Tag Archive | Joseph Arthur

Video Clip of The Week: Arthur Buck, “Are You Electrified?”


Singer / Songwriter and fine artist Joseph Arthur and former REM guitarist Peter Buck are a couple of guys who don’t need a little blog like The ‘Gig to give them press, because they are both hugely successful in their own rights. But this space is never about obligation, but rather it is about what is desired in the moment when I go hunting through my ridiculously clogged in-box to pick out your Sunday Jam. Because I love Jospeh Arthur to pieces, and R.E.M. were a band of  immeasurable importance to me back in my college days, so it is my pleasure to turn you on to their new thing, Arthur Buck, and the paisley-powered-powered video for “Are You Electrified?”, which is all kinds of crazy great. In addition to live-action footage of Joe and Peter, the video also feature Joe’s original artwork!

The Arthur Buck collaboration was established after the pair met up in Mexico near the end of 2017. They wrote eight songs in three days and on the fourth day, performed them for a handful of Baja locals near Buck’s home. Arthur says, “My first thought was, ‘Hey, I’ll get Peter to play acoustic guitar on some of the stuff I’m working on!’ So I started showing him songs. But he was like, ‘That’s cool. Now check this out.’ And he started playing chords and whatnot. So I put my guitar down and began singing over his changes, and it was magical. It was easy. And these great songs just started popping out.”

Since their initial meeting, the pair have been steadily working on their debut with basic tracks being recorded at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, OR with Arthur producing at his studio in Brooklyn, NY. The vibrant collection captures the spontaneity at the heart of the project – right down to the 1-2-3-4 count off from Buck that begins the proceedings – with sounds and styles mashed together in a unique and interesting manner. “It was all new songs, and it was spontaneous,” Buck says. “And the great thing about working that way was that it didn’t have to be anything in particular. It was liberated from any expectation. It was free.”

The two musicians have a history that stretches back decades; among other pairings, Arthur opened many shows for R.E.M. in the early 2000s, while Buck has backed Arthur on numerous occasions. Both Arthur and Buck have said that these songs differ from their other recording projects and while speaking with Rolling Stone last month, Buck said “It was really spontaneous and kind of magical in its own way, as [being in Mexico] we were kind of disconnected from everything.” Arthur added, “All of a sudden it was like I had this musical partner and friend, and that relieved the music of the burden of the self, if that makes sense.” Of his new bandmate, Buck stated, “Joe is going through that searching period we all go through in life. And those experiences he’s having make this a very forward-looking record, lyrically. The music has a questing kind of feel. We were making it up as we went along.”

Arthur Buck will be released  on June 15th, 2018 via New West Records. Enjoy!

Arthur Buck 2

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Joseph Arthur’s Phone Calls From Leviathans at Amy Li Projects

Joseph Arthur Art
All Photos by Gail

A true multidisciplinary artist if ever one existed, Joseph Arthur is not only an astoundingly talented Musician and Painter, but one of the kindest and coolest individuals I’ve had the pleasure to meet. It is genuinely exciting to continue to cover Joseph’s career as he blows minds for a living here in New York City. Joseph has a new exhibit of original paintings up now called Phone Calls from Leviathans (such a great title) at Amy Li Projects, which is inside this Button Store:

Amy Li Projects Storefront

Fortunately, these paintings of Joe’s are also displayed in the window, to help catch your eye as you approach!

JA Pyramids

They remind me of the cover of Dark Side of the Moon! Probably not an accident! Inside the store/ gallery, you will find all kinds of excellent paintings like these:

Joseph Arthur Art

I love them!

Joseph Arthur Art

I think this is the best work Joe has done. I love the bright colors he uses and the energy he infuses onto the canvas.

Joseph Arthur Art
Number 4 (The Light That Breaks Me Down)

This one reminds me of a bird: a Peacock, to be specific.

Joseph Arthur Art

Find out what is up with the tiny Buddhist Shrine seen in this photo, at This Link.

Joseph Arthur Art

You can see more paintings from the show, and other works by Joseph Arthur, at Joseph Arthur Art Dot Com, but do make it down to Chinatown to see this exhibit in person while it is up!

Joseph Arthur Art

Joseph Arthur’s Phone Calls From Leviathans will be on Exhibit Through May 3rd, 2015 at Amy Li Projects (Inside He Zehn Snap Button Co.) Located at 166 Mott Street (Between Broome and Grand), Chinatown, NYC.

Amy Li Projects Signage

Every Mind is a World: New Works by Joseph Arthur at Able Fine Art

Pink Triangle Print By Joseph Arthur
All Prints By Joseph Arthur, All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge)

Artist and Musician Joseph Arthur is back at Able Fine Art in Chelsea with another solo show featuring bold new digital prints that represent the next step forward in his ever-evolving body of work.

Three Prints By Joseph Arthur

In this new series, fans will recognize the almost indigenous images of Joseph’s very organic and abstract style of painting combined with a distinctive angular design aspect created on his iPad. The results are simply stunning.

Three Prints By Joseph Arthur

This exhibit also features select new paintings that were created by Joseph during his live performances; something which he has been doing for years and which is always fun to watch.

Two Prints By Joseph Arthur

Digital Skull

I especially love the Pixelated Skull. above.

Crosses and People By Joseph Arthur

The Cross Triptych, above, is unlike anything I’ve seen him do before, whereas the painting below it is recognizably “Old School” Joseph Arthur.  Personally, I like everything he does. This is a must see exhibit which will be on view until almost mid-March, so don’t wait too long!

Black and White Painting by Joseph Arthur

Every Mind is a World by Joseph Arthur will be on Exhibit through March 11, 2014 at Able Fine Art, Located at 511 West 25th St., Suite 607, Chelsea, New York, NY 10001.

Black and Red Face by Joseph Arthur

Joseph Arthur Debuts The Ballad of Boogie Christ at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom

Joseph Arthur Bowery Ballroom 5
All Live Photos Courtesy of According2G.com

Joseph Arthur’s tenth (tenth!) studio album dropped this past Tuesday (June 11th) and it is once again proof that the New York-based, wildly prolific musician and multi-media artist never runs dry of engaging ideas. Joe performed The Ballad of Boogie Christ front to back (with a few old favorites thrown in at the end) at the Bowery Ballroom last evening, and fans came out to pack the room despite a cold and windy rain working up a frenzy on the streets outside.

For a fan like me, who’s been following Joseph’s career since his 1997 debut, Boogie Christ is a bit more of straightforward “rock” album, bolstered by strong Bob Dylan influences, that still dips into the arena of Arthur’s gorgeous, subtly nuanced ballads.

Joseph Arthur Boogie Christ Cover
The Ballad of Boogie Christ Cover Art

Although it’s always a kick to experience Joe’s one-man-band performances, last night he was accompanied by a full band – including a saxophone! – which allowed him to rock out a bit more, being freed up from carrying the entire evening on his nevertheless very musically capable shoulders.

Joseph Arthur Bowery Ballroom 2

Joe will be touring nationally througout the month of June and you can find tour dates in your area at This Link. He’ll also be performing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Friday June 21st, so be sure to tune in or set your DVRs!

See the setlist and more photos from last night’s show, plus check out an awesome HD video of Joe performing the title song from the album, at This Link. The Ballad of Boogie Christ is available from Joseph Arthur Dot Com and wherever fine music is procurred.

Recommended Listening: Kurt Vile, Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile Wakin On A Pretty Daze CD Cover
Album Cover Art By Steve Powers!

When it comes to modern music, not much impresses me these days. If you look back over the past few years at any Top 10 Albums list I might have compiled – in those years where I was even able to cobble together such a list at all – you’ll see it’s comprised partly of comeback records by classic rockers, greatest hits packages or tribute albums that revisit the material of a legendary artist. That’s rather pathetic, I know, for a writer who once embraced the tagline ‘Rock Critic at Large,’ but it is what it is. I don’t apologize for being unable to shake the feeling that the best years for popular music are, for the most part, 30 – or even 40 – years behind us.

It if it weren’t for Australia’s Tame Impala, who’ve managed to harness a sound comparable to Led Zeppelin on downers, or Canada’s The Sheepdogs, who pay homage to the seventies better than most bands did back in the ‘70s, there probably wouldn’t be one new band I could name in the past few years whose records gave me any kind of a thrill at all. And then there’s an enigma like Kurt Vile; a singer/songwriter/guitarist whose Murmur-esque vocal delivery is coupled with an amazing finesse for musical arrangements and an ability to turn a phrase that rivals Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. On Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze, his follow-up to 2011′s brilliant Smoke Ring for My Halo, Vile once again completely and totally blows my mind.

In search of a contemporary reference, I’d say that Kurt Vile keeps company with fellow singer/songwriter and innovator Joseph Arthur, who possesses an equal gift for infusing seductive aural melancholia with an exhilarating emotional transcendence. Like Arthur, Vile’s lyrics are wickedly introspective and his knack for finely tuned word economy is juxtaposed with jam-heavy arrangements that indicate Vile is in no hurry to get where he’s going. The nine-minute-plus title track launches the disc with Vile’s countrified acoustic strumming that carry his dreamlike musings about what might be in store for the next 18 or so waking hours, as circular guitar patterns draw the listener deeply into the artist’s head. In fact, “Head Music” is not an entirely inappropriate label for these eleven aural journeys that play out over the course of a full, blissful hour.

And just in case you drifted away, the comparatively strident opening chords of “KV Crimes” jolts you back to consciousness before the hand percussion-driven, traveling rhythm of “Was All Talk” swallows you whole with its limitless gorgeousness. Over five albums worth of material, I don’t know if Vile has written a better song than this. “There was a time in my life when they thought I was all talk,” is such an exquisitely personal fuck you to naysayers, while remaining ambiguous enough to allow the listener to adopt the song as his or her own anthem of self realization. And when he sings, “Making music is easy – watch me,” one could believe that this song effortlessly flowed right through Vile. Seriously, when it comes to amazing songwriting, “Was All Talk” is right up there with “All The Young Dudes” and “Shake Some Action.” The fact that Vile lets a song that could have been neatly wrapped up in three and a half minutes continue on for over seven makes it all the more bittersweet when it finally comes to an end.

What’s most amazing about Wakin On A Pretty Daze is that every song on the record is that good. Each track packs a jaw-dropping Oh Wow Factor that makes my head explode. “Girl Called Alex” mines the minor chord gloom in a way that recalls a meatier version of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” or Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” Showcasing Vile’s flair for changing up arrangements, “Pure Pain” alternates between what I’d call a baroque stomp and a waltz. The remaining tracks could be summed up as follows: great, great, great, great, great. I recommend you pick up a copy of Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze and start developing your own relationship with a disc that I am just going to go ahead and call the Album of The Year.

Grade: A+

Shagadelic Baby! Shag’s Thursday’s Girl Comes to Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Thursdays Girl By Shag
Thursday’s Girl by Shag (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge)

Retro-Modern Design, Tiki Bar Culture, Cocktail Parties and Vinyl Records. Everything fabulous and swingin’ that made the late sixties and early seventies the best time to be alive are reoccurring themes in Thursday’s Girl, the new series of paintings by artist Josh Agle, known as Shag, on exhibit now at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.

Shag Party Scene

Couple Detail from Party Scene by Shag
Detail from Party Scene, Above. Notice that the men in this painting have horns on their heads. I will let you figure out what that is supposed to mean

There’s a party — or party vibe — of some kind going on in nearly every painting: whether it’s a large gathering of hedonistic revelers, the exterior shot of the house inside which the party is happening, or simply Thursday’s Girl shown playing her guitar as she relaxes with a martini and her cat.

Girl Guitar and CatCat Detail By Shag

Each painting has a  QR code next to it which, when scanned, will tell you something cool and informative about what is going on in the painting. I couldn’t read these little secret stories, however, because I have no smart phone. Don’t forget to bring your Smart Phones!

Key Party in the Cul De Sac
Painting Detail. There is probably a Key Party going on inside this house.

If you read the official Press Release on Thursday’s Girl, you will learn that “this series of paintings were inspired by All Tomorrow’s Parties, the classic Velvet Underground song in which lyrics written by Lou Reed spoke to New York’s downtown art scene found in places such as Warhol’s Factory.” The underlying theme turns out to be kind of a bummer — like a visual depiction of Poison’s “Fallen Angel,” if you will — but I didn’t want to focus on that. To me, these paintings were like a cross between Disneyland and Mad Men — two of my favorite things in the world. So, I choose to remain ignorant of their darker meaning.

Sixites Band By Shag

I think we can agree that this is supposed to be the Velvet Underground.

And the party was not just going on within the art. As the minutes ticked on, Saturday’s opening reception turned into quite the social scene. I was very happy to run into artists Beau Stanton and also Joseph Arthur, whose current exhibit is still up at Able Fine Art. Party at Jonathan LeVine!

Party Scene 2 By Shag

Party Scene 2 with Girl Detail By Shag

You should definitely go see this exhibit while you can, because it is just amazing. Shag Rocks!

Thursday’s Girl By Shag will be on Exhibit through May 4th, 2013  at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Girl on Sofa By Shag

Girl on Vespa by Shag

Joseph Arthur Solo Exhibition at Able Fine Art

Joseph Arthur with Art
Artist/Musician Joseph Arthur with his Art (All Photos By Gail)

I first heard the name Joseph Arthur over 13 years ago, when he was recording for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label (then distributed by Virgin). What I discovered closely in tandem with his music is Joseph’s distinctive, almost primitive Picasso-esque style of abstract drawing, which you could see adorning his album covers and T Shirts.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit5

Although he is not quite a household name, both Arthur’s music and art careers have continued to thrive worldwide and I was lucky to attend the opening of a new exhibit of his artwork last night in Chelsea.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit6

Entitled simply, Solo Exhibition, this collection of vibrant and engagingly abstract portraits are mostly rendered in ink and oil pastel on paper or spray paint on paper. I’ve been following Joe’s art for years and it’s so exciting to see his considerable body of work progress and develop while staying recognizably in his unique style.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit Painted Instruments

Around the gallery you will also see a few guitars and musical instruments (such as a child’s toy drumset) as well as the lower half of a mannequin, all of which Joe has hand painted. It’s almost as if he just can’t stop being creative.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit4

Joseph Arthur Painted Guitar

With a little memory jogging, Joseph remembered me from an interview we did at the Virgin Records Offices in 2000 for the release of his critically lauded sophomore album, Come to Where I’m From — a really fun conversation which he admitted he “Think[s] of often,” which was flattering to hear.

Joseph Arthur Performing in Art Gallery

Once the gallery started to fill up with fans and admirers, Joseph sat down to play his guitar, accompanied by his trademark recorded loops and effects, which are truly mesmerizing. What a talented guy!

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit1

If you enjoy colorful, thought provoking abstract art or are a fan of the spontaneity inherent in the street art movement, you will dig the creative force of Joseph Arthur.

Joseph Arthur’s Solo Exhibition will be on View through April 16th, 2013 at Able Fine Art, Located at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, in Chelsea, New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit2