New York Duo the London Souls Push Through the Pain With Here Come the Girls

Photo by Shervin Lainez
London Souls
New York rockers the London Souls have been sitting on their sophomore record, Here Come the Girls, since early 2013. Not because the duo were fidgety or stuck in the studio wasting away energy (à la another Chinese Democracy) — rather, the band's singer/guitarist, Tash Neal, had to heal and recuperate after surviving a nasty hit-and-run car accident on Broadway in Manhattan back in 2012.

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'Supermodel' Singer Jill Sobule Remembers Nineties New York

Courtesy of UMG
Jill Sobule
If culture moves in a twenty-year cycle, the current Nineties revival is right on schedule. Mini floral print dresses abound, as do grunge- and riot-grrrl-influenced bands. Obscure pop culture nuggets like the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal are now the subject of adoration. People who grew up in the Nineties are feeling a collective pang of nostalgia watching their youth replayed in tastes of the currently young, and they often don't seem too happy about it.

One person who isn't complaining, though, is Jill Sobule. The L.A.-based singer-songwriter wasn't just there the first time around: She performed "Supermodel," the signature track of beloved 1995 movie Clueless, and in doing so became a quintessential part of the Nineties canon. The film turns twenty this year, and in celebration the soundtrack is getting a vinyl reissue on April 7: a picture disc printed with main character Cher Horowitz's signature black-and-yellow plaid. Sobule couldn't be happier about it.

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Exclusive Premiere: Listen to the Teen Age's Ode to Youth, 'Pieces'

Photo by Raul Coto-Batres
The Teen Age play Shea Stadium 4/7/15
Though Brooklyn's the Teen Age haven't been around for long — and judging by their delightfully subversive, anti-SEO-friendly name, they haven't been starving for overnight attention — their new digital single out today, "Pieces," is sure to draw plenty of ears their way.

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De La Soul Sample Themselves on Kickstarter-Funded And the Anonymous Nobody

Courtesy of De La Soul
De La Soul
The ninth track off De La Soul's 1989 landmark debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, mixes and samples Sly and the Family Stone, Steely Dan, the Mad Lads, and that unforgettable whistled hook from Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." If "Eye Know" were to be released in the present day, the song would cost a fortune in royalties.

"Sampling is a great business, but it's not the Wild, Wild West [of] the early Eighties, where everything was under the radar and you could just kind of let it go," says De La Soul's Posdnuos. "We never took it upon ourselves to care about the fact that there's twenty samples in one record." But by 1991, De La Soul found themselves being sued by two members of Sixties pop group the Turtles over a twelve-second snippet used in the song "Transmitting Live From Mars." (The suit was eventually settled out of court.)

So while De La Soul's early record catalog is highly revered, its presence is missing entirely from streaming services such as Spotify and iTunes. This isn't by their decree. Posdnuos, along with fellow group members Dave and Maseo, are passionate about their fan base (even going as far as offering their entire discography for free online one day last February), but the red tape and legal woes that hover over these sample-heavy albums tie their hands.

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Joseph Arthur, Brooklyn's Protean Poet of Melody and Canvas

Courtesy of Kid Logic Media
Joseph Arthur
In a windowless, clandestine locale in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Joseph Arthur is kicking back in his living/studio space, an acoustic guitar on his lap. The instrument- and tchotchke-filled hangout reflects the myriad interests and talents of its inhabitant, a fifteen-year resident of the borough. Among the items populating the singer/painter's "Rebel Country" recording studio are a faux trophy, a stuffed lion, ornamental skulls, dozens of guitars, and Arthur's beloved 1912 Steinway Vertegrand piano, used to record his 2014 album, Lou, a tribute to his pal Lou Reed. There's no shower in the ad hoc space, but Arthur, affable and open, assures he bathes every day, accordioning his lanky frame into the old white tub. Spiritual and literary fiction books — not to mention dozens of Arthur's own paintings — line the walls, along with a platinum plaque for the Shrek 2 soundtrack, a project that seems at odds with the prolific singer-songwriter's reflective milieu.

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Musicians and Artists Affected by East Village Explosion Persevere Past the Rubble

Categories: New Yorkers

Photo by Parker Fitzgerald
Laura Gibson
The explosion and subsequent fires in the East Village that occurred on March 26 destroyed three apartment buildings and a handful of businesses and, in one afternoon, displaced hundreds of New Yorkers. This one corner tucked between East 7th Street and Second Avenue served as a home and studio space for various artists and musicians, including singer-songwriter Laura Gibson, who was in her fifth-floor apartment at 119 Second Avenue at the time of the explosion.

"I was sitting and reading, about to get into the shower — you know, a few minutes later and it would have been a different situation," she says with a slightly uneasy laugh. "It was very apparent that something was wrong. The feeling of the explosion in my body was really violent; it's hard for me to describe."

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The Bitter End Pays Tribute to Owner Kenny Gorka's Legacy

Courtesy of Robbie Michaels
Kenny Gorka, right, outside the Bitter End on Bleecker Street
What audience members tend to remember after a show at the Bitter End (aside from the music, of course) is the famed brick wall that serves as the backdrop for the iconic Greenwich Village club. But for musicians, it's the venue's late booker and co-owner, Kenny Gorka. On March 20, Gorka unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind his wife, daughter, friends, and countless musicians who remember his warm, welcoming demeanor and passion for music. He was 68.

Gorka's death comes just thirteen months after the passing of the Bitter End's longtime owner, Paul Colby, whose name continues to grace the signage for New York's oldest rock 'n' roll club. Paul Rizzo, the surviving co-owner of the Bitter End, reflects on the influence of his colleagues.

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Big Data's Live Set Makes For Mind-Blowing Commentary on Digital Obsession

Lindsey Rhoades for the Village Voice
Big Data at the Bowery Ballroom
Alan Wilkis does not seem dangerous. Bespectacled and bearded, he looks more like the hipster archetype known to inhabit his hometown of Brooklyn. Maybe even a little nerdy, like the paranoid tech guy that rambles on with warnings about NSA surveillance and net neutrality when he's supposed to be fixing a glitchy program. And in a way, Wilkis is that guy, except he's not in IT — he's the main brain behind Big Data, a synthpop project that uses technology itself to put a very danceable beat behind ideas about technological fatigue and disillusionment. Written with a clever perspective and a tongue-in-cheek tone, Big Data's debut album, 2.0, was released this week and features a slew of big-name contributors from Brooklyn's music scene and beyond. Propelled by Joywave collaboration "Dangerous," which hit No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Alternative Songs chart last August, Big Data kicked off their biggest tour yet with a sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom last night.

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The Budos Band Take Their Burnt Offering to Brooklyn

Courtesy of Daptone Records
The Budos Band
The album cover for the Budos Band's 2005 self-titled debut features an active volcano gushing out lava as it spills downhill. At the time of its release, the group was fresh to the scene with a modern take on soul and Fela Kuti–inspired rhythm that sizzled to the touch. Fast-forward to their most recent gift to the fusion funk gods, 2014's Burnt Offering, and the sounds you hear recall a smoldering wind of change after nearly a decade's worth of tight, Afro-soul instrumentals. At their core, the nine-piece outfit is still the good-cheer-producing ensemble that can inspire the crabbiest of curmudgeons to tap a foot along to their infectious brass beat. It's just that now, Daptone Records' Staten Island ambassadors have broadened their reach into darker-sounding territory, and they've done so while flexing the hell out of a fuzz pedal.

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For Danielle Mastrion, There's Only One Way to Paint the Notorious B.I.G. in a New Light

Courtesy of Danielle Mastrion
Danielle Mastrion spray-paints a truck in front of her mural of the Notorious B.I.G. at the Bushwick Collective.
When news broke in May 2012 that Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch had passed, New York City was moved. And if New York was moved, so was Danielle Mastrion.

The painter and street artist was set to debut her first major public mural that week for the third cycle of the Centre-Fuge Public Art Project on the Lower East Side, when the tragic news caused her to quickly scrap her original idea in favor of a Beastie tribute. Midway through production (as she was using brushes, and not aerosol spray, because, you know, this Parsons-trained fine artist isn't going to veer away from her style just to fit in for her premiere), an omen appeared.

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