Tim Kuhl is one of the finest drummers/percussionists I’ve had the pleasure of knowing during my time in New York. Part of the extended family of musicians that includes Superhuman Happiness, the band formerly known as Minerva Lions (of which he was/is the drummer), Thought, Beyondo, Knights on Earth and so on, Tim has plucked a group of these immensely talented musicians for his own self-titled project. The group features Mr. Kuhl on drums, Jared Samuel on double bass, Grey McMurray on guitar, Rick Parker on trombone, Joshua Valleau on accordion, and Philip Sterk on dobro.
On a late August weekend, these fine musicians made their way down to the Far Rockaway area of New York to film a video for their new song “Indigo Blue.” Just two short months later, the area was completely devastated by hurricane Sandy, leaving many people who live in the Rockaways in dire need of immediate help. Watch the video and read how you can help those in need below.
Next Friday, August 24, Dog Gone Blog will celebrate the one year anniversary of our very first event with a special show taking place at The Church of the Electric Dirt in Brooklyn, NY. The evening will feature performances by a diverse lineup of acts including Minerva Lions, The Shoe-Ins (featuring Sam Cohen of The Yellowbirds on guitar), Slings & Arrows and The Dukes. It all kicks off at 730 PM for a mere $6. Come celebrate the end of summer with us and discover some of the best up and coming acts on the scene today. Listen to tracks and check out videos of the performers below. RSVP HERE.
A couple weeks back, Brooklyn psych-folk outfit Minerva Lions played a Plotkin Presents showcase at The Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn. Local photographer Brian Stollery was on hand to grab the excellent photos you see below.
Just over a year ago, I made the all-too-famous decision to move to New York City. But, unlike many people who come here to pursue a particular dream (theatre, film, music, tarot card reading), simply moving to this city was my dream. When people asked me what I was going to do when I finished school (a finance degree nonetheless), I told them my plan was to move to Brooklyn, immerse myself in the local music scene and go from there.
Well, with the help of a great friend, I was able to stumble upon an extended family of extremely talented diverse, yet interconnected musicians hailing from Brooklyn. I first came to known them by their music. And after witnessing members of this family perform in small venues across the city, and with Phish on Halloween in Indio and again in Atlantic City, I realized I had found exactly what I was looking for.
Similar to the the highly-sought after Nashville studio players from the 60s and 70s, Brooklyn session musicians are now making their mark as the modern-day equivalent. These are the horns you hear on TV on the Radio’s albums, with Phish on Halloween, with Iron and Wine, with Steely Dan or even the keys you hear with Nicole Atkins’ live band. The list goes on endlessly (Paul Simon, David Byrne, The Roots etc). On almost any given night in this fine city, you can see these individuals earning a true musician’s living by performing their music for us (often for free). Even as I write this, I am preparing to go see one of these bands perform.
So, while I almost never ask for any type of donations or charity (the only exception being the Silent Barn robbery), these musicians have kindly asked for our help. On December 13 and 14, all eight bands connected to this extended family of musicians will participate in the filming of a concert documentary at Southpaw in Park Slope, Brooklyn. These eight bands are Superhuman Happiness, Minerva Lions, Thought, Beyondo, Hi/Lo Fi, Knights on Earth, Michael Leonhart and the Avarmina 7 and Smoota—many of whom you have seen me champion in the past year (hear a song from each of the bands below).
The bands, along with video team Lost Pilot have collectively launched a Kickstarter donation page where you can help support the film. With only 23 days left, these musicians not only need your help to make this documentary happen, but to help capture this important time in music history. Please take a moment to donate any amount you can. For those who live in the NYC area, come out and be a part of this rare musical experience.
If you’ve listened to the past two Halloween sets, or if you were present for either, you know how special these musicians are.
“We are making a film called “All Together Now” and its intention is to reveal a cross-section of a strong musical community. The film will capture each band’s live set and take you backstage to sit with musicians who tour all over the world and who’s passion lives in the bands they’ve developed back at home in New York City. Their stories are as diverse as their music. Read more here.
In this week’s edition of The Listening Station, we head back to Brooklyn to check out another superbly talented up and coming band. Chances are, you probably haven’t heard the name Minerva Lions. Well, that is about to change. Having been recently written up in Paste, L Magazine and the LA Examiner, it seems the band is poised to take the next step. And with Wilco’s Michael Jorgensen remixing one of their songs, along with psych-darling Nicole Atkins championing them as her “favorite band right now,” it’s only a matter of time.
Minverva Lions (Photo by Nathan West)
Formed in the summer of 2010, Minerva Lions is filled out by Jared Samuel (keys, acoustic guitar, lead vocals), Grey McMurray (electric guitar, backing vocals), Joseph McCaffrey (bass, backing vocals) and Tim Kuhl (drums). Jared also moonlights in another DGB favorite, Superhuman Happiness, as well as playing with Nicole Atkins’ band and others.
Minerva’s sound is difficult to label—and its been called every name under the moon already—but melodious psych-folk of the third kind would do it justice in my mind. In short, it’s tough music to label because, like the best bands, they don’t sound like anyone else. They sound like Minerva Lions. As Mr. Samuel told me recently:
“Our band is named after a letterman jacket. Our EP is titled for an approximate English translation of an Italian description of a beautiful tango dancer/fine-art model. If none of that makes any sense to people it’s okay; we’d like to think that the music will.”
Since its inception, the band has been making waves on the Brooklyn music scene. The quartet are set to release their debut EP, Great Strides, Priestess & Queen, on June 21 with Dubshot Records and will also perform a recorded in office performance at Relix Magazine. Stream or download the psych-rock gem “Megrims” below, along with the group’s original take on Talk, Talk’s “Ascension Day.”