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Mac DeMarco
Wednesday 10/14
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.
Dave Davies
Tuesday 10/20
Dave Davies @ The Howard Theatre
$39.40 / $45
Dave Davies founded the Kinks in the early 1960s and forever changed music after he sliced up the speaker cone of a little green amp and created a revolutionary, distorted guitar tone and frenetic solo on song You Really Got Me. Musicologist Joe Harrington described the Kinks' influence: "'You Really Got Me', 'All Day and All of the Night' . . . were predecessors of the whole three-chord genre ... the Kinks did a lot to help turn rock 'n' roll into rock." In 1998, writer Bill Crowley wrote,"As lead guitarist and founder of The Kinks, Dave Davies is one of the most unpredictable and original forces in rock, without whom guitar-rock styles including heavy metal and punk would have been inconceivable. A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Dave's massive guitar sounds have inspired bands from Van Halen to Green Day." Dave's new album I Will Be Me is a return to his groundbreaking guitar sound and innovative songwriting. His classically English voice shows off a new deepness but still hits his famous high notes in this collection. Hard rocking track "Living in the Past", takes a look at obsession with retro but, ever the Mod, Dave suprises with the lyric, "no matter what they do or say, the future's here to stay!" He takes a look back with Little Green Amp, a playful, punk homage to days when his jagged, blues driven sound wave ripped ahead of the British Invasion through stereos the world over. Cote du Rhone (I WILL BE ME), an uncensored look at ugliness in the world today, is as angry and biting as ever with an innovative heavy yet slide guitar tone. Soothing lyrics and sounds of Jonathan Lea's sitar playing on Healing Boy - show Dave's sensitive side. In a recent radio interview he said,"rock music is a positive force for good." This hopeful and optimistic vision manifests and bridges themes personal, social and universal in I Will Be Me. Since the early days, Dave has worked on a slew of critically acclaimed records, ranging from solo hit song Death of a Clown, to experimental Kinks records like Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur and classic song Lola in the 70s. In the 80s Dave released experimentally prescient solo work like the eponymous album titled "Dave Davies" or "AFL1-3603" named after himself and/or the barcode symbol face cover art. His mainstream success continued in the 80s on hit Kinks albums Low Budget and State of Confusion. In the 90s he released more solo work such as Bug and the compilation Unfinished Business. His songs have been featured in films by John Carpenter and on t.v. shows like the Sopranos which used his tune Living on a Thin Line. His tell-all autobiographical book Kink was well received in the late 90s as well. In recent years, Dave has collaborated creatively with his sons. In 2010 he worked with son Russell Davies to create the hauntingly, beautiful rock electronica album, the Aschere Project. Mystical Journey, directed by son Martin Davies, narrates Dave's longtime interest in the paranormal, Eastern philosophies and spirituality (the film inspired Julien Temple's BBC documentary Kinkdom Kome). No matter how diverse the ambition, Dave Davies puts his heart and soul in all of his projects.