Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Marriage Made of Blues: Low Society - High Time

So after being in the city for the second week, just after the ice storm hit…I FINALLY had the chance to catch up with a supremely dear friend in her newly wedded home in Long Island.
While on the tour of their cozy home with captivating nostalgic black and white photos of her husband in his boyhood lining the hallway walls, along with all the other coveted vintage treasures competing for space among the myriad of tools for their musical collaboration…Mandy, my gracious hostess, offered me the choice of hot blueberry or peppermint tea. I took the peppermint as we headed into the living room where I was made privy to the genius that will be their first full-length album “High Time”.

As we listened to the songs, she explained that the work was in the faithful hands of Kirk Yano, who's done work for artists such as Mariah Carey and Public Enemy. The hope is that will be ready for release within the next few months. But for now, like everyone else, I must eagerly await in anticipation and munch the music from their website screaminblues.com.

This was part in parcel for the leap to suburbia from the magical isle of Manhattan over six months ago. It was so that she and her, then, fiancé Sturgis Nikides could be closer and also work on their ever-expanding volume of music together for their current Rock infused Blues Band known as Low Society.Photobucket

For Mandy, it may have been love at first sight when she laid eyes on Sturgis nearly two years ago, but it was definitely love after hearing the exquisite critically acclaimed guitar playing that has been his love since childhood. It almost seems that fate could not have joined a better pair…

After so many musical projects in Mandy’s pockets over the years, she met a match for her compelling soulful voice in the graceful and tightly tuned melodies of Sturgis; both having rock and punk origins with the heart, soul and talent for blues. As I listened to the unmixed tracks, I was astounded at how poetic this self produced interplay of his guitar and her voice literally married into one sound birthing a life of its own; to lead me through an incredibly intimate journey of the union of these two souls.

I was so struck by the wonder of this magic while listening to “Three Time Loser” I ended up in a puddle of tears. Thankfully my lovely hostess was refreshing my tea and I spared her the waterworks show...but of course I told her anyway; “That’s what you get for playing ‘Emo-billy’ music!”, to which we both mused.

Song after song was just as moving, each in a different way.
The brilliance of the album in it’s entirety is that it takes you on a trip that is akin to witnessing the origins of the Earth…with masterful acoustic duets, standard blues ballads and hard rocking roof raising foot stomping mania linked by the brilliant spirit of this married dynamic duo.

PhotobucketIt was after all of this, that a week later I had the chance to see them perform twice. They have such a chemistry together that regardless of whether they play at the EXTREMELY intimate Three of Cups basement lounge, or have special guest Jahn Xavier on stage at the gritty-glitzy Bowery Electric…the shows are always fused with a frenetic energy that is easy to get swept away in.

I look forward to the time that the rest of the world has the privileged insight that I do into their art, hearts, and soulful blues .

Friday, February 18, 2011

Brambles and Rose Bushes

I venture to my first show as a resident of the big NYC on the advise of a friend... who happens to be a phenomenal artist himself with a minimal synth project called Frank Alpine.  (You will here more about that at a later time).

Although I was feeling a bit 'if-y' about going out, I simply had to see this artist that I heard such good things about. So, I scooped up a friend from China Town and we headed for the 'Wierd' record release party of Martial Canterel.


So, as we descended into the cavernous basement bar known as Home Sweet Home, we were greeted by objects de art on the walls, taxidermy in display counters, but more importantly, before all of that... at the door!  
Lovely creatures bleached to beyond blonde all clad in black...or teased sky high black tresses angled asymmetrically to perfection, boasted an almost nostalgic quality that, perhaps, could have matched the sentiment of the bygone New York of Andy Warhol's Factory days.

Among the bevvied beauties crowded in at the bar, were the supporting 'cast' of the fabulous drag stars Photobucket Anarexia Hurls, Krystal Something- Something and others,  floating through the crowd adding to the ambiance reminiscent of a Geisha after tea ceremony; Adding only the appropriate air of fantasy swirling amidst the club.

Eagerly anticipating the show, I found myself so excited that I had to make my way to the ladies room...where of course, there was a line. Being the polite southern belle that I was raised to be (eh hem...how dare you!) I let a gentleman with a far more urgent need pass before me through the narrow hallway.  And in so doing, I saw another man pass by puffing on, as if headed for the gallows, a real cigarette! I made the 'shame shame' sign toward him, to which he hastily agreed without even a glance, "I know, I know!". And as soon as he appeared, he then disappeared.

After my little by way adventure, it was mere moments later that I heard this mesmerizing sound beckoning me to the stage, only to see the man that was just puffing on that cigarette, was pounding his four tiered keyboard rig like a madman who was master of his method.

Shoving my way through the tiny, but adequate, dance floor...I finally settled for a place somewhere between the middle and front of the stage. I found myself amidst the crowd in an undulating sea of individual action and motion connected by this one genius sound.
Martial is the soul of synth-wave; Not dictated by his tools, but a master of his own emotion through the sounds he emanates from them.

From beginning to end...I was swept away with the crowd in my own motion of madness, captivated by the music and not giving a damn about anything or anyone else in those blissful moments. At the end, my sixth sense told me to bolt towards the door and I did.

Seconds afterward, after being informed by the bouncer to smoke past the orange cone,Photobucket a sea of bodies came rushing up the stairs and poured out into the sidewalk.
I glanced past the orange cone and noticed Martial accompanied by a small entourage…So, still entranced by the show...I felt the need to saunter over to hug him and send greetings from his friend (Frank Alpine) from California, to which his eyes lit up.

Such a splendid evening, so to home do I go…only to notice the next day that I got a parking ticket.
Oh well, a typical rookie mistake. Now I know what is meant by “Midnight” on the bloody signs. Just look at your computer if you're confused...as I was.   
Just part and parcel of traipsing through the brambles and the glorious rose bushes of NYC. Sometimes we have to bleed a bit before we can smell the flowers.
But as Norma Shearer in the 1938 version of Marie Antoinette, said, "Perhaps the great loves come with tears".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The less led way

Welcome to the inception of THE LESS LED WAY.
This will be a living  chronicle for those who are interested in culture (broad term...I know) that is less corporate, more personally relevant, and perhaps even more emotionally and spiritually substantial. 
Culture is simply a term used to describe what the common denominators are that bind each of us, as individuals, together.
For good or ill, we are influenced by what we are exposed to.
Fortunately we have the ability, to some degree, to determine what that will be.

So this is for you...
The pioneers and progenitors of modern anthropology; Those who are led less and discover more.