Archive for the Review Category

CMJ Music Marathon 2013 Recap

Posted in Events, Music, OurVinyl, Review on October 25, 2013 by Jesse Zryb

from . . . 

The leaves on the trees in New York City (yes, there are some trees in New York) are starting to change colors and fall to the ground which only means one thing – CMJ Music Marathon. For those of you not familiar with the CJ Music Marathon, it is 5 days packed with music. Over 1,400 performances take place in over 80 venues throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, many within a short distance of another. You will not find the same headliners from the summer festival circuit. Instead you will find many artists that you’ve never even heard of, along with others that are just beginning to emerge. Discovery of new music is the main goal of this marathon. Bands that have emerged during the CMJ Marathon in the past ten years include Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, Hot Chip, M.I.A., MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, and Mumford & Sons. In the past three years alone you would have been able to see acts such as Avicii, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Gotye, Icona Pop, and Foxygen.

Those who endure this 5-day journey are often rewarded with stellar sets from artists giving it their all in turn for a shot at more exposure. A massive amount of media coverage is applied to this festival each year, and many other musicians and music insiders alike can be spotted at all of the venues. Additionally, this week serves as a perfect time for established acts to make appearances and this year was no different as both Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire announced rare gigs in front of their highly anticipated new albums.

With the sheer amount of live performances that are available to see in this one week, it is impossible for any single person to cover it all. All you can do is plan ahead, circle some of your favorite shows, and always have a backup plan! What follows below is my account from the 2013 CMJ Marathon . . .


My marathon started at Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 2. This venue, which has two other performing spaces as well, is nestled in the middle of a thriving music scene in the Lower East Side and is the perfect jumping point to several other venues. It also helps that it is one of the more intimate and comfortable spaces that you can find in the city. The London based 5-piece Duologue was the first act that I caught in this venue. Like many of the acts that I would go on to see this week, I knew very little of this band beforehand. My first impression when they jumped into their set was that they sound like Radiohead circa early 2000’s. Lead singer Tom Digby-Bell’s falsetto is a dead ringer for Thom Yorke’s distinct vocals, and the choppy beats and overdrive backing it up solidifies the previous comparison. Even some of the songs themselves bear uncanny resemblance to Radiohead tracks; check out “Get Out While You Can,” which is a dead ringer for Amnesiac’s “I Might Be Wrong.”


This comparison of course is all in high praise of Duologue, as they have complete mastery over these songs. There are a lot of different effects and sounds created to provide the complete atmosphere in each song and the entire band is hard at work with various petals and loops to establish their sound. A dramatic tension is constructed during their sets that keeps the level of intrigue high throughout the show. This is definitely a worthwhile band to check out and their live show does a great job of bringing these complex and moody songs to life.

My next stop of the night was the Bowery Ballroom, just a few blocks away who were hosting the Talkhouse Showcase. This showcase was headlined by Norwegian pop darling Sondre Lerche, and also featured performances from Luke Temple from Here We Go Magic, Teen, and Wet. I arrived for the very last song from Teen, a female foursome based in Brooklyn who produce a dreamy and laidback sound. Their set seemed like a good transition into Luke Temple’s which followed shortly after.

Luke Temple own sound doesn’t differ much from that of his band, Here We Go Magic, but the overall mood seems to be a little less spacey which actually helps some of the songs out greatly. There is a good pop sensibility to his own material and a very light hearted nature to it. Tracks like “Florida” definitely convey this feeling, as a bouncy bass line introduces the song. Despite the lyrics being a little less sunny than the mood, this song still finds an easy way to get inside of your head.

Luke Temple’s set certainly established a jovial mood at Bowery Ballroom, which was taken to further heights with Sondre Lerche. This was my first time seeing the Norwegian singer-songwriter, whom I had first become familiar with from his work producing the score of the movie Dan in Real Life in 2007. Lerche has enjoyed a decent level of success ever since the release of his debut album, Faces Down, which was hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 50 albums of 2002. His songwriting borrows from some of the best of the craft and the voice that he provides to his tracks makes them very easy to listen to and become immediately engaged.


Sondre Lerche’s set from the Talkhouse Showcase was a great introduction to his music as he played selections spanning his entire career. Lerche seemed like one of the most genuinely likeable musicians and is completely at ease while on stage. Songs like “Hands Are Shaking” and “Two Way Monologue” display Lerche at his finest and leave you excited to see and hear more.

As mentioned above, one of the most important aspects of the CMJ Music Marathon is the ability to make last minute substitutions for events when necessary. Trying to fit everything into your schedule can be a difficult task but flexibility will ultimately be what allows you to last through the week. When I got an invitation earlier in the day for a press screening of Ben Stiller’s directorial film debut, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I figured that it would be a pleasant way to transition into the evening as well as a good way of resting my legs for a few hours.

I did not know anything about this movie prior to watching the trailer that came along with the invite. A good soundtrack and breathtaking visuals are typically enough to get me to sit through a movie, but I was very pleasantly surprised with what I saw. Based off of a 1939 short story from James Thurber, the movie follows Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) who is constantly dreaming up alternate scenarios and adventures in his head until a point where it is difficult to discern the differences between reality and imagination. Kristen Wiig fills in nicely as the romantic interest and the movie also features Adam Scott, Sean Penn, and several other notable actors. You’ll get the chance to see the movie this Christmas when it is released nationwide.

Following the movie, I decided to stay in the Chelsea neighborhood and check out the Ooh La La showcase at the Highline Ballroom. I arrived right in time for Lou Doillon, the French model, actress, and singer.  There was a huge French presence at this concert as she has amassed quite the following in her native country and many were singing along all throughout the set, despite all of the lyrics being in English. Her debut album, Places, was released this past Spring, and she performed several of these songs at the Highline Ballroom. She often times sung about personal experiences and took several opportunities to connect with the crowd. Her backing band created a very full sound to accompany her folksy style of singing. At times she evokes Patti Smith or Fiona Apple – despite having the looks of a model, her songs express a vulnerability which makes her very human stage.


On Thursday night, I found myself back at the Bowery Ballroom for the Domino Records Showcase. This night was headlined by Real Estate, and featured sets from Jonathan Rado & the Gentlemen Jets, Hookworms, and Piano Movers. I arrived before Jonathan Rado and managed to get a spot directly in front of the stage for this performance. I had first been seen Rado perform on the very same stage at last year’s CMJ Marathon with his other band Foxygen, who were one of the biggest breakouts from that festival. Seeming as if they were lifted straight from the 60’s, Foxygen completely blew me away. The swagger that the frontman, Sam France possessed combined with the intricate songs and atmosphere created by Rado was one of the best surprises of the past year.

It is rather impressive that Rado has already released his own album of material in the same year that Foxygen’s debut was released. The intricacy that is present in Take the Kids Off of Broadway’s songs is can definitely be found in Rado’s Law and Order. When seeing Rado perform these live, it helps your understanding of what goes into each track. While Rado’s songs certainly hold up on their own, they lack that energy that is added from frontman Sam France in Foxygen. This statement mostly applies to their live show as it was much more sedate than one of those of Rado’s other band.

Following Jonathan Rado & the Gentlemen Jets was the headliner of the evening, Real Estate. The beachy band from nearby Ridgewood, New Jersey came onto the stage around 11 pm to a sold out Bowery Ballroom. Real Estate has two full LPs to date that have both been received very well by the indie mainstream. They were one of the more “high profile” acts to play the CMJ Marathon this year and their laid back tunes had everybody on the floor swaying in unison. The set opened with “Easy,” which is the title track off of their most recent album Days. “Easy” pretty much sums up this Real Estate in a nutshell. Their demeanor on stage is very casual and laid back. This of course matches their sound which is akin to lying on a beach with waves crashing in the distance.

“It’s Real” and “Beach Comber” were other highlights from the set, which spanned all of Real Estate’s releases as well as material from their forthcoming album expected in early 2014. The overall live experience is much like the studio experience, but much more immersive. The looping guitars swirl around you in the live setting, making you yearn for summer days. With a new album on it’s way, you can expect to see Real Estate bringing the beach party on the road for some time to come.

When the weekend comes around for the CMJ Music Marathon you can always expect big things. With plenty of highly anticipated albums to be released in the final months of 2013, a few shows seemed to generate an unnatural amount of buzz. Although they weren’t under the CMJ Music Marathon umbrella, both Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire announced that they would be playing at separate venues in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday night. Arcade Fire, under the pseudonym “The Reflektors” announced that they would be playing a “secret” show for around 2,000-3,000 people at a warehouse space in Brooklyn. Tickets for this concert went unnaturally fast although there seemed to be no shortage of available tickets on StubHub and Craigslist. These concerts were in anticipation of their forthcoming album, Reflektor, and the crowd was encouraged to come dressed in costume and formal attire.

Pearl Jam, on the other hand, had announced that they would be playing their first NYC area shows in 3 years a few months prior to the Barclays Center shows. These shows also sold out very quickly, and with their new album Lightning Bolt being released the same week, the timing couldn’t have been better. I was lucky enough to score tickets to the Friday night Pearl Jam concert at Barclays. This of course interfered some with seeing CMJ showcases, but I wasn’t going to relinquish my first opportunity to see a band that I’ve loved for over 20 years live.


Having been to Barclays Center several times since it’s opening just over 13 months ago, I can easily say that this was the most crowded that I have ever seen it. With the entire 360 degrees of seating being utilized in addition, Barclays Center was definitely near it’s capacity. No openers were on the bill either giving Pearl Jam complete control of the arena for the evening. In complete darkness the members of PJ took to the stage, as the opening notes of the dark and moody new track, “Pendulum” began to ring. Frontman Eddie Vedder had complete command of the audience from the moment they stepped on stage. His grainy vocals combined with Mike McCready’s prowess on guitar completely captivate the audience. Pearl Jam quickly went from one of their newest tracks to a fan favorite from their debut album Ten with “Release.” Even with some of their quieter tracks, the noise level was cacophonous as thousands were gleefully singing along.

Having been around for over 20 years and releasing over 10 solid studio albums, Pearl Jam has established themselves as one of the greatest bands to come from the 90’s. They continued to pick songs spanning their deep catalogue as they went into “Elderly Woman Sitting Behind the Counter in a Small Town” from Vs. next. The energy in the arena never dipped below what it was from the outset of the evening. For a band to play over 30 songs in 3 hours and have the crowd in complete awe throughout speaks volumes about this band. Very few currently touring acts have the power to pull this off.

By the end of the evening, Pearl Jam had played 8 songs from their new album with highlights being “Infallible” and “Sirens.” The new songs were very well received in the live setting and even enhance the experience of going back to listen to Lightning Bolt. It’s amazing how this band continues to mature and evolve and Pearl Jam offers a stark contrast to the acts that performing at the CMJ Music Marathon.

What the CMJ Music Marathon gives you is emerging artists. Almost all music acts start small, this 5 day marathon provides them with a platform for exposure.

A Review of the Great Googa Mooga 2013

Posted in Concerts, Events, Music, New York City, OurVinyl, Photography, Review on May 28, 2013 by Jesse Zryb

from . . . 

Last year, the first Great Googa Mooga touched down upon Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the hope to establish a new tradition – an annual celebration of food and music in the grassy expanses of the Nethermeads and an escape from the bustling city beyond the trees. The two day festival was blessed with cloudless skies and summer-like temperatures months ahead of schedule in its first year. Throngs of people came out with voracious appetites, perhaps more than anyone could have imagined for the inaugural Googa Mooga. The demand for food and drink outweighed the supply and long lines became the norm throughout the weekend. If you got there early or simply had patience than you were treated to a smorgasbord of delights, however there was much negative backlash, much of it directed at the food ticketing process and the VIP amenities (or lack thereof). By the second day of the festival in 2012, many of the kinks had been worked out to some extent, and those in attendance were treated to a stellar lineup of music to go with their food, capped off by a headlining set by Hall and Oates that had people of all generations dancing along.

great googa mooga 2013 review

Superfly Presents, the organizers of Googa Mooga and the same folks that brought us Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, were listening closely to what people had to say about the first year and did their best to make amends by refunding over $1 million to everybody who purchased tickets to the VIP experience. They vowed to return bigger and better and last week we saw the 2013 vision of Googa Mooga come to life. In addition to the free tickets that were distributed via lottery system for Saturday and Sunday, tickets were now offered at a reasonable price for a Friday concert which included bigger music acts such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Flaming Lips, and the Darkness. Food vendors were much more prepared for the hungry hordes ready to be fed and all food vendors now accepted cash rather than the ticketing system from last year, ultimately keeping lines moving much quicker. With Friday off to a great start and many of the flaws from the previous year worked out, it seemed as if Googa Mooga was on it’s way to a great 2013 – at least until Mother Nature decided to weigh in. With a forecast that seemingly changed for the worse by the minute festival goers that were expecting some sun on Saturday instead had to endure some light rain and chillier than expected temperatures. Those who made it out to Prospect Park on Sunday must have been even more disappointed when the festival was prematurely closed before noon due to persistent rain and despite being a ‘Rain or Shine’ event.

While it is unfortunate that we were deprived of one day of Googa Mooga, we still had plenty of time to take it all in. We were there on Saturday, May 18th for a full day of food, drink, and fun. Those who made it early on were fortunate enough to catch Lee Fields & the Expressions who opened up on the Nethermead Stage at 11:3o am. The R&B music that drifted through the trees made it easy to find the festival site in the middle of Prospect Park as many continued to arrive. It was difficult to pull yourself away from the tunes and find your first meal of the day, fortunately many of the vendors were aligned on both sides of the main stage. Over 85 top restaurants were represented, each serving something special.

There is no doubt about it, food is the main attraction at Googa Mooga. At no point was this more apparent than in the afternoon, when people first became acquainted with the festival site and found the restaurant stalls of their choice. A very helpful mobile app was released weeks before Googa Mooga allowing people to view all of the vendors as well as a description of their menu and prices. With so many New York staples as well as a few choice out of town selections such as L.A.’s Umami Burger and New Orleans’ Crawfish Monica it was important to familiarize yourself with the layout of the festival in order to make the best meal decisions possible. Having a few friends on hand to share with also made it much easier to spread yourself across the grounds.

great googa mooga 2013 review

Many came with blankets and claimed their spots on the great lawn early on. Walking through the fields you couldn’t help but stop and talk to strangers typically resulting in the questions “what is that?”, and “where did you get that?.” The other thing you couldn’t help but notice at this festival were the kids. Many young families could be spotted throughout the Googa Mooga. Unlike many other festivals, kids are encouraged here and there proved to be several diversions such as an arts and crafts area, lawn games, and even some fresh mud to play in. Throughout the afternoon, artists such as Sharon Von Etten and Father John Misty continued to provide music to please the crowd at the Nethermead Stage as a light rain continued to pass over.

great googa mooga 2013 review

On the opposite side of the festival grounds stood the Joe’s Pub Stage shuffled between appearances and talks with celebrated chefs and musical performances. This back area by Joe’s Pub included even more food vendors as well as a more intimate setting to gather around. A distinctly New Orleans feel fell upon Googa Mooga at 2:15. Jon Batiste & Stay Human took the stage at this stage and the Crescent City native mixed in a number of NOLA standards as well as other material to help create a very festive scene. People wouldn’t allow the rain to dampen their fun, and you could find umbrellas bobbing up and down throughout the set. Not long after this set started you could hear brass music coming from the nearby American Express Tent. Not only did this tent provide a dry shelter, but it also served as host to giveaways, food and drink demonstrations and performances. The Soul Rebels moved the New Orleans party to the tent when they took to the stage there. The tent had already been packed with people seeking refuge from the rain, after the 8 piece brass band came on you could feel the ground underneath you shaking in delight.

great googa mooga 2013 review

Another interesting feature from Googa Mooga this year was the Renaissance Fair which was tucked behind the Nethermeads Stage. After passing through a section of overgrown trees which provided a forest like backdrop it was as if you had stepped back in time 800 years. And they were playing Daft Punk. Dozens of people were outfitted in medieval clothing as DJ’s continued to create a unique party atmosphere complete with sword fights and guillotines. Being situated near meats on sticks certainly helped lend to the feeling as well.

Back on the Nethermead stage a crowd was gathering for Italian Superstar, Jovanotti. The singer/rapper had plenty of fans very excited and you can find many peoplesinging along in his native tongue. Even for those who couldn’t understand the meaning of the words coming from his mouth, there was much to enjoy as the music spanned all types of genres and styles. Jovanotti was followed by Brooklyn natives Matt & Kim who were clearly excited to be headlining the day’s festivities in front of the New York crowd. A tremendous amount of energy is poured into each one of their shows as they mix in all of their hits with other party songs such as “Better Off Alone” and “Let Me Clear My Throat.”


If Saturday night were to have been the conclusion of the festival, we would have had mostly great things to say about Googa Mooga 2013. Unfortunately, a whole other day of festivities was scheduled for Sunday. Kool & the Gang, De La Soul, the Cults, members of LCD Soundsystem, and more were all slated to perform. Despite an even wetter forecast than previous days, plenty of people still showed up at the opening hours of the festival only to find that they were being held at the gates.

An announcement was made shortly after noon through Googa Mooga’s social media outlets saying that the decision had been made to cancel the remainder of the festival. It was clear to the people on the grounds at Prospect Park that many improvements had been made from the previous year. Unfortunately many people who were only attending on Sunday were unable to see them. While the weather is something that is completely out of the hands of any festival organizer, better means of communication could have been used; hopefully this will be another learning point for the future.


Click here to view our photo-gallery from the Great Googa Mooga.

By Jesse Zryb

OurVinyl | Senior Writer & Photographer

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry 2013

Posted in Concerts, Events, Music, New York City, OurVinyl, Review on May 6, 2013 by Jesse Zryb

from . . .


Last year the Dessner brothers of the National curated the first ever Crossing Brooklyn Ferry with a vision to create a festival as eclectic as the borough which they call home. Not only would Crossing Brooklyn Ferry offer a diverse range of homegrown music, but it would offer a number of performance spaces within the gorgeous Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) that each have their own unique characteristics and charm. These three days of performances are as much a celebration of Brooklyn as they are a music festival.

This past weekend Crossing Brooklyn Ferry returned to BAM with an even more eclectic offering of musical genres including punk, rock, hip-hop, funk, jazz and more. A solid selection of notable headliners and buzz-worthy bands littered the line-up including acts such as the Roots, Solange Knowles, TV on the Radio, Phosphorescent, Antibalas, Japanther and many more. The real star of the weekend however would have to be the venue itself. Performances were held within the modern Rose Cinemas, the BAMcafe with it’s swirling lights overhead, and the 2,109 capacity Howard Gilman Opera House. There was also a tasting room set up by Brooklyn Brewery which was serving exclusive ales throughout the weekend. Movement could not have been more fluid between these spaces as the festival went on. We were there for the opening and close of the festival to bring you our account.

The festival opened up on Thursday and contained the biggest draw of the weekend with the Roots as the headliners for that night. Those who came in not knowing many of the other acts on the bill throughout the day surely found something of intrigue while bouncing between the venues inside. To help encourage the early audience, there was a free sampling of select Brooklyn Brewery beers in the tasting room from 6:30 – 7:30. These “ghost bottles,” as the brewery describes them, are only available for special occasions and included highly coveted ales such as Local 1 and Sorachi Ace. A happy hour was also held during the same time period helping people kick off the night. Noticeably absent from the taps were Budweiser and other common brands as people were encouraged to treat their senses.

Drinks continued to flow at the BAMcafe in the upper level, which featured a large bar with access on four sides that served food as well. Seats remained on the floor for Rudresh Mahanthapa’s Gamak, which offered up a fresh fusion of funk and jazz. As the daylight slipped through the windows and night approached the BAMcafe took on a whole new life. The archways overhead illuminated the space and lights began to swirl on the large window’s between the street and the performance area. The next act to go on in this stage was Champagne Jerry and by this time of the evening the chairs had made way to a large dancing area for the remainder of the acts. As drinks were not allowed in the opera house or the cinemas, the BAMcafe also became a de facto point for hanging out. Compared to the other spots where chatter was at a minimum, the cafe became the social center of the BAM complex.

 Most performances had a slight overlap with others which actually helped avoid massive volleys of people at one time. On Thursday night in particular, it seemed like there was plenty of room throughout BAM which allowed you to grab a number of vantages from within the Howard Gilman Opera House throughout the night. The elegant beaux art theatre space may have seemed large at first for some of the acts, but the state-of-the-art sound and lighting helped transition each act that performed in this space. Julia Holter, for instance, occupied just one small platform in the center of the stage. Smoke engulfed her and powerful lighting effects helped to give the feeling of a more intimate performance. Parquet Courts on the other hand had a much higher energy and the crowd began to feed off of it with a dancing section forming in front of the seats and directly below the stage.

The highlight of the first night however was the Roots. Getting the chance to see them in Howard Gilman Opera House was a special treat and it was a little surprising to be able to find so many good spots to catch them from. The seasoned veterans had the crowd entertained from the moment they graced the stage; after all they do do this every night. The band was clearly having fun with this performance. Guitarist and Brooklyn native, Kirk Douglas was very animated throughout the set and continuously engaged with the crowd. ?uestlove was not one to disappoint either; at one point during an extended drum solo he even took time to send out the setlist to his loyal instagram and twitter followers and somehow didn’t even miss a beat. The set contained several hits such as “Next Movement,”  “You Got Me,” and “Seed 2.0,” and also took plenty of time to showcase the individual talents of each band member.

The Roots

When we returned for the final day of Crossing Brooklyn Ferry on Saturday, it was noticeably more crowded throughout the entire day. The acts on Saturday were somewhat more recognizable and the fact that it was on the weekend certainly helped encourage more festival goers. Perhaps the word of Brooklyn Brewery’s ghost tastings also served as some additional motivation to get there early. Indie rock ruled the stage of the Howard Gilman Opera House for the first half of Saturday with People Get Ready playing this festival for a second year in a row followed by an energetic set from Here We Go Magic.

Meanwhile, up at the BAMcafe art-punk band Japanther entertained a growing crowd of fans. Though the act consists of just a drummer and guitarist, they produced more than enough noise to fill up the room. Fans were dancing away in the front for this act. Japanther were definitely the biggest outliers of the week in terms of genre, but they still received an outstanding reception from the crowd and offered a great change of pace.

One of the more anticipated acts of the evening took place back in the opera house when Phosphorescent took to the stage. They have been garnering quite a bit of attention with their newly released album, Muchacho, and after seeing their live performance one can say that the attention is rightfully deserved. With sleeves rolled up, frontman Matthew Houck captivated and connected with the audience as he led us through plenty of new material. From song to song the pace would shift and the six piece band completely rose to the occasion in front of the opera house which continued to fill up. Their live show is definitely one to catch, and Phosphorescent certainly made some new fans on Saturday night.

The final act to take the stage of the opera house during Crossing Brooklyn Ferry was TV on the Radio, another hometown band that has broken through the indie ranks and has enjoyed a pretty wide degree of success. A backdrop of glowing stars was placed behind the stage and silhouettes  if the band emerged as they broke into their hit single “Halfway Home” off of 2008’s Dear Science. They couldn’t have chosen a better song to establish the pace of their set. The Howard Gilman Opera House was more full than it had been all week and the amount of energy that the band was pouring out on the stage could be felt by everyone. The Dessner brothers couldn’t have picked a better band to close out the opera house and the momentum continued into the BAMcafe for the final portion of the festival; a DJ set from Vampire Weekend’s Scott Baio.

It is difficult to lump Crossing Brooklyn Ferry in with the myriad of summer festivals sprouting throughout the world. What CBF is is a celebration of Brooklyn and all of those qualities that make this borough unique. The Brooklyn Academy of Music served as a spectacular host for this event and hopefully will for some time.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

For more photos from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry view our gallery.


Jazz & Colors Festival

Posted in Concerts, Events, Music, Nature, New York City, OurVinyl, Review on November 14, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

from . . . 
The sights of Central Park are amongst the most recognizable and stirring imagery that New York City has to offer. The winding paths, open meadows, and bodies of water that are contained within the 843 acres are opportunities for escape from the bustling city that surrounds it. This past Saturday, all of these sites were provided with one unified soundtrack – 30 different jazz groups spread throughout the park, each of them playing one setlist of 18 standards relating to time and place; that being Autumn and New York.

The Jazz & Colors Festival, which was conceived by Peter Shapiro (owner of Brooklyn Bowl and newly re-opened Capital Theater and former owner of famed Jam-band venue, Wetlands), presents us with a unique way to experience both music and Central Park itself. One of the major inspirations for this festival was The Gates, a public art project that placed over 7,500 brightly colored arches throughout the park that literally highlighted the serpentine paths and immersed spectators in their surroundings. Jazz & Colors replaced the visual stimuli from The Gates with jazz flowing from station to station. Within a few minutes, one could walk from the Merchants Gate at the Southeast corner of the park; just steps away from Broadway and the Time Warner Center, to the secluded Pinebank Arch with orange leaves on the ground and not a skyscraper in site. During this walk you could hear Thelonius Monk’s “Straight No Chaser,” first in a straightforward manner by the Wayne Escoffery Quartet and then a more funked up interpretation by Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad.

The text on the top of the map for Jazz & Colors read “CREATE YOUR OWN CONCERT EXPERIENCE,” which was most certainly the mantra for the day. With 30 bands spread across 6 miles of trails and a playlist of only 4 hours, it was a given that you would likely not be able to see all of the acts. Unlike most festivals where you view a schedule prior to the event and attempt to map out your course; here people were encouraged to just wander and go out their own pace. It was very much a self-guided tour where people could choose to take a seat for an entire set, or, if they had the energy, traverse the park for a number of hours.

Much like The Gates, Jazz & Colors was also truly a public event. It’s difficult to gauge how many people came specifically for the music since all the venues were spread across the park, but there were tons of people who were simply at the park to enjoy a pleasant day and happened to stumble upon world class musicians at every turn. Joggers and bikers were seen taking longer than usual to catch their breaths and generally seemed delighted when they took out their headphones and tuned in to the music being created around them. It was also a fine day for several of the bustlers who generally set-up shop in the park anyway as they found an even larger audience than usual of people willing to stop and listen.

The sites of course were of a great importance and this festival did a great job of educating you as your musical journey continued. Blurbs were written up for each of the 30 stations, telling you a little bit about their significance. The range of characteristics that each specific site had was one of the factors that made this day so enjoyable. This was an escape in it’s purest sense, with all of your senses being overwhelmed in the greatest possible way. To describe just one setting or one performance in depth almost does injustice to this festival as a whole. With so much to take in, we can only hope that the Jazz & Colors Festival returns next year for another chance.

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First Set (12:00 – 1:30)

  • “Straight No Chaser” – Thelonious Monk, 1951

  • “Take The A Train” – Billy Strayhorn, 1939

  • “Central Park West” – John Coltrane,

  • “Nature Boy” – Eden Ahbez, 1947

  • “Fall” – The Miles Davis Quartet, 1967

  • “Autumn Serenade” – Johnny Harman / John Coltrane, 1963

  • “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” – Charles Mingus, 1959

  • “Manhattan” – Rodgers and Hart, 1925

  • “Blue Train” – John Coltrane, 1957

    Intermission (1:30 – 2:30)

  • Featuring Jazz & Colors Rising Stars Soloist Contest Winners,

    Second Set (2:30 – 4:00)

  • “Scrapple From The Apple” – Charlie Parker, 1947

  • “The Blues Walk” – Clifford Brown and Max Roach, 1955

  • “Body and Soul” – Louis Armstrong, 1930

  • “Skating in Central Park” – John Lewis, 1959

  • “Rhythm-A-Ning” – Thelonious Monk, 1957

  • “Peace” – Ornette Coleman, 1959

  • “Nostalgia in Times Square” – Charles Mingus, 1960

  • “Autumn in New York” – Vernon Duke, 1934

  • “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z & Alicia Keys, 2009


List Of Bands

Clockwise from 110th and Central Park West: Chris Dingman Quartet, Jason Marshall Quartet with Hilary Gardner, Kirk Knuffke/Jesse Stacken Duo with Bill Goodwin, Marika Hughes and Bottom Heavy, Kevin Hays Trio, JC Hopkins Quintet, Jamie Baum Quintet, Marc Cary Quartet, Roy Campbell Tazz Quartet, Sharel Cassity Quintet, Mingus Big Band, JD Allen Quartet, Jacques Schwartz-Bart Quartet with Stephanie McKay, Kahlil Kwame Bell, Bob Stewart Quintet, Kimberly Thompson Quartet, Wayne Escoffery Quartet with Carolyn Leonhart, Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad, Yes! Trio (Aaron Goldberg, Omer Avital, Ali Jackson), Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars, Doug Wamble Quartet, Joel Harrison Quintet, Mike Mo Quartet, Jason Kao Hwang Trio, ELEW, Claire Daly Quartet, Gregoire Maret, Yosvany Terry Quartet, The Klezmatics, Mitch Frohman’s Latin-Jazz Quartet.

Jay-Z @ Barclays Center Grand Opening Celebration

Posted in Concerts, Events, New York City, OurVinyl, Review on October 2, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

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On September 28th, 2012, after years of planning, the Barclays Center opened it’s doors to the public, with a blowout concert by none other than Jay-Z. With this new arena, Brooklyn not only gets a home for the “newest” NBA franchise, The (now) Brooklyn Nets, but it also gets a state of the art entertainment complex to rival it’s neighbor across the river, Madison Square Garden. Although it may take awhile to match the storied history of MSG, the first few months certainly are an indication that they’re going in the right direction. Eight sold out Jay-Z performances will take place before a pair of highly anticipated Barbra Streisand concerts. In addition to Nets home games and a slew of college basketball tournaments, the Barclays Center will also play host to Bob Dylan, the Who, Neil Young, John Legend, Swedish House Mafia, and Leonard Cohen among many others (view the complete calendar of events here).

The first thing that strikes you while approaching the arena is the sweeping curves of the building’s exterior, designed by SHoP Architects. Weathered bands wrap around the core of the building which was designed by Ellerbe Becket, who are responsible for about half of the NBA arenas that are currently in use. At the busy intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, a massive oculus overhangs the triangular plaza, creating a public gathering space with visibility to the building’s interior and scoreboard. The new billion dollar facility also boasts direct access to 9 different subway lines (sadly, this does not include either the J or the Z lines) as well as the Long Island Railroad making access via public transportation as simple as can be.

Despite owning just a fraction of one percent of both the arena and franchise, Jay-Z  has left his mark on both. Born and raised in Brooklyn, it’s hard not to notice Jigga’s presence here; it’s only fitting that he be the one to christen the shiny new interior before anybody else. When tickets went on sale back in July, each of his performances sold out within the day that they were released. With Jay-Z being so invested in the Barclay Center, it was pretty clear to everyone that they would not want to miss this.

There was a tangible buzz of excitement from the moment you walked through the newly renovated (and renamed) Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station. The shiny tiles on the wall leading to the exit, are the same weathered color palette as the exterior of the new arena, which of course is the first thing that you would normally notice upon exit. There was nothing normal, however, about this night and instead your attention was first brought to the media circus surrounding Barclays Center, as well as the Occupy Wall Street movements latest attention grabbing tactics. Lines spewed out from the main entrance, slowed down by the metal detectors that everybody had to pass through. At least the staff at Barclays were much friendlier and more helpful than your typical TSA experience, making the entry an afterthought.

Once inside the Barclays Center, you were immediately reminded that you were in Brooklyn. If the swarms of people in black Nets gear or “Where Brooklyn At?” tees weren’t enough, perhaps the replacement of standard arena food with local fare such as Fatty Cue, Calexico, Brooklyn Burger, and of course, Nathan’s were a stark reminder of what borough you were in. With the tickets and website saying 8:00 pm for the start of the event, most people found their way to their seats so they wouldn’t miss a moment of this historic night. Instead, for the next 90 minutes or so you were treated to Hot 97’s Mister Cee reminding you of how historic a night this was and showering you with any rap song that ever mentioned Brooklyn.

Finally around 9:30, the lights went out as the massive sloped stage turned into a giant projection screen. A montage of the history of Brooklyn was played bringing us from the founding of the city to the modern day. Along the way tribute was paid to landmarks (Brooklyn Bridge, Ebbets Field), athletes (Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan), musicians (Aaliyah, Notorious B.I.G.), and Spike Lee; all set to a mix of songs featuring Brooklyn (Roy Ayers’ “We Live In Brooklyn Baby,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo,” and concluding with the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”). As the montage came to an end, a portal opened up from the middle as Jay-Z emerged, sporting a flat-brimmed gray and black Nets hat and debuting the new black road uniform (which could be purchased afterwards exclusively at any of the arena’s merchandise retailers). “What’s up, New York City! Tonight is a celebration of the borough I’m from” reminded Jay-Z to the crowd.

As several more panels opened up from the sloped stage, a live band was revealed, hovering around 15 feet above Hov. “Where I’m From” was the first song played at Barclays Center,which refers to the nearby Marcy Projects where Jay-Z was raised, reminding us how far the area has come since those days. “Brooklyn Go Hard” was the logical choice to follow this up with and had the crowd moving. For the next few songs, Jay-Z went silent as the singing duties were relayed to the crowd for the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.”A montage of the late Brooklyn rapper was shown on the screen during this touching moment.

Between songs Jay-Z would try and fit in some words with the audience. This was clearly a huge night for him which he had been anticipating for years. Now that it was finally here, it seemed as if he was overwhelmed with emotion. “I Played the Grammy’s, performed at Glastonbury. I tore Coachella to pieces. But nothing feels like tonight.” said Jay-Z at least a handful of times. Verses were added dubbing himself as “H.O. eight shows” and referring to Brooklyn’s newest NBA franchise. Overall however, the performance seemed to be lacking a little something. The hits were played (in total 29 of them), but the momentum was frequently disrupted with pauses to reflect.

The sloped stage and projections were pretty phenomenal (rounding out at a reported $400,000 to construct), but the platform itself seemed rather desolate, with just one man to command the crowd of 18,000 attention for the the majority of his performance. After much speculation, the lone guest of the night was Big Daddy Kane, which most people did not realize until Jay-Z introduced him after he left the stage. For a man who has collaborated with so many other notable artists, the general expectations for his performance, notably who may come out unannounced, were understandably set high; but at the end of the night many were disappointed to have not seen a more crowded stage at times.

The first set ended with a strong performance of “Encore” before Jay-Z retreated. ‘Hova’ chants swirled around the arena until Jay-Z came back out with “What More Can I Say?” After a few more songs, including “Clique” off of G.O.O.D. Music’s recent Cruel Summer, the show was over. While it certainly felt special to have been there that night, the performance left a lot to be desired; perhaps more is in store for the seven shows that will follow the opening night. It’s undeniable how big a night this was for those involved in making this happen, but it was hard not to feel at times like this was one gargantuan pep rally for Brooklyn.

Words and photos from Jesse Zryb

OurVinyl | Senior Writer

Jay-Z Setlist @ Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY 9/28/2012)

01 “Where I’m From”
02 “Brooklyn Go Hard”
03 “Kick in the Door”
04 “Juicy”
05 “U Don’t Know”
06 “99 Problems”
07 “Run This Town”
08 “Empire State of Mind”
09 “On to the Next One”
10 “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
11 “Give It to Me”
12 “Big Pimpin’”
13 “Murda Murda”
14 “Dead Presidents”
15 “Can I Live”
16 “PSA”
17 “Jigga My Nigga”
18 “I.Z.Z.O”
19 “Jigga What”
20 “Hard Knock Life”
21 “Heart of the City”
22 “Encore”

23 “What More Can I Say”
24 “Do It Again”

Big Daddy Kane
“Ain’t No Half Steppin’”
“Set It Off”
“Warm It Up”

25 “Clique”
26 “3 Kings”
27 “Best of Me”
28 “Money Ain’t a Thing”
29 “Money Cash Hoes”
30 “Young Forever”

Gotye Interview and Live on Letterman Performance Review

Posted in Concerts, Music, OurVinyl, Review on September 28, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

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OurVinyl had the pleasure of sitting down with Wally De Backer; or as most of you may know him, Gotye, and ask him a few questions before he buckled down for a busy week in New York City which included a performance on the Live on Letterman concert series at Ed Sullivan Theatre (which you can find a review as well as a stream of below), Radio City Music Hall, and Williamsburg Park before embarking on the final dates of his 2012 North American Tour. Despite having a steady following in his native Australia for the past 10 years, Gotye finally broke onto American soil with the global hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Making Mirrors became his first album to be released in the US. After his final North American dates, Gotye will find himself in Europe, and then back in Australia to close out the year.

See what he has to say about his momentous year as well as that one song that we can’t seem to escape:

OV: You’re first album as Gotye was released in 2003 (Boardface), yet it seems like your new found fame has happened almost overnight. How has this quick ascension phased you?

GOTYE: I guess it hasn’t felt that quick. I mean its felt quicker than you know, than any other previous time in making 10 years of music. But its still been gradual to us, with a record coming out in Australia like a year ago and the single sort of starting to become successful in Australia then Europe and then the UK and then America, so we had the chance to take it step by step.

Gotye’s “Save Me”

OV: In the past year, millions of people have heard you for the first time. Do you find any differences when playing to new cities and audiences versus fans who have been following you for years?

GOTYE: Well, one difference is that some parts of the audience are mainly there because they know the one song (“Somebody That I Used to Know”) and they might even consider leaving the gig after that song. But there are clearly a very strong throng of people who have been seeing me for a long time and you can see singing the words to songs from Boardface. Its just very mixed, I guess that’s what happens when you have a breakthrough single for that moment and there are other people who have been fans for a long time.

OV: Did you ever anticipate the kind of fame and success that Making Mirrors has thrust upon you?

GOTYE: Not to this extent, no. I mean, I just really hoped that I could get it released in North America, because I couldn’t sort of find a way to do that for my last record. So I just kinda jumped when it looked like that was gonna happen, [I got] some really good licensing options and you know, this much has happened with it since. I guess I’ve just been sort of chasing it in a little way, touring and preparing a live show.

OV: Has any of the success affected the way that you approach your live shows?

GOTYE: Well, I’ve been working very hard on it for a number of years. I feel like a lot of things I’ve been working on for quite a while are finally coming to fruition, in terms of things with the band and the ways my visuals and lighting are working together, that it just sort of “locks in” – which feels good. The shows are longer on this tour, getting from an hour, to an hour and a half, and then hour forty minute shows; sort of doing that every night, its actually become a lot of fun. . . So yea, it kind of feels good to be on stage for that amount of time.

OV: Why do you think that “Somebody That I Used to Know” became such a massive global hit?

GOTYE: Well, I think its a little bit of a lot of different things. But, you know, the way the video and the song go together and Youtube and Facebook and word of mouth. People’s enthusiasm allows them to share it very easily. That’s been instrumental – I feel like it didn’t start off as a label thing or some marketing scheme . . . The way it started off I guess was just some fans having lots of anticipation and sharing it and it just kept on spreading like that. Its just kind of funny like that.

OV: Could you ever have anticipated that while writing the song?

GOTYE: Um nah, nothing like that. I was just thinking of it as a piece of music and making it feel the way I wanted it to feel texturally and for the lyrics to work in a certain way. So I wasn’t really thinking about the reception commercially or critically. Your relation changes with it very much over time.

OV: The artwork for Making Mirrors, and the angular lines that are painted over the video for “Somebody That I Used to Know” seem to share an aesthetic. Was there any reason that this type of imagery was chosen?

GOTYE: Well I had already penciled it in as my album artwork (note: the cover for Making Mirrors was taken from a painting created by his father), so I looked at the video as a secondary piece of my Dad’s painting from the 80s. And I don’t know, I just started to experiment with it in Photoshop; some transparencies with pictures of me and Kimbra and eventually it just felt like it had worked. It was already the idea of the director to use this kind of slowly developing stop animation. The ideas of lines and colors tend to go with that concept really strongly.

OV: What is the concept behind the video for this song?

GOTYE: We had already made a bunch of video clips of direct camera performance which I thought were very strong because it had pieced in artful elements which made it seem like more than somebody just speaking into a camera. I guess we both knew we wanted to do something like that. I think she (director Natasha Pincus) was trying to match the rhythm and the slow build of the song trough editing. I think she did that really incredibly and that was amazing. It just really feels like it captures the rhythm and creates visual context…The editing and the pacing are the kind of way that the video is very slowly revealed and yet it holds back quite a lot.

OV: Can you talk a bit about your process for creating new music?

GOTYE: I tend to experiment with instruments I find, whether they’re obscure little synthesizers or you know, like samples from other records. Sometimes it will just be a surprising break from a record that I’ve heard; looking for something that jumps out and it prompts a response from me and I’ve used a progression to record it on other instruments. I sometimes sort of start with a lyric or idea and then respond to that and find you can play a drum part although it’s kind of varied. One thing tends to trigger another idea and somewhere along the way with a whole number of ideas, i get a little glimpse of maybe where the song can go.

OV: There have been tons of people to remix “Somebody That I Used to Know” since it’s release. What are some of your thoughts on other artists interpretation of your own work?

GOTYE: Well we have a bunch of remixes that I think are really good. I just heard one yesterday which I think i need to look up again and maybe tweet about. It’s just a really full on half time super 80s jock rock track but it works really well. And I’ve heard enough which I’d consider not very interesting, lots of trendy dance remixes, of which there may be hundreds.

OV: After a few more shows in North America, you will move on to Europe and then finally back to Australia to finish out 2012. What’s in store for 2013?

GOTYE: I’m not completely sure yet. I’d like to travel a bit, I’d like to start writing some stuff. How they go together, I don’t really know yet. . . Yea, a certain combination of those things.

The Live on Letterman Show

“Tonight, live from the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City, please welcome Gotye” was announced through a highly synthesized voice, as Wally De Backer walked through the audience to join his four other band-mates, already on stage. A rolling drumbeat picked up as an electric slide guitar played the opening notes to “Eyes Wide Open,” off of Making Mirrors. Standing center stage, De Backer lifted his head and jumped into the lyrics singing “This is the end of the story.” To many of the people in the audience and watching the stream however, this was much more of a point of departure. For many who have not yet been able to see him live, they had been missing on some integral aspects of his music. The visuals, the movements on stage between instruments (of which there were many), and actually being able to decipher what goes into each track only heightens our interaction with the music. As “Eyes Wide Open” went into its first chorus, De Backer moved behind a set of drums and began pounding away providing the song with a huge rhythmic boost. Simultaneously, a gorgeous backdrop of exotic landscape scrolled by on the screen behind the band.

Gotye’s “Eyes Wide Open”

Gotye quickly turned up the funk with “The Only Way” off of 2006’s Like Drawing Blood. Here we have a track that sounds like it could have been off of Police’s Synchronicity, with tons of different atmospheric and percussive effects layered over a deep bass line. The next track played was “Easy Way Out,” a song that relies much more heavily on guitar. A Japanese style animation played along to the lyrics in the background depicting a central figure running away and turning to needles for an escape. The music builds up to a large climax fronted by guitar solos before ending abruptly.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing songs played was “State of the Art.” As a dubby bass line emerged, the video for the song appeared on the screen and all of the animated characters began bobbing along to the beat. With the vocoder turned up, De Backer produced a highly synthesized voice while simultaneously pounding away at the array of synthesizers around him. Technology overtakes all in this song as the monstrous synthesizer machine in the video enslaves it’s human subjects.

Towards the end of the set the band kicked into a familiar two note shuffle, signaling the beginning of “Somebody That I Used to Know.” The screen behind was a bare white wall that was beginning to be drawn over with lines and colors as the song built up similar to the video. Missy Higgins was welcomed out on stage to fill in the female vocal parts of the song, performed by Kimbra on Making Mirrors. The song seems to promote an intimacy between the two voices and despite a wide range of tones being used for each, there is still a very conversational tone to this song that seems to reverberate with the listener.

The set was closed with “Hearts a Mess,” which similar to the former song, tends to build up and die down in peaks and valleys. It’s difficult not to liken De Backer’s voice to that of Peter Gabriel, especially in a track such as this. The use of exotic percussive sounds top backing the song perhaps helps to solidify that argument as well. It was certainly a treat to see him playing in the intimate confines of the Ed Sullivan Theatre and the streaming video that you can find below captures this perfectly.  There’s a whole lot more to Gotye than just one song and it’s in people’s best interests to explore even further; be sure to watch the streaming video of the Live on Letterman performance below and see for yourself here.

Photos from the show courtesy of John Filo/CBS

Interview and review written by Jesse Zryb

OurVinyl | Senior Writer

The First Great Googa Mooga

Posted in Concerts, Events, Music, New York City, OurVinyl, Photography, Review on May 25, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

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In the past decade, festivals have completely reshaped the way that many experience their favorite musical acts as well as discover new ones. A sense of community is created within these events and people typically flock towards them with open minds and a willingness to be exposed to sites and sounds that they would never ordinarily be able to see within one place. The very people who are responsible for bringing us Bonnaroo, Superfly Presents, which was a major catalyst in this festival boom, hope to do with food what they have done for music.

Googa Mooga (a phrase chosen from New Orleans music lexicon in a similar manner as Bonnaroo) is the new 2 day festival in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park which, this past weekend, brought together 75 of the best food vendors around New York City (as well as some amazing staples found elsewhere in the United States, scores of brewers and wine makers, and topped that off with over 20 live performances across 2 stages. And to top it off and help attract the masses, entry was free. When you combine all of these elements, along with two cloudless summery days, there should be very little to gripe about; right? Continue reading

The Design of Googa Mooga

Posted in Architecture, Concerts, Design, Events, Music, Nature, New York City, OurVinyl, Photography, Review on May 23, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

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When Frederick Law Olmstead designed Prospect Park in the 19th Century, it’s hard to imagine that he envisioned metallic flame-throwing pigs, 30’ tall wedding cakes, or a Big Gay Ice Cream Party; but alas, this was the sight at the first ever Great Googa Mooga this past weekend. Located in the rolling green meadows of the Nethermead in the center of the park, this festival offered an escape from the city unlike any other. It was produced by the very people who brought the entire landscape of music festivals to what we know today.

Superfly Presents is the team responsible for Bonnaroo and Outside Lands as well as the JazzFest late night shows in New Orleans, which propelled them forward and helped establish them in the music scene. They are in a large part responsible for the growth of music festivals as a platform to seeing all of your favorite artists.  With Googa Mooga, they are hoping to do to food and drink what they did with music – make it the star and main attraction. That’s not to say that music is being thrown to the curb here; the servings are just being reshuffled and offered in a new way.

To help bring this vision to life; Superfly turned to architecture and design firm Rockwell Group and their years of experience in the restaurant industry and other hospitality and entertainment ventures. Rockwell Group’s fascination with immersive environments and creating human connections made them the leading candidate for this kind of role with the green pastures of Olmstead ripe for a drastic makeover. In their 2006 publication Spectacle, Rockwell Group documented temporary gatherings of all kinds such as the Olympics, Worlds Fairs, Burning Man, and circuses identifying some of the major attributes (Big, Bold, Brief, Connections, Transformations, Immersion) which led to the lasting memories and impacts that such events have. With Googa Mooga, there was an opportunity to apply these principles to a new festival and to identify and establish the brand that is to be for years. Continue reading

Norah Jones ‘Live on Letterman’ Review

Posted in Music, New York City, OurVinyl, Review on May 7, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

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A day after the release of her fifth studio album, Little Broken Hearts, Norah Jones took to the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theatre for the popular webcast series Live on Letterman. Over the course of the past decade, the 33-year old songstress has established a reputation for sweet and gentle ballads and a voice that is as easy on the ears as any, as is evident by her many appearances on Starbucks CD racks. While she has not completely abandoned the elements that have brought her success, her latest release still represents a departure some of the loungier, sunnier songs that we have become familiar with. Firstly, as evidenced in the title, many of the lyrics revolve around break-up. Secondly, producer extraordinaire Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse) was brought in for this project and with that we a different sonic atmosphere swirling around Jones’ always stellar voice. Continue reading

The Weeknd @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (4/25/2012)

Posted in Concerts, New York City, OurVinyl, Photography, Review on April 26, 2012 by Jesse Zryb

from . . .

To say that expectations were high for The Weeknd’s concert at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg would be a major understatement. In just over a year since Abel Tesfaye, the man responsible for this mysterious act, released the critically acclaimed House of Balloons mixtape, all sorts of praise has been heaped as far as calling him the “best musical talent since Michael Jackson.” Two mixtapes, a high profile appearance on Drake’s Take Care, and several mentions on 2011 “Best Of” lists only helped build up the hype even further.

Continue reading

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