Brooklyn Rail Highly Selective Music Events
By the Editors
- Wednesdays at Jalopy Theatre: Roots & Ruckus featuring Feral Foster. Feral Foster, interviewed recently by Rail dance editor Stephanie Joy del Rosso, hosts a night of folk, blues, and old-time music—long on talent, short on kitsch, different every week but somehow always the same. Heads up, too, that the venue’s new venture, the Jalopy Tavern, just opened next door.
- July 7 - 12: Vision Festival at Judson Memorial Church. The great summertime counterpart to the Winter JazzFest, the Vision Festival (with our own Steve Dalachinsky) puts the emphasis on reaching towards freedom, poetry, even ecstasy. This is William Parker’s brainchild, and the great bassist is featured, as are Roscoe Mitchell, the Sun Ra Arkestra, two fantastic duos—Henry Grimes with Amina Claudine Myers and Marilyn Crispell with Gerry Hemingway—and David Murray will be back in town. The closing night has musicians we don’t hear enough, Rob Brown and his Quartet, and the Hamiet Bluiett Telepathic Orchestra.
- July 10: Ken Jacobs Projections at Secret Project Robot. The good folks at SPR give you work by experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs—whose films are a cornerstone of Anthology Film Archives’ Essential Cinema series—soundtracked by JG Thirwell, DinMachine, Collapsible Shoulder, and Rick Reed. Part of the venue’s months-long 10th Anniversary celebration, the “Summer of Robot.”
- July 11: The Don Byron New Gospel Quintet: Rite of Summer Fest on Governor’s Island. We’ll spare you the Mayor Bloomberg pitch on how nice Governor’s Island is—a municipal treasure, with bicycles—and say only that there are worse ways to spend a summer Saturday than lounging on a lawn surrounded by old brick buildings and listening to jazz musician Don Byron’s fresh take on the music of gospel luminaries Thomas A. Dorsey and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
- July 21: Michael Oien at Barbès. If you have shopped at the Big Nose Full Body wine shop in Park Slope over the last nine years, you may have met the manager, Michael Oien. But you would not have heard him play bass. And he can play. He has a strong, tasty debut record, And Now, out on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label, leading an excellent band that includes Travis Laplante, Jamie Reynolds, and Matthew Stevens, and you can hear the music at his release gig. As one of his best tunes goes, “skol.”
- July 21 & 26: Rachel Mason’s The Lives of Hamilton Fish. Admit it, you can’t resist that half logical, half insane genre of rock opera. Mason’s musical story of newspaper editor grappling with strangeness is accomplished and fascinating. The piece exists as both a score for live performance and a film, and the two shows, one at Anthology Film Archives on the 21st and the other at Joe’s Pub, will combine screenings with live performances by Mason and others.
- July 23 - 24: Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury at the Lincoln Center Festival. After having scrounged every opportunity for 25 years to catch the rare performance of music by Harry Partch, there now is an amazing Renaissance going on. His instruments are fully restored and now reside in the area, might be become a concert program staple? Patch is a must-see for any devotee of the 20th century experimental/iconoclast/oddball tradition, and this dreamlike and often comic theatrical work gets a staging from Heiner Goebbels.
- July 24: Jason Isbell at Prospect Park Bandshell. Working within the bounds of Ford F–150 radio-friendly country music—without apology, but not without intelligence—one-time Drive by Trucker Jason Isbell deserves to be recognized as among the very best songwriters working today. He might have less indie cred. than Bill Callahan and Will Oldham, but he’s no less talented. Dawn Landes opens. Free admission.
- July 24 - 28: Titus Andronicus at Shea Stadium. Titus Andronicus’s five-day stand at Shea launches their new three-LP album due out on the 28th. The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a rock opera in five acts, not an easy thing to pull off, but if 2010’s The Monitor is any indication, Titus Andronicus is just the band to do it. All the Shea shows are sold out, but if you stand outside on the street you’ll probably get a good ear full. Brown bag some deli brews and make a night of it.
- July 30: Silver Apples at Trans-Pecos. Silver Apples was at the forefront of electronic music in the late ’60s, a kind of psychedelic American ur-Kraftwerk. Despite a bafflingly low profile, Silver Apples remains a hugely influential group; if electronic pop music had taken off in the US as quickly as it did in Europe, Silver Apples would be the Velvet Underground. Imagine your coolest friend: that friend will be at this show.
- August 1: Fox Millions Duo at Secret Project Robot. Fox Millions Duo is Greg Fox (of ZS, Liturgy, Guardian Alien) and Kid Millions (of Man Forever and Oneida). Which is to say it’s yet another project from two of the most respected drummers in town. As collaborators the two are as well-matched as a pair of Vic Firth 5As, veritable twins of the skins. Tonight they release their debut full-length Lost Time. The record finds the two drummers stretching out stylistically, matching noise loops and electronics to their virtuosic improvisation and varying between a frenetic first half and a more meditative reverse.
- August 2: KATIEE at Trans-Pecos. A four-piece led by vocalist and keyboardist Katie Eastburn, KATIEE offers a collage-like mix of skewed pop sounds and strange melodies of seemingly unknown origin. Imagine falling asleep watching an old forgotten musical, then waking up to your roommate playing a new wave record, softly, the sound bleeding through a closed door. Tonight’s show will be a homecoming for the band after a week on tour, and also marks the release of its “PASSERSBY” seven-inch.
- August 7: Righteous Girls at Joe’s Pub. Flutist Gina Izzo and pianist Erika Dohi celebrate the release of their debut album gathering blue at Joe’s Pub. The record opens with the ominous low piano notes of “GIRLS,” composed by Pascal Le Boeuf. “GIRLS” quickly unfolds into a charging, subtly mutating duet between Dohi’s sprightly piano and Izzo’s flute, now fricative and rhythmic, now melodic and elusive. The whole of gathering blue, featuring compositions by Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, and others, displays the same enthralling quick-change artistry.
- August 8: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma at Artists Space Books & Talks. ISSUE Project Room presents a collaboration between acclaimed French-born modular synthesizer innovator Ariel Kalma and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, best known for his performances under the Lichens moniker. Together the two artists make warm, wistful, welcoming music, grounded in electronic repetition but incorporating a steady stream of new sounds.
- August 11 - 15: George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at Mostly Mozart. This is the American premiere of Benjamin’s erotic opera, which has played to enthralled audiences in Europe. Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves sing the lead roles, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra is in the pit, and Alan Gilbert conducts. This is one of the most important opera events of the year.
- August 21: Eleventh Dream Day at Mercury Lounge. Hailing from the same Chicago scene that produced the likes of Brokeback and Tortoise (and sharing member Doug McCombs), Rick Rizzo’s Eleventh Dream Day plays a rare New York show in anticipation of its 11th album, due out later this year.
- August 21 - 23: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. Summer music in New York City means new music and jazz, and this annual event just about puts an end to it. Come out to Tompkins Square Park for the last weekend before Labor Day and hear Oliver Lake’s Big Band, the extraordinary Andy Bey, man of the year Rudresh Mahanthappa, and more. All free.
- August 24 - 25: Kamasi Washington at the Blue Note. Washington’s much-hyped triple disc album, The Epic, is overblown, overpraised, and exhausting. It’s also full of tremendously flowing and sometimes exhilarating music. While Washington’s recreation of the age of spiritual jazz is just that, the recreation of the past, it’s a style that has fallen by the wayside, and in concentrated doses can be just what you need.