The Independent Ingenuity of Lady Lamb's Before and After

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Photo by Shervin Lainez
Aly Spaltro, a/k/a Lady Lamb
The highways that snake inward from the East Coast to the Midwest and beyond are littered with potentially lethal distractions. Big rigs, suicidal deer, and intimidating curves are fixtures on the roads that truss Virginia. Rural Ohio offers a straight course through its open sprawl, though the giant mile-marking billboards plastered with the Ten Commandments are enough to send you into the bumper of the station wagon that inexplicably slowed to a crawl in front of you. But when Aly Spaltro — a/k/a Lady Lamb — grabbed her Fender Jaguar, left Brooklyn, and set out on a solo leg of one of the national tours in support of 2013's Ripely Pine, her remarkable full-length debut, the unfurling expanse of concrete between her and a Midwestern venue struck as benevolent, even inspiring. Spaltro sang to herself while flying solo, and she didn't peel her eyes from the horizon in order to commit "Vena Cava" — what would become the first track on her sophomore effort, After — to memory. Hell, she didn't take her hands off the wheel to hit the "record" button on her iPhone.

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DJ Premier and Royce da 5'9" Make the Most of PRhyme Time in NYC

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Sachyn Mital for the Village Voice
PRhyme's DJ Premier and Royce da 5'9" at the Highline Ballroom
Phoned-in sets are closer to a norm than a rarity in hip-hop, but there was certainly no lack of energy during the performances of DJ Premier and Royce da 5'9" — who together make PRhyme — at the Highline Ballroom last night. DJ Premier's ear for flipping cool jazz and shag-carpet soul samples, along with his penchant for pairing them with dusty drum grooves, has made him one of the most influential producers in hip-hop. Premier is still good at the key aspects of his job (from riling up the crowd to frenziedly dicing up vocal snippets on the turntables), and Royce — a close and longtime Eminem affiliate — raps like a much less world-weary artist with a great deal more to prove. Playing to a packed-to-the-gills Highline Ballroom at the outset of a lengthy national tour was no doubt responsible for a good deal of the duo's unflagging energy, but it was also clear that both parties were propelled by a still-fresh excitement for their new material and the younger talent joining them onstage.

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Exclusive Premiere: Kristin Andreassen Gives Folk a Brooklyn Spin with 'Lookout'

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Photo: Laura Crostra
Kristin Andreassen
Kristin Andreassen's music speaks of a time when porches housed rocking chairs, not rampant consumer overspill. A time when "Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum," to quote that greatest of socio-folk novels, To Kill a Mockingbird. But this folk/bluegrass singer and musician — who celebrated the release of her latest album, Gondolier, last week — doesn't live in Maycomb, or Lake Charles, or any storied rural town. She lives in Park Slope, and has carved out her own slice of other-timely country life in Brooklyn.


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The Eleven Best Concerts in New York This Week, 2/23/15

Categories: Listings, Live

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Nicola Collins
The Twilight Sad

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

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Hull Say Goodbye to Brooklyn Metal with Heavy, Heartfelt Final Concert

Categories: Last Night, Metal

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Greg Cristman for the Village Voice
Hull play their last show ever at Brooklyn's Coco 66.
"Did we finally sell out a show after eleven years?" asked guitarist Nick Palmirotto from the stage. "I'm gonna fucking cry."

Snow, slush, and wintry rain couldn't keep a throng of metalheads from packing the house at Coco 66 Saturday night to bid farewell to Hull. The progressive sludge band has been a staple of the Brooklyn metal scene for the past eleven years, but have decided to disband as life takes each member in new directions.

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Swearin' Strike a Rambunctious Balance (and Play New Material) in Brooklyn

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Lindsey Rhoades for the Village Voice
Swearin' at Baby's All Right
It's rare to hear anything about Swearin' without a mention that one of its lead vocalists has an identical twin sister who's also in the music business. Indeed, Allison Crutchfield's sister Katie may perform on her own as Waxahatchee, but the sisters' close relationship is woven through the trajectories of both outfits. When they made their first forays into the punk scene in Alabama, it was in bands together, against the world. They still live together (now in Philly), play together, tour together, and lend each other songs, as was made apparent at Swearin's show last night at Baby's All Right.

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The Nine Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 2/20/15

Categories: Weekend

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Photo: Sam Evans-Butler
Cakes Da Killa
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.


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Meet the Bronx-Born Best Amateur Drummer in America

Categories: Jazz, Video

Shariq Tucker, age 22, recently won the 26th annual Guitar Center national drum-off on his eighth attempt, beating more than 5,000 other drummers in the competition. He won a $25,000 cash prize and thousands more dollars' worth of drumming equipment.

"When I heard my name called as the winner, tears of joy ran down my face," Tucker says of the win.

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From John Legend & Common to Lorde, Spin These Best Song Noms & Snubs Pre-Oscars

Categories: Film, The Oscars

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Screenshot
John Legend and Common's "Glory" from Selma
The Academy Awards and all the A-list celebrities, red-carpet fanfare, and fabulous after-parties that come with them are exciting, but let's be real. Some of the most memorable moments of the Oscars telecast from years past have seen the nominees for Best Original Song performing their respective tracks. (Adele Dazeem, anyone?) This year is no exception: From Tegan and Sara to John Legend, Common, and Adam Levine, some of music's biggest talents will take the Oscar stage on Sunday. But who should win the coveted award? And why weren't some other undeniably awesome songs nominated? This requires a closer listen.

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Behemoth's Nergal: Taking a Page From His Satanic Bible

Categories: Interviews, Metal

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Photo: Grupa 13
Behemoth
Who is Nergal?

Polish celebrity Satanist and household name in his home country, where he's been a judge on the Polish version of The Voice: yes. Inscrutable frontman of death metal band Behemoth: yes. Cancer survivor at 37 years old: yes.

But who is Adam Michał Darski, really?

"Michał is no more," he says, speaking by phone while driving to Warsaw late at night. "Middle name is Nergal."

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