The Harmonica Lewinskies Come to Pianos


If you’re looking for a fun, late night show after the stress and monotony of the week, perhaps you’ll find comfort in letting loose with New York-based band, The Harmonica Lewinskies this Friday.  Infusing their songs with a certain lighthearted exuberance, this soulful, jazzy, and at times country-sounding octet will be playing a midnight set at Pianos.

One standout quality from The Lewinskies is their versatility of sound.  Their EP, “Salad Days,” which was released in March of last year has a very swingy, bluesy feel that is often layered with smooth trumpet and saxophone.  However, many of their other tunes lean towards more of a country or even electronic take so at times, it is hard to believe the same two songs came from the same band.

Regardless, The Lewinskies’ music is always full of charisma and surprises — hence the group’s name.  Self described on their website as being “the type of band you’d bring home to your momma and in two months time, your momma would be dating them,” these eight young musicians radiate with plenty of personality for the stage.  And if their videos, like “Sari Girl,” are any representation of what they’re like live, this show should feature some dancing, lots of charm and a whole lot of fun.

Find out more at Bandcamp.

The Lewinskies // Friday, August 15th // 11:45 p.m. // $10 // Pianos – 158 Ludlow St.


Ludwig Persik in Residency at Pianos

Ludwig Persik is playing at Pianos before heading out on tour with Jamie Lidell. Photo via tumblr.

One of our favorite “LES-ers” (read our My LES interview with him here) has snagged a residency at Pianos (158 Ludlow Street).  His self-titled debut EP, released last summer, was produced by indie beat boxing/synth/soul mystro Jamie Lidell, with whom Persik toured in 2010.  The album was featured as Deli’s “NYC Record of the Month” last July and is tricky to categorize, since words like “art pop, psychedelic, experimental, the Beatles and Beck” come to mind, but it will definitely make you want to dance.

Persik tells me his influences for the album were “John Lennon, Skip Spence, David Bowie, Love (Arthur Lee’s band in the ’60s), and Talking Heads,” not to mention Kurt Weill.   You can catch him tonight and next Wednesday at 11pm for a mere $5, before he heads out on an international tour with Lidell.

Living Room Moving From 154 Ludlow; Piano’s Looks to Take Over Space (Updated 5 p.m.)

Image via Piano’s web site.

Along Ludlow Street’s music club row, Piano’s is already the biggest player, and now it looks like their empire is growing.  Documents filed with Community Board 3 show the owners are planning to take over the Living Room space next door at 154 Ludlow Street.

Jennifer Gilson and Steve Rosenthal opened the Living Room more than a decade ago.  Last month Gilson was interviewed for a Columbia University student publication about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, saying that the storm was a big blow.  They lost at least $15,000 and were in the process of applying for a small business grant through the LES Business Improvement District.

The decision to call it quits on Ludlow was likely in the works long before Sandy.  The names listed on the application are Dave Gelbard, Yoav Kipnes and Fumiko Kobayashi.   In addition to Piano’s, the team runs 7A and Virage in the East Village. It doesn’t appear that big changes are planned. “There will be scheduled performances of live/world music similar to the current method of operation,” the applicants note.  They do not intend to bring in outside promoters.

The proposal will be considered by CB3’s SLA Committee January 7 at 6:30 p.m., at the JASA/Green building, 200 East 5th Street.

UPDATED 5 p.m. Here’s an email blast just received from the Living Room:

Hi Friends of The Living Room. After 15 years in business and 10 years in our current space, The Living Room will be closing the doors at 154 Ludlow St at the end of January.  We will relocate to a new space next spring. We have truly loved having you over these last years. You are a huge part of our history and you made our time here special. Though it saddens us to leave, this is not the end of The Living Room. Although the skyrocketing cost of rent has made it impossible for us to keep our current location, we are actively negotiating a new space. We want nothing more than to keep the music going!  The cost of building a club from scratch is considerably higher than it was when we moved from our first space on Stanton St. 10 years ago,  and so we could use your help to fund the move and construction and be a part of the new Living Room. There are some cool items available with more being added weekly.  Thanks, Jennifer and Steve.

If you would like to support the Living Room, here’s the link.


Ken’s Music Pick: The Mast At Pianos

The Mast

The Mast is the Brooklyn duo of singer, guitarist & songwriter Halle Gafori and percussionist Matt Kilmer. Together, they create music, but that music is something different, and special. They weave together Halle’s (pronounced Hah-Leh) sparse but effective electric guitar work, Matt’s energized eastern influenced drumming, echo-y vocals and poetic lyrics producing a mystical sound that would be trance educing if it weren’t so entertaining.

Freerange Nonfiction at Pianos Tonight

Freerange Nonfiction, a reading series and storytelling collective that is celebrating its “rebirth” in the LES this spring, presents the second installment of its First Wednesday readings at Pianos on Ludlow Street tonight. (The series moved from Cornelia Street Cafe in the Village last month.) Tonight’s episode features work from writers Darcey Steinke, a novelist and journalist, Piper Kerman, a memoirist, novelist Jackson Taylor and poet David McLoghlin, as well as two emerging artists, Brandi Neal and J.E. Reich.

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side this weekend:

Fang Island

FANG ISLAND – Fri., Mar 11 | 8PM at the Bowery Ballroom

“Everyone high-fiving everyone.” That’s how Brooklyn rockers Fang Island describe their music. Offering up heavy, melodic tunes like “Treeton,” laced with happy synth parts and beach boy harmonies, and “Daisy” with its effects-rich dueling guitars, they definitely inspire the urge to turn to your neighbor and slap hands, up high AND down low. $13: Advance $15: Day of Show// 6 Delancey St.

LES Music Tonight

Dam-Funk - photo via BrooklynVegan

L.A.’s  “Ambassador of Boogie Funk,” DJ Dam-Funk (pronounced “Dame-Funk”) will be at Bowery Ballroom tonight with a full band and DJ Spinna.

Over at Mercury Lounge you can catch MEN at 10:30pm (featuring JD Samson of Le Tigre) preceded by Light Asylum at 9:30pm.

At Pianos, you’ll find Capsula, Cavalier Rose, and Orange Opera starting at 8:00pm.

CMJ, HBO’s Schmatta, and Rock Trivia at Piano’s

Arts watch

Today is your last chance to pre-register for CMJ ‘09. The College Music Jounal's annual music marathon and film festival starts tomorrow and runs (almost non-stop) through the weekend.  Venues all throughout the city, including local Lower East Side favorites like Arlene's Grocery, Cakeshop, Pianos, Delancey and Bowery Ballroom, will be jam-packed with up-and-coming bands and music insiders.  For those of you who consider yourselves "just an average show-goer", TimeOut offers a great CMJ For Dummies interview with founder Bobby Haber.

As a warmup for CMJ, you can be your own star and head to Pianos (158 Ludlow) tonight, for their weekly Feed Your Head (Rock Trivia!) at 8pm and My Sweet Karaoke at 10pm.

If you're staying in tonight (and don't happen to care for Monday Night Football), tune in for the premier of HBO's new documentary, Schmatta:Rags To Riches To Rags, at 9pm. The film focuses on New York's Garment District and follows the
decline of the once-robust apparel manufacturing industry in the U.S., while
chronicling the industry's relationship with unions and government.