Sunday, July 25, 2010

Photo Review: Digital Photo Academy Workshop, 7/24

Digital Photo Academy Workshop: July 24 @ Union Square Farmers Market

This weekend, I spent three hours participating in a photo workshop. The workshop was put together by Digital Photo Academy. Our instructor for the day was famed photographer, David Brommer.

We started out the morning at DPA Headquarters where head honcho Richard Rabinowitz welcomed us. After we were all settled in, and were treated to some delicious mini carrot cupcakes, Brommer set about going over our lesson plan. I looked around and it was clear and comforting to see that there were photographers of varying skill levels, camera makes and camera models in attendance; one thing that was certain, everyone had an obvious love of photography.

Our mission for the day, sense of place. Brommer set about going over what made a photo simply nice or WOW! We were instructed on how to approach people and on the ideal camera settings for our day in the field. Also, we were offered the opportunity to borrow a Lensbaby lens for our excursion. I've been wanting to try one out for a little while now so, I was excited to have the opportunity to borrow one.

Once the "classroom" work was out of the way, we walked over to Union Square to begin our in-field lesson. It was incredibly hot outside but that didn't seem to bother anyone. Brommer, a knowledgeable and easy going teacher, pointed out and at times arranged opportunities for us all the while answering any questions we had as well as, taking the time to point out what you were doing right or not so right. You can see some of my efforts below.

It was a fun workshop. While I may not have taken any award winning photos, I walked away with valuable knowledge to use whenever I pick up my camera as well as meeting a great group of fellow photography enthusiasts. I look forward to taking another workshop in the future.

More photos HERE.

That's our instructor David Brommer, showing us the benefits of using a reflector.

This is my favorite shot of the day. Her smiles were contagious.

My attempt at usings the Lensbaby lens. They're fun to use. But, I soon discovered it takes some practice to get the hang of. With my lack of coordination I'll need a lot of practice! I did manage to get the below shot using the lens.

The following two photos, this is what happens when you don't quite have the hang of using a Lensbaby! They may not have turned out how I wanted them but, I still like the shots. In one of my attempts at being creative, I decided to lay on the ground and take these. Not such a good idea when the tempature is nearing 100F!

Photo Review: Megan McCormick At Pianos, 7/20

Megan McCormick: July 20 @ Pianos, New York, NY

Megan McCormick took to the stage at Pianos on Tuesday, July 20 and she rocked out. I went in not expecting her to be so guitar heavy for some reason. So, needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when she cut loose with some serious and fiery blues inspired licks that at times reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughan. McCormick has a record, Honest Words, set for release on August 17. Check out some photos from her set.

More photos HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo Review: Ed Vallance At Mercury Lounge, 7/13

Ed Vallance: July 13 @ Mercury Lounge, New
York, NY

Ed Vallance paid a visit to the Mercury Lounge stage last Tuesday to rock out. He has a new record out, The Summer Fire EP, that you can pick up on iTunes. Check out photos from his set.

More photos HERE.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

April Smith and the Great Picture Show To Play Bell House, 7/22

Quirky, retro and feisty April Smith will be taking the stage this Thursday, July 22 at The Bell House in Brooklyn. It’ll only cost you a mere 10 bucks. She puts on a fun show. To get you warmed up for the gig, grab “Movie Loves A Screen” in the MP3 Grab at the bottom of the post.

If you can’t make it out to see April Smith and the Great Picture Show on Thursday or you want to see them again, you can always take a little road trip to oh say, Newport, RI. You can catch them on Sunday, August 1 at the Newport Folk Festival. It’s sure to be a good one.

MP3 Grab:Movie Loves A Screen

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Debutaunts Release Video For “This Is Yours”

Debutaunts have released a video for the song “This Is Yours” from their upcoming full-length debut record. Why Can’t We Have Fun will be released on August 17. Check out the video below … sing-a-long even.

Recorded in Glow In the Dark studios in Atlanta, GA, with producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, Anberlin) the band's record offers listeners a mix of infectious, powerful and undeniable songs. The guys have been causing a stir in their local cities of Atlanta and Gainesville, FL, and are quite anxious to take their sound across the country.

“This Is Yours”

Hot Seconds Burned The Mutha Down …

Hot Seconds: July 16 @ Pianos, New York, N

I hadn’t actually planned on writing about this show. I just went to have a good time and hear some good music. Friday night, Hot Seconds, James Love (vocals/guitar), Eran Westwood (guitar/vocals), Marcel Simoneau (bass) and Ian Hudgins (drums/vocals) took to the stage at Pianos … their third show this month. They launched into their set and proceeded to set things on fire and burn the place down … okay, not literally. I knew then I’d be saying something about the show.

They haven’t played with that kind of fire since January of last year. That show I said they were on the verge of being dangerous and were attempting to take over the world. They had come close to matching that intensity and fire several months later. But, it wasn’t until Friday night that they matched that fire and perhaps even surpassed it.

There was a get down to business, take no prisoners vibe and at times flashes of urgency. But, at the same time there was an attitude of balls out fun. The audience didn’t need encouraging; it was clear we were along for the ride from jump and the band was feeding off it like never before.

Everyone seemed relaxed and enjoying themselves. Okay, perhaps some of that relaxed vibe had to do with Love turning twenty-five for the tenth year and they were enjoying all that goes with such milestone moments. But, there was just a terrific energy that made the fire burn brightly.

There were some bits that sounded different … slight changes? Perhaps it was just me heading towards being sideways? The harmonica bit in “When I Go” has changed … actually that’s been sounding different since they’ve been back out rockin’. “Helicopter” seemed to rock harder. “Apathy” sounded more full-bodied and robust. There were other bits that sounded different but those are the ones that stick out without listening to the playback.

Love was relaxed. He really is stepping up his rock star game … a cheeky charmer that one. I’m still getting used to him not playing guitar during “Pieces of You.” For some reason, even though I’ve seen this arrangement of the song a few times, it keeps throwing me. It throws me but I like it, it seems to have more of a harder edge to it now.

Westwood’s playing was hot and tight. He was loose and smiling and I like the smiles … but, I didn’t even get my death glare. What’s up with that? I shove my camera in your face; you glare at me … it’s our thing, it works for us.

Hudgins was like a friggin’ mad man … completely and totally animal, insanely animal. I was watching him play and for a while now I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is that made me a fan of a drummer, this drummer … other than the fact that he’s good. I think I’ve figured it out. He plays with this magnificent lack of inhibition that’s fun to watch and listen to.

Simoneau made my tailbone vibrate. Need I say more? Probably so but if you’ve ever experienced that feeling then you don’t need more explanation. Anytime your bones vibrate at a rock concert, it’s a good thing.

I certainly had fun. Hoist the flag and consider Pianos conquered. In the end they walked off the figurative blackened embers of the Pianos stage knowing it was theirs. Holy hell boys, welcome back.

Check out the video of "Clam Man" from the show below. I know, I know, after talking about their fire, I give you the most mellow song of the night. And yes, the questionable camera work is back ... it's my thing!
More photos HERE.

“Clam Man”

Set List
  • Helicopter
  • Can't Stop
  • Pieces Of You
  • Excuse Me
  • Apathy
  • Clam Man
  • Happy Birthday/Die Like A Dog
  • Gone To Ground
  • When I Go
  • Went To India

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hank & Cupcakes To Play Pianos, Saturday, 7/17

Brooklyn based duo Hank & Cupcakes will be at Pianos on the LES this Saturday, July 17. They’re on at 11PM and it’ll cost you 10 greenbacks. Their live shows have created a lot of buzz so mark your calendars.

I posted a video for their cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” (below in case you missed it) a couple of weeks ago. The song is from their brilliantly fun, sexy, self-titled Hank & Cupcakes EP which is available on their website. The record kicks off with the infectious and bass driven “Ain’t No Love.” It's my favorite of the lot but the whole EP is hot so picking a favorite is hard and pointless! If "Ain't No Love" and “Pleasure Town” don’t get you up and shaking your booty, you might want to check to see if you have cement in your drawers. I recommend this one folks.

Hank and Cupcakes, Brooklyn’s buzz worthy drum and bass duo, rock out on their new self-titled EP with four rhythmically dense tracks and one video that showcase their innovative sound. When Hank & Cupcakes take the stage, their infectious energy dominates the room, generating a fierce groove that immediately has the crowd up and moving. First time fans may find themselves scrutinizing the stage, looking in vain for the guitar player that seems to be filling out the band's sound, but it's just Hank & Cupcakes. Since arriving in Brooklyn from Israel a little more than a year ago, Hank and Cupcakes have captivated New York with an explosive show noted for its simmering sexuality, irresistible dance pulse, and hard to pigeonhole sound. “If I had to define it, I’d call the music experimental minimalist pop,” Hank says. “We’re trying to make pop music without having a pop sound.” Taking the best from all worlds, Hank & Cupcakes have managed to create a new hybrid of music. Tours de force cross between The Ting Tings and Yeah Yeah Yeah's, rock without guitars, pop without synthesizers.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Photo Review: Red Wanting Blue At Mercury Lounge

Red Wanting Blue: July 8 @ Mercury Lounge, New York, NY

Last week, I swung by Mercury Lounge to see a band I dig. At some point during the evening, while standing in front of a list of upcoming shows, I had this titillating (paraphrased) conversation with my favorite drummer ...

Favorite Drummer (FD): See that band there (pointing to the upcoming show list), Red Wanting Blue? You should check them out.

Me: Yeah?

FD: Yeah.

Me: Are they good?

FD: Yeah, they're good. They've got a good drummer. I taught him drum stuff.

Me: Really? As good as you?

FD: Oh yeah, he's real good. You should check them out.

Me: Maybe I will.

I filed that conversation in the back of my head. Nearly a week later, I'm sitting at my desk thinking to myself, what was that band I should check out? Wasn't it this week they're playing?

Come Thursday night, I went around to Mercury Lounge to check out Red Wanting Blue. Because I'm basically lazy, I mean busy with work and stuff, I didn't check their music out prior to going to the show. I just went in blind. So, I wasn't really sure what to expect.

The band, Scott Terry (vocals/guitar), Eric Hall (guitar/lap steel/vocals), Mark McCullough (bass/chapman stick/vocals), Dean Anshutz (drums/percussion/washboard) and Greg Rahm (guitar/keyboard/vocals) began setting up after Honor By August, who played before them, cleared off. They unpacked suitcases and plastic storage bins. They set up lamps and hung up a giant flag and lighted owls. A soap box was put into place. I love a good soap box. None of this gave me a clue to how they would sound but it was all fascinating to watch. I looked around and noticed that it had gotten pretty crowded in the room.

While I was watching them set up, I thought to myself that I was probably going to get a good show. My suspicions were right. Red Wanting Blue began to play. Good gosh, were they on point. We're talking some seriously high caliber musicians folks. One song in and I was hooked. They proceeded to blow me away song by song. Are these guys wildly massive yet? They should be if they aren't. The band owned the stage and the audience, who were loud and enthusiastic. I think I might have even squealed a little when they broke out the washboard center stage. When's the last time you had a washboard all up in your face people?! Sorry, stuff like that gets me excited. They're a tremendously fun band to watch perform. I'm not sure how to describe their sound ... rock, alt-country ... how about we tag it just plain good.

Red Wanting Blue makes my list of bands you should see live. The gentlemen from Ohio rocked NYC and we thank you. I'm glad I took that drummers advice and checked them out!

More photos on the QNYC Flickr page, HERE.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photo Review: Honor By August At Mercury Lounge

Honor By August: July 8 @ Mercury Lou
nge, New York, NY

The last time I saw Honor By August was January 2009 at Mercury Lounge. Thursday night, they were back rockin' the same stage. Back then, I described them as arena rock on a small stage. It's a description that hasn't changed.

The band, Michael Pearsall (vocals/guitar), Evan Field (lead guitar/vocals/piano), Chris Rafetto (bass/vocals) and Brian Shanley (drums) put on a show like they were playing for 10,000 people and their fans appreciated every moment of it. They worked up a sweat pumping out the kind of anthems you'd get at perhaps a Bon Jovi show. I wasn't sure the Mercury Lounge stage would be able to contain their massive sound. They were a tight unit when I saw them last but they're even tighter and more polished now. Enjoy these guys at intimate venues while you can. With the kind of show Honor By August puts on, it'll soon be a rare treat to see them in a club.

More photos on the QNYC Flickr page, HERE.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Saint Motel Releases Video For "Dear Dictator (Sam Sparro Remix)" + MP3

LA band Saint Motel have released a video for the remix of their song "Dear Dictator." The non-remixed version of the song can be found on their EP ForPlay. Hear tell, they have a full-length record in the works. The A/J Jackson directed video features Sam Sparro, Har Mar Superstar, Saint Motel, & "So You Think You Can Dance" Winner, Mona Berstrom. Check it out below and download the song in the MP3 Grab at the end of the post.

MP3 Grab: "Dear Dictator (Sam Sparro remix)"

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Black Crowes To Release Acoustic Double Album

The Black Crowes will be releasing Croweology, their acoustic double album, on August 3. Okay, while I wasn't overly thrilled with their last record, I'm still looking forward to this one. I've always like acoustic Crowes ... going back to the days of Unplugged and the stuff from Ronnie Scott's ... y'all remember that? Anyway, I have a plethora of acoustic Crowes, most not "official" so I'll be happy to have my hands on this.

Croweology is 20 songs that span their two decade career. We're talking new arrangements of some of their best loved songs. The record was produced by Paul Stacey. To support the record and say thanks to fans before going on indefinite hiatus, the band, Chris Robinson (vocals/guitar), Rich Robinson (guitar), Steve Gorman (drums), Sven Pipien (bass), Luther Dickinson (guitar) and Adam McDougall (keyboards), will go on tour. The Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys tour will kick-off on August 13. New York, we've long been a city that gets multi-night shows from The Crowes and we for this tour as well. They'll be at Nokia Theatre Times Square on October 31 (that's Halloween y'all ... two words, Jellied Donut), November 2, 4, 5 and 6.

If that isn't enough Crowes for you happy little heads, they'll be on the Tonight Show w/Jay Leno on August 3 and Jimmy Kimmel Live August 4 ... check local listings and set your DVR's. And, in the mist of all of this, The Black Crowes will be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 11 at the 32nd Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Show. Congratulations gentleman. Tickets for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards go on sale July 1 and can be purchased at, Ticketmaster, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

CROWEOLOGY spans THE BLACK CROWES' revered catalog with acoustic renditions of 20 songs from their two decades of cosmic rock 'n' roll. Commemorating the 20th anniversary of their landmark multi-platinum debut, 1990's SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER, CROWEOLOGY gives listeners an intimate retrospective, stripping away these fan and band favorites like "Jealous Again," "Remedy," "She Talks To Angels" and "Wiser Time" to their very essence through brand new recordings, captured in 2009 at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles. Given its scope and bright approach, the Paul Stacey-produced CROWEOLOGY is worth studying for both longtime fans and newcomers alike.

In order to thank fans for 20 years of support, CROWEOLOGY will be priced at the cost of a single album. In addition, it will be available on vinyl and as an iTunes LP. Listeners will get their first taste of CROWEOLOGY when "Jealous Again" and "Morning Song" hit radio this week.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Photo Review: TAB The Band At Mercury Lounge

TAB The Band: June 30 @ Mercury Lounge
, New York, NY

Sometimes I just drop by music venues to check out what's going on. The worst that can happen, you don't like any of the bands. That happens sometimes and you chalk it up to an "oh well, I got multiple bands and a few hours worth of music for under $15." The best that can happen, you come across something you like and that band alone earns your "hands down worth the cover charge" award of the night.

Last night, was one of those nights where I came across something I liked, TAB The Band. I'd heard the name but hadn't actually heard any of their music, at least not that I recall. I didn't know anything about them walking in. A lady next to me asked if I'd heard them, "no" and informed me that two of the guys were Joe Perry's sons. I knew he had musician sons but hadn't connected them being in the band about ready to play. I shoved that information to the back of my mind to avoid any unnecessary comparisons creeping into my head. The band, Tony Perry (guitar), Adrian Perry (vocals/bass), Ben Tileston (drums) and Lou Jannetty (guitar) hit the stage. They took the audience on a ride of all up in your face rock 'n' roll that was straight ahead and sometimes bluesy. At points there were even hints of country rock in there. Perry (Adrian) is a personable frontman who at times was outright electrifying. Oh, and bonus points to everyone onstage for engaging in stage banter. I liked that. I see too many bands who barely say anything onstage. TAB The Band are a tight, fun band. They can add another fan to their list.

More photos on the QNYC Flickr page, HERE.