Neutral Milk Hotel close the season at Ommegang this Saturday night. Still camping available. Come on out and... http://t.co/sAZpFWeecc
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
NOTE: THIS SHOW HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE DOCK (415 Taughannock Boulevard, Ithaca, NY)
Water Street Music Hall - Rochester, NY
16+ w/ ID
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
There are many kind of stitches: seams to secure sleeves into armholes... sutures closing wounds and deep incisions... loops or crosses of embroidery floss... a sudden pain in the side. Stitches, the new album from Califone, touches on all these definitions, its episodes of discomfort and healing rendered with exquisite beauty and craftsmanship.
Intimate timbres—garage sale drum machines, slack guitar strings, hushed vocals—offset the album's cinematic inclinations. The listener moves through a landscape of Old Testament blood and guts, spaghetti Western deserts and Southwestern horizons, zeroing in on emotions and images that cannot be glanced over. Motes of dust dance briefly in afternoon sunlight.
"This is the only record I've made in my life where none of the work was done in Chicago," says Califone's Tim Rutili. The writing and recording began in Southern California, then continued in Arizona and Texas. "Those dry landscapes and beaches and hills and shopping malls all made it into the music," he acknowledges. Uniquely homespun elements are interwoven into the songs, too, including sounds Rutili recorded in his backyard during rainfall and while driving in his car.
Brass, pedal steel, and strings color in the edges and outlines songs like "Frosted Tips," "We Are A Payphone," "Moonbath.brainsalt.a.holy.fool" and "Moses," yet Stitches is no Ennio Morricone-meets-Cecil B. DeMille pastiche. Gritty electronics, the mesmerizing thrumming of tablas, and eerie keyboards also pepper these ten new selections. A cartographer could spend lifetimes mapping the terrain of Stitches.
Archetypes and mythological figures rub shoulders with bruised civilians throughout this odyssey. Though Rutili is not a religious man, episodes from the Bible in particular kept entering his psyche as he wrote. "I'm fascinated with why some stories and characters resonate and last for thousands of years, and are so easily transposed onto all our lives and rites of passage, no matter how absurd or surreal they are."
Rutili has not been idle in the years since the release of Califone's critically acclaimed 2009 album All of My Friends Are Funeral Singers. He wrote scripts and painted and collaborated on the music for several films, including the score for the 2012 documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing and the Starz TV series BOSS. He lost a few band members and stopped all Califone activity for about a year. "Then one day I woke up and started writing songs again."
At first he churned out a lot of songs that didn't make the cut. He kept moving. The larger themes that would eventually reach fruition on Stitches began to emerge. "During this process, I started to really look at myself and find a clearer, more honest voice," he reveals. "I forced myself to write as much as possible. I allowed myself to be crabby and vulnerable as much as I could stand it... and slowly the songs got better."
Eventually Rutili commenced recording with Griffin Rodriguez in Los Angeles, Michael Krassner in Phoenix, and Craig Ross in Austin, along with a raft of guest musicians. "We treated each song as its own particular planet. Bringing in different people and recording in different places helped bring some tension to the whole thing. I wanted this to be a more schizophrenic record, stitching together conflicting textures and feels." Rutili's old Red Red Meat colleague Tim Hurley stayed with him for a few months and they recorded together for the first time since Califone's eponymous 1998 debut EP.
In some regards, Stitches harks back to those earliest days of Califone. There was more home recording, and musicians came and went as the songs dictated. "It was a much more solitary process, and that freed me up to feel less self-conscious about singing and writing more personal lyrics." Yet the ultimate outcome sounds like the work of an artist reborn. "I tried to keep the songs visual and poetic, but it was more important to allow myself to feel and be vulnerable and not hide in the music," Rutili says. "Instead of writing from my balls and brain, this time I wrote from the nerves, skin, and heart."
Stitches—the word and the album—can mean different things to many people. Your own interpretations are welcomed and encouraged.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
with Big Mean Sound Machine
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
As practitioners of a “non-traditional” interpretation of afrobeat for more than a decade, Chicago Afrobeat Project frequently reinvents itself within a genre first pioneered by Fela Kuti. The group’s latest release Nyash Up!” shows the group redefining their signature version of afrobeat by incorporating elements of hip-hop, orchestra-like musical arrangement, and stylistic explorations of rock, jazz and funk.
In 2014, the group ups the ante by collaborating with master afrobeat drummer Tony Allen on a studio release slotted for late in the year. The two artists first collaborated in 2013 on a series of Midwest summer concerts and plan to work together in the U.S. in summer 2014 as well.
As a genre, the success of the Broadway musical Fela! and a growing interest in the music has made afrobeat a widely-known sound around the world. Elements of the music are pushing their way further into more diverse and mainstream outlets with a widening array of successful artists such as The Roots, Janelle Monae, Vampire Weekend and drawing influence from the sound.
Chicago Afrobeat Project embarked as one of the first nationally touring American bands to take the sound to the masses. The band has mastered a sound that weaves the uniqueness of the Chicago music scene with a distinct western-influenced Nigerian style of music. The group performed with Seun Kuti (son of the late Fela Kuti) and featured Sahr (the original actor portraying Fela in the Broadway musical) as a part of the official Fela! musical kick off party in Chicago. In the past with artists the group has performed with notables such as Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Paul Wertico, Steve Kimmock, Sugar Blue, Howard Levy, and many others.
Chicago Afrobeat Project channels this immense momentum to every performance. The band’s reputation as delivering a stellar live performance translates to group’s new “Nyash Up!” album as well, with critics clamoring that it’s the groups best studio record to date.
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
The Soil & the Sun is corn-fed, Michigan-made, Experiential Spiritual Orchestral Rock. Originating in 2008 as a two-piece band, the group has grown and matured into a seven-piece community of friends and musicians. Oboe, violin, guitars, accordion, percussion, piano, keys and vocals, cooperate to create complex harmonies, layered melodies, and driving rhythms. The careful orchestration and intentional instrumentation will speak to your soul.
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
Even in a parallel universe where jazz cellists are as common as tenor madmen and trumpet-blowing boppers, Hank Roberts would be utterly unique. Over his nearly four-decade career, Roberts has forged a compelling original voice on the cello, encompassing abstract improvisation and soulful folk melodies, intricate new-music compositions and vigorous rock songs.
Roberts’ latest CD, Everything Is Alive, features three long-time compatriots: guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Jerome Harris, and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The 2012 Winter & Winter release continues the cellist’s relationship with producer Stefan Winter, which stretches back through the bulk of Robert’s discography. The album’s ten original compositions speak with a direct voice inflected with roots, rock and funk accents.
Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Roberts studied at Berklee and made his name on the legendary Downtown scene in 1980s New York. Faced with a dearth of mentors or peers on his instrument, he carved his own path through that fertile ground alongside such frequent collaborators as Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Marc Ribot and John Zorn, finding a second home at the famed Knitting Factory. Like those fellow innovators, Roberts is equally at home in grand concert halls or dingy rock clubs, covering a wide swath of modern music.
The list of names with whom Roberts has shared stages or studios is staggering, including members of U2, Gavin Friday, Sting, Joel Grey, David Sanborn, Lydia Lunch, Mamadou Diabate, Andy Summers, Pat Metheny, Flo and Eddie, Gary Burton, Shane McGowan, and Julius Hemphill.
As a child, Roberts studied several different instruments and dreamed of one day becoming “a rock and blues guitar player, a jazz trombonist, and a classical cellist.” He has achieved all three, but on a single instrument, expanding the capability and vocabulary of the cello to accommodate his restless and wide-ranging imagination. He often accompanies himself with wordless vocals, emphasizing the pristine lyricism of his writing, even in the most angular and abstract of settings.
He has recently assembled a new quartet with Wollesen, Danish guitarist Jakob Bro, and Seattle bassist Luke Bergman and leads a trio with pianist John Stetch and drummer Jim Black. His 2008 CD Green, with Black and French guitarist Marc Ducret, won that year’s German Recording Critics’ Award. He is also a member of the folk group Ti Ti Chickpea and the anti-voilence ensemble Wiggy Dog Boy, which features his son on guitar. His solo performances are singularly compelling and unpredictable, wending from jagged dissonance to intoxicating pop songcraft.
Roberts is currently a member of Frisell’s 858 Quartet alongside violist Eyvind Kang and violinist Jenny Scheinman, and appeared on the guitarist’s Grammy-winning 2004 release Unspeakable. He also recently performed with the expanded eight-piece version of that group at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory, accompanying a reading of Allen Ginsberg’s “Kaddish” read by Hal Willner and Chloe Webb with music composed by Frisell, whose collaboration and friendship with Roberts dates back to 1975.
He recently also reunited with saxophonist Tim Berne in the quartet Buffalo Collision, also featuring pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King of The Bad Plus. Roberts and Berne began working together in the late eighties and formed the trio Miniature with drummer Joey Baron. At the same time, he co-founded the Arcado String Trio with bassist Mark Dresser and violinist Mark Feldman; in 1992, each member of the trio wrote an orchestral piece for Arcado and Germany’s WDR Orchestra.
Based since 1989 in the more serene environs of Ithaca, New York, Roberts finds inspiration in the area’s thriving Americana and folk music scene, which threads into his own work in intriguing and surprising ways. He performs annually at the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival, which spans a range of music from old-timey Americana to African and Cajun music. He’s shared that stage with artists such as Mamadou Diabate, Jeb Puryear, Keith Secola, Nery Arevalo, Martin Simpson, the Sim Redmond Band, John Brown’s Body, and Donna the Buffalo.
Roberts serves as a musical consultant for The Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca, for which he recently composed and performed a solo cello/voice score for a performance of Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya.” He also contributed arrangements and appears in the upcoming film Greetings From Tim Buckley, which will premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The film, about the ill-fated father-and-son singer-songwriters Tim and Jeff Buckley, recreates a pivotal 1991 concert that Roberts performed with Jeff Buckley at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn.
In addition to his active performing career, Roberts has passed his knowledge on to new generations of creative musicians at educational institutions such as the Banff Center in Canada, Ithaca College, Cornell University and others.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
with Body Language & 2001
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
RUBBLEBUCKET: A BIOGRAPHICAL SOMETHING
Rub-ble-buck-et [ru-bul-buck-it] Noun 1. A vessel in which workers collect waste materials on a construction site; We need a rubblebucket for all this rubble. 2. A wild art-pop band from Brooklyn, NY; I'm jonesing for the new Rubblebucket album ‘Survival Sounds’. 3. The condition of having hard nipples, or riding a mean yes wave; He has great Rubblebucket. Verb 4. The act of uncrossing one’s arms and letting loose, while strange, new feelings and sounds flood mind and body, leading to uncontrollable dancing, possible injury and definite sweat; Man, we really put the rubble in the bucket last night.
My experience with Rubblebucket goes way back – to the summer of 1987, when I was born and first met lead singer and baritone saxist Kalmia Traver, then four. Kalmia was already well on her way to being a multi-instrument prodigy (penny whistle, recorder, alphabet burping), and I was already drowning in the ginormous shadow that she cast just by breathing. When she put our brother in a dress, blonde wig and heels, let me put on his lipstick, then forced his elastic micro-limbs into a diva pose, I knew she was a natural performer. Kalmia met Alex Toth (band leader, trumpeter, guy, brother-from-another-mother, Jersey) in a latin jazz combo in Burlington, VT. I’m assuming she also dressed him in drag, because he liked her and they became friends, painting the town with their loud horn playing. In 2006, they moved to Boston, where they did respectable things for money. Kalmia nude modeled for art classes, and Alex was hustling marching band gigs at $50 a pop, for which he was required to wear a black shirt and march around for six hours at a time OR NO PAY NO WATER NO DINNER. It was like that scene in Oliver Twist. Naturally, out of this hot, tarry, magical, broke-ass time, Rubblebucket emerged like a huge, slippery, post-afrobeat baby. Alex had met trombonist Adam Dotson at one of these marching gigs, and the three began composing and playing the first songs in Rubblebucket’s repertoire. Soon, they were joined by three more friends – guitarist Ian Hersey, drummer Dave Cole, and 15-seater van Puppy – and started taking the Rubblebucket show on the road. The first time I heard Rubblebucket perform live, two things happened: I realized this was the coolest thing on earth, like the lovechild of a unicorn and the Tom Tom Club, and I asked them if I could sell their merchandise at shows. You know what they say – those who can't do, sell merch. Night after night, standing behind that table of CDs, thongs and beer cozies, while Rubblebucket transformed the crowd from a skeptical wall of people into one big, happy, silly, jiving, open-hearted mass was an unforgettable experience. Their music does that – it just does. You can’t know it until you see it. And everyone who sees it, knows it. Like Paste, who said it best: “music that will make anyone with a pulse dance.” (I’ll annotate this by extending it to you pulse-less readers. You, zombie. I know you’re out there.) The Rubblebucket condition has spread, melting cares in its way. It barges in like an escaped rhino and triggers everyone, everywhere, to let loose and feel. Arm-crossing be damned! I’ve been to many Rubblebucket shows. But it wasn’t until I was mid-crowd in NYC’s Bowery Ballroom and heard a guy in front of me say to his friend “the singer looks so hot tonight” (but? Gross? That’s my sister?) that I knew Rubblebucket had made it. The experts will tell you that, actually, this was when they released their 2011 album Omega La La, with its headlining tracks “Came Out of Lady” and “Silly Fathers,” and reached a whole new, larger audience. Or, when they flew out to LA to play on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and got free pizza and Alex almost puked backstage. Or, when their song “Came out of a Lady” appeared in the movie Drinking Buddies, and I was suddenly one giant leap closer to meeting Anna Kendrick (that’s when I knew I had made it). Or, when their green rooms started stocking guacamole. Or, when their 2012 and 2013 EPs Oversaturated and Save Charlie introduced fans to the next and the next evolution of Rubblebucket, and more and more people fell in love. Now, much to my drool and dire impatience, the band is hovering on the knife’s edge of their next highly anticipated album release, Survival Sounds (Communion Records, Aug. 2014). Prepare yourself, universe.
Rubblebucket is many things and nothing at all; it’s a mindset, a legend, a feeling, a mystery; a mischievous, playful, boundary-smashing blast of sound that you can sit still and wonder at, or turn off your mind and move wildly to. Or both at the same time. As Kalmia said, when she handed me one of her now-famous peanut butter, cheddar cheese, cabbage, honey tacos, “This is the weirdest, most delicious thing you will ever taste.” And if you won’t take it on my authority, take it on the authority of a small, but reputable publication called Rolling Stone, reporting from Bonnaroo: “Rubblebucket revved up like an indie-rock Miami Sound Machine, dancers, horns and all.” And if you won’t take it on Rolling Stone’s authority, cleave to the words of guitarist Ian: “Our music is like being at a raging party, but in the center of it, there’s this beautiful painting that you’re staring at, trying to wrap your mind around.” Or the words of our dad, Tim Traver: “Kids these days.”
- Mollie Traver
State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
Using their jazz backgrounds, Lake Street Dive combines improv and indie-rock in their original tunes and exuberant live shows. The Boston-based band recently completed their debut album "in this episode..." featuring "Sometimes When I'm Drunk and You're Wearing My Favorite Shirt," Grand Prize winner in the 2005 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. When not performing, Lake Street Dive enjoys badminton and snackfoodery.
The Hangar Theatre - Ithaca, NY
Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album, she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known halls. In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper” and as “plaintive but disarmingly powerful.”
Bearing the stamp of a masterful storyteller who "observed the world with a clinically poetic eye," Suzanne’s songs have always tended to focus on city life, ordinary people and real world subjects. Notably succinct and understated, often cerebral but also streetwise, her lyrics invite multiple interpretations. In short, Suzanne Vega’s work is immediately recognizable, as utterly distinct and thoughtful, and as creative and musical now, as it was when her voice was first heard on the radio over 20 years ago.
Suzanne was born in Santa Monica, CA, but grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City. She was influenced by her mother, a computer systems analyst and her stepfather, the Puerto Rican writer Egardo Vega Yunque. There was a heady mix of multicultural music playing at home: Motown, bossa nova, jazz and folk. At age 11 she picked up a guitar and as a teenager she started to write songs.
Suzanne studied dance at the High School for the Performing Arts and later attended Barnard College where she majored in English Literature. It was in 1979 when Suzanne attended a concert by Lou Reed and began to find her true artistic voice and distinctive vision for contemporary folk. Receptionist by day, Suzanne was hanging out at the Greenwich Village Songwriter’s Exchange by night. Soon she was playing iconic venues like The Bottom Line and Folk City. The word was out and audiences were catching on.
At first, record companies saw little prospect of commercial success. Suzanne’s demo tape was rejected by every major record company—and twice by the very label that eventually signed her: A&M Records. Her self-titled debut album was finally released in 1985, co-produced by Steve Addabbo and Lenny Kaye, the former guitarist for Patti Smith. The skeptical executives at A & M were expecting to sell 30,000 LP’s. 1,000,000 records later, it was clear that Suzanne’s voice was resonating around the world. Marlene on the Wall was a surprise hit in the U.K and Rolling Stone eventually included the record in their “100 Greatest Recordings of the 1980’s.” 1987’s follow up, Solitude Standing, again co-produced by Addabbo and Kaye, elevated her to star status. The album hit #2 in the UK and #11 in the States, was nominated for three Grammys including Record of the Year and went platinum. “Luka” is a song that has entered the cultural vernacular; certainly the only hit song ever written from the perspective of an abused boy.
The opening song on Solitude Standing was a strange little a cappella piece, “Tom’s Diner” about a non-descript restaurant near Columbia University uptown. Without Suzanne’s permission, it was remixed by U.K. electronic dance duo “DNA” and bootlegged as “Oh Susanne.” Suddenly her voice on this obscure tune was showing up in the most unlikely setting of all: the club. Suzanne permitted an official release of the remix of “Tom’s Diner” under its original title which reached #5 on the Billboard pop chart and went gold. In 1991 a compilation, Tom’s Album, brought together the remix and other unsolicited versions of the song. Meanwhile, Karlheinz Brandenburg, the German computer programmer was busy developing the technology that would come to be known as the MP3. He found that Vega’s voice was the perfect template with which to test the purity of the audio compression that he was aiming to perfect. Thus Suzanne earned the nickname “The Mother of the MP3.”
Suzanne co-produced the follow-up album with Anton Sanko, 1990’s Days Of Open Hand, which won a Grammy for Best Album Package. The album also featured a string arrangement by minimalist composer Philip Glass. Years earlier she had penned lyrics for his song cycle “Songs From Liquid Days.” Continuing to battle preconceptions, she teamed with producer Mitchell Froom for 1992’s 99.9F. The album’s sound instigated descriptions such as “industrial folk” and “technofolk.” Certified gold, 99.9F won a New York Music Award as Best Rock Album. Suzanne’s neo-folk style has ushered in a new female, acoustic, folk-pop singer-songwriter movement that would include the likes of Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin, and Indigo Girls. In 1997, Suzanne joined Sarah McLachlan on her Lilith Fair tour which celebrated the female voice in rock and pop. She was one of the few artists invited back every year. Suzanne was also the host of the public radio series “American Mavericks,” thirteen hour-long programs featuring the histories and the music of the iconoclastic, contemporary classical composers who revolutionized the possibilities of new music. The show won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.
In 1996, Vega returned with the similarly audacious Nine Objects Of Desire, also produced by Mitchell Froom, who by then was her husband. “Woman On The Tier (I’ll See You Through)” was released on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. Over the years, she has also been heard on the soundtracks to Pretty In Pink (“Left Of Center” with Joe Jackson) and The Truth About Cats & Dogs, and contributed to such diverse projects as the Disney compilation Stay Awake, Grateful Dead tribute Deadicated, Leonard Cohen tribute Tower Of Song, and Pavarotti & Friends. In 1999, The Passionate Eye: The Collected Writings Of Suzanne Vega, a volume of poems, lyrics, essays and journalistic pieces was published by Spike/ Avon Books. In 2001, she returned to her acoustic roots for her first new album in five years, the critics favorite, Songs In Red And Gray.
In 2007, Suzanne released Beauty & Crime on Blue Note Records, a deeply personal reflection of her native New York City in the wake of the loss of her brother Tim and the tragedy of 9/11. But the record is not a sad one, per se, as her love for the city shines through as both its subject and its setting. In it, Suzanne mixes the past and present, the public with the private, and familiar sounds with the utterly new, just like the city itself. “Anniversary,” which concludes Beauty & Crime, is an understated evocation of that time in the fall of 2002, when New Yorkers first commemorated the Twin Towers tragedy and when Suzanne recalls her brother’s passing. It’s more inspiration than elegy, though: “Make time for all your possibilities,” Vega sings at the end in that beautiful, hushed voice. “They live on every street.” Produced by the Scotsman, Jimmy Hogarth and featuring songs such as “New York is a Woman” and “Ludlow Street,” Beauty & Crime is that rare album by an artist in her third decade; an album that is as original and startling as her first. Beauty & Crime won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
In 2006, she became the first major recording artist to perform live in avatar form within the virtual world Second Life. She has dedicated much of her time and energy to charitable causes, notably Amnesty International, Casa Alianza, and the Save Darfur Coalition. Suzanne has a daughter, Ruby, by first husband Mitchell Froom. Ruby, like Suzanne before her, attends the High School for the Performing Arts. Suzanne is married to lawyer/poet Paul Mills who proposed to her originally in 1983. Suzanne accepted his proposal on Christmas Day 2005, twenty two years later.
Suzanne Vega is an artist that continues to surprise. In 2011 in New York City she premiered Carson McCullers Talks About Love, an original play written and performed by Ms. Vega with songs she wrote with Tony Award-winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) A pioneer among singer-songwriters. Suzanne has also embarked on a project to re-imagine her own songbook in a stripped down and intimate manner, creating 4 new thematic albums that will be released over the course of 2010-2012 called the Close-Up series.
Ms. Vega continues to tour constantly, having just played dates with artists as diverse as Moby and Bob Dylan. Suzanne is planning US and European dates this spring and summer.