Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In

  • Alice Cohen

  • Shawn Colvin

  • Photo by Peter Eriksson Photo by Peter Eriksson

  • Adrian Belew

  • Laurie Anderson

  • Photo by Dan English Photo by Dan English

  • Photo by Nikki Cole Photo by Nikki Cole

Published: 8/9/2019 9:01:42 AM
Modified: 8/9/2019 9:01:30 AM

Alice Cohen is a Brooklyn-based musical and visual artist, a dedicated songwriter since the disco days of the ’70s. Her latest project is an album of cosmic electronic dance-pop, “Artificial Fairytales,” released on the NNA Tapes label back in May.

Cohen will share a triple-bill with Straw Pipes and Lucy at the Root Cellar in Greenfield on Wednesday, August 14, at 8 p.m.

She grew up in Philadelphia, a child of jazz musician parents, and at age 14 started performing her own material in coffee houses. She played with disco cover bands, but soon had her own original songs pressed on wax — like 1979’s funky, horn-flecked “Save the Best for Last,” done by her group Fun City. She went on to bigger fame in the ’80s with her major label synth-pop band The Vels and explored more grunge-oriented territory in the ’90s with Die Monster Die.

Cohen has been putting out solo records for the past decade, using varied keyboard colors to create songs like the pulsing and poppy “Backwards,” a waterfall of hooks aptly named “Cascading Keys,” and the throbbing wordless psychedelia of “The Apothecary.”

Her latest album is “Artificial Fairytales,” about which she says, “The songs are reflections of the fairy tales we learn in childhood, reworked into the dreams and realities of a modern day woman.” It’s been released under the name Alice Cohen and the Channel 14 Weather Team (aka Adrian Knight and David Lackner, who offer instrumental assistance), and the swaying single “Plastic Paradise” is a reverie-like hit for an alternate world.

No Small Children (“three L.A. school teachers melt your face”) join forces with locals Ex-Temper (“Fugazi meets the Andrews Sisters”) and Mad Habits (“four-piece weirdo jazzfolk band”) for a triple-bill at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence on Friday, August 9, at 8:30 p.m.


Local trio Ultra Mammoth (fronted by K.K. Diamond on bass and vocals, playing big, heavy, deep cuts from the ‘70s and ‘80s), Rebel Base and The Feldons appear at The Wheelhouse at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Friday, August 9, at 8:30 p.m.


Singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin has played many a “don’t-miss set” at the Iron Horse over the decades, and she returns to the Northampton nightspot on Saturday, August 10, at 7 p.m. Daphne Willis starts off the night. Recommended!


Grant-Lee Phillips (who led the ‘90s band Grant Lee Buffalo and had great songs like “Mockingbirds” and “Fuzzy”) shares a bill with Philip B. Price (Winterpills, Look Park, The Maggies) at the cozy Parlor Room in Northampton on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


Guitar wizard Adrian Belew has brought his menagerie of electric sounds to the work of Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads, King Crimson and others, and he had a string of fine pop-oriented solo records in the ‘80s and ‘90s, too. Belew appears with special guest Saul Zonana at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Saturday, August 10, at 8 p.m.


Laurie Anderson is using guitars from her late husband Lou Reed’s collection to create a drone-based sonic installation (curated by Reed’s former guitar technician, Stewart Hurwood). The instruments are arranged against amplifiers so their tuned feedback creates an enveloping and ever-shifting drone of harmonics. Experience it at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday, August 10, at 8 p.m.


Lily and Horn Horse are a striking duo that combine rhythmic pre-recorded electronic tracks, live brass and percussion, a little choreography, and Lily Konigsberg’s great vocals. “Arthur Russell reincarnated” is how one fan summed up their mesmerizing music. They headline a night that also features Trone, Gut Fauna, and Giant Sadness at Greenfield’s Root Cellar on Sunday, August 11, at 8 p.m.


Boston-based harpist Charles Overton is the guest soloist with the Green Street Trio at the Northampton Jazz Workshop, which as always takes place at City Sports Grille inside Spare Time Northampton on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The open jazz jam follows at 8:30 p.m.

Ken Maiuri can be reached at


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