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New York City
Mac DeMarco @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
In 2015, the talent for creating a prolific output of exceptional music is almost a curse. Press people will tell you that there’s a bottleneck of too many artists covered by too few media outlets who always want to talk about something new. Managers will tell you that there’s too much money to be made on the road, so the album cycle goes on and on to support that. Artists may even feel pressured by reviewers and themselves to go into a deep stasis, only to emerge again when they’ve reinvented themselves into a newly revamped and retooled model, as opposed to just capturing time in a bottle and offering more to their catalog. At times, even fans have adopted this rule as well and are almost shocked when their favorite artist is able to release an LP already after two and a half or three years of waiting (let’s call this the MBV-effect). Lucky for us, Mac DeMarco is old school in his approach: when Mac wants to make a record and he has the songs ready, he makes it. Like the days of Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson or Prince releasing a classic every year (or less) comes Mac DeMarco’s Another One, a Mini-LP announced almost one year to the date of the meteorically successful Salad Days. The album was conceived and recorded entirely by Mac in a short period of time between a relentless tour schedule. At his new place in Far Rockaway, Queens — a neighborhood as east as you can possibly be before hitting Long Island — you can live in relative isolation despite technically still being in New York City. This left Mac with nothing more to do with his down time than to make music. Another One is an eight track release of brand new songs, freshly written for this release and each of which expand the arsenal of Mac’s already impressive catalog. Centered around a pump-organ riff and lilting vocal melody that is somehow both haunting and warm, “A Heart Like Hers” is a track that shows the maturity of Mac’s progression as songwriter. It’s a little bit more refined, a little bit more sophisticated, but nonetheless still retains the guts and soul of any classic Mac track. Opener “The Way You’d Love Her” has a playful swing to the chords and a guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a mid-period ‘Dead’ LP, Mac’s new favored listening past time. The overall feeling of the LP is lost love, or perhaps love never found, a topic that the world never tires of and one Mac can move through without it being a dour and somber experience. Title track “Another One” and stand out “Without Me” exhibit this bittersweet sensibility in lyrical and musical context, both melancholic and romantic, blurring the line between happy or sad nostalgia. The record leaves you with the same satisfaction as an old Bogart movie: he’s still the hero, but he doesn’t quite get the girl. It’s odd that despite working at the same pace as artists like Creedence, The Byrds and The Rolling Stones, coupled with an equally unending schedule of touring, press and recording, Mac is still labeled as a slacker. With two full-lengths and two EPs released and hundreds of sold out shows performed in the last several years, a recent late night television debut on Conan following a special guest performance on The Eric Andre Show, it seems, as Mac DeMarco nears his 25th birthday, there’s not a slack bone in the man’s body, besides maybe his a penchant for wearing comfortable clothes. You need comfortable clothes to work this hard anyway. Great singer/songwriters (Elton, Joni, Neil) don’t need to reinvent themselves; they just need to keep going and let the songs out in the world. If you’re like me and don’t think it’s been too soon since Salad Days – and you’re actually about to freak if you don’t hear more — here’s Another One.
Creative Collab Tour featuring Matthew Espinosa @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
Ky-Mani Marley @ The Howard Theatre
$20 / $25
Ky-Mani Marley is the son of the legendary Bob Marley and table tennis champion Anita Belnavis. While growing up in the inner-city, he adopted the belief that all people are created equal and no one is above or beneath him. This attitude has guided Ky-Mani to success in music, film, and literature beginning when he teamed up with Pras from The Fugees for a rendition of Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue.” With four studio albums, Billboard chart success, and a Grammy nomination, Ky-Mani’s musical style transcends cultural and creative boundaries incorporating world music, hip hop, blues, rock, and reggae into one melodic entity. Ky-Mani has gained world-wide recognition and praise performing in the
., Australia, Caribbean Islands, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and a North American tour with Van Halen. Ky-Mani has collaborated with artists such as Mya, Beenie Man, Young Buck, Buju Banton, Afu Ra, Marcia Griffiths, Alborosie, and Ms. Dynamite. He is currently promoting his autobiography Dear Dad, working on his new CD Evolution of a Revolution, and launching his clothing line Konfrontation. In 2009, Ky-Mani started the charitable Love Over All Foundation (LOAF) which caters to empowering and educating the youth.
Bell Biv DeVoe @ The Howard Theatre
$42.50 / $48
Bell Biv DeVoe was hatched in the minds of its members, New Edition's Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe, upon the departure of lead singer Bobby Brown in 1986. But it wasn't until after New Edition completed its supporting tour for the album Heart Break in 1988 that the trio gave in to the urgings of Heart Break producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and decided to chart its own course. Bell Biv DeVoe enlisted a variety of producers for its debut album, including Jam and Lewis and Public Enemy producers Hank and Keith Shocklee. The results were quite unlike anything in New Edition's repertoire: The beats were funkier, the lyrics and vocals were sexier, and the overall sound had a harder, hip-hop-tinged edge. The album's title track, "Poison," became a number three smash, and it was followed by the equally successful "Do Me!" and the R&B hits "B.B.D. (I Thought it Was Me)," "When Will I See You Smile Again?," and "Dope!" The album itself went on to sell over three million copies and was followed by a remix album the next year. Meanwhile, Bivins took some time off to assemble the so-called East Coast Family, discovering and producing debut albums for Another Bad Creation and Boyz II Men. Hootie Mack, Bell Biv DeVoe's second proper album, was released in 1993 but didn't make as much of an impact. In 1996, all three members of Bell Biv DeVoe participated in a reunion of New Edition.
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