Wednesday, November 11, 2015


In a follow up to a conspiracy theory laden post from last week, Shlager references Jewish Community Watch's perspective and than washes their hands of the subject.

Conspiracy theories that make an industry look bad, sure, no problem. Protecting children, well, we don't know about that....

סערת המפיק החשוד במעשים חמורים ממשיכה להכות גלים

Off the Review Stack...

Mesivta of Waterbury - Stay With Me

This new release, featuring songs composed and performed by students and alumni of the Mesivta of Waterbury (with some guest musicians), is quite a pleasant surprise, with nice vocals and understated production. I really like the approach the guys took on this one.

The album captures a nice folk-rock blend that sounds like the Rabbis' Sons meets Yosef Karduner. These are nice contemporary settings of mainly the usual types of liturgical texts like Ani Ma'amin, Gam Ki Elech, Oseh Shalom, Hashem Melech, etc. with two (and a half) original English songs.

The arrangements are largely guitar based, although there are some nice guest turns on percussion, violin, and clarinet on some tracks. There's also a nice vibraphone solo on "Hold On." All in all, a very tastefully done project. And, you can tell that at least some of the people involved have an appreciation/love for older Jewish music.

Fave tracks include "Hashem Melech" with a great acoustic guitar intro, and "Mishoich", which really captures a Karduner vibe with strong rhythmic acoustic guitar, and percussion, but no drum set.

Amazon has the album here:

SoCalled - Peoplewatching

Josh Dolgin aka SoCalled first came to my attention with his "SoCalled Seder" project. He followed that up with "Ghettoblaster", a nice album including a homage to Jewish Cowboys as well as a slammin’ version of that Yiddish classic "Belz", which you can hear over the closing credits to "Midlife Crisis", a Yiddish Seinfeldesque mini-series on YouTube. He was a also a key member of "Abraham Inc." A klez-funk collab he did with clarinetist David Krakauer and trombonist Fred Wesley. SoCalled has been on the faculty of various Klezmer programs as well as performed for numerous Jewish music festivals. 

His recent recordings are more pop-oriented dance music, rather than specifically Jewish, albeit with diverse influences including klezmer in the mix. That said, you can’t take the Jewish out of SoCalled’s music, no matter how upbeat and danceable it might be.

On "Peoplewatching", Socalled takes a look at the Good Book and learns from the stories that “It’s not enough that I succeed; everyone else must fail.” Another good lyric: An eye for an iPad/slaves of the phone/land of the imprisoned/ and home of the drones

"Peoplewatching": Nice funky horns on this track! "So many greedy ones/causing all the needy ones."

"Never See You Again" has some profanity as well as a nice trombone solo

In "Extra Ordinary", Socalled confesses that “It’s not kosher, but sometimes I’m a pig.” He also claims to be a door-to-door Wikipedia salesman, among other things.

"Fire on Hutchison Street" is a song about how Shabbos candles caught a curtain on fire at an apartment across the street from Socalled’s place…

“An audience assembles across Hudson Street to watch/Hasids there to see the fire blazing/movies and TV forbidden/ so this is the show to watch/ police cars, smoke, and fireman quite amazing"

Fave tracks include “Everyone Must Fail”, “Peoplewatching”, “Extra Ordinary” and “Fire on Hutchinson Street”.

Lots of fun wordplay! Forget the Grammy, Socalled's "gonna wait for the whole Ounce-y."

Amazon has the album here:

Mames Babegenush: Mames Babegenush

This a gorgeous klezmer project from Denmark. It's a nice pop/klez hybrid with Balkan overtones and an experimental bent. The band also cites influences from Michael Jackson, Brian Eno, and Phillip Glass.

I liked this one. The musicianship and arrangements are superb! 

Fave tracks include"Isortok Nights", "La Loteria en Babylonia","Hanganu", and "Gathering Nigun", but the whole thing is excellent!

Sergio Mendes - Magic
This Grammy nominated album has no Jewish content whatsoever, but is nevertheless a fun album. Nice Latin piano/keys from Sergio Mendes, mainly on upbeat dance collaborations with various guest vocalists. Bossa/Samba/jazz/dance pop.Not the sort of album I typically get here for review, but fun nonetheless.

Fave tracks include "Simbora", "Don't Say Goodbye" (featuring John Legend), and "Samba de Roda".

Amazon has the album here:

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

This Oughtta Convince 'Em!

Although, the idea of using songs rather than teshuvot does intrigue. Hmm....

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Support for Israel or Shameless Self-Plugging

I played a gig at a venue which had a stand of Five Towns Jewish Times newspapers. Here is the ENTIRE text/coverage of the rally in Times Square last week in support of Israel that supposedly drew 7000 people according to its organizers as published in the recent edition. Support for Israel or Shameless Self-Plugging by/for musicians? We report, you decide!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Believe It!

Check out what happens at 17:20, that is all! GINDI TLV FASHION WEEK Tovale SHOW 2015

Via Tablet Magazine

Not Hip To Be Skver

חגיגות בסקווירא: ריקודים ושתיית לחיים - בחצרות קודש - בחצרות חסידים - בחדרי חרדים

Public dancing and celebrating in Skver as the arsonist/attempted murderer of a Skver dissident family gets re-classified as a youthful offender -- he was 18 at the time -- and has his seven year sentence reduced to time served.

The singing of this tune in particular "וכל קרני רשעים אגדע תרוממנה קרנות צדיק", "אויביו אלביש בושת ועליו יציץ נזרו", (it's the first one in this clip) is just offensive!

Hatikvah In Depth

Hatikvah: Conceptions, Receptions and Reflections

Wolf Krakowski: Di Nekht Fun Amol (Those Nights)

A Commentary on Palestinian Snuff Songs

A Pop Culture That Fuels Jew Hatred

Monday, October 26, 2015

Friday, October 09, 2015

Yitzchok Meir Malek

Here's an odd one...

Yitzchak Meir Malek posted this video of him singing Shema Yisrael as a call to prayer on his Facebook page, where it has received over 10,000 shares, 9,900+likes and 1,400 comments thus far.

He's also posted a news article about his singing: WATCH What This American Israeli Singer Did To Teach Muslims A Lesson About God And Jerusalem.

Setting apart the question of whether this is an appropriate response or not, here is a larger issue here. Nowhere in the post or article does it indicate that it's not his voice. An awful lot of people have commented complimenting him on his voice and he hasn't acknowledged it there either, as far as I can tell. It's pretty dishonest for a singer to put something out, representing or implying that its his singing, and not clarifying that it isn't him, when so many obviously are taken in. It is insulting to his listeners, to all of those vocalists who work hard at their craft, and, of course, to the singer whose work he lifted without attribution.

Here's the clip he used, which was posted to YouTube in 2007. The singer in the track is unidentified.

Cool Israeli Piyut Show

Check it out! A Piyut-based American Idol  style TV show in Israel just finished its first season.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Zeyer Sheyn, Lipa!

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

P.J. O'Rourke Schools Ann Coulter

She Said What?

Money quote is the closer.... "But at least Louie and Steve tried to be smart. And thank God—specifically YHWH—for the few, the very few, the chosen if you will, people in Toledo who tried. Who tried to cheer the Freedom Riders, tried to debate the ideas of Herman Kahn, tried to get to Chicago to see Lenny Bruce at the Gate of Horn, tried to read Herbert Marcuse and Eric Hoffer, and tried to dig Thelonious Monk.

Ann, I understand you’re a fan of Phish."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dr. Dreizich is Back!

He only had one song, but it's a good one...

"Last week in yeshiva I gave a chaburah.... to anyone who didn't come to my chaburah."

Monday, September 07, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Title Says It All

Streaming Music is Ripping You Off — Cuepoint — Medium

Oy, Jewschool!

Meanwhile, over at Jewschool, Daniel Sieradski posts an anti-Matisyahu screed, "Thoughts on Matisyahu and BDS." Personally, I think Sieradski ought to have mentioned that he had a close relationship with Matisyahu, including designing websites for him when Matisyahu was starting out. That would also be the time that Matisyahu was performing in "Unity sessions" with anti-Israel Palestinian rappers.

At the very least, it'd have been intellectually honest for Sieradski disclose this in his piece. Update: Check the comments too. Even Jewschoolers ain't buying Sieradski's nonsense.

Vox-Splains Matisyahu

The Matisyahu Israel boycott controversy, explained