Vinyl might be making a comeback, but Greenpoint audio mastering legend Paul Gold never left it behind. At Salt Mastering (61 Greenpoint Ave.) in the Pencil Factory, he’s spent the last 10 1/2 years mastering for such acts as Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, and LCD Soundsystem.
I recently set aside some time to garner stories from Paul about his history in the business, and maybe get a few technique pointers along the way. Arriving at his place of business, I pried open his door on the fourth floor, and he shouted from the other room to come in.
Paul is a bit of a mad scientist. His hair bounces around as he moves about in his studio, and his large frame glasses are actually of his era, and not worn ironically. We sit in a relatively small unit, the front half filled with tools and scraps of audio gear, while the main mastering room is surrounded by large gear that looks like something out of those black-and-white Twilight Zone episodes on time travel from the 1950’s.
Some people may have heard of Greenpoint-based musician Andrew Shapiro as that guy who played modern classical piano at a McDonald’s in lower Manhattan every Sunday for nine years. Other people might vaguely recognize his name when hitting “like” on his song Mint Green on Pandora (it’s got several million plays). Still others might know him as the musician who recently collaborated with author and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, who wrote the lyrics for his song Bash Street Worlds. This summer, Andrew released an ambient classical album and a synth pop album in the same month. Boring, he is not—his songwriting has taken him around the world—and some of those gigs he owes to being down-to-earth and confident enough to play at Mickey D’s. For a solo classical musician and an Oberlin Conservatory-trained pianist, one might assume he’s reserved and bookish; but in person Andrew is quite talkative and energetic with an innate curiosity about the diversity that is New York City. Continue reading →
If you’ve grabbed a coffee at The Lot Radio (17 Nassau Avenue), or have ever wandered the streets behind the High School next to McCarren Park, you may have seen the Franciscan church San Damiano Mission (85 N 15th Street). If you didn’t, then you should take note. The church and local independent streaming DJ radio station The Lot Radio have been teaming up to put on benefit shows inside the church, with viewers in the pews and musicians at the pulpit. Praise. All performances are free with a suggested donation (usually $10), and always feature an interesting musical artist or three; a few months back, I attended a show with an experimental French electronic DJ who played objects as instruments.
So, it’s a church—but there’s beer, wine and a full liquor bar for donation—and the super cool friars Nick and Raphael are serving up the drinks. Seriously, they’re the most awesome bartenders you’ll ever meet, and will gladly give you a hug if you smile and even just slightly befriend them. Hugs are great! And the venue is truly beautiful. All of the money raised benefits the church and the repair of their massive pipe organ (we will cover that in a future feature story), which was originally installed in 1912. Continue reading →
When I was a 90s kid, my family got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a Nielsen Family. Pre-internet and pre-black box, they sent us a survey packet in the mail and we had to write down which TV shows we watched and when. I vividly remember my mom writing down that we were watching PBS when actually we were watching Family Matters on TGIF. “Well, we want PBS to stay on the air,” my mom said. “They don’t need to know what we’re really watching.” These days, with households either having some kind of black box attached to the TV or streaming shows via the internet, big data knows exactly who watches what and when. There’s no way to cheat the system. And the same goes for music streaming services.
Last Thursday night’s Mixcloud panel on the Future of Music Discovery at Good Room had a line stretching around the block outside in the rain. I think some came just to see David Byrne say some wacky things on stage, but most likely others attended with a genuine interest in the modern and intimate relationship between music and data. Nico Perez from Mixcloud moderated the panel of four music experts: music legend David Byrne of Talking Heads; Emily Friedlander, Editor-In-Chief of Vice’s Thump; Ryan Schreiber, founder of Pitchfork; and Alex White, founder of The Next Big Sound (recently acquired by Pandora).
It could be easy to dismiss Wye Oak as another band for the denim shirt crowd—mellow, buttery dream-folk churned to the point of blandness. But the Baltimore duo, who played at Warsaw in Greenpoint Tuesday night, have some seriously un-bland musical chops—they’re kind of a reverse White Stripes, and that’s a good thing. Where The White Stripes had grit and a lack of polish, Wye Oak sound and look totally put together, as if they’ve walked out of a J Crew catalogue, if J Crew was trying to lean into the indie musician angle this season.
Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner have been making music together for 10 years, so their on stage collaboration is truly comfortable. Musically, they finish each others’ sentences. Andy keeps the rhythm rolling, simultaneously playing synths with one hand and drumming with the other, while Jenn is the mouthpiece for the band (Andy isn’t even mic’d) and shreds on the guitar. The pair are truly making gender-balanced rock: even though the vocals are female, their music isn’t feminine. Most of the time Jenn’s voice is melting into the back of the soundscape, creating a lush, oceany resonance. And when her voice isn’t buried back there, she sounds like a nymph-like ghost. It’s haunting, romantic and powerful music. Continue reading →
Bill recently played New York in April, supporting the famous Iggy Pop on tour, with a drop-down at the United Palace Theater, uptown.
A prolific singer and songwriter, Callahan, active in the lo-fi New York scene for well over 20 years and only in the last few recording under his new name, has, perhaps, as Pitchfork has pointed out, maintained a kind of mystical aura, thanks not only to the minimalism of his music, writing, and interview repartee, but also because-up until recently-not many people had heard his own recordings. Callahan’s songs have been taken up by noted artists such as Gil Scott-Heron, Flaming Lips and Cat Power.
In a recent profile, The Washington Post described Callahan alongside three other major singer-songwriters as, “asserting their gravity in the North American mystery zone where cosmopolitan sophistication and folk mysticism overlap”.
Come see for yourself when Callahan plays Baby’s All Right this month.
Bill Callahan June 26 through June 28
Shows at 6PM and 9PM each night.
Baby’s All Right, Williamsburg Tickets
On a crisp, first-glimpse-of-summer night, with nigh a sk8rboi in sight, Jon Hopkins and electro company kicked off the annual free concert series at House of Vans (25 Franklin St) in Greenpoint.
Exceedingly referential with sponsored “street” artandalight “installation” that referenced a once-flickering warehouse marquee, Vans’ branded millennial pandering was never a distraction from evening’s chilled-out vibes, free orange-vanilla seltzer, nor the gaunt and smiley Hopkins’ superb set. Hopkins music, often slow to build, develops meditatively through repetition. You could even hear someone scream, “where’s the drop?”
Outdoor music, while often exchanging sound quality for experiential novelty, has the unique quality of gathering diverse groups of people together, especially when free.
Back in May, I took off my headphones and interrupted the otherwise continual loop of Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool to preview Day of the Dead – the Grateful Dead tribute album curated by The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner – at an album release party at Brooklyn Bowl. May, your new music game was pretty on point.
I’ve now had two “dad knew what he was talking about” moments at Brooklyn Bowl within the last year. The first, during the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary shows in Chicago over last Fourth of July weekend watching Trey Anastasio fill the role of late great Jerry Garcia, and doing it quite well at that (at which moment I couldn’t help but think that Dad would have to think, Courtney was right too). Continue reading →
The latest un-popular fashion trend is Tropical Goth—and it’s exactly what you think it is. Picture Charles Manson wearing a Hawaiian shirt stumbling into a backyard BBQ grill. Flaming flamingos and casual-day-for-cutters aside, you may not know that Tropical Goth is also a Brooklyn-based record label and dance party (of course it is). The Tropical Goth crew emerged a couple years ago from the minds of a couple of Bushwick’s Bossa Nova Civic Club DJs. The maestro of Tropical Goth is Shredder aka Chris Video, with Publicist, Food Stamps, Marcus Webb, Deadontheinternet and other tortured tiki souls dropping beats at select parties. Somehow they manage to blend beachy island vibes with dark industrial techno better than the best pina colada you’ve ever had on a drug-fueled bachelorette party in Puerto Rico. Continue reading →