We got next

TONY's favorite artists give a nod to the rising stars they're watching.


Photograph: Daisy Schenk

The pick:

Michael Goodman and the Mike

The fan:

Matthew Friedberger, of the Fiery Furnaces

What’s the story?

Total dedication to the culture. First-rate rock musicianship. Interesting—distinguishing—look. Intelligently reasoned commitment to the Obama campaign. Most importantly, a particular sort of genius.

First encounter?

I heard the song “Everything’s Funny” on a tape (by tape I mean CD) a friend of mine had. The song is certainly a rock classic; I asked who the artist was. I was told it was Michael Goodman, singing drummer (and also guitar player), constant songwriter, a man Jonathan Richman once insisted be thrown off “his” stage. Former Grateful Dead show parking-lot drug dealer (though that’s a secret, I’m not supposed to say that), former street preacher, noted song-poem collector, distinguished amateur Beatles scholar: The man knows, loves and can make an intelligent contribution to rock culture. If only the Man and his money would give him a chance.

Latest sighting?

At the so-called Music Hall of Williamsburg. But venues need to book this act. He has lots of (ticket-buying) friends, and they all drink (and tip).

Spent any time with him?

Yes, after hearing his music we asked him to play in our band for a bit.

Stolen anything?

No. Well, a couple of CDs, I think.—Jay Ruttenberg
Visit myspace.com/michaelgoodmanandthemike.

See related: Fiery Furnaces







Photograph: Peter Gannushkin/Downtownmusic.net

The pick:

Kenny Wollesen, drummer and bunny-suited parade-band leader

The fan:

Jenny Scheinman, restless violin improviser and rootsy singer

What’s the story?

I sometimes listen to shows and realize partway through that one or several of the players has been invisible to me—as if they are wearing an invisible cloak—that for some reason I can’t actually focus on them. Kenny is just the opposite; when he plays, it’s utterly impossible not to hear him—his groove, his originality, his humor and all the little ticks and shakes of his pattern, or just his snare sound, it’s totally addictive. Kenny has a vision of what music can do in the world: He is the most “popular” or maybe you’d say “populist” musician I know—Norah Jones included.

First encounter?

I first saw Kenny when I was 18 in a café in Santa Cruz. I felt the same way listening to him then as I do now: I was totally captivated.

Latest sighting?

I saw Kenny most recently at MoMA with Kamikaze Ground Crew, and once again I couldn’t keep my eyes and ears off him.

Spent any time with him?

He’s on my last five records.

Stolen anything?

No, he gives it away for free.—Steve Smith
Kenny Wollesen performs inSex Mob at the Stone Fri 5. Visit myspace.com/himalayasmusic.

See related: Jenny Scheinman







Photograph: Amanda McCreary

The pick:

Skeletons

The fan:

Charlie Looker (ex-Zs, currently in Extra Life), visionary avant-songsmith

What’s the story?

Skeletons’ music feels at once playful and sinister, always somewhat cryptic. It has elements of electric-funk–period Miles Davis, various African musics, noise, psychedelia, a little Beefheart and just good songwriting. Memorable pop hooks bleed into extended improvised groove-noise jams. Skeletons could be situated in the Animal Collective context, but they are bringing certain jam-band elements to the table, which your average scene dude wouldn’t dare to touch. These guys can draw from something as maligned as ’70s fusion and make it feel relevant and sexy.

First encounter?

I met them when one of my old projects shared a bill with them at Cornell University. The kids were digging them.

Spent any time with them?

These guys have been buddies of mine for about two years.—Hank Shteamer
Skeletons play Zebulon Oct 31. Money will be released this fall on Tomlab.

See related: Charile Looker, Zs







Photograph: Nicole Lecorgne

The pick:

Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar

The fan:

Vijay Iyer, brainy jazz pianist-composer

First encounter?

We’d played together several times earlier in this decade, and I came to know him as a stellar trumpeter, a gifted improviser and an innovative composer.

What’s the story?

He went away for a little while, traveling dangerously close to the war and tumult in the Middle East in order to study with masters of the Iraqi maqam tradition, a nearly lost art from his father’s homeland. When he returned after a couple of years, he amazed us all—he had become a master santoor player and vocalist, holding crowds rapt with his virtuosity and his powerful, cathartic singing. And he was integrating trumpet into this music, too; he delivers the non-Western microtones of the maqam on the instrument with astonishing ease.

Spent any time with him?

In September, as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, he debuts a new quartet that I’m excited to take part in.—HS
Amir ElSaffar plays (Le) Poisson Rouge Sept 17.

See related: Vijay Iyer 2008, Vijay Iyer 2002







Photograph: Jennifer Snow

The pick:

Arty singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane

The fan:

Ethan Iverson, pianist of the Bad Plus

What’s the story?

His hilarious “Craigslistlieder” has been namechecked by some of the best and brightest in NYC.

First encounter?

I haven’t seen Gabe live yet, but I’m sure it is an excellent show.

Latest sighting?

I see him on my block in Brooklyn at least once a week.

Spent any time with him?

I tried to give him my old gig as pianist with the Mark Morris Dance Group. It didn’t take, but only because he is a future star.

Stolen anything?

Not yet.—SS
Gabriel Kahane plays the Zipper Factory Sept 17. His debut CD is out Sept 16.

See related: Bad Plus


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