Reviews

Baby Dayliner

Liz Black

Does everyone really love an Italian girl?

Baby Dayliner

Baby Dayliner

City: New York
Venue: Mercury Lounge
Date: 2006-08-04
g src="http://images.popmatters.com/bullet.gif" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Email f" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Email Print
c="http://images.popmatters.com/bullet.gif" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Comment The world is so ironically Urban Outfitted that, sometimes, it's hard to tell whether or not people actually mean what they say and do. Does everyone, as the T-shirt claims, really love an Italian girl? Is the girl rocking that T-shirt even Italian? There are so many layers to the insincerity, and it doesn't take a lot of balls to say something you don't mean. Baby Dayliner (a.k.a. New York native Ethan Marunas) is a musician who, at first glance, seems down with that ironic shtick. After a while, though, you realize he's not winking at anyone. Of course, this took me a while to figure out. During the show, I kept trying to mentally re-outfit Marunas in terms of the image I thought he was going for, and the jeans and bandana he was wearing weren't part of it. The image I had in mind was a combination of Rick Astley and the lead singer of Spandau Ballet, and there's just no need for that pompadour-lip-gloss hybrid beast; it's been done. "Baby D" didn't chat much with the crowd at Mercury Lounge. He seemed focused on the music, and his aloofness begat mystery that begat intrigue. All this begetting was very biblical. Girls in the crowd yelled up to him, "You're so hot!" and my new favorite compliment, "You're sexual!", but, through it all, he remained unfazed. I don't blame them -- he is good-looking, a cross between River Phoenix and Kevin Bacon before Bacon got freakishly thin. Prior to the show, Marunas stood on stage with his band, tuning instruments and setting up. When he took to the stage for real, he performed solo for the first set -- just him and an assortment of prerecorded backing tracks. It was like karaoke: a confident, crooning voice aided by layers of poppy, synth-y beats. Add to that some shuffling dance moves, some marching in place, and a handkerchief waving at the crowd, and you see why intrigue so abounded. It didn't matter how he was dressed or what he did; he just had a presence. You couldn't take your eyes off him. This first, five-song set closed with "Whodunit?", a tune that deserves its own dance craze. I don't know what he had in mind when he wrote it, but every time I hear it, I imagine a noir-ish private-eye love story set in '50s Havana. I want a dance that catches all of that, you hear me, Baby? Just, you know, so I have something to do besides bop up and down while bearing the weight of my messenger bag. Marunas' four-piece band, the Inflections, came on for the second half of the show, which consisted mainly of songs from Baby Dayliner's Critics Pass Away, released last May. Marunas knows how to write genre-blending music, and his playful lyrics keep everyone on the same page -- he makes sure to aim the music right at us instead of over our heads. There's clever, hip-hoppy wordplay and social awareness all over his music, especially in songs like "At Least": "The end of the line is lonely, like a heart without a homie/ Like a star without a galaxy, like a star without a movie." This song could be the theme for a washed-up celeb-reality show on VH1. Live, however, it's a sincere nod to the past, an ode to being okay with what you've accomplished. An ode with a beat you can dance to. Baby Dayliner has thought things out; there are no uncalculated moves in his show. He dances when he wants to dance, plays what he wants to play, and wears what he wants to wear. I get that now. Not many people could pull it off -- the music is fresh and fun, but all those layers and orchestration don't leave a lot of room for improvisation. The combination of talent and stage presence kept his show from getting stale or embarrassing, which it would have been if he'd gone even one degree off-course into the sea of irony.

Baby Dayliner - The Way You Look Tonight [Live at NYC's R&R night at Rare in April 2006]

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image