 2006's The Greatest, Cat Power returned to more dangerous sonic terrain with last year's stunning Sun, which spoke of both hurt and hope in equal measure.
The cover of Almanac—which places Hamilton and Thomas in a decidedly pastoral setting—takes its cue from yet another place in time. “For me, visually, the ‘70s are the biggest thing,” Hamilton explained. “A lot of the record cover was influenced by that. What people might think is just kitsch—people in a meadow or people in the woods—there were so many record covers in the ‘70s that were like that. I liked the idea of that being a canon, that you shouldn’t be so formal. Putting yourself on a record cover is kind of like owning up to the fact that you made it. I actually made this thing, and we were in front of this waterfall that was 15 minutes away from where we recorded it. It seemed like such a ridiculous idea, but it was also true, sort of.”
Streets of Your Town: This week's concerts, with Iceage, Big Freedia, Loudon Wainwright III, and more
Streets of Your Town: This week's best concerts, from rock to jazz to rap to everything else, including Iceage, Big Freedia, Loudon Wainwright III, and more.(1)
Norton remains a primarily regional, and a primarily in-person label, and they rely on the annual WFMU Record Fair (normally held in November) for a huge portion of their annual sales. “I think we’ll get seven or eight albums ready, books, a lot of repressings. So we were ready to go in with the guns blazing.” Instead Sandy not only wiped out a good deal of the label’s stock but also ended up canceling this year’s Record Fair, a double blow to the label. Norton had lost 175,000 records right off the bat, including a brand-new series of Rolling Stones cover singles that were supposed to have been their Record Fair feature. The 25,000 more records that weren’t a total loss were going to require serious measures to make saleable. Norton Records faced an aficionado's nightmare on an apocalyptic level.
Streets of Your Town: This week's best concerts, from rock to jazz to rap to everything else, including Shelby Lynne, John Cale, Jessie Ware, and more.
The change in Williamsburg’s demographic, replete with incessant noise complaints from neighbors, left Zebulon with little choice but to close its doors. Employee Patrick Krou explained recently over email,“A Jef [Soubiran] often expressed, ‘Sure, we could change this or that and please everyone, but then we are no longer Zebulon, so we better close.’”(2)
Putting together my 2012 report card made me realize how little of what I saw at the Met was important and vital, which is incredibly disappointing for the grande dame of opera companies in the United States.(2)
Streets of Your Town: This week's best concerts, from rock to jazz to rap to everything else, including Shuggie Otis, Sky Ferreira, Wale, and more.
Streets of Your Town: this week’s concerts, with Coldplay & Jay-Z, Amanda Palmer, Mighty Sparrow, and more
Streets of Your Town: This week's best concerts, from rock to jazz to rap to everything else, including Coldplay & Jay-Z, Amanda Palmer, Mighty Sparrow, and more.
Atkins has been playing steadily around the globe since 1988, when a Virgin Records’ U.K. sub-label, Ten, released a compilation titled Techno: The New Dance Sound of Detroit, featuring Atkins’ own Model 500 track, “Techno Music.” Though he hasn’t issued a lot of music in recent years, he’s seldom been out of the shops with new material for long, and as a number of recent mixes and podcasts show (see below), he plainly likes keeping himself surprised when he plays.