Erin Marsz Fuses Gun N' Roses and Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing

Photo by Shervin Lainez
Guns N' Hoses' Erin Marsz, center, gets her bard on in a SoHo Playhouse production
I'm a cold heartbreaker / Fit ta burn and I'll rip our heart in two / And I'll leave you lyin' on the bed / I'll be out the door before ya wake...

So begin the lyrics of Guns N' Roses "You Could Be Mine," Axl Rose proclaiming he could've belonged to an old love save for her never-ending drama. Rose is hard, passionate and heartfelt in his rock n' roll prose, his badass persona defined in hits from "Paradise City" to "Sweet Child O' Mine." And Rose is about to meet his match, not in a romantic sense, but a theatrical one. Lead singer of equally badass GNR tribute band Guns N' Hoses, Erin Marsz, is about to take on the role of Beatrice in the SoHo Playhouse production of Shapespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which runs from May 29 - June 7. Beatrice is sharp, feisty and soft on the inside. The power and heat Marsz applies to Axl Hose will likely come in handy for Beatrice, too.

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Lonnie Holley and Cults Grapple with the Legacy of a NYC Electronic Music Legend

Courtesy of Dust-to-Digital
Lonnie Holley
Arthur Russell's music wasn't meant to be heard — or the vast majority of it wasn't, at least. Russell, a notorious perfectionist, only released two studio albums. The rest of his sprawling canon comes from posthumous releases, stitched from unfinished sketches.

The tension between Russell's ambition and reality resonates with Brian Oblivion of New York indie pop group Cults, who will perform alongside numerous musical talents and luminaries at Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, Red Bull Music Academy and Red Hot's tribute to the electronic composer and musician May 29 and May 30.

"It's inspiring as a musician to experience someone re-emerging with their perfectionism obliterated, and their stuff just shown," he explains. "It makes you re-evaluate the way you criticize yourself, and the way you manicure things for days and hours and weeks. There's a raw emotionality in everything he did. That's what we're all chasing is the freedom of being yourself, and that's a tough thing to do. He really nailed it."

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Detroit's Death Revive Themselves with a N.E.W. Lease on Life

Photo by Samdarko Elotsam
Bobby Hackney, Bobbie Duncan and Dannis Hackney of Death
"Every day is a good day for Death," Bobby Hackney firmly states. And Death, forty years after its inception, is finally having its day in the sun. "We suffered through so much rejection in the Seventies; we thought this music would never be heard."

Hackney, a Detroit native, founded the unlikely protopunk trio with two of his brothers, guitarist David and drummer Dannis, spewing catchy, raucous politically charged punky heaviness in the era and locale of Motown long before the word punk was a thing. As documented in the compelling 2012 documentary A Band Called Death, "record companies found Death's music — and band name — too intimidating." Death died in 1977 and its members went on to play reggae and gospel music in a band called Lambsbread. Then, more than thirty years after the band's demise, Death's 1974 demos were rediscovered and put out by Drag City in 2009.

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Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman Just Want to Use 'Your Love' for Their Musical

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Photo by Luke Fontana
Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman of Your Love, Our Musical
Caitlin Puckett and Calvin Cole are sitting onstage, recounting the details of their romance. The stage is set for Your Love, Our Musical at Peoples Improv Theater on a warm May night, with hosts Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman inviting an unassuming couple up on the stage, interviewing them about how they met, fell for each other, etc., then improvising a half-hour musical about that very love story. Where improvised comedy in general and improvised musical comedy in particular can get painfully, embarrassingly stilted, Vigil and Kaufman's hour-long show is bombastic, clean, and ever hysterical. They've mastered the art form, their chemistry as artists (they are not a couple in real life) as much a part of the show as the chemistry behind the couple they feature.

Puckett and Cole begin revealing their story, having met at a medical alarm company (the I've-fallen-and-can't-get-up type, where people call in for assistance), its cubicles tiny and surveillance cameras watching those working there, always. They were friends first. Puckett was in a long-distance relationship with a slightly depressive man named Justin when she realized their connection wasn't the real deal. She broke it off with Justin, and she and Cole got together the very same night. Cole brought over the winning trifecta: wine, cheese, and Muppet Treasure Island. When asked who said "I love you" first, the couple admit that the answer is unclear. What was clear was they didn't necessarily need to. The two clicked so hard, says Cole, "it was just understood."

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For Patrick Watson, New Album 'Love Songs for Robots' Is Elementary

Courtesy of Sacks & Co.
Patrick Watson
After half an hour of intense chatting with Canadian indie-pop singer-songwriter and film composer Patrick Watson about his band's latest record, Love Songs for Robots, a nagging question remains: Just who is the robot, here?

"I did this really crazy hypnosis thing last year for fun with this really quiet old Russian lady," says Watson, speaking from his studio in Montreal. "There were no dreamcatchers on the wall; it was really kind of, like, heady. Not spiritual in any way. She just sits down and talks to you, and it's like this key to the back of your brain. When you understand how powerful the back of your brain is...when you really get into it, you see how all the commercials and stuff we see and hear builds your identity. You're not really aware of it, even if you think you are. You think you're super in charge of your decisions, but you're not, which is why they spend millions of dollars on advertising."

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METZ Turn Up the Distortion Far Outside Toronto City Limits With 'METZ II'

Photo by David Waldman
If you want an idea of how far Toronto's METZ have come as a band, look no further than the fourth track on their eponymous sophomore album, METZ II, which dropped via Sub Pop on May 5. Entitled "Zzyzx" and clocking in at only 36 seconds, it's more of an interlude than an actual song, a soundcheck at an undisclosed location that gives way to hissing feedback.

"I think that's from when we were playing a show in Colombia," says lead singer and guitarist Alex Edkins over beers at a quiet downtown Toronto bar. When the noise-rock trio (Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach, and drummer Hayden Menzies) formed in 2008, they never expected to be performing shows in South America, much less touring all over the world — or selling out back-to-back NYC gigs, at the Bowery Ballroom (May 26) and Music Hall of Williamsburg (May 27).

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Torres and the Cosmic Turns of Sprinter's Self-Discovery

Photo by Shawn Brackbill
Mackenzie Scott, a/k/a Torres
On the pocket of her thrift store denim jacket, Mackenzie Scott wears a collection of buttons. One reps New Jersey–based rockers Screaming Females. Another, Nashville label Spaghetti Spaghetti Records. There's an oversized close-up of a Persian cat's fuzzy scowl (she says that's her favorite) and a gold enamel pin emblazoned with "President's Award," the kind they give top students in middle school for perfect attendance or good grades. These pins aren't just flair: They're representative of the many aspects that make up Scott's personality — the overachiever, the Southern punk, the crazy cat lady, and a woman who can let loose an unearthly moan.

Lately, she's gotten a lot of recognition for doing that last one under the moniker Torres, a family surname from her mother's side that she took on to keep a layer of separation between herself as a person and herself as a performer. "Mackenzie Scott is the name that comes on my receipts when I buy cat litter," she explains. "It's not very romantic or mysterious."

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Mary Epworth Canvasses an 'American Landscape' In Support of Her 'Dream Life'

Courtesy of Nick Loss-Eaton
Mary Epworth
Mary Epworth has just rushed back to the hotel after grabbing a quick breakfast. She's in Boston, currently a few dates shy of completing her nationwide tour of the United States, and the British singer-songwriter is commenting on a tweet she sent in early May regarding the United Kingdom's general elections: "Oh U.K., what have you done?"

"This is like our second term of George Bush, basically," she says, summarizing her view of the Conservative and Unionist Party in terms we Americans can understand. "And they're in for another five years. All of us are so shocked, because it's gotten so bad. You're in your own Facebook bubble/confirmation bias and you feel like we're all politically engaged — but then they come in and have the majority."

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Kaki King 'Paints' With Powerful Chords in 'The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body'

Courtesy of Girlie Action Media
Kaki King
"The guitar becomes a paintbrush," says guitar virtuoso Kaki King about her new live venture, The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body. "I play a note and a film plays, or the color changes and everything's blue, and the effect is so powerful." She's speaking from her home in Brooklyn on a beautifully sunny spring day. The previous night, she performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "playing jazz standards," she says. After more than a dozen years of making classic and classical guitar music, including contributing to Sean Penn's Into the Wild, King is now onto something very different.

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For Shilpa Ray, These Are 'Savage Times' Worth Singing Through

Ebru Yildiz
Shilpa Ray
When Shilpa Ray and her new label, Northern Spy, came up with a mock newspaper titled Savage Times as a promotion for her new record, Last Year's Savage, they created a realistic-looking webzine and printed up a broadsheet to distribute around coffee shops and record stores. Unwittingly, their wheeze created the perfectly titled publication for these savage times, when lust for power and money results in global devastation.

Ray, the onetime Beat the Devil member and Happy Hookers leader, and a longtime New York City denizen who currently lives in Brooklyn, can't escape power and money's reach, though. Money — the lack of it, of course — is the main reason Last Year's Savage took so long to make.

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