Richard Goldstein Returns to Rock in His Memoir 'Another Little Piece of My Heart'

Caleb Ferguson for the Village Voice
Richard Goldstein at home in Manhattan
Richard Goldstein can pinpoint the very minute his rock 'n' roll writing career lost its pulse.

It was back in 1970, six years after he'd started contributing to the Village Voice as its first rock critic. Having amassed a small library of conversations, ruminations, and eyewitness accounts regarding some of the Sixties' most pivotal moments in popular music under his byline, Goldstein was hardly in a position to be turning away from his work, but an event rocked him so deeply that he found it difficult — no, impossible — to pick up the pen and do the job he basically created. Janis Joplin, whom Goldstein had come to know and befriend following her and her soaring — albeit brief — run with Big Brother and the Holding Company, was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in her Los Angeles hotel room at the age of 27. For him, that's when the music — or, specifically, writing about music — died.

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Courtney Barnett on Her Big Breakthrough: 'I Wanted to Be Able to Live off My Art'

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett is not afraid to put her weak spots on display. "I'm not that good at breathing in," she drawls in "Avant Gardener." "Put me on a pedestal, I'll only disappoint you!" she shouts in "Pedestrian at Best." "I'm sorry for all of my insecurities, but it's just part of me," she shrugs in "Debbie Downer."

But don't let these admissions fool you into thinking that the Australian rocker is anything less than a dynamo. It's precisely this candid self-doubt that's the source of her power.

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Mastodon's Brann Dailor Remembers His New York City Youth

Categories: Interviews, Metal

Photo by Travis Shinn, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Progressive metal band Mastodon call Atlanta home, but drummer Brann Dailor is originally from New York. Born in Rochester, Brann grew up with parents he calls "hippies," who gave him a Celtic name (pronounced "Bron"), derived from a mythical king, Bran the Blessed. The king's story involves a magic cauldron, a talking severed head, and a troubled sister. It's the sort of stuff you might find in Mastodon's lyrics, or on their concept albums dealing with themes of death or grand quests.

These days, everything about the band — the scale of their music and their success — seems to be ever-increasingly colossal, as will be the size of the crowd likely to turn up for their SummerStage performance in Central Park on May 19.

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Sing for Hope Pianos Returns to Fill NYC's Public Spaces With Music

Courtesy of Sing for Hope Pianos
Franck de Las Mercedes
After a year off, Sing for Hope Pianos is returning to New York City, resuming its tradition of installing public pianos throughout the city for two weeks in the summer.

The charity organization was founded in 2006 by Juilliard-trained singers Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, and aims to make music and art more accessible in the community. The Sing for Hope Pianos public art installation began in 2011 and ran for three consecutive summers (enduring minor complications early on).

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Public Access TV Disrupt the Definition of a Modern New York City Rock Band

Photo by Nick Sethi
Public Access TV
John Eatherly and his band, Public Access TV, were in California finishing up the final dates of their first U.S. tour when their manager woke them with the news that their East Village home had been destroyed in a gas leak explosion. Since then, Eatherly has been floating between friends' spots, putting the prospects of finding a new home on hold so that his band can focus on releasing their self-titled EP while heading out on the road with London's Palma Violets.

"We're just lucky to be busy, touring, and recording," says Eatherly, taking a breather on a day off in between shows. "It's great; everything feels like it's going really well. That was just a big, terrible thing that happened, but we're just keeping our heads held high and taking it easy on the home front." They just left Philadelphia, and to take advantage of the time before their next gig, in greater-area Detroit, Public Access TV are heading toward Akron, Ohio, where drummer Pete Star's parents reside.

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Jay Z Performs Classics, Remembers Chinx, Blasts Tidal Critics at B-Sides Show

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Live Nation
Jay Z and Memphis Bleek perform during Tidal X: Jay Z B Sides in NYC on 5/17/15.
Once upon a time, I almost shared sweat with Jay Z at the best concert ever. It was 2006 — I had just fallen off the blueberry truck from Kalamazoo, Michigan — and I tried to score a ticket to the rapper's Reasonable Doubt anniversary show at Radio City Music Hall. It sold out. I wasn't in "the industry" back then, so the notion of contacting a publicist or record-label flack was out of the question. By some stroke of luck, Jay announced an intimate dress rehearsal for the night before at Best Buy Theater (then the Nokia Theater) and tickets were available. I waited in line for hours and eventually elbowed my way to the front row to see one of my favorites in the flesh. I was heady. In the middle of the set, my "little girl in the big city" moment crystallized when Jay nonchalantly tossed his perspiration-soaked towel into the crowd — directly to me. Everything moved in slow motion. I reached for the Shroud of Hov, but before I could get a firm grasp, some teenage punk snatched away the holy terrycloth. I still think about that show (and what I would do if I ever see that punk in a dark alley) and the pure, unadulterated experience of watching Jay Z for the first time.

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Remy Banks on Mixtape higher. and World's Fair: 'These Are Your New Jay Zs and Nases'

Photo by Zach Wolfe
Remy Banks
Brooklyn has the hip-hop classicism of Pro Era. Harlem gets the A$AP Mob's region-hopping. Queens' World's Fair can be seen as a compromise between new-school leanings and the pride that comes with New York City's heritage. That's not to say the six-member collective is some sort of unoriginal mishmash. World's Fair's lone album featuring all six members, 2012's Bastards of the Party (no relation to the 2005 gang documentary), features a sense of self-assuredness and general feel of fun. World's Fair may not have blown up to "Goldie" levels or assured everyone they're what New York's been missing — whatever the hell that means nowadays — but they're one of the city's more exciting acts, and definitely one of the most promising.

All hip-hop acts, especially those hailing from New York, have their knocks against them. World's Fair aren't an exception. Their particular hurdle is that they're not like the other collectives. There's no capo, no A$AP Rocky or Joey Bada$$ to easily identify as the face and ambassador of the group. It's a notable element that's missing, but not necessarily a fatal one.

But on May 11, Remy Banks is the star. He's hosting a listening party in the Lower East Side's Elvis Guesthouse for his mixtape higher., due out May 18. Banks, named after his father's favorite drink, Rémy Martin (although he admits he's more of a Hennessy guy), isn't completely in star mode, even though the basement room's green-and-blue spotlight is clearly on him. Recognizable by his wiry frame and the tufts of hair poking out of his Yankees cap, he swings around from the back of the venue to the entrance, passing out daps without prejudice, impishly shooting the shit with some friends and making full use of the bar.

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The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 5/18/15

Categories: Concerts

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Nico & Vinz

For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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Rihanna Breaks Out 'Bitch Better Have My Money' & Moving 'American Oxygen' on SNL

Let it be known that Rihanna is the only person to upstage an entire episode of Saturday Night Live — a finale, even! — by doing something as simple as giving the host bunny ears during the curtain call. She pissed people off for "lip-syncing" (or singing along with a backing track, most likely); she pissed people off for performing in front of images pulled from 9-11 footage; she pissed people off for grabbing her crotch the way rappers have done for years upon years to little or no outrage. She managed to do all of that in her eight minutes of stage time on the finale of SNL's 40th season, and yet snagging the attention of the viewing public is as much an unintentional reflex for her as breathing or blinking. Crack a smile, give Louis C.K. some bunny ears, and call it a day — oh, and debut some new material off one of the most anticipated albums of 2015 while we're at it. Sure. Just another night's work for Rihanna.

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Beijing's Chui Wan Find Global Voice With New Self-Titled Album

via Facebook
Chui Wan
Some words defy easy translation. Take experimental psych band Chui Wan's name, which is inspired by ancient Daoist existential philosophy.

"It means different things give different sounds, and there's lots of sounds, and there's sound in everything," explains Nevin Domer, who is originally from Baltimore, and who is the COO of Chui Wan's label, Maybe Mars Records.

Today, Domer is our translator, and he's joined the band after they decamped to an Italian restaurant in Beijing next door to Maybe Mars HQ, which in turn sits above a music venue and was deemed too noisy for the interview. Some words — though few in this conversation — need no explanation: "Exploration!" yells bassist and singer Wu Qiong, answering a question regarding inspiration for the new album.

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