The Harmonica Lewinskies
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The Harmonica Lewinskies

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Alternative Blues

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jan
10
The Harmonica Lewinskies @ Nola, Darling

New York, United States

New York, United States

Nov
01
The Harmonica Lewinskies @ Hoboken Arts & Music Festival

Hoboken, New Jersey, United States

Hoboken, New Jersey, United States

Music

Press


The Harmonica Lewinskies aren't the kind of band you usually expect to find over here in NY. The funk and blues group channels Clinton-era sexual intrigue in their name, and hard-driving horn sections in tunes like 'The Ghost Pal Song' and 'Harlem River Valley.' Ok... so perhaps they're not the most serious guys in the world, but if second EP 'Salad Days' leaves you with anything... it's that these guys know how to f***ing play. And that's not something I can say about enough local bands. The band just ended a residency at Pianos - and almost won the latest Deli Artist of the Month poll gathering more than one thousand votes! See them live at Bowery Electric on April 13 with fellow Newyorkers Man in a Crowd. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets) - NYC THE DELI


To cop a line from Mark Twain, everyone talks about rock ‘n’ roll, but nobody ever does anything about it. Enter the Harmonica Lewinskies: These young beer-soaked hooligans from the Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen collective in Brooklyn positively live, breath, drink, eat, shit, and – after a particularly good Saturday night – puke rock’n’ roll. While only in their early twenties, the Lewinskies understand the blues like a toothless septuagenarian sharecropper. They have mastered the swagger and strut of soul men like Booker T. and Marvin Gaye. They move like Jagger, write licks like Richards, and sling metaphors like Dylan; they’ll make you want to laugh, sing, dance, and copulate.

They are all those things we have come NOT to associate with Brooklyn indie rock: Passionate, sweaty, sexy, sincere, and insanely gifted musically. Several of them sing, all of them contribute harmonies and gang vocals, and if all that weren’t enough, they work out of the divinely inspired Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen studio, which has been churning out quality product these days faster than Hostess bakes Twinkies (see also: Ghost Pal, Great American Novel, No Shoes, Graveyard Kids, and coming soon, a tasty pop act called the Jean Jackets.)

Talented guitarists and even quality vocalists are a dime a dozen, and it’s not all that hard to find some young buck who can blow a blues harp; but it’s rare to find a local act – especially one working in a DIY studio on a shoestring budget – that uses trumpet and sax as well as the Lewinskies.

While the performances and production remain uniformly top-notch throughout this 7-song release, the inspired songwriting and clever arrangements are what really define this band. “Good Man, He Come” fakes you out with a bluesy intro, then cranks into high gear with a funky soul workout, with perfectly choreographed horns and blues harp. “Two Kids And An Ant” spotlights the Lewinskies’ pop side, with Robert Bettegna’s boyish vocals buoyed by punchy horns, an almost theatrical melody, and an insanely infectious “ooh ooh ooh” chorus, like something out of Stiff Records in the early Eighties. Guitarist Will Simpson does the Sam & Dave thang on the R&B workout “Boner For The Benny’s,” whose bridges features a sinister bassline and insinuating harmonica. Singer/guitarist Dan McLane adds a dash of Lower East Side panache on “Wagstaff,” which slakes its Velvet Underground sleaze with a pure-pop eruption of exuberant woo-hooing. “Tabitha King” and “Kitchen Sink” meld Zappa-esque horn section freakouts with rock ‘em sock’em choruses (McLane’s impassioned “I’m not gonna die” on “Kitchen Sink” could teach Titus Andronicus a thing or two about gang vocal singalongs), while “How To Run A Business” meshes Gram Parsons faux-bluegrass with Exile on Main Street raunch (and the most deliciously filthy double-entendre chorus I’ve heard in years.)

At seven songs and about 25 minutes, “Wall Street Octopus” may run an awkward length, but it will definitely be either the shortest album or the longest EP on my Top 10 list at the end of 2012. - Jersey Beat


“Hallelujah, Hallelujah,” screams the NME, bug-eyed, sleep-deprived and strung out, “I have seen the fourteenth coming of teenage rock and roll jerk-off Jesus and its name is the Harmonica Lewinskies!”

Do you remember fun? No, not that “Tonight, we are young,” bullshit re-written from every pop single every written from way back to the days of ol’ Caesar singing in front of a mirror trying to get himself pysched up for the day’s conquests. I mean good and true fun. Having a good time. When’s the last time you had that at a concert? Where a band played their instruments with some good ol’ soul, sweated out their weight in beer, pulled out a coupla goofy, but well-played covers, etc, etc. Now, you’re thinking, damn, that was a good show! How can they translate onto a record? The Harmonica Lewinskies have, my brothers and sisters. This is a fun record. This is a fucking party.

“Octopus Wall Street” picks up the pieces of last year’s “Oval Orifice” EP, except completely trashes them, throws ‘em around, and doesn’t even pay for the cab home. “Good Man, He Come” shows that the band is familiar with a little known genre called the blues (guitarist Will Simpson has a I-Iv-V tattoo that’s cool as shit), but it’s the “na-na-na-na” bridge and trumpet freak out that makes the heart of a cranky old bluesman rush like the radar gun at a Yankees game. Things get even crazier with “Two Kids and an Ant,” led by Brazilian heart-throb Rob Bettega, which for my money sounds a bit like an unhinged McCartney track. The first half of the album is a pop fest; four relentless non-stop tunes that just don’t leave your head. “Boner for the Bennies,” punches your earlobes, with Simpson croaking “Oh baby, you’re makin’ me an old man!” before unleashing a crisp, killer solo. The pop side ends, of course, the killer single and already a singalong at every single show, “Wagstaff,” with “woo-hoos!” that make Damon Albarn tremble and a disaffected cool vocal from Dan McLane that would make Lou Reed open up his eyes (hey, that’s a lot of effort for that guy!)

And then things get weird. The unavailable energy of the first four jams is cathartically exhulted in the opening seconds of what is most definitely the definitive Lewinskies jam, “Tabitha King” (named for Stephen King’s cherubic wife.) This track kids, is a monster. If the screaming introduction didn’t let you know that you’re listening to something special and out there and amazing, then the chaos of the first few seconds of the song (where trumpets flutter in and out like blurry hangover memories, I think one of them plays the National Anthem, but I can’t remember), before the jazzy, catchy-as-balls verse kicks in. Oh yeah and this is all before the riff comes in, a sludgey blues headbutt that would make Joshua Homme cry. Did I mention I fucking love this song? Oh and there’s a bunch of handclaps, some creepy demonic vocals over a psychedelic bridge, and a good ol’ freak out at the end.

If “Tabitha” is the climax, then “Kitchen Sink” (where McLane happily proclaims “I’m not gonna die!” and for a second you truly feel immortal) and the country-funk “How to Run a Business” (about a prostitute, no less) are the post-coital snuggling and cigarettes. And before you know it, it’s over. You look at the clock and you realize you have to get ready for the party. And shit yeah, you look good.

-Layne Montgomery - Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen


It’s funny how just yesterday I was listening to Remain in Light by The Talking Heads and now i’m listening to The Oval Orifice EP. Well I guess it’s not that funny, but I think it’s safe to say that the two albums have some considerable similarities. Although The Harmonica Lewinskies wouldn’t be considered New Wave, they still have that provocative funkyness and unmistakable rock n roll/blues influence. The Oval Orifice has that older influence but still offers their own funk-adelic rock music we all love. - Dingus


"And, the cherry on top, our last stop around eleven o’clock was to support the Harmonica Lewinskies.The energy was palpable from both the band and the audience. The band juggled between them a combination of superb musicality and theatricality. It was a true performance on multiple levels. The music was intense thanks to the additional touch of a member who switched from a saxophone to a harmonica and a drummer who seemed to never tire. The public, including yours truly, was wishing it could last forever…" - http://www.frenchcultureguide.com/


The night was closed with the Harmonica Lewinskies, a hard blues band with a new sound and an old country soul. - The Monitor


The Harmonica Lewinskies played at an artists' colony teeming with talent...An eclectic mix of artsy folk rock roam the building comfortably. - Philadelphia Weekly


In Dad Rock, the octet have created a raucous album that mixes elements of punk, big band, americana, and blues. Beginning with a cavalcade of horns, “Put Your Mouth on Me” sets the tone for the album not only with its energy but with the sexual overtones befitting of a band called The Harmonica Lewinskies. The energy continues through the band’s cover of the Wilson Pickett classic “Land Of 1000 Dances” and the exotica inspired “Sari Girl.” The album culminates in “Jesus Christ is Just Rock And Roll” which sounds like a bar band at the end of a night of heavy drinking; essentially that is the experience Harmonica Lewinskies are selling, good times drinking, hitting on women, and singing with your buddies. Who doesn’t want to buy that? - Surviving the Golden Age


The band name may be intriguing, but the band is a serious performing powerhouse worthy of all the attention they can possibly receive.........filled with funky horns and big band sounds. This is a potent blend of punk, funk, big band, jazz, americana and blues signatures. Lyrically, they don't shy away from controversial topics and often engage in giggle-worthy double entendres, tongue-in-cheek references and sexual undertones. - Puregrainaudio.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Formed in early 2008, The Harmonica Lewinskies have been described as the ultimate party band. Steeped in blues, rock-n-roll, with a healthy serving of funk, the Lewinskies have become a fixture of the NYC bar circuit, playing famed venues such as Arlenes Grocery, the Studio at Webster Hall, the Rock Shop, the Bowery Electric, Knitting Factory, as well as the CMJ, Northside, and CBGB festivals, and a Roseland Ballroom American Cancer Society benefit . Renowned for their high energy, ad-libbed performances, The Harmonica Lewinskies are the preeminent drinking mans band.


Band Members