Singing about one's imminent death requires a certain level of delicacy, because it's way too easy to dive into melodramatic gloom. But Sonnymoon's "Just Before Dawn" — in which Anna Wise's ethereal vocals float across Dane Orr's palpitating soundscape as she contemplates mortality — takes on a more hopeful, universal tone. "Every night, you should have someone to hold," Wise sings, "to tell you that you did okay when your mind is against you."
The Cleveland Orchestra brought an intriguing mix of old and new to this concert at Carnegie Hall: one of the best-loved violin concertos of all time played by a master soloist, an emotionally inscrutable mid-20th century symphony and an exciting new work by a Finnish master.
Warning: This post, about a song by Balthrop, Alabama (a 10-piece Brooklyn band, not a extremely musical township), includes numerous instances of coordinated jazz hands and chorus line kicks. The band's new song "You've Gotta Be Gay," is filled with theatrical sounds from all different places and times: stomps, grunts and rattles from a 1930s chain gang, a tinny player-piano from an old-timey saloon and an accordion out of every stereotypical Parisian boulevard scene.
The Polyphonic Spree is exactly what its name suggests: a chorus of voices with little restraint. The group is led by Tim DeLaughter and, though the line-up changes constantly, it typically involves some 20-odd individuals who provide talents from singing to piccolo. The Polyphonic Spree came about after DeLaughter's previous band, Tripping Daisy, broke up following member Wes Berggren's death in 1999.