New York City’s own DADDY LONG LEGS brought their brand of blues infused rock to The Sultan Room last week to celebrate the release of their latest album, Street Sermons (due out 3/17 on Yep Roc Records). The venue could barely contain them as they ripped through a smoking set of songs that were primal, raw, bluesy, and had the intensity of a Sunday morning sermon with a fiery preacher who happens to also play a mean harmonica.
The rough and tumble songs that are soon to be found on Sermon perfectly reflect the sights and sounds, and even general mood of NYC over the past couple years. Produced by Oakley Munson of the Black Lips, the DDL’s can make you feel their “Nightmare” while also wanting to throw on your boogie shoes and dance. Same for “Silver Satin” “when you find yourself wakin’ up in Coney Island, ‘at the bottom of the bottle of Jack ‘o Diamonds’ where ‘you ain’t feelin’ no pain.” You can relate to every word while at the same time wanting to get down, and their delivery just drives that point home. By set’s end, Daddy Long Legs himself was in the crowd, down on the floor wailing on his harmonica in a set closer that even made this non-smoker feel like I needed a cigarette.
First up was Brower who like DLL play some straight up, old school rock ‘n roll. Songs like their recently released single “Where Is the Magic?” showcased their fun, jangly 70’s power-pop sensibilities on guitar but also those smooth as honey vocal harmonies. But that’s not to say it was all sugary sweet as they too rocked a set that had some ripping guitar, pounding drums and enough showmanship to rival any band from the glorious glam rock days.
Street Sermons is available for Pre-order now on vinyl, CD and as a digital album, so head over to DADDY LONG LEGS’ Bandcamp page now and wear your Sunday best—church is about to begin.
This past weekend, Brooklyn’s own Bard’s Flying Vessel released their awesome new album Nightfall Generator and played Alphaville to launch it.
Like their eponymous debut, the music finds this five-piece band throwing various styles into the mix and producing a sound that’s all their own. Equal parts psych rock, lo-fi fuzzy garage rock, surf rock, 60’s folk vibes yet at times heavy as hell. I asked them after the show who was the Iron Maiden fan because I got the feels and they laughed and pointed to guitarist, Aaron Swartz, who not only shreds but literally wears wind chimes as he does. In fact, they point out that if their debut album had more of a Lord of the Rings sorcery vibe, then Generator is “a wind chime twinkling behind a Conestoga wagon” as the Bard’s travel the open road ahead.
Along with Swartz, there’s Matt Dwyer on vocals/synth/tambourine, Joey Dussault on guitar, Bosch Akram on drums and Sarang Joshi on bass. I can tell these guys have been playing together for a while because the music was tight but they were having a good time. Highlights included “Barrows” and “Nightfall Generator” which are the first two tracks on the new album, along with the fluid basslines of “Fortune Wheel,” and the ready-for-a-road-trip vibes of “Scheming” with its dreamy vocals.
Bard’s Flying Vessel (photo by Kevin McGann)
Opening the night were two more of NYC’s best. First up was Peter Is Dead who beautifully played their self-described style of electric folk music. And of course their deadpan delivery on in-between song banter. Playing tracks from their recently released EP, An Hour in the Sky, Peter Carlovich literally brought his subtle, heartfelt vocal stylings into the crowd for a great set.
Next up was Heat Death who have a psych heavy, haunting sound that at times brought to mind The Cranes and their equally haunting vocal style. Swirling guitars, otherworldly synth sounds, and ethereal vocals that take you to another dimension. Led by Alexandra Noland on vocals/guitar, the band also includes Joshua Meyer on guitar, Franklin Ligh on bass, Ange Delgado on drums, and Robert Jensen on keys. Make sure to check out tracks from their recently released, self-titled EP.
Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)
Bard’s Setlist: Dust Collector, BFV I & II, Nightfall Generator, Scheming > Maritime, Fortune Wheel, By The Ridge, Barrows
This past weekend, singer songwriter Ammar Farooki brought his gift of song to Stage 2 of NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall. And like his other recent shows, including his sold-out gig at The Bitter End, he was joined on stage by a few guest musicians who lent their own music stylings to his ever-growing catalog of songs.
Farooki has quickly become a regular on the NYC music scene ever since he moved to Brooklyn in 2019, around the same time he released his first EP Songs from the Cave. Born and raised in Pakistan, he listened to a mix of local music as well as US based rock artists such as Dylan and Springsteen growing up. Those early influences as well as 90’s grunge/alt-rock favorites Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Radiohead led the once business minded banker to put down the suit and tie and pick up his guitar and pursue his true passion—music.
When I first started seeing Farooki play, he would mainly do a solo acoustic set. His then girlfriend and now wife, Diane Desobeau, would join him for a few numbers on either piano or harmonium but it was mainly Farooki front and center. By 2022, once live gigs started up again, he introduced both a new arsenal of songs he’d been working on as well as a full band that really helped flesh out the material and allow him to grow as a performer.
Saturday night’s show found Farooki and Desobeau joined by drummer Bryce Collins along with guest spots by Ed Jones on guitar and recent collaborator Dudley on sax and flute. While he’s had other guitarists join in before, including Chris Scianni of Tangiers Blues Band (and countless other acts), the inclusion of sax and flute brought new flavors to songs like “Blindman,” “Losing My Mind,” and “Silence.” Other highlights included opener “Wanderer,” Beatles cover “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Storm” and my personal favorite “C’est la vie.”
This year will see Farooki releasing a number of planned singles with a full album possibly by year’s end. In fact, with the amount of material he’s written, he’s planning out two full albums, the first of which will be a more rock oriented album and the second a more personal, autobiographical collection of songs. And of course there will be many shows along the way—make sure to catch him live to see and hear what he’s been up to.
It’s hard to believe Brooklyn’s own Geese hadn’t played a show since August before this past weekend. Partly because their last NYC gig at Bowery Ballroom is still fresh in my mind, but mostly because Friday night’s return to the stage was pure fire. Geese invaded Mercury Lounge like seasoned pros who’ve been doing this for decades despite the fact that they’re barely out of their teens and first starting jamming in high school in 2016.
The five-piece band, made up of Cameron Winter on vocals, Gus Green and Foster Hudson on guitar, Dominic DiGesu on bass and Max Bassin on Drums, played songs mostly from their stellar 2021 release, Projector (Partisan Records), but also debuted some new music including new single “Cowboy Nudes.” If the new songs are any indication of what their sophomore album will sound like then it’s safe to say it’s going to a banger. They have such a broad range of influences, having grown up listening to their parent’s music collections from the 70’s/80’s, and blend it seamlessly with more recent influences from the 2000’s on. It’s anyone’s guess what the new album will sound like but that makes me think of Bowie’s famous quote, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
Opening the night were two great acts that got the crowd revved up. First was Chanel Beads who hail from Seattle, WA. They have an interesting mix of dream pop, shoegaze sounds and incorporate prerecorded sequenced tracks and beats along with live violin. After that was Philly-based, They Are Gutting a Body of Water (TAGABOW), who also have a shoegaze sound though more guitar/noise based along the lines of My Bloody Valentine. The four-piece band marry live instrumentation with samples, dreamy melodies with noisy guitar, and moments of calm interrupted with bursts of energy, that made their 2022 release Lucky Styles one of the most exciting releases of the year.
Last year I discovered NYC’s GIFT when they opened for Frankie and the Witch Fingers and was instantly hooked (see pics). A few months later I was there to celebrate the release of their debut album Momentary Presence (Dedstrange) which wound up on my list of Favorites of 2022 for FTA (see pics). And this past weekend I was lucky enough to catch them once again as they kicked off their tour at Baby’s All Right along with fellow psych rockers, LA-Based Hooveriii (“Hoover Three”).
GIFT—TJ Freda on vocals/guitar, Kallan Campbell on bass, Justin Hrabvosky on guitar/keys, and Cooper Naess on drums tore up the room as they journeyed through their dream-like psych pop found on Presence. But while it was a great show that had one of the most packed rooms I’ve ever seen at Baby’s, there was one member sorely missing. Guitarist Jessica Gurewitz was there but not feeling well and unable to play. But Freda and gang never let her forget she was missed as they had the crowd scream “We love you, Jessica!” throughout their set. And apparently the good mojo worked as they were all on board the bus the next day to continue the tour.
GIFT at Baby’s All Right
Opening the night was NYC based Customer, an up-and-coming indie/post-punk 4-piece featuring Nicola Leel, Mallory Hawk, Dave Medina and Greg Rutkin. They kicked things off with a fun, upbeat set that perfectly led into Hooveriii who took it to another level. Like their most recent full length, 2022’s A Round of Applause (The Reverberation Appreciation Society), Hooveriii brings so many elements into their sound. Sure it’s got the reverb, fuzzy guitar sound you’d expect from psych-rock artists, but its also got 60’s pop sensibilities, it’s funky, it’s hard hitting and band members Bert Hoover, Gabe Flores, Kaz Mirblouk, James Novick, and Owen Barrett, can get lost in a jam session that you wish would go all night. It was a blistering set and a perfect pairing for this tour.
Speaking of which—make sure to catch one of the few remaining dates on this tour and watch two of the best bands out there on one bill.