Friday, April 30, 2010

sharon jones and the dap kings

It's my birthday, and I can cry if I want to. It is not looking like I will be able to photograph the concert I am attending tonight: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at The Apollo Theater. Alas, I am more than excited about the show, and this band is worth promoting.

Photo Sourced from Running Downhill

With three extremely strong albums having lined their road to success, their newly released "I Learned the Hard Way" is yet another smash. The personal favorite in my household is their third: "100 Days, 100 Nights", released in 2007, but the newest record is getting the most hype, and for good reason.

"I Learned the Hard Way" features more heartbroken lyrics than we have ever heard Sharon sing, but she handles it with the same familiar sound wave of passion. With a fiery voice she belts out songs about "Money" or lack thereof, and that she has "Better Things" to do than to remember you. The music blends Motown rhythms and sounds, while creating an entirely fresh medley of soul, hip-hop, funk, and jazz. Nothin' quite like this band.

Having followed Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings for years, it is rewarding to see them hit some spotlight. They were recently featured in the opening credits of the Oscar-nominated film, "Up in the Air", with their version of "This Land is Your Land" off of the jivin' 2005 album, "Naturally". Next came Starbucks, their newest album landing in the perfect place of the hip coffee drinkers and music lovers nationwide. And now, best of all: they are on tour. More shows lined up than I have ever seen for them.

So, there you have it. I may not have a photo pass with these history-making music-makers, but "I'll Still be True". Here's my favorite video of theirs:

Check out Sharon Jones website for tour dates and to listen to the music. I promise it's good.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

dutchess di and the distractions

Surrounded by guys watching a ball game on TV, the swing/jazz/blues band, Duchess Di and the Distractions of Irvington NY, put on a great show at the odd venue, Pete's Saloon. Reaching the end of April: the month of Jazz appreciation, it felt fulfilling to sit in a crowded joint with upbeat jazz and swing music overpowering the sounds of baseball season and heated sports fans.

The experience is what makes this band stand out: I felt like I was in a 1950s dive bar with music making me want to jump and jive. Their look, their sound, and their personality is a sweet flashback of  a night out on the town that people from my generation never got to experience.

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, I want to recommend a listen to the jazzy number that I just can't get enough of these days: Etta James' "The Man I Love". Even Better: Billie Holiday's version. For me, there is nothing more savory than a gentle voice at the other end of a piano or saxophone.

To get beBLOGGED coverage for your upcoming show or event, e-mail Melissa Lynn.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

stolen moments

Al Scatt's Stolen Moments Entertainent of Dobbs Ferry, NY stood out to me to have a lot of character at the Westchester NY Bridal Show. These cats have talent, and yes, the reviews are good. A wedding band is meant to be the entertainment, and one thing is for sure, this band knows how to entertain. 

Gigmasters is a great website for conducting a finely tuned search of all of the bands that are out there and in your area. Even if you are not in the wedding band market, it is a fun site to play around with on a rainy day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

shoreline apartments

Once upon a time, I took photographs for an architectural project. The project was never completed, and I was left with an unusual experience and interesting photographs of a place that I knew had a story. The place is Shoreline Apartments of Buffalo NY, the architect Paul Rudolph, known for his cubist designs. It was hard to imagine while looking at original blueprints and seeing the concept behind the designs, how a place like this had become so rundown. I was photographing a place that had since 2006, had nearly 13 million dollars going into its reconstruction and renovations. Even though the buildings were not particularly beautiful, there was a history to them. A design that I was seeing with my own eyes and lens having gone to decay.

The day of shooting was eerie. Dust and debris flew around our faces, staircases were pitch black, and the apartments felt abandoned. Not like the people living there left them, but as if they were pushed out of their homes in a rush. Dishcloths hung over cabinets, clothes were still in drawers, and doors were open, as if someone had just run out. 

The section of Shoreline that I photographed was only one of many that was going to possibly be torn down for new construction. I took a walk around the rest of the complex, where life actually was: kids were playing, parents were chatting, and people were watching TV with their windows open. A young teenage girl, who noticed my camera and observing eye, ran up to me and asked: "Are you taking pictures of our buildings?" I said yes, and asked her if she knew how important the buildings were, how interesting the man had been who had built them. And she smiled and said, "Yes. And your pictures too." She asked if I could come back to give her some of the photographs, because she didn't know how much longer the buildings would be standing. Even though I never went back, I think of that sweet girl now in sharing the pictures for the first time.

Learn more about architect Paul Rudolph.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

she & him

I had the pleasure of seeing She and Him perform live at The Bowery Ballroom in NYC on Monday, March 29th. The band stands out from the rest for a scroll of reasons, with the number one being that the lead singer is the bouncy, eclectic and famous actress turned songwriter and musician, Zooey Deschanel. She's not one of the many who turn from acting to singing just because they can, but because she's got true, unrelenting talent. Not to mention the stage presence. She hops around like a 15 year old girl who snuck out of the house for the first time, carrying a coat of confidence and coolness amidst a slight amount of shyness lingering underneath. 

The liveliness of Zooey is accentuated and masterfully complimented by mind-bending guitar rips by the "him" of the group, M. Ward. Both famous, and both somewhat peculiar as a musical duo, these two truly make it work. The songs from Volume One and the newly released Volume Two seem to stand the test of time, creating sounds that evoke the image of a musical melting pot of the old and the new. It's folk, it's rock, it's pop, and it has a hint of old school to it: the music of She and Him is melodic music to listen to while lying out on the hood of your 1958 Cadillac as the sun sets. Or it is melodic music to listen to while daydreaming about owning a 1958 Cadillac. Either one. It is fun and full of life. 

For a first listen, but perhaps not the music video to judge them on considering it was their first and is a bit odd (and yet, quirky), I suggest "Why do you let me stay here?" from She and Him Volume One:

See what the very impressive Merge Records has to say about their band, She and Him. And because I am a big Zooey Deschanel fan myself (you may have noticed all of the photos of only "she"), I can't believe that I have been living under a rock for the past year and did not realize that she and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie got married. Having once been an avid fan of Deathcab for Cutie (especially their older rock-ier albums), you can imagine my pleasant surprise.

I say congratulations to Zooey and Ben, and I can only hope that a musical collaboration is in store. She and Him and He, maybe.
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