Blog | Music/Arts: Long Island Sound & Beyond
Jukebox the Ghost Haunts Irving Plaza
Join the piano power pop trio Saturday, Feb 28
You want me pounding on the church door
Singing from the streetlight
It’s the kind of love that doesn’t exist anymore
You want Hollywood and this is real life
—“Hollywood” by Jukebox the Ghost
Image: Eric Ryan Anderson
Brooklyn-based power pop trio Jukebox the Ghost got its namesake from a Captain Beefheart song and a passage in a Nabokov novel. Since 2008, the band—Ben Thornewill on piano/synths/vocals,Tommy Siegel on guitars/vocals and Jesse Kristin on drums—has played over 800 live shows with acts like Ben Folds, Adam Green and the Barenaked Ladies. The Washington, DC natives recently appeared on CONAN to perform the song “Postcard” from their latest self-titled disc. Jukebox the Ghost will be headlining NYC’s Irving Plaza on Saturday night with openers Little Daylight and Secret Someones. Find out why Thornewill would like to tour with a high school marching band below…
Pulse: How do you describe your sound?
BT: Piano power pop or, if someone asks at a party I say, “We’re pretty okay at music.” I think we’re progressing as a band, always trying to make something different while still maintaining our identity.
P: Is the use of synths and samples the biggest addition on your latest cd, Jukebox the Ghost?
BT: That’s the biggest definable change but our process was very different this time around. We took more time with the songs and spent months and months on the record. Ultimately, we wanted to arrange each song and each part to be it’s best without worrying about things like if there was enough piano or tambourine.
P: How did you get the name Jukebox the Ghost?
BT: It’s been the three of us from the beginning and we came up with the name in college from a quote in a Nabokov novel and a lyric from a Captain Beefheart song…
P: What was it like performing your song “Postcard” on CONAN in January?
BT: It was a real dream come true. It’s surreal too because there’s all this build up and anticipation and then at the end of the day you play the song once in front of the cameras and a few hours later you’re watching yourself on national television.
P: Who would you most like to tour with, and why?
BT: I would most like to do a small club tour with a high school marching band. I think it would be such a colossal disaster that the stories would make up for the headache of trying to accommodate the needs of multiple 17-year-old tuba players.
P: What’s your favorite song to perform live right now?
BT: We love playing a song off the new record called ‘Hollywood.’ It’s definitely the highest energy song in our set and our drummer comes out to the front of the stage and sings for the first time.
P: What can we expect to hear at Irving Plaza on Saturday, February 28th?
BT: We’ll do a healthy smattering of songs from each record—new songs, old songs, happy songs and sad songs. And we may or may not be doing a Queen cover as well as a big group collaboration with the other bands on tour at the end of the set.
For more info: http://jukeboxtheghost.com
Make your own Soundtrack to Valentine’s Day
Some songs to set the mood
There ain’t no space and time
To keep our love alive
We have existence and it’s all we share
There ain’t no real truth
There ain’t no real lies
Keep on pushin’ ‘cause I know it’s there
—“Space and Time ” by The Verve
Image: E. Jason Wambsgans
“Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)”—She & Him
She & Him’s stellar cover of this Johnny Mercer-penned standard works for those in a new relationship: “Fools rush in where wise men never go/ But wise men never fall in love, so how are they to know?”
“Space and Time”—The Verve
From The Verve’s nearly perfect album Urban Hymns, this song begins with the opening quotation and takes off from there.
“I Couldn’t Love You More”—Sade
Let Sade’s sultry voice and soothing beats take you to the islands in the dead of winter…
One could choose an obvious Cure song (e.g., “Lovesong,” “Just One Kiss,” “Just Like Heaven”) but Robert Smith’s quirky side comes through in this song about an enigmatic crush who “fell down a lot” in the snow… how apropos.
“Perfume”—Jesus and Mary Chain with Hope Sandoval
“Me-oooooooow,” repeats the feline-esque Sandoval throughout this noise pop gem from the Scottish alt-rockers.
“My Cherie Amour” (Italian Version)—Stevie Wonder
We all know the English version of Wonder’s wistful “My Cherie Amour,” but the Italian one is piu romantico.
No date tonight? Treat yourself to some decadent caramel with Vega: “It won’t due to dream of caramel, to think of cinnamon, and long for you.”
Bonus Tracks for the lovelorn:
“So Like Candy”—Elvis Costello (co-written with Sir Paul McCartney)
From Mighty Like A Rose, the right amount of anger ensues as Costello recounts heartbreak from a girl named Candy: “Here lie the records that she scratched/ And on the sleeve I find a note attached/ And it’s so like Candy…”
“Over You”—Roxy Music
On this synthpop tune from Flesh + Blood, Bryan Ferry, the King of Cool, strikes the right melancholy chord: “Oh baby this is nowhere/
Wish I was somewhere - over you” Enough said.
Jessica Pratt is All That
Freak-folk-psych artist releases On Your Own Love Again
People’s faces blend together like a watercolor you can’t remember in time
—“Game That I Play” by Jessica Pratt
California singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt enchants listeners with her fresh, yet retro, sound and inventive vocals. Growing up in a small town, Pratt listened to a lot of California artists—Mothers of Invention, Love, Crosby, Jefferson Airplane and The Beach Boys, in addition to Can, Eno, Bowie and King Crimson.
The guitarist’s eponymous 2012 debut, composed of many songs she wrote at just 19, garnered praise from publications like The Boston Globe, Pitchfork and PopMatters. Living in San Francisco at the time, Pratt was reticent about making a record but Tim Presley from psych rock band White Fence was so into her timeless songs he created a label to release them. Most of her intimate, acoustic debut was recorded at a friends studio, while Pratt’s acclaimed follow-up, On Your Own Love Again, was recorded (digital and analog) in her Los Angeles apartment. Although it still has that intimate appeal, Pratt’s latest effort includes some electric guitar and keys behind that stand-out voice.
While most of Pratt’s songs are enigmatic enough to take you somewhere else, “Back, Baby,” the lovely first single off of her Drag City release, has her reflecting on an undefined relationship that left her praying “for the rain.”
So what made the creative songstress want to become a musician?
“There may not have been one major turning point,” recalls Pratt, “but listening to stuff like Donovan or T. Rex, their brand of whimsy and magic, was very in line with the way I thought about things and I sort of saw myself writing songs like that. Also listening to heavy hitters like Joni, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, their agile maneuverings of words and turns of phrase are so satisfying it inspires you to want to deliver in the same way.”
Look for Pratt to tour the Northeast soon.
Listen to the 60’s folk-infused “Back, Baby” here: https://soundcloud.com/drag-city/jessica-pratt-back-baby
Don’t Miss Light of Day Winterfest NYC
Suzanne Vega performs at the Cutting Room to benefit Parkinson’s disease
Since its inception in 2000, Light of Day has raised more than $2 million in the fight to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. What began as a single concert in New Jersey has grown into thirty-five shows in twelve countries throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Bob Benjamin & Bruce Springsteen - Light of Day 2012 at The Paramount Theater
As part of its 15th anniversary, Light of Day Winterfest will hit New York City. Presented by Asbury Park Press, the Light of Day Foundation will bring over 150 music acts to 30 venues over twelve days in New Jersey and NYC this month—with the goal of raising a record half million dollars for Parkinson’s research.
Surprise performances by Bruce Springsteen in ten of the previous 14 years, brought international notoriety to the Light of Day Winterfest. And previous performers have included Michael J. Fox, the Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik, Darlene Love, Jakob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Big Country’s Mike Peters, David Bromberg and Pete Yorn.
On Wednesday, January 14th, the Cutting Room on 44 E. 32nd Street will host Suzanne Vega, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, John Eddie, Dramarama’s John Easdale and Greg Trooper. When asked how she got involved with this important benefit, Vega said she immediately agreed to perform as her mother has had Parkinson’s disease for more than ten years and she really hopes they find a cure.
So how does it feel for ‘the poet of the dark’to be headlining Light of Day Winterfest NYC?
“It feels great,” says Vega. “I believe in the balance of dark and light so I’m happy to be bringing whatever I can to the festivities.”
Tickets are $45 for general admission seats and $75 for limited VIP up front table seats.
Doors 6pm. Show time 7pm. For info and tickets call 212-691-1900 or go to thecuttingroomnyc.com.
Vega, the Poet of the Dark, headlines Light of Day Winterfest NYC 2015.
Jingle Boom Holiday Bash in Huntington!
Put on that ugly holiday sweater and enjoy treats, live music and poetry December 20
It’s a feast for the senses—so eat, drink, dance and be merry. SPARKBOOM, an affiliate of the Huntington Arts Council, invites you to spark the halls of HAC’s Main Street Gallery for the Jingle Boom Holiday Bash on Saturday, Dec. 20. This free art-filled event (suggested donation $5) allows you to simultaneously get into the holiday spirit and chill out before seeing the relatives.
Gallery windows will be dressed by graffiti artist Reme 821 and fine artist Caitlyn Shea. There will be performances by acoustic experimental band Cloud Caverns, hip-hop/ska group Nonstop to Cairo and singer/songwriter Robert Sloan with spoken word/poetry by Steven T. Licardi, Bri Onishea, James Kim, Frankie A Soto and Meredith Nussbaum.
Indulge in homemade donuts and sweet treats from Stella Blue Bistro, craft beer courtesy of Saint James Brewery and fruit oil-infused Hint Water. And don’t forget to dig up that Christmas sweater for the Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest…
What: Jingle Boom Holiday Bash
Where: Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main Street, Huntington
When: Saturday, December 20th from 6-10pm
Free ($5 suggested donation)
For more info: http://www.facebook.com/events/317075631826692/?ref=22
Caitlyn Shea Inspires Riverhead Through Public Art: Huntington native’s journey to encourage public art
Gritty Funk Rock: Funk rock group Nonstop to Cairo on performing live, winning the LI Music Festival and what’s next
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