Sound Advice: Shilpa Ray (Nov. 7)

NYC rocker comes to Northside's Junker's Tavern

click to enlarge Shilpa Ray - Ebru Yildiz
Ebru Yildiz
Shilpa Ray
A New Jersey native, Shilpa Ray has lived in New York City for 17 years, scraping by as a visceral Rock & Roll performer with a small but passionate fan base. Her latest album, Door Girl, centers on her experiences as, yes, a door girl at Pianos, the noted Indie Rock club on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It’s the story of one woman’s economic, creative, physical and psychic fight to survive in an unforgiving city.

Door Girl opens with “New York Minute Prayer,” a brief, piano-based ditty in which Ray comes off as Fiona Apple in Doo Wop mode. “Morning Terrors Nights of Dread” is a mid-tempo rocker anchored by Ray’s escalating vocal hysterics, which culminate in a ferocious mess of yowls and yelps. The jaunty, beat-driven “Revelations of a Stamp Monkey” rides on Ray’s continual plea, “You wanna know where my heart went?/My heart went straight to makin’ the rent” and sounds like Soul Coughing fronted by Patti Smith — which is nowhere near as bad as that description might seem. Speaking of Smith, “EMT Police and the Fire Department” is a Horses-esque barnburner, with Ray ranting about a hot summer night on the Lower East Side, one marked by rats and roaches crawling out in droves and tension that can be cut with a knife.

Yet the final third of Door Girl is more wistful than one might expect. “After Hours” is a dead ringer for one of Sharon Van Etten’s beautifully rendered mood pieces (though Sharon has never reveled that she pissed herself on 168th Street). Most curious of all is “Manhattanoid Creepazoids,” another stripped-back ode to Doo Wop that sounds sweet — until you realize it’s told through the point of view of a male pig on the make.


Find details of Junker's Tavern here.


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