This morning, Ebro over at Hot 97 called up Ackquille Pollard — a/k/a Bobby Shmurda — who was incarcerated in the wake of a drug trafficking sting in Times Square on December 17. Shmurda is currently awaiting trial, and the young rapper, along with several members of Brooklyn's GS9 crew, faces charges for weapons possession, conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and a number of other offenses. Shmurda, who was being held at Rikers following the arraignment and placed under protective custody, has since been moved to the Manhattan Detention Complex, or the Tombs, along with fellow GS9 crew member Chad Marshall, a/k/a Rowdy Rebel. Shmurda's been outspoken about the proceedings following his arrest: In multiple interviews with Billboard, he called them "bullshit" and clarified that, no, he wasn't stabbed in jail; he also told the New York Times that he thought his label, Epic Records, would come for him and support him in his time of need, "but they never came." He's been able to keep the press abreast of how things are going on the inside — or at least he was, as Shmurda was cut off in the middle of his latest interview with Hot 97.
YouTube Bobby Shmurda
A select group of Steve Earle fans were treated to a super-intimate set last night at the historic Electric Lady Studios on West 8th Street. Earle, who said he came down with a cold shortly before the show, didn't show any signs of ailment whatsoever as he and his band the Dukes kicked through an hour-long set featuring songs from their new blues album, Terraplane.
John Peabody for the Village Voice Steve Earle at Electric Lady Studios
Earle switched effortlessly from harmonica to mandolin to acoustic guitar and a wailing electric for the band's last songs of the night, which included a supreme version of "Hey Joe," an obvious ode to the original proprietor of the studio. Jimi Hendrix commissioned the psychedelic mural on the back wall, Earle told the crowd, though sadly he wouldn't live long enough to see it completed or record much in the studio. "He went to play Isle of Wight and never came back," Earle said wistfully.
As for how Earle liked playing in the space?
"It's got ghosts in it," Earle said. "But I'm not opposed to that."More »
With its current connotations, the term "festival" seems like a bit of a misnomer for Ecstatic Music. There are no midriffs; there is no molly; there is no dubstep DJ-du-jour. Its organizers provide an altogether different kind of ecstasy, doled out over three months of performances, most of them in decidedly academic settings rather than trampled, muddy fairgrounds. The idea, they say, is to "give true meaning to the notion of 'Ecstatic Music' as joyful and adventurous collaborations giving some of today's most compelling musicians the opportunity to work together in exciting new combinations," and, for five years now, they've been doing just that. From Deerhoof to DJ /rupture, from tUnE-yArDs to Saul Williams, EMF's curators have a way of identifying indie outliers and pairing them with contemporary classical avant-garde ensembles and composers that have included Rhys Chatham, William Basinski, and SO Percussion, among many, many more. For show-goers in search of the ever-elusive, one-of-a-kind live music experience, Ecstatic Music is a kind of heaven.
Lindsey Rhoades for the Village Voice Julia Holter and Spektral Quartet
There are certainly artists whose off-kilter ethos works well with these unusual, inspired pairings. For Julia Holter, the Los Angeles–based art-pop chanteuse with three critically acclaimed solo records under her belt, collaboration comes easy: She made her EMF debut in 2013 with Laurel Halo and Daniel Wohl's TRANSIT ensemble. Returning to the Kaufman Music Center's Merkin Concert Hall last night, Holter was backed this time by Chicago's Spektral Quartet, an exuberant chamber ensemble with a penchant for quirky arrangements. Before Holter emerged from backstage, they performed a lively set that brilliantly bridged the gap between Mos Def and Stravinsky.More »
Oklahoma native JD McPherson brought his modern-pop take on rockabilly and Fifties rock 'n' roll to the Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, selling out the 575-person venue. Singer-songwriter Dylan Pratt opened the show. McPherson performed Tuesday on the Late Show With David Letterman and performs Saturday, February 28, 2015, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. His second album, Let the Good Times Roll, was released on February 10. Photos by Jena Ardell for the Village Voice.
Photo by Jena Ardell for the Village Voice. JD McPherson
Whether you've lived in New York City all your life or you're a transplant from elsewhere, if you stick around long enough you're bound to see it undergo some sort of transformation. Having lived here, written songs here, and played countless shows here under the moniker Phosphorescent, Matthew Houck knows that better than most. Recently, Houck slipped quietly off into the Nashville sunset, relocating for a time to raise a family and write a new record. Houck says that it was time for a "change of scenery." He wrote no "goodbye to all that" essay brimming with wistful memories or bitter gripes. Instead, Houck's New York swan song came in the form of Live at the Music Hall, a triple LP cobbled from four nights of shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last December.
Courtesy of PhosphorescentMusic.com Matthew Houck, a/k/a Phosphorescent
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday, New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose, or — no surprise here — a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]
Photo by Rick Day
Last month I came out as transgender, beginning my transition to female. My mom has repeatedly tried to get me to move back home and see a therapist to "fix" me. My oldest sister called me a "sexual deviant" and forbid me to talk to my nieces and nephew, all of whom I was very close to. It's now been a month since this has happened. My question is, how can I reach out to my mom and my sister to help them understand better?
Rejected Trans Woman
[Ed. Note: In Please Enjoy Responsibly, columnist Raymond Cummings doggedly tracks down the best noise music of the past month, and sometimes the month prior to that.]
Image from Bandcamp A cropped version of the cover of Mind The Gap Between The Platform And The Train (A Place Called Annexia), one of this month's best noise releases.
When caught in a cold snap that refuses to let up, the tough don't don a Snuggie, curl up in a warm corner, and cry frozen tears. They turn their attention to hot, humid noise that gooses the pulse and rouses the imagination. So: Are you content to let winter get the better of you? Or are you tougher than winter? Here's where we find out.
Meredith Graves is hurting from the jet-lag left over from her most recent tour through Australia with her band, Perfect Pussy, and she's still getting acclimated to her new home in Brooklyn. Plus, she's got quite enough on her plate, with band practice, songwriting, her own independent creative pursuits (photography, a forthcoming solo record, baking), and getting to know the shortcuts and subway stops of her new neighborhood. She's successful, driven, and very, very busy, but Graves just threw another beast into the whirling mix of her endeavors: She's just launched her own label, Honor Press, and she's not wasting any time getting its music out there.
Photo: Kimi Selfridge/Tan Camera Meredith Graves on her new record label: "I want to wrangle a good squad of humans."
A roustabout, a suckerpunch, a porn fest, a cake mess, and a parade of UCB performers willing to admit "I'm cool." Here's our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Courtesy of Right On PR Kurt Braunohler presents his jet ski quest "Roustabout" at The Bell House February 25.