Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Sway Machinery-May 25, 2008 (

What do you get when you take bluesman and Balkan Beat Box guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, add the Yeah Yeah Yeah's drummer Brian Chase, two horn players from Antibalas, Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean, and bass saxophonist Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire and Tom Waits' band? The funkiest bar mitzvah band on the planet, The Sway Machinery. I first heard about the Sway Machinery from Stuart Bogie six months ago while interviewing him for an article about Antibalas and had been eagerly anticipating seeing the band in concert ever since. I checked them out Wednesday night at University Settlement on the Lower East Side. They totally blew away my extremely high expectations.

The Sway Machinery is a project inspired by Jeremeiah Lockwood's grandfather, the legendary Cantor Jacob Konigsberg, who exposed Jeremiah to Jewish Cantor music at a young age. Lockwood sings in Hebrew perfecting the other-worldly sound the musical arrangement creates. The Sway Machinery is definitely like nothing you'll see or hear anywhere else. They have a harsh, powerful sound anchored by the bass saxophone and enhanced by the rest of the horn section. Their set exhibited great range going from slow, deep, dark, and mysterious to fast funky, happy, and danceable.

The Sway Machinery are playing several upcoming shows this summer: June 8th at 92YTribeca and July 20th at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park If you like music that pushes the envelope hard, go check them out. With the amazing roster of talented musicians on stage, there's no doubt it will be an amazing show.

Night in Slovenia Preview-May 28, 2008 (

Saturday, May 31, 2008 8:00 pm
The Town Hall* 123 West 43rd St
Ticket Prices: $15-$20

Have you ever wanted to travel in Eastern Europe? Have you dreamt of backpacking through hillside villages, sampling the local foods, drinking local wines and taking in the unique cultures? Well, this Saturday night, National Geographic Traveler is presenting A Night in Slovenia, a night of music, food, wine, and culture that could bring you as close as you'll ever get to the real thing.

A Night in Slovenia is a celebration of Slovenian culture--music, food, drink, and dance. The night kicks off at the Hudson Theatre in the Millennium Broadway Hotel (145 West 44th Street) for a free pre-concert wine and cheese tasting featuring, of course, traditional fare from Slovenia.

Then the music starts. First on the bill is Laibach a Slovenian experimental music group, associated with industrial, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. They are an edgy controversial group who, through their use of lighting and special effects, has made a great impact on the musical culture of Slovenia.

Continuing the night in "accordance" with its theme is American-born accordionist and composer Guy Klucevsek who will be sharing the stage with fellow Accordion Tribesman Bratko Bibic, a Slovenian accordionist who first came to prominence as a rock musician, playing in the ensembles Begnagrad and Nimal in the 1980s. Klucevsek is one of few accordion players active in jazz and free improvisation. He has released 16 albums as a leader or co-leader, and has recorded or performed with Dave Douglas, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Laurie Anderson and many others.

Third in line is jazz performer Vasko Atanasovski, one of Slovenia’s most creative composers and musicians, who will be performing with Marc Ribot and Greg Cohen, two premier musicians of the jazz field. Ribot has collaborated with a ridiculously long list of musicians, Tom Waits
, John Zorn, David Sylvian,Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, The Lounge Lizards, Arto Lindsay, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Cibo Matto, Elysian Fields, Sam Phillips, Elvis Costello, David Poe, Allen Ginsberg, Foetus, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Susana Baca, The Black Keys, and the Lucien Dubuis Trio. Cohen boasts a similarly long list, most notably including Ornette Coleman, Elvis Costello, Lee Konitz and David Byrne.

Next on the bill is Brina, named after its lead singer Brina Vogelnik – the ensemble was established in 2003 with a desire for a fresh and bolder musical approach. Brina's seven-member ensemble draws its musical motifs from traditional music, which is brought back to life and rearranged, producing a repertoire consisting of original pieces. Brina's latest album Pasja legenda remained in the top ten of the World Music Charts Europe for a remarkable three months.

As if that weren’t enough, next up is Zlatko Kaucic, a Slovenian drummer who has performed all over Europe with an incredibly wide range of musicians. Zlatko’s specialty is a unique solo percussion performance that expresses his own personal style. He has played the North Sea Jazz Festival twice and currently plays with his own trio, which tours Spain regularly. He also plays with an octet and composes music for theatre and dance groups.

Taking things down a notch will be Silence, a Slovenian electronic, synth pop and soundtrack music composing duo consisting of Boris Benko (singer and songwriter) and Primoz Hladnik (keyboards and arrangements). Their music is characterized by melancholy experimental sounds and vocal arrangements, and they are known to incorporate live instruments, including the piano, violin, viola, double bass, cello and valiha. The duo is recognized for their vast involvement in music writing for contemporary plays in Slovenian theatre.

Closing out the night will be Katalena an ensemble that emerged from a workshop that was originally meant to be a one-time only musical project. Its members are derived from different musical backgrounds, including classic rock, folk, blues and hip hop. The band believes in the legacy and timeliness of Slovene folk music, and they are known for recreating and performing it in their own unique way.

This will undoubtedly be a night attendees will never forget. The musical lineup is nothing short of legendary. If you’ve always been a Slovenian music enthusiast, are into expanding your musical spectrum, or simply want to see a night of great live entertainment, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing celebration of Slovenian culture.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Album Review: Nomo-Ghost Rock (

Do you like music that's unique, music that takes elements of music
you love and transforms it into something totally different and
amazing? If your answers to those questions are yes, then you need to
check out Nomo's new album Ghost Rock.
Nomo is a jazz fusion band out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. While they
have a sound reminiscent of Afrobeat, they're simply too unique to
classify. They have an aggressively dynamic horn section that cuts
hard horn lines over an even nastier rhythm section.
Ghost Rock, the band's second release with Ubiquity Records,
accentuates an other-wordly electronic vibe that brings in an entirely
new element to their already incomparable sound. Nomo will
simultaneously make you dance and expand your mind. If you haven't
heard their first full-length album, Nu Tones, go out and buy it today
to tide you over until Ghost Rock comes out on June 17th.