Archive for the ‘NYC’ Category

Run The Jewels= Killer Mike + El-P

Check it out. Hip-Hop that’s more intricately written/performed/produced than most of the top billboard charters, and well worth a listen AND a free download (link below). Big Boi shows up at the end of the track ‘Banana Clipper’–almost as an add on to the song, but still very present and unique in his Daddy Fat Sax way.¬†

The video for ’36” chain’ is pretty wild, as well. Google it.




What do you get when you cross a dramatically different folky blues vocal, with double bass, electric guitar, flute and drums? You get New York City based group Woodbine Falls. When I was living in NYC, the lead singer, Laura Kivlen, was my boss at the Italian gelato shop and the bass player was a very short-lived fling, so let’s just say I ended up at a few of their live shows playing around the city. I was impressed by the musicianship and virtuosity of the ensemble. These are all trained musicians and you can tell when you hear them; whether it be on their latest self titled EP or you’re at their next live show at Rockwood Music Hall on Groundhogs day 2013 at 4pm. Check out their very first music video “Chase the Blue” posted below. It is a trippy and beautifully bizarre lyric illustration.

I was drawn to HBO’s new hit series, Girls, when I discovered that most of the actresses in the show were also in Lena Dunham’s other work, Tiny Furniture. I was one of the first few to see that indie film at NYC’s IFC Center.
Often times, music finds me through the shows and movies I watch. After a bit of research, I find out that the song I’m admiring this time is coming from a band out of Brooklyn called The Echo Friendly. Turns out that this band is under the record label that shared an office with me while I was interning at a music PR company in TriBeCa.
As Cantora Records states: “Jake Rabinbach and Shannon Esper are best friends, ex-lovers, who live two blocks away from each other in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and sing together in the Echo Friendly.”

I have a question for these two. Isn’t it hard to still be best friends and ex-lovers AND live two blocks away from each other? I guess it takes time….maybe they kept making the “Same Mistakes” (the title of this song that was featured at the end of an episode of Girls) for a while and then things just worked themselves out. Watch their official music video for the song below:

In the farness of their worrying -the tedious escape of it, how it shuttled you slowly away from real life, into a sort of deep space- they had come, truly, closer to each other, in an echoed, gaping-expanse-between-them way.

-From Sincerity by Tao Lin

….by buying the new RIBS EP tomorrow, May 29th, in any convenient location–iTunes, Amazon, or if you are in New England, you can buy it at Newbury Comics.

Live at TT The Bear’s

After two successful live CD release shows at Boston’s TT The Bears and NYC’s Public Assembly, it’s finally time for the rest of us to get our paws on a copy. The world is ready.

Their newest EP, entitled Russian Blood, will give you the RIBS fix you’ve been craving since British Brains. Just make sure you’re ready to pump up the volume, rock out and put this EP on literal Extended Play.

Until then, here is their last sneak peak till tomorrow. Track 4: Alarms

Live from NYC

Posted: January 25, 2012 in getting personal, Music, NYC
Tags: , , , ,

Music’s tie to memories is something that intrigues me. I was dating this guy once upon a time and the music we enjoyed together was never the same alone. I’m totally over this guy, but the song “Darlin'” by The Beatles still reminds me of him and the woods in North Carolina. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman undoubtedly brings me back to a childhood memory of being in the passenger’s seat of my mom’s car while “Jumpin’ Jumpin'” by Destiny’s Child reminds me of my sweet 16th birthday, in which my friends and I performed a dance in my living room..¬†

There’s no stopping music being tied to memories. I’ve gone a year without listening to whole albums because they were attached to memories I was trying to forget. The memories are still there and so is the music. Actually, there have been studies with Alzheimer’s patients or people with brain damage and memory loss who become transported in time through music. In an otherwise confusing world, through music these people become lucid within that memory. (The movie ‘The Music Never Stopped’ is a nice portrayal of this phenomenon. Warning: It’s a tear-jerker.)

I thought my last post while living in NYC discussing my own music and NYC memories would be fitting.

Empire State of Mind- Jay Z

Boy, was I lucky! I just moved to NYC and the biggest song on the radio was all about it. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made. There’s nothing you can’t do.” This song captured my exact mentality at the time. I was living in Harlem tutoring and mentoring¬†underprivileged youth. It was their song. It was my song. I heard it pretty much every day–in the bodega, from a car blasting it through rolled down windows on 125th. It was inspiring and hopeful. Listening to it now takes me back to that sweaty summer in Harlem, to those kids I became close to, and to the idea that it’s all going to be okay.

Sir Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty- Big Boi

My second summer in NYC, I had this album on repeat. I was proud to have discovered this release myself and to have shown it to a couple important/close people to me who ended up loving it. It’s really a great album. It’s rare that I find several songs on one album that I enjoy. It reminds me of being confident. I finally felt at ease in NYC–like I was a New Yorker. I was giving people directions, meeting new people, starting new jobs, and I felt on top of the world. On the contrary, this album reminds me of 2 people whom I don’t really speak to anymore. In that respect, the album has become tainted.¬†



Yeah, I know…a little late on this, but I only just started listening to Nirvana in NYC. I developed a minor crush on Kurt Cobain while in this city. Luckily, for me, that crush wont lead to anything dramatic like my obsession with Johnny Depp and the resulting Johnny Depp scrap book crafted by yours truly. RIP. Anyway, Kurt and Nirvana never fail to get me through my aggravated episodes where I’d like to jump on my bed like an angsty teen if my bed wasn’t abut to break just by sitting on it. (i.e bad day at work, upset with how my life is going, guy problems, friend problems, etc.)Image



If you want to see a beautiful female bass player “google image” Esperanza Spalding. If you want to hear a really great contemporary jazz bass player listen to Esperanza Spalding.

Last night, at the Village Vanguard, I saw the first truly inspiring famous bass player. I’ve heard many of the greats, but being that the bass is a male-dominated instrument, it was so refreshing to see and hear Esperanza Spalding, a female, play bass. Although, I play classical, it did not detract from seeing another female bassist who not only knew her way around the bass but looked so hip and cool doing it. Everyone stops me on the street with my bass and questions why such a “small girl” would pick such a “big instrument.” Hearing that over and over again gave me some sort of complex. Do people think I’m manly since I play this instrument? But Esperanza looked so feminine and beautiful playing her bass at the Vanguard last night, that I realized females playing the bass can be pretty cool and empowering.

My friend, who was squished in next to me in the crowded venue, can vouch for the fact that I excitedly said more than once “She makes me want to play bass right now.” [Side note: I named my bass Esperanza before I even knew about Esperanza Spalding!]

In 2011, she won a Grammy for Best New Artist. She has four solo albums out, but tours quite a bit. I highly recommend seeing her in person, as her stage presence is gushing with emotion and vivacity that can only be captured live.

John Lennon imagined “all people living life in peace” and was shot in the back 4 times at the entrance to the Dakota (where he was living) 31 years ago today. I wasn’t even alive then, but his death still effects me. I got the unique experience of honoring him by singing with hundreds of other fans at Strawberry Fields–the memorial in Central Park that is nearest to the Dakota. I spent a couple hours huddled there with strangers in the low 40 degree weather.

"Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun. "

We didn’t know each other, but we came there with a common cause, we cried, we laughed, we knew the lyrics (for the most part), and we sang (in tune and out of tune). It was really beautiful–one of those moments in time where you come outside of your body and look in from the outside. You see yourself mixed into the whole story, you see that strangers share the same feelings as you, that you are one, that everything is splendid and that you can love one another amidst all this corruption and all these terrible things that are going on in the world.
If I could go back in time, I would travel to the Roaring 20s and the 60s. Sometimes, I think I’d fit in a lot better.

Here are a bunch of sound clips and photos from the John Lennon memorial at Strawberry Fields today.

I was looking for videos that other people took and found this one. When she zooms in you can sort of see my hair bun (I’m wearing a brown coat in front of a guy with a hat): taken from

Two nights ago I saw Christian McBride at the Apple store…for free…AND I was in the first row. To say the least, it was a sick show. He’s a bass beast and his quartet, Inside Straight, was also fantastic.

Last night, I journeyed to Paris Blues (in the rain again) to hear The Tove Langhof quartet, which was equally pleasurable. You obviously missed out on that. Great news, though! Their November Tuesday nights are extended through the month of December. Don’t miss them! Paris Blues in Harlem, NYC–121st and Adam Clayton Powell at 9:30pm. Get there early and watch Soul Train on the flat screen. Between sets, listen to bartender, Gilda, sing-along to some R&B love songs off the Juke Box. (I hear there will be free food cooked by Gilda one Tuesday evening in late December. Stay tuned.)

Last night, I recorded the quartet +1 playing my namesake song “Stella By Starlight”…missed the clever piano intro, but you’ll get the gist.

Tove Langhof-tenor & soprano sax 
Matt Baker- piano 
Ray Cetta- bass 
Dorota Piotrowska- drums 
Randall Murray- trumpet

(keep in mind, I recorded this on my iPhone and it sounds better with headphones) STELLA BY STARLIGHT

Tove Langhof quartet is rounding out it’s November residency at Paris Blues on the corner of 121st and Adam Clayton Powell in Harlem, NYC. I saw them play last Tuesday night on a ridiculously rainy evening that made the music become evermore jazz age. Minus the “Dancing with the Stars” on the flatscreen propped behind the bassist, I pretended I was listening to the hot and cool of musicians in Harlem’s jazz heyday. Don’t let Paris Blues’ shabby interiors detract. You’ll be sure to have an unique experience that you’ll be glad you didn’t miss. No cover. But drop a few to feed the musicians. Drinks are strong and made by a Jamaican woman who has been working there for 10 years. You might even hear Thriller, Hot in Herre, or Who let the Dogs Out? while the musicians take a break between sets.

Come hear jazz standards by some great musicians. I’ll be there.
Next Tuesday, November 26th @ 9pm

Tove Langhof-tenor & soprano sax
Matt Baker- piano
Ray Cetta– bass
Dorota Piottrowska- drums
Randall (he wears a black beret!)- trumpet

recorded from my iPhone last Tuesday (the pop at :18 is me taking my headphones out):

Rustic, raw, rough, rock is She Keeps Bees. Brooklyn [till I die] is where you can find Jessica Larrabee on guitar and vocals and Andy LaPlant on drums when they’re not touring (currently, they are in Norway). Since 2006, they have released a bunch of albums, the newest being “Dig On.” Some of their music is self recorded including their latest, which was recorded in a log cabin in the Catskills. The song I think is the bees knees is a throwback to 2008 for them. It’s called “Gimme.” Take a listen.

something else in regards to bees in nyc: