Day 3 of New Amsterdam Fundraiser: Download William Brittelle

New Amsterdam Records’s fundraiser is in its third day.

Today the imprint is offering William Brittelle’s Television Landscape as a free download. Hopefully, all these goodies will inspire many to generosity of their own.

Chiara SQ plays Friedman

Out today on New Amsterdam: the Chiara String Quartet’s recording of  Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartets. The quartet has uploaded a video of their performance of an excerpt of  SQ #2, taken from a live gig at Le Poisson Rouge. Friedman’s music is a little bit spiky, a little bit rock ‘n roll.

Ted Hearne’s Katrina Ballads

It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since Hurricane Katrina. The CD release of Ted Hearne’s Katrina Ballads on New Amsterdam Records is a grim reminder that New Orleans still remains a beleaguered city, one that has yet to recover from the storm, doubtless at least in part due to all manner of official incompetence and governmental neglect. Source recordings that chronicle the previous administration’s bungled handling of the disaster serve as a jumping off point for Hearne’s scathingly satirical, yet often affecting, song cycle.

The record’s out on 8/31, but there’s a release party at Le Poisson Rouge to welcome the album on 8/24 at 7:30 PM. In the meantime, we’ve got a teaser video:

Ted Hearne – Barbara Bush 9.5.05 from Satan's Pearl Horses on Vimeo.

Matt Marks’ Little Death takes stage

We’ve been spinning Matt Marks’ The Little Death: Vol. 1 (New Amsterdam CD) a lot over the past couple of months. It’s a fascinating, but occasionally frustrating work. Marks has described it as a “post-Christian nihilist pop opera,” which is a lot to unpack. Add to that a DIY aesthetic which involved a great deal of home recording. There’s another layer too: deliberate and overt co-opting of religious pop signatures and 80s backing tracks. The work doesn’t let the establish figures they connote off easy, pitting deliberate awkwardness versus unabashed melodicism to mirror creative adolescents in a stifling, sanctimonious atmosphere. Oh, and not to let the cat out of the bag, but it all ends tragically, despite pretty hooks along the way.

Thus, the listener is posed the challenge of untying a Gordian’s knot of cross-references and conundrums; of ironies and parodies. If some aren’t up for the struggle, so be it, but Little Death is a gusty and, apparently, very personal statement from Marks. A particular standout on the recording is soprano Mellissa Hughes, who’s both a dramatic and musical dynamo throughout.

The first staging of the opera will be in New York July 8-17, 2010 at Incubator Arts Project at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery (131 East 10th Street at 2nd Avenue). Marks and Hughes will perform; Rafael Gallegos directs. It’ll be interesting to see how adding visual and theatrical elements impact the work’s already formidable profile.

Double Bill at Galapagos on 5/21

On Friday, the Galapagos Art Space will host a the last show in their 2009-10 Archipelago chamber series. It features two NY composers who specialize in classical crossover fare.

A  new group of songs by Jefferson Friedman will be premiered by rock vocalist Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think) the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).

Jefferson Friedman

Corey Dargel is celebrating the release of Someone will Take Care of Me a double CD on New Amsterdam Records will join the International Contemporary Ensemble for performances from Thirteen Near-Death Experiences. Dargel will also perform with pianist Kathleen Supové in his work about voluntary amputees (!), the semi-staged and ultra-creepy Removable Parts.

Friday, May 21, 2010 at 8 pm

Galapagos Art Space | 16 Main Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn

Tickets: $15 at or 718.222.8500