The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO puts you
face to face with some of the world’s most
Premium analog recording mixers
FireWire integration with Extensive routing
use Pro Tools® M-Powered™ 8, Logic®, Sonar™, c...
Musicians love them. Sound engineers worship them. These virtually indestructible microphones
continue to define sound qual...
87 Orange ABC
Rose Fellom-Morris
Similar to the evolution
of MySpace, Facebook
ABC7 By Rose
Photos by
Rosalyn Lee
Vintage Rock
Explores the
New Millennium
Glazer, who grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., says he has always
had an enthusiasm for cr...
SHILLSArena rock behind an indie facade
Audio-Technica’s newly upgraded 3000 Series wireless systems now offer up to 1001 selectable UHF frequencies and
new featu...
Damon Moon
vthe whispering drifters
Hitting the trail with true space cowboys
Moon puts emphasis on art and creativity in his performances and record-
ings, one of the...
he says. “Mostly, I like being in control of my art and how it’s represented.
Also, the a...
////studio diary /////////////////////////////////////////////////
Leopold and his Fictio...
/////spotlight /////////////////////////////////////////////////////
UAD Software v.5.6
Featuring the all-new Manley Massive
Passive EQ, EMT 140 Plate Reverb
Precision Enhancer...
ONE LATE THURSDAY EVENING, the members of Veil
Veil Vanish sat down on my living room cou...
The Whiskey Gentry
Bluegrass that’s not afraid to rock
////spotlight ////////////////////...
70 Bands, 5 Stages, Admission Only $1
Independent Culture Independent Artists
May 27-31 // 3pm-2am Each Day
The Soapbox L...
Boston, MA 
Saturday, April 3, 2010
John The Savage
Leopold  His Fiction
Papa Spransy
@PA’s Lounge
$10 for 21+
Atlanta, GA...
Sunset Tavern // Seattle, WA // March 4, 2010
“Definitely not
Happy Mediums
field, MA
Produced by Nola...
////Reviews ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
The Drunken ...
/taken truth a...
////Reviews ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
/// “Lyrically John
The Mezzanine // San Francisco, CA // Feb. 27, 2010
////Reviews ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
////found at the sta...
Performer Magazine, April 2010
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Performer Magazine, April 2010

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - Performer Magazine, April 2010

  • 2. 58 APRIL2010 PERFORMERMAGAZINE The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO puts you face to face with some of the world’s most successful songwriters, composers and producers who willingly share their knowledge and expertise to give you the know-how to take your music to the next level. MASTErYOurCrAfT register early for the biggest discounts and find more info at www.ascap.com/expo Celebrity Q & A’s • Master Classes Songwriting & ComposingWorkshops Attendee Song Feedback Panels • Networking Opportunities State-of-the-ArtTech Demos Leading Music Industry Exhibitors Publisher & Business Panels • DIY Career BuildingWorkshops Showcases and Performances • One-on-One Sessions APRIL 22-24, 2010 • LOS ANGELES, CA LYrICS In YOur HEAd MELOdIES In YOur HEArT rHYTHM In YOur SOuL Follow ASCAPEXPO on Twitter and find out about panelists, programming, news and connect with other attendees, participants and EXPO fans: twitter.com/ascapexpo
  • 3. Premium analog recording mixers FireWire integration with Extensive routing use Pro Tools® M-Powered™ 8, Logic®, Sonar™, cubase® AND MORE onyx 1620i onyx 820i onyx 1620i onyx 1640i
  • 4. Musicians love them. Sound engineers worship them. These virtually indestructible microphones continue to define sound quality on stages throughout the world. Night after night. Song after song. Learn more about the legendary SM Microphones at www.shure.com. USED. ABUSED. USED AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND THEN AGAIN. SM57 SM58 www.shure.com © 2010 Shure Incorporated
  • 5. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 3 Features 87 Orange ABC Rose Fellom-Morris GuitaristMateoLugoemploys ahome-builtoscillatortocreate deliberatelyunpredictable sounds.That’sagoodintro- ductiontothisexperimental BayAreabandthattakesthe bestofvintagerockand incorporatesitintoatruly modern,cerebralsound. 12The Shills Kara Mears TheShills,fromBoston,basicallyfear beingsafe.Theyrecentlyreleasedachallenging conceptalbum,Ganymede,andcantaketheir progressivepop-rockintoQueen-likebombastin betweenmelodic,beautifulpassages.Andit’sall doneinthenameofenergizingyou,thelistener. 16Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters Nadia Lelutiu Slidingguitars,heavy tremoloandreverb, acousticstrumming– you’vegotthesounds oftherangehere.But thenthere’ssome spaceykeysandsome psychedelicguitarlicks andyouknowthere’s more.Georgia’sDamon MoonandtheWhisperingDriftersare pushingpasttheir‘genre’andanylimitations thatmightimply. Spotlights 23 Pearl Harbor 25 Veil Veil Vanish 26 The Whiskey Gentry Departments 6 Soundbites 20 Studio Diary: Leopold and his Fiction 29 Reviews 41 Obituaries 42 DIY 46 Gear Up 49 Tour Stop cover photo by Rosalyn Lee 8 20 3226 /////contents ///////////////////////////////////////////////////// ///// VOLUME 20, ISSUE 4
  • 6. 4 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE IWASBROWSINGMYONDEMANDtheotherdaythroughatreasurechestofconcert videos.Therewassomeamazing,ridiculousstuffinthere–afantasticalCultureClub showfromAustralia;amind-numbing,SteveVaishredfest–butwhatreallygrabbedme wasthis2007LesSavyFavshow.Asidefrombaldandbeardedbelly-manTimHarrington’s tractorbeamantics,theNewYorkpost-hardcorebandbroughtaspecialguestonstage fortheiropener–ababy. SydButlerstrappedonababycarrieralongwithhisbassandproceededtochugthrough “TheEquestrian,”andthebabybouncedalongwithbothhandsupintheairlikeitwasflying downarollercoaster.Granted,thebabyhadonhuge,airport-styleearphones,butthelook onitsfacewasimpossibletodecipher.Playingmusicforchildreninuteroissupposedto stimulatebraindevelopment,andI’msureitdoes,butrockingitoutonstage?Notsurewhat Ithinkofthat.Iwaswaitingforsomechildprotectiveserviceagentstorushupthereand abscondwiththebabytofostercare,crowdsurfingittosafety. MydogLovelyRitausedtocomeuponstagewithmyoldbandMyoclonicJerk(Iknow, shameless)whenweplayedoutdoors.NotsurewhatIthoughtaboutthat,either.Andshe didn’thaveheadphones.Wassheintothemusicordidshejustwanttochillwithherfamily? I’mgoingtogowithbeingintothetunes.We,ashumans,havebeenabletochannelthe naturalvibrationsoftheworldintopleasing(andintentionallyunpleasing)soundsand progressions.It’sallthere,justwaitingtobeorganized.Toclaimotheranimalscan’tpickup onthisisunfair.Whiletheymaynotbeabletocompletelycomprehenditscomplexities,I’m deducingthatharmonictonalitiescreateadoseoffeelinginall.Whatwerethosenotesin CloseEncountersoftheThirdKind?G-A-F-(octavelower)F-C? Nate Leskovic Editor ABOUT US Performer Magazine, a nationally distributed musician’s trade publication, focuses on independent musicians, those unsigned and on small labels, and their success in a DIY environment. We’re dedicated to promoting lesser-known talent and being the first to introduce you to artists you should know about. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES We listen to everything that comes into the office. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, we are not able to review everything. If you do not see your record in the mag in the months following your submission, we were unable to feature it. We prefer physical CDs over downloads. If you do not have a CD, send download links to nepeditorial@performermag.com. Send CDs to Performer Magazine, 24 Dane St., Somerville, MA 02143. PERFORMERMAGAZINE 24DaneSt.,Suite3 Somerville,MA02143 Ph.617-627-9200 Fax.617-627-9930 PUBLISHER WilliamHouse EDITOR NateLeskovic nate@performermag.com DESIGNANDARTDIRECTION EmilyTate DESIGNERS ElliotErwin,IsaacMitchell MARKETINGPROMOTIONSINTERN RurikSchtaklef promotions@performermag.com EDITORIALINTERNS JohnBarrett,MaxBlau,StephanieDotto,Garrett Frierson,SashaGeffen,ChrisanneGrise,Wilhelmina WangHayward,AmyIshii,AbbyJohnston,Michelle McNickle,JohnMills,MadelineReddington,Zachary D.Rymer,ArianaSamuels,LeeStepien CONTRIBUTINGWRITERS AndyBarrett,RyanBurleson,WillCady,KatCoffin, JuliaCooper,KateDavenport,MorganDavis,C.D.Di Guardia,EllenEldridge,DanEvon,RyanFaughnder, RoseFellom-Morris,ChrisseFeros,AndrewFersch, GailFountain,TanyaFuller,MichaelGarfield,Jenna Glass,LizbethGonzalez,ClintGoulden,ShawnM. Haney,RobbieHilson,PatrickHurley,ScottJones, TaraLacey,JoeLang,CharleyLee,NadiaLelutiu, KeaneLi,MarisaLopez,AmandaMacchia,Lulu McAllister,MeghanMcNeer,WarrenMcQuiston, KaraMears,JackieMiehls,JudasMoon,Tiffany Morris,AmandaNyren,AlbertOpraseuth,IsaacParis, ChristopherPetro,DamionSanchez,BillySeidel,Ai- meeShea,SherrySly,MaxSpecht,MichaelSt.James, AshleyThomas,BrianTucker,MeredithTurits,Dan Weber,ChelseaWerner-Jatzke,ChristopherWilkey CONTRIBUTINGPHOTOGRAPHERS BryanBruchman,KristinCofer,GailFountain,Dave Greer,SamHeller,JesseHoff,LaraKeshishian,Rosa- lynLee,MattOdom,PaulA.Rosales,AshleyThomas, PhilipWages,ChelseaWerner-Jatzke,WoodyWolfe ADVERTISINGMARKETING WilliamHouse 617-627-9919 bill@performermag.com Volume20,Issue4 ©2009byPerformerPublications,Inc. Allrightsreserved.Nopartofthispublicationmay bereproducedbyanymethodwhatseverwithoutthe writtenpermissionofthepublisher.Themagazine acceptsnoresponsibilityforunsolicitedrecordings, manuscripts,artworkorphotographsandwillnot returnsuchmaterialsunlessrequestedand accompaniedbyaSASE. AnnualSubscriptionRateis$30intheU.S.;$45 outsidetheU.S. ////from the top ///////////////////////////////////////////////// Note: We’d like to apologize to last month’s cover photographer of Grandchildren, Diana Lee Zadlo, for misspelling her name. We also ran the wrong album cover image for Boston reggae band iLa Mawana’s self-titled record, which was actually done by one of our designers, Elliot Erwin. To (feebly) make up for it, here are some bonus pics...
  • 7. 6 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE TFacebook launchesband featurewith iTunes Similar to the evolution of MySpace, Facebook recently launched an entirely new section that allows bands to create their own profiles and make promotional content available to Facebook users. Tracks will be streamed on the page and will be linked to iTunes, so fans can purchase music directly. NRadiorevenue downtorecord lows 2009 may have been the worst year in history for radio, according to figures recently released by the Radio Advertising Bureau. The data shows that total revenue, including on-air, off-air and digital, decreased by 18 percent, making just over $16 billion. The advertising drop was even more astonishing at 20 percent, only pulling in $13.2 billion. Digital radio revenues did increase 13 percent to $480 million, making it a small ray of hope for the industry. NGuvera launchesfree downloadingsite Guvera, a search website for “free but paid for” music and digital content downloads, recently launched in the U.S. after a successful beta launch in Australia. The service uses a system where advertisers pay for the downloads. Consumers select the brand that will pay for each piece of music they search for, so the advertising displayed for each person is more relevant to their interests. Guvera’s mission is “Make music free for the people, prosecute no-one, pay the artists full price, share the love.” Xwww.guvera.com //// SOUNDBITES ///////////////////////////////////////////////////// NGetyourmusiconRockBand Among the thousands of unsigned artists floating in the sea of MySpace accounts and open-mic nights is an innovative new tool for fans and gamers alike to play your music right along with you and your bandmates: the new Rock Band Network from Harmonix. To get your music in the game, there are essentially three steps: using a set of authoring tools for coding; a submission process built around the Xbox 360; and selling your tracks in an upcoming online store. Membership to the Rock Band Network is free, but users need a $99 per year XNA Creators’ Club premium account to submit tracks. After signing up, members can peer review other artists’ music without limitation, in exchange for feedback on their own. Once uploaded, bands can set their own pricing for their tracks and receive 30 percent in royalties on everything they sell. John Drake, Harmonix communications manager and Rock Band Network program manager, believes the Rock Band Network could become an essential promotional tool for up-and-coming artists. “Any band passionate about what they do, already has the tools for this,” says Drake. Not only has he been a part of developing the service, Drake has also been on the receiving end of its benefits. Drake is the drum- mer for Boston-based band, the Main Drag, who has already put their music on the site. The band released their third album, You Are Underwater, this January and in March uploaded its entirety onto the network. Despite the short amount of time their music has been featured, the Main Drag is quickly gaining fans due to the exposure. “It is early still, but we’ve already had downloads as a result,” says Drake. “The program is new, it’s experimental, and it will allow fans and bands to network and share their music.” XMichelle McNickle Xcreators.rockband.com
  • 8. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 7 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// TBrownPaperTicketstakesontheticketingmonopoly You’re in a band. You want to get your tickets to your fans so they can see you’re show. Simple, right? With online ticketing, for the past year or so you’ve basically had two options: Ticketmaster or Live Nation. With these conglomerated ticketing corporations, fans will often sit in front of a computer, refreshing the page since an hour before the ticket sale time, only to find that not even 10 seconds after they’re released, they’re sold out. Ticketmaster and Live Nation have long been suspected of payola, essentially meaning that tickets are given out to everyone and anyone they see fit in exchange for promotion or payment, ensuring that the general ticket-consuming public does not get their tickets. If by the grace of the ticketing deities a fan does somehow make it to the payment page, they then have to face a slew of charges including venue fees, ticketing fees and even charity fees (which defies the meaning of “charity”). In addition to these issues, most contractually obligated bands selling through these companies are barred from playing any venues that aren’t hosted by the ticketing agencies. It’s about to get more complicated. With the musical landscape changing and becoming more and more fragmented due to digital mediums, fewer bands can fill up entire stadiums. As a result, Ticketmaster and Live Nation are merging. If you’re worried about it being more monopolistic than it already is, the Department of Justice has your back. They’ve allowed the merger, but on the condition that they license their ticket-selling software and sell a division of Ticketmaster, essentially creating two competitors, AEG and Comcast-Spectator. The latter will deal mostly with college sports. Because smaller venues and shows have smaller fees, the new company, called Live Nation Entertainment, is focusing on large arena concerts, which will most likely leave those smaller acts and venues behind. But what are you going to do? Do you have other options? An interesting alternative to this system might a Seattle-based company called Brown Paper Tickets. They call themselves “the first and only fair trade ticketing company” and profess that they are a “not-just-for-profit” group. Any artist or venue can sell tickets through the website for free and buyers will always pay a flat fee. Under 10 bucks is $.99 and over 10 bucks is $1.99. And they donate 5 percent of their profits to charity. The tickets are secure, complete with holographic foils, black-light imaging and bar codes, and they even have a print-at-home option. There’s no con- tract, so you’re not bound to anything. The company will even print you extra tickets if you decide you want to sell them through your website or another medium. There’s also a bunch of services available to artists and promoters, including marketing. If more bands and venues start working with Brown Paper, the ticketing world could have its first fair trade rival. XLee Stepien Xwww.brownpapertickets.com N WeathervaneMusic:nonprofitartistsupport As technology shakes up the music industry, many musicians these days find themselves without label support and with limited means to promote themselves. Producer and recording engineer Brian McTear wanted to lend a hand to these artists. The idea first struck in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2009 when McTear and a handful of other music lovers launched Weathervane Music, a nonprofit organization that strives to promote independent musicians through a series of recording projects. Weathervane’s staff all genuinely care about the music they promote, and hope their business strategy will change the industry. Most of Weathervane’s work is based around its program Shaking Through, in which independent artists and bands are invited to the Miner Street Recordings studio in Philadelphia. Only 10 acts per year are selected. The musicians spend two to three days in the studio, recording an original new song while a production crew films. Afterwards, videos profiling the artist as well as discussing the technical aspects of recording the song are released online. The program collaborates with WXPN, a non-commercial radio station at the University of Pennsylvania, which promotes the Shaking Through artists as well. McTear believes Weathervane’s model of promotion will make a big difference, both for the Shaking Through artists and in the music industry. “If nothing else, we are demonstrating a model for developing new artists’ careers that other organizations can adopt,” he says. “I am not saying this will change the entire way things are done, but to my knowledge there is no nonprofit business strategy in the popular music industry that has taken up this very necessary cause. If we are successful, even at our own very small scale, I believe Weathervane will open the thought process for many others to follow.” Ultimately, Weathervane relies on other music fans to spread the word about their favorite Shaking Through artists. “We hope that by bringing the general music-listen- ing public into the artistic process of music, the artist’s vision and all the surrounding details, we’ll start to build a population of music fans that will actively support musicians they love,” McTear says. XChrisanne Grise Xwww.weathervanemusic.org
  • 9. Orange ABC7 By Rose Fellom-Morris Photos by Rosalyn Lee
  • 10. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 9 Vintage Rock Explores the New Millennium 7ORANGE ABC WENT THROUGH A GRUELING DEBATE before agreeing on a band name. After months of deliberation and posting a list in their shared kitchen with the top 30 picks, they finally decided on a cynical prediction of the future. “I thought about how many bands there are and how many bands there will be,” says drummer/vocalist Daniel Wright. “It seems like all the decades had their patterns when it came to band names.” What happens when all the choices run out? Will bands just have to be classified with numbers letters and colors? All five members of 7 Orange ABC are songwriters, hailing from different parts of the globe with extensive musical backgrounds. They became friends while studying music in Boston. Beginning as a 12-piece ensemble called Yes-Theory, each week members would bring material to work with. Slowly they found and pushed limits: how dirty, how pretty, how loud, etc. Twelve became five and they mutually decided to move from Boston to the Bay Area. In Berkeley since May 2009, they have already established themselves locally with a solid amount of gigs includ- ing Red Devil Lounge and the legendary Hotel Utah in San Francisco. Experimenting with sound is what Wright had in mind years ago when he started his music, poetry and storytelling collective workshop in Boston in the form of a band. For example, Wright’s own “special hi- hat” that he created himself is a Wuhan China cymbal on the bottom, “the cheapest, nastiest-sounding cymbal you can buy,” and a Paiste Signature splash on top. “Individually they sound amazing and together they sound more like a snare than hi-hats usually do,” he says. Many of their songs feature polyrhythmic passages and vocal harmo- nies that slowly build up to a heavy climax followed by a break down. It’s minimalist rock, where the space or air between sounds is integral to song construction and tempo. 7 Orange ABC layers vocal harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Like Young’s Harvest Moon, the writing style – matched with the raw folkiness of Ethan Glazer’s acoustic guitar strumming – create a feeling of nostalgia and introspection. “Directions,” off their self-titled EP, presents eerily mystical acoustic tones morphing into choral background harmonies comparable to early post-Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, pre-Dark Side of the Moon. “This is Not the End” sounds like the Beatles meets early Radiohead. In addition to Wright and Glazer, Trevor Bahnson plays guitar and sings and Mateo Lugo plays guitar. Haggai Cohen-Milo – who was born and lived in Israel, playing jazz there until he was 20 – plays some electric, but mostly upright bass. “There is a cultural background to the music I’m bringing,” he says, considering his role. “Israeli jazz grows out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s music that results from being in an emergency situation since birth.” 7 Orange ABC are a solid unit. “Living together and practicing every day isn’t easy, but the prevailing feeling is we’re doing something special,” Bahnson says. Raised in New Mexico, he discovered Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan as a teenager. He only listened to those two artists and nothing else for a whole year while learning how to play. Bahnson doesn’t particularly like new guitars, because they “don’t feel played enough.” He brings a classic guitar sound to the band with his 1971 Gibson SG. At this point, 7 Orange ABC has released two EPs, each with four tracks. Bahnson says the band won’t perform anything unless it’s true to them on a deep level. “Deliver it and mean it,” he says. “Better to blow one person away and piss off the rest than to half-ass the thing and let people feel nothing.” The last EP was recorded on two-inch tape and transferred to digital at Ex’pression College in Emeryville. The band mixed it themselves at home using Logic. Now they’re moving toward recording their first full-length in the studio. “Recording is its own beast,” Wright says. “There’s recording, and then there’s music, and there’s how they react. Performing right now is the most important thing for this band.” Considering how recently they moved to the Bay Area, the quintet has done a solid amount of gigging, converting Bay Area indie-aficionados into a blossoming fanbase. Show- goers have dubbed them “the thinking man’s band,” with their attention to minute details of their music and a tendency to get involved in intense debates concerning aspects from dynamics and time signatures to tex- tures and soundscapes.
  • 11. 10 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Glazer, who grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., says he has always had an enthusiasm for crafting music. “My approach to songwriting has always been very focused on lyrics and vocals, whereas Haggai and Mateo approach writing from a more compositional standpoint – creating a sym- biotic relationship,” he says. Wright adds, “Mateo is doing things on guitar that are beyond my instincts, and I do the same for him with lyrics and melodies. Together we create something bigger than both of us.” Guitarist Mateo Lugo grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and plays a Gibson ES-335 and a Dobro 1976 resonator, using a slide on each. Lugo brings a spacey, experimental, futuristic sound to 7 Orange ABC, compli- menting the classic sound of Bahnson’s guitar. Last summer, after reading books on everything from circuit bending to soldering, Lugo built his own square wave oscillator. “I’ve been discovering that sound and sound combi- nations have a will of their own, they travel in a certain way,” he says. “Like a sculpture or building, things fall together because we’re on earth in this way. What I’ve been doing is catching those things and trying to be aware of what these sounds want to be and how to express that.” The oscillator he built, named “The ABC Box,” has three oscillators, one stutter, one starve button and a chip that takes all the frequencies and divides them – creating unpredictable sound. “It has this whole indeterminate quality which has become an important part of my music,” he says. “It’s all about chance – always different – which I find remarkable.” 7 Orange ABC’s plan for the long run involves making music together, music that will continue to evolve. Wright says it’s similar to a relation- ship, in that you find new ways to work and be within it. “The music has to change or it ends, as do all things in the world,” he says. Xwww.myspace.com/7orangeabc “Better to blow one person away and piss off the rest than to half- ass the thing and let people feel nothing.” -Trevor Bahnson
  • 12. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 13 THE SHILLSArena rock behind an indie facade IT’SARAINYWEDNESDAYNIGHTwhen IarriveatAllAsiaonMassAve.inCambridge tomeettheShills.BryanMurphy,leadsingerand guitaristoftheBostonband,isonstagemoving efficientlyinfadedblackjeans,ablackwaffleshirt andzip-upsweatshirt.He’stheseven-years-running openmichost. EricRyrie(guitar),JamesZaner(drums)and DavidSicilian(bass)arrive.Murphyfinisheson stageandcomesovertogreethisbandmates.He checksthetimeonhisiPhone.It’sjustafter9p.m. “Thelistissoshorttonight,”hesays.Theguysorder beers.Weheadwhereit’salittlequieterforachat abouttheShills,downtothedimlylit,makeshift livingroominthebasement.Wetalkaboutthem puttingtheirnecksonthelineinreturningtothe nearlyforgottenconceptalbumwiththeirlastrecord, Ganymede,upcomingplansandtheirtakeonLady Gaga.“Canshenotbeinthisarticle?”Murphypleads (obviouslytonoavail).“Sheisalreadyeverywhere!” Ryriesitsinanoldarmchairindarkskinnyjeans, ablackdownvestfromTarget(“Ihaveapersonal stylist,”hejokes),abrownfleecesweatshirtandblue NewBalancesneakers.Hisdarkhairisalittleshaggy andhehasathinbeard.Onhiswristisanabandoned Halloweencostumepiece;agoldanddiamondwatch you’dswearwasn’tplastic.Siciliantakesthemiddle seatonthefuton,keepinghistanwoolcoatonand mostlybuttoned.Zaner–injeans,aplaidzip-up hoodieandwithdarkhair–istheyoungestmember at25andfindsaseatonthefloor. Ryrie,SicilianandZanerstartedoffinaband withafemalesingerunderthenameGallery.Ryrie andSicilianhadbeenplayingtogethersincesecond gradesoccer;musicstartedinmiddleschool.Zaner andRyriemetataWBCNhighschoolbattleof ByKaraMears PhotosbyLaraKeshishian
  • 13. 14 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE thebandswhereRyrieandSicilian’sbandcameinsecondplace(“Thefirst timeweeverhadapackedhousescreamingforus,”Ryrieremembers).When Gallerywasn’tworking,theirvocalistleftandthroughCraigslisttheguysfound Murphy.Thatwas2004.Sincethen,thebandhasputoutthreerecords:TheShills, GanymedeandanEP,Push. TheShillssoundissomethinglikeprogressivepoprock,“amixofmodern rockandpopsounds/feels/instrumentation–anintentionalefforttoberelevant andnotfollowtrendsinthoseworlds,”Murphyexplains.Sometimesitcomesoff asaguitarriffthatismorehardedgeandalmostmetal.Here,Murphywillsingin falsettoorscreamtomatchthatinstrumentalintensity.Thensometimesthefocus isonabasslineandgroovethatismoredanceoriented.Andthereareafew‘70s straightrockersaswell.Overall,theShillsaremelodicandveryvocaldriven. Murphywasagreatfitfortheband.Hestudiedcompositionandjazztrumpet (heardontherecords)attheEastmanSchoolofMusic.SicilianandZanergradu- atedwithaudioengineeringandmusicproductiondegreesfromBerklee.Ryriehas noformaltrainingasidefrompointersfromhisfather,butwhocantell?Withsuch afluidsoundit’salmostunbelievabletheseguyshaven’tcaughtarealbreakyet. “Ourgoalistomakemusicthat’schallengingtotheearwithouttheaudience knowingit’shappening;tobeourselvesandgrow,”Murphysays.“There’sasafe- nesstootherbandsthatwecan’teventhinkabout.Wehadtofigureoutwhowe weresowecouldthengoexplore.” Andthattheydid.Ganymedeisaconceptalbumbuiltwithpureandthorough attentiontodetailaboutamisanthropicguywhocrasheshisboatonanislandand killshimselfaccidentally.Eachsongisanodtowhat’stocomenext.It’sadecided detourfromthetrendofthesinglethatmarkstoday’smusicscene,assongson Ganymedearevagueandalmostlost(desertedmightbetheproperwordhere– seethealbumcover)whenlistenedtooutofsequence,thoughtheyeachcertainly standontheirownmusically. “Ganymedeisthefloralarrangementontopofthefirstrecord(TheShills, 2007),ourfoundation,”saysRyrie.“OurfirstalbumwasthebasementoftheShills soundandGanymedeislikethegrown-upversionofwhatwedidonthatalbum.” “ThemostdifficultmusicalthingI’veeverdoneistopiecethistogether,” Murphysaysofthealbum.“Wewentoutonalimbandsurprisedourselves.” ThealbumwasrecordedatBlueJay,whereZanerisasoundengineer,onetotwo songsatatime.Thenthey’dspendoneortwoweeks,orevenamonthafterfocus- ingoneachtrack.ManyofthesongsonGanymedecamefrompiecesofsongsnot usedonTheShills. Last November, the band toured from Boston to Nashville, where they played two shows to healthy crowds of friends and a respectable number of new fans. But, as they know, they need to break out beyond Boston and New York City, their Northeast comfort zone for the last six years, if living off their art is to become a reality. In 2010, the Shills aim to play 6 to 10 cities regularly. They just finished a month-long residency in January at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston. Admission earned fans a card to download their new single, “Chasing the Aftermath.” Along with this, they’re working on 11 new songs and are putting together a compilation of live tracks – the best of the best from the residency. The band members’ personal taste in music hugs close to home and stretches far beyond, matching their eclectic sound. Murphy notes Queen as his favorite rock band; but yes, Frank Zappa, Spacehog and Animal Collective are other likes. Sicilian names Pedro the Lion and funk music in general. Zaner likes pop rock, punk and fast beats. They’re also quick to give props to fellow local bands who they also count among friends. Ryrie and Murphy name bands such as Left Hand Does and Shoney Lamar the Equal Rights almost simultaneously. “Musically they’re perfect,” Murphy says. “They’re like getting the star on Mario Brothers.” Someone pipes in with Lady Gaga as Zaner names Them Crooked Vultures, Josh Holmes and John Paul Jones. “I listen to Lady Gaga for research,” Zaner says matter- of-factly, a sly grin on his face. Some of the other guys grumble. One thing no one can argue is that Lady Gaga has a label. Currently label-less, the Shills hold high hope of being signed to their dream label: one that will let them make the music they want to make. “We’ve built a good trust among ourselves, so we can trust what we think is the right idea is the right idea,” Murphy says – and the guys concur. Xwww.myspace.com/theshills “There’s a safeness to other bands that we can’t even think about.” -Bryan Murphy
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  • 16. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 17 Damon Moon vthe whispering drifters Hitting the trail with true space cowboys S TUMBLINGUPONGeorgia’s DamonMoonandtheWhispering Drifterswasakintosteppingout oftherealmofconsciousness andbecomingbrieflycapturedwithina mesmerizingalteredstateofreality,where stunningmelodyaboveanamalgamation ofnoise-infused,psychedelicfolkrockhasits waywithyou.Likeadrug,it’saddictiveand powerful–neverprovokingthesameexperi- encetwice. Thislisteningexperiencewasinspiredby Moon’svividdreams,thefulfillingyettaxing timespentinvariousplacesontheroadand theAtlanta-basedband’sdynamiclineup, whichhas“haphazardly”switched-uponmul- tipleoccasions.Currently,thebandincludes DamonMoononelectricandacousticguitar, JacobSmithplayinglapsteelandbass,Charlie Bennettonbassandkeys,ChrisCookehan- dlingelectricguitardutiesandShawnJacoby ondrums.AccordingtoMoon,“Thedifferent lineupshavedefinitelytranslatedabitintothe tunes.Someofthethingswe’redoingnow,I can’tseeeverbeingabletodowitholderline- ups.I’mdefinitelynotafraidofchange.” By Nadia Lelutiu E Photos by Dave Greer
  • 17. 18 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Moon puts emphasis on art and creativity in his performances and record- ings, one of the reasons he doesn’t fear an overhaul of his lineup. He interprets change as an opportunity “to let the songs kind of reinvent themselves, letting the songs breathe a little and evolve – or devolve for that matter.” Moon’s phi- losophy on songwriting also helps to instill magic in the music. “I just think it’s selfish, as an artist, to ‘finish’ a song and place those limitations around it,” he says. “After all, who am I to say when something is in its final form of creativ- ity? Ultimately, I just want to respect the song and let it use me as a form of expression, rather than the other way around. I know that I’ve definitely had lineups and done tours where ‘tightness’ was the goal. That’s fine, but after doing it night after night, it gets to be an act and eventually I think you become a bit more of a performer than an artist. It’s all about finding balance between the two, and that’s different for everyone.” DMATWD’s first album – the self-produced Meridian Road – was recorded in a home studio in Flowery Branch, Ga, mastered by the illustri- ous Rodney Mills and released in 2009. Tracking began soon after Moon’s departure from Atlanta band Ocha La Rocha and much of it was recorded as the songs were being written, or conversely, written as the recording ensued. Moon recently licensed the sludgy, melancholy “Dream Forty-One” to a movie called Person of Interest, which has been through a few rounds of film festivals this year, but as of now it’s unclear when it will hit the big screen. Success like this again proves the exquisite intensity and kaleidoscopic atmosphere in the band’s folk-inspired rock, along with its melodic vocal drones, is working. The group is currently busy on their sophomore effort, which Moon describes as a departure from Meridian Road, though the new content is still in its infancy. The band is taking the new songs on tour this spring. The road has become a familiar friend and foe to DMATWD, as this will be their third completely DIY U.S. tour. Their first proved to be a valuable learning experience, in terms of triumphs and failures. Though the tour ended midway through, “due to a blowout, some shows falling through in middle- America and all around financial woes,” Moon views the entire experience as a success – especially considering it was his first shot at booking a tour, for which he admittedly didn’t know whether what he was doing was right or wrong until they were out there in the thick of it. He sums up his adventures as, “liberating, frustrating, dirty and taxing” and believes the most fulfilling aspect is “definitely the 30-45 minutes I spend every night just creating.” He continues, “On tour, there’s so much to think about throughout the day, like wondering when will be the next time you’ll have a warm shower, a clean pair of socks or the Holy Grail – a bed! But for those 30 minutes, it’s amazingly fulfilling to let all of that go, stop thinking and just do what you’re there to do. Also, being on the road with a band, some serious bonds get made and you figure a lot out about yourself.” Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters is an example of a band beauti- fully functioning independent of the support of management, agents or a label. “Honestly, I’ve been completely DIY thus far for a few reasons,”
  • 18. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 19 he says. “Mostly, I like being in control of my art and how it’s represented. Also, the actual work that goes into something like booking a tour, though it gets extremely taxing, is quite rewarding when you try and fail a time or two, and then get better and succeed. A lot of bands pay big money for someone to book them a tour. That’s awesome, and those agents are definitely worth their weight in gold, but anything they can do, you can do as well. You’ll be really bad at it for a time, and that can cost a lot of money over time, but a completely DIY band like mine doesn’t have the money upfront to pay some- one like that, so really it’s the only option right now. It’s starting to pay off and it’s really rewarding.” Moon doesn’t knock the music industry that exists, though he does observe an indefinable shift occurring. “The model for a successful band these days is all messed up,” he says. “The industry is in shambles, but I think anyone can tell you that. The truth is that no one knows what to do right now. Everyone is kind of shrugging their shoulders, waiting to see who’s going to make the next big move. I’m not at all opposed to signing to a label or contracts in general, but whoever is on the other end of that contract is going to need a pretty convincing argument that they know a path to higher grounds – one that I couldn’t reach on my own. Until someone approaches me with some- thing I can’t do on my own, I feel like I need to keep recording, keep releasing and keep touring as much as possible on my own. I don’t see that model ever not paying off, at least on a personal level, and ultimately, if I’m not in it for that reason, what am I really doing?” Xwww.myspace.com/dmatwd “I just think it’s selfish, as an artist, to ‘finish’ a song and place those limitations around it. After all, who am I to say when something is in its final form of creativity?” -Damon Moon
  • 19. 20 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE ////studio diary ///////////////////////////////////////////////// Leopold and his Fiction San Francisco storytellers lock themselves up for two weeks to record Golden Friends Produced by Thom Monahan Daniel James // Engineered mixed by Monahan Mastered by Steve Hoffman // Diary by Daniel James (guitar/vocals) Recording schedule: Therecordingwasspreadoutintovarioussections. AsabandwespentthesecondtwoweeksofthispastAugustattheHangar inSacramento,recordinglivebandtakesandvariousinstrumentalover- dubstotape.Wewererecordingfrom10:30a.m.to10p.m.everydayfor twoweeks.TherecordingswereconvertedtoProToolsandmademobile tofurthertrackinstrumentalsandvocalsatmyfolks’houseinLos AngelesandinmyapartmentinSanFrancisco.FromSeptemberthrough November,agooddealoftimewasspentmakingsureeverysonggrewinto itsowncharacter.AndaftertouringinDecember,thesongswereonce againcombed-throughonelasttimetomakesuretherewerenocracks intheirarmor.WealsorecordedsomevocalpartsatproducerThom Monahan(DevendraBanhart,Vetiver,LittleJoy)’sstudiointhevalley ofLosAngeles. Notable instruments/gear used:ThegearattheHangar–ownedbyJohn Baccigaluppi,creatorofTapeOpmagazine–isofthebestquality.Every pieceofvintagegearyoucanimagineisimplementedwhilerecording there.Weused16-track,2-inchtape,andinthemixingprocessweusedthe BX10,20andareverbplate.Weusedmostlythesamegearweuseonstage totracktheinstruments.ThombroughthisancientP-Bass,floodingthe albumwithaMotownprideandanarrayoffootpedalshehasacquiredover yearsoftouringandmakingalbumsallovertheworld.Micayla(Grace)also playeda‘73GuildJS,throwinginalovelyFenderTwinwithanappropriate amountofdialed-inreverb. Iusedawallofampsweswitchedarounddependingonthecurrents ofthesongsandwheretheirtideswereleadingus:aFender‘71Bassman anda‘65Bandmasterheadthroughoneortwo12-inchcabs,a‘59Gibson Falconandofcourseallthejunkyardcabinetsandparallel-to-none-in- tonemechanisms-turned-amp-headsBryceGonzalesoftheHangarhas equippedtheplacewith.OthergearIusedincludedaLesliecab,aLes Paul,ageneric‘58Kayguitar,a‘67GibsonCountryWesternacousticand amid-’70sredlabelYamahaacoustic.Forkeysweusedacreepy,oldupright piano,aWurlitzer,aRhodesandaHammondA-100atmyfolks’house. Jon(Sortland)playsdrumsandaFarfisaMiniCompactorgansimulta- neously.ThekitheusedwasatransparentorangeFibesandfromtime totimeanoldRogerskit. The story behind the album:Thisalbumisafurthersearchintothekindof storytellingLeopoldandhisFictionalbumsareaccustomedto.Therewere afewattemptstorecordpartsofthisalbumpriortogettingtogetherwith ThomMonahan,whotookintoconsiderationpreviousworksandcommon interestsandinspirationswhilemeetingwiththebandattheHangar.The songsweremostlyintactandcarefullydefinedbeforeenteringthestudio. Someweredevelopedinthestudio. How does it compare to your last album?Withtheadditionofnewband members,thewritingandrecordingprocesschangedsignificantly,with newideasbroughttoanever-evolvingstorycraft.Therewerenewcharac- teristicsofeachmemberandverydifferentneedsashumanstoconsider aswewereinatwo-weekstudiolock-in–asopposedtogoinghomeevery nightafterafulldayofwork.Somethingsdidstaythesame,though.Iwas abletorecordonmyowntimeoutsideofaformalstudiotoreallyfeelout thecharactersineachsong.Eachprotagonistgottheirundividedattention vocallyandsonically,andspecifictonesandcinematicre-occurrencesare feltthroughout.Songsonthisalbumtendtoventureoutalittlefartherfrom thebluesstructuresofthepast.Butthegritisintact,aswellasthefamiliar start-to-finishtheatricsandentertainmentofvoyage. Any lessons learned from the last album that you wanted to change?The lastalbumIrecordedandeditedalmostentirelyonmyown.IlearnedIdefi- nitelywantedhelp,aguidewhoknowsthepathwell.Withthebandlineup beingwhatitis,Ithoughtwereallyneededtogointoaformalstudioand closeofftheoutsideandgetdowntoit.Thomknewexactlywhatweneeded toaddtoouralreadytrustedmethodsandheprovidedawonderfulplatform forourideastoflourish. What’s your philosophy on full-band takes versus individual tracking? Every thingwecandolivewecapturedasbestitcouldbecaptured.Thereisalot wecandolive,buteachsongofferssomuchversatilitywedidnotlimitour- selvestoonewayortheother.Ifeelanalbumismadetoexpresssongsinthe bestpossibleway.Ifsomethingiscalledfor,goaheadanddojustthat,don’t holdbackbecauseitcan’tbeplayedlive.Therearealotoftechniquesinthe studiothatmagnifythebrillianceofthesignalandthetake. Special guests?Three-fourthsoftheDolancstringquartet. Any obstacles in recording? Everythingwasratherseamless.Preparation andvisionisagoodportionoftheprocessofmakinganalbum,asissponta- neityandgoingwiththatflowyoucreateforyourselfwithproperplanning. Xwww.myspace.com/leopoldandhisfiction
  • 20. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 21 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /////////
  • 21. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 23 /////spotlight ///////////////////////////////////////////////////// GROWINGUP,PiperCaplanwantedtobethesingerofabandlike JemandtheHolograms,that“maniacal,glittery,iridescentfantasy” cartoonbandfromthe‘80s.“Theyencapsulatemychildhoodperspective onwhatacoolbandwas,”shesayswithalaugh.“NowI’mactuallygetting tolivethatdream,albeitonaverysmallscale.” Caplanfirstpickedupthebassaboutayearagotoplaywithher youngersister,Skyler.Skylerwasonly15,buthadalreadybeenplaying guitarforanumberofyears.Somewhereinthemix,Caplanalsotaught herselfhowtoplaykeysandprogramsongs.Withnofamilialhang-upsto speakof,thetwobreezilycombinedforces.Skyler’samblingguitarriffs complementCaplan’scharminglyhonestvocaldelivery.Theirexploratory lo-fipopmelodiesareadreamythrowbacktoanothertimeandplace, inspiredbythingslikecolorfulfictionalbandsand,morerecently,byafew ofCaplan’streasuredcrate-diggingexcavations. Normally,theself-proclaimed“BeverlyHillbilly”isabusyDJaround hometownL.A.,pullingfromarobustcollectionofabout500recordsa littleoverahalfadecadeinthemaking.“I’vegotthisinsatiableappetite formusic,soI’malwaystrollingforrecords,”Caplansays.Hermostrecent purchasewasaPanoramaalbumby“thisreallycool‘70s,blissed-out,pop- fantasydudeChrisRainbow,”whoworkedwiththeAlanParsonsProject. “It’sprettykiller,”shesays,beaming.Reviewingsomemorefavorites, CaplanliststhelikesofForeverAmberandMartinNewell.Herencyclo- pedicknowledgeofmusic,especiallyinreferencetoobscureclassicrock, isveryimpressiveforsomeonewhohasonlybeenaliveforabouttwo decadesherself. “IwantedtocallourbandAmerica,buttherearesomeguyswhobeat metoit,”Caplanjokes.SheandhersisterchosethenamePearlHarbor becausetheywantedto“shinealight”onaplacethattheyfeltrepresented, “thatkindofall-American,workingclassaesthetic.”Shecontinues, “‘MuckrakersoftheNewMillennium’:Iguessthat’swhatourfull-length isgoingtobecalled.” The group has already perfected a handful of songs, but Pearl Harbor is not in any rush to set a date for their debut. Plus, Caplan likes the idea of releasing singles. “I think that’s better than putting out something with six good tracks and a bunch of scrap tracks,” she says. “[Producing an album] is not about flooding the market with product for no reason other than to just do it; there’s nothing worse than plagu- ing the world with more bad music. I want to wait and put 100 percent into every song.” The girls find it tricky coordinating practice time between Skyler’s demanding art-school curriculum and Caplan’s college classes, but the two are rehearsing as much as possible to get their live show together. Caplan says, “Obviously there’s only so much you can do with one instrument, but we try to put our own twist on it stylistically. If our song’s going to have a throwback [element], I want it to be our own take.” This year the girls will open their stage to some new members, including friend Jessie Clavin, former member of recently dissolved L.A. punk group Mika Miko. “She’s so solid on everything,” Caplan says. In terms of self-promotion, Caplan is “pretty stoked” on the Internet. “I like any form of self-promotion that doesn’t actually involve me having to do anything,” she says. “We don’t have a publicist, so everything that’s come our way has, essentially, come from us initially uploading songs onto MySpace and us just letting everything happen as it happened. You can’t beat that.” So far this has got them smaller gigs, but Caplan says she prefers the intimacy. “At this point, at the level we’re at – haven’t quite hit the big leagues yet – we’re still playing kind of dive-y spots that have a roof, but not necessarily the greatest sound system,” she says. But this could begin to change soon, as Pearl Harbor took their dream-pop beyond the Hollywood Hills last month to the SXSW music festival. Jem would be proud.XLulu McAllister Xwww.myspace.com/pearlescentharbour Pearl Harbor Lust for the dreamy and sentimental PaulA.Rosales
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  • 23. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 25 ONE LATE THURSDAY EVENING, the members of Veil Veil Vanish sat down on my living room couch in San Francisco. The dark-pop quintet consists of Amy Rosenhoff (bass), Keven Tecon (vocals, guitars), Cameron Ray (guitars), Robert Marzio (drums) and Justin Anastasi (keys). They released their latest effort, Change In The Neon Light, this February on Metropolis Records. The new album is layered with electronic and synth overtones, as well as intense vocals from Tecon. He says writing on different instruments, including bass and keyboard, inspired the sound. Tecon also searched for tools of the trade in rather unconventional places. “I ended up getting a few keyboards that produced a bunch of different sounds at garage sales for free or cheap,” he says. A couple of them actually ended up on the record. To get the kinds of sounds vVv wanted for a somewhat shoegaze- like quality, Ray reveals they used different pedals. “I don’t want to get into too many specifics, but there’s this cool (Electro-Harmonix) Little Big Muff pedal that Amy uses that can get pretty fuzzy if you tweak it just right,” he says. When it came time to write lyrics, there were noticeable shifts and threads within the ethos of each song as they developed. Tecon believes it was a combination of things that led him to approach writ- ing Change as an organic evolution, rather that any forced notion. “On the surface, the lyrics come across as being more romantic or glorifying,” he says. “When you listen further, there is a sense of inward disillusionment. From the frustration of living in a big city like San Francisco, to everything that is happening on an even larger scale in the world, the album reflects the times that we are living in.” Although the band stresses that the lyrics aren’t deeply personal, Anastasi believes they are unlike anything they’ve ever worked with before. “The lyrics are definitely more introspective,” he says. “The attention to detail is almost meticulous.” Veil Veil Vanish has evolved steadily over the course of its three- year existence, having performed in cities such as L.A, New York and Austin. The new album is atypical of many records being released by American bands. It is stylistically more European, with songs like “Anthem for a Doomed Youth” that could easily be a staple in a London dancehall or underground club in Paris. The band’s sound has been called goth, but they prefer not to be pigeonholed. “I think that our music is a bit catchier and accessible to a wider audience,” says Tecon, who prefers a pop designation in the best and broadest sense of the word. XMarisa Lopez Xwww.myspace.com/veilveilvanish Veil Veil Vanish Adarkersideofpop KristinCofer /////spotlight /////////////////////////////////////////////////////
  • 24. 26 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE The Whiskey Gentry Bluegrass that’s not afraid to rock ////spotlight ////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Irecently had an opportunity to meet with the Whiskey Gentry backstage before their hometown show at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta to find out what stimulates the primary auditory cortex of this eclectic group of talented musicians. The bluegrass band brought me into their world of Southern hos- pitality, giving me the stage to indulge my curiosities. These guys were very relaxed, yet they still maintained a sense of determined ambition that spoke volumes on just how serious they are about telling a story with the gift of music. They all come from diverse backgrounds both musically and geographically. Lauren Staley, the main vocalist and lyricist, was in England for some time, which led me to wonder if the band’s name might have been spawned from her travels abroad. But, I was surprised to find out that a Hunter S. Thompson quote describ- ing the 1970 Kentucky Derby inspired her and surprisingly, these bluegrass gypsies are not fans of whiskey at all. Their preferred poison is Jägermeister. As we talked, I realized just how multi-faceted they are as artists. Staley and Jason Morrow (lead guitarist) are the eyes of the band’s creative vision, but the others are just as instrumental in the writing process. I found their subtle incorporation of other genres very fascinat- ing, to say the least. Both Morrow and Sam Griffin, the bassist, tap the spine of punk rock – Social Distortion being one of many influences. The song “Pirate” is a good example. Their inspiration also pulls unex- pectedly from rockers like Slayer and old Rod Stewart. Without taking away from the others, percussionist Price Cannon was quite the token of charisma. He kept me entertained with his celebrity impersonations, while I went through my round of questions. Cannon’s influences go all the way back to songs like “Love Bites” and “Rocket” by Def Leppard, and it showed in his performance. Which mainstream band or musician would be the Whiskey Gentry’s dream collaboration? The sometimes-reserved Staley grace- fully inserted that it would probably be Loretta Lynn, if anyone. I should mention that Staley used to practice singing in her closet as a child. So what are some of their favorite cities to play? Of course, Atlanta is the first, but others include Tampa and Gainesville. Speaking of which, it was finally time to see Gentry in action. We parted ways briefly, while I made my entrance into the upper room, which was packed so tightly I could barely fit between a trash can and one of the security guys. This is always a good sign, though. I could feel the energy and anticipation of the crowd as they waited for the curtains to open. Suddenly, I heard the voice of Christopher Walken coming from none other than the Gentry’s comical drummer, Cannon. Then Staley opened up the first song (“Dime Short of a Dollar Bill”) while strumming her Blueridge acoustic, singing the words, “I see you here most every Wednesday when I’m drunk right off my ass.” Chesley Lowe danced his fingers on a five-string Nechville Aurora Borealis Banjo and Morrow ushered in the rest of the band with a bluegrass bang, as he electrified this country tune with his Tele. Griffin rumbled in with his Fender Hot Rod P Bass, as Cannon charged with hard-kicking rock beats. The newest addition to the band, Dan Emmett, described as “the holy grail of fiddle playing,” melted his harmonies with the others as the Whiskey Gentry’s songs began to take on a life of their own. As I was enjoying the show, I couldn’t help but think how they would’ve made the perfect soundtrack for the ‘80s classic, Urban Cowboy. After a few songs, Staley and Lowe (Lowe switching to a vintage accordion) dominated the stage with one of my favorites, “Four Horsemen,” a sad and deeply personal ballad that Staley had written to Morrow during difficult times in their relationship. The Whiskey Gentry plays with an elegantly tight design, filled with power and calculated instrumentation that keeps your pulse from slowing down. They are a perfect combo of hard rock beats, bluesy guitar riffs and punk-inspired bass lines, accompanied by the sweet and soft hallowing voice of a gospel singer. They’ll have their CD release party at the Star Bar in Atlanta on April 3. XJudas Moon Xwww.myspace.com/ thewhiskeygentry MattOdomatAtaricharm.com
  • 25. 70 Bands, 5 Stages, Admission Only $1 Independent Culture Independent Artists May 27-31 // 3pm-2am Each Day The Soapbox Live 255 N Front Street Wilmington, NC www.wefestival.com SPONSORED BY:
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  • 27. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 29 THE KINDNESS KIND Sunset Tavern // Seattle, WA // March 4, 2010 THE KINDNESS KIND CUT A SLEEK SILHOUETTE on the Sunset Tavern stage, five members in black under a single red light. The Moog/keys set up with an array of pedals under it gave the impression that keyboardist Nicolas Danielson was the man behind the curtain for the band’s expansive sound. Promoting their opening slot at the upcoming Moore Theatre tribute to David Bowie by the Seattle Rock Orchestra, the Kindness Kind loaded their already packed set with a cover of “Life on Mars.” The lyrics sounded just right coming from singer Alessandra Rose. The band held nothing back and by the third song, “Suckerpunch,” the Kindness Kind seemed choreographed and completely in tune with each other. It was a feat considering drummer Adrian Vanbatenburg and bassist Scott Teske just joined the band last summer. The band’s understated stature allowed the audience to pick up on the cadence of their intricately structured sound; a cadence dictated by syllables sung by the captivating Rose. “The Lusk Letter,” off their self-titled sophomore album, embodied the way their sound creeps up you. As it began, Rose kicked her leg backward like a horse at the bit, ready to burst free. This stallion of a song seemed unassuming, but sped up, pounding like so many hooves, until Rose sang, “help me, help me, God,” and careened through the ending with a canter of cymbals. The drummer managed to combine dance beats and sparse, crashing, unapologetic rock. The Kindness Kind’s set of warped pop songs included new mate- rial. One song, tentatively titled “Castlevania,” did what they do best: contrast the high-pitched cracks in Rose’s voice with the sultry warble of her words over reverb packed, Blonde Redhead-esque keys. The song seemed likely to fall apart, splintering between sudden switches in time signature, but the vocals and keys wrapped around the other instru- ments, lending cohesion.XChelsea Werner-Jatzke Xwww.myspace.com/ thekindnesskind LIVE REVIEW ///////// REVIEWS ///////// ChelseaWerner-Jatzke
  • 28. 30 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE “Definitely not medium” ITtheverb Happy Mediums Whitman/Marsh- field, MA Produced by Nolan Sullivan Mark Hylander NolanSullivanandMarkHylandermakeupthe brilliantduofromMassachusettscalledITtheverb. SomewherebetweentheMarsVolta,Yes,John ScofieldandKingCrimson,anincrediblerecorded fusioncalledHappyMediumswasborninthe mindsoftwoveryprogressiveyoungmen.“Chinese Takeout”isaninventive,modern,hard-driving symphony,whichtakesyouthroughanobstacle courseofsonictexture.“2AM,NewYork”beginswith asimple,strummingguitarleadingintocomplexruns intertwinedwithdrums.It’snotoverplayed,butbusy enoughtoexciteanylistener. TheFugazi-like“Sushi”onceagainshowsa brilliantrelationshipbetweentheguitaranddrums inthisfantasticpuzzleofsound.Itsarrangementisa masterclassofdrumtechnique.“SimpleMachines” ////Reviews //////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// intelligentlybringssparklingguitars,thickchordsand complexdrumbeatsintoamoldofnice,experimental distortion.Thesmartandcreativearrangementtakes youonawildridebutstaysincontrolthroughout thepiece.Thewarm,jazzyswingof“Rob’sWindow” showstheversatilityandbroadinfluencesofthis bandclearly,andScofieldandAbercrombiewould becomeeasilyaddictedtothisoneasthebottomend flowslikelavawhilethesongmovesthroughtime. “AboutLove”isasweetarrangementwithfinely placednotesmixedwithpowerfuldrums.Thebril- liantdrumconclusionshowsyetagainthepuretalent ofHylanderbeyondtheshadowofadoubt.Thecon- cludingtrack,“ContagiousFaces,”isasharp,hooky rompthroughanotherforestofchangesandchemis- try.Thisduoprovesthatthemediocreandpredictable isnotwhatmusicisallabout.(self-released)XBryon Turcotte Xwww.myspace.com/ittheverb “Proof that side projects can be gold” Old Canes Feral Harmonic Lawrence, KS Recorded in pieces between 2005 2009 on Pro Tools in Chris Crisci’s basement AppleseedCastfront- manChrisCrisciisback withhissideprojectOld Canes.Theirsophomore album,FeralHarmonic, isimpressivetosaythe least.Criscisteersaway fromthepost-rock,shoegazeysoundofAppleseed Castandventuresbacktothebasicswithsomegood old-fashionedacousticguitarsandplentyofdrums. Overthreeyearsinthemaking,FeralHarmonicbegan withdrumtracksinCrisci’sbasementandevolved withthehelpofhisfriends(membersofWhiteWhale, theCasketLotteryandMinusStorytonameafew) whoassistedinlayeringtheplethoraofinstrumentals thatmakesthesesongsshine. FeralHarmonicisanalbumthatiseasytolisten toonrepeat,especiallyifyou’reafanofthestripped- downfolkthatSaddleCreekisknownfor.It’sa testamenttothefactthatnotallsideprojectssuck. Infact,theycanbedamngood.Thedrivingdrums andacousticspairedwiththetwinklingtoypiano andCrisci’slyricsonopener“LittleBirdCourage” willhaveyouhooked.“WhenI’mthirsty/Youarethe
  • 29. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 31 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// T-MODEL FORD // TEN FOOT POLE CATS // ERIN HARPE P.A.’s Lounge // Somerville, MA // Feb. 25, 2010 T-MODEL FORD, LEGENDARY ASS-STOMPIN’ blues man from Greenville, Miss, kicked off his national tour right here in Somerville. With his 90th birthday coming up, T-Model may be the oldest man to do this. In spite of the stormy weather, fans came rushing in from everywhere and before long, P.A.’s was packed to the limit. Erin Harpe opened up the night with a sweet Delta blues set, captivating the audience with her nostalgic Southern twang. Next, Ten Foot Pole Cats exploded onto the stage with stripped down blues punk that got everybody in the mood for whiskey. Scratchy vocals, dirty harp, a driving beat and reckless strum- ming emanated in all directions, compelling even T-Model to get up and dance, playing his cane like a guitar. Then came the moment everybody had been waiting for, and you could sure as hell taste the anticipation in the sweat of the guy next to me. Marty Reinsel, drummer for GravelRoad, pounded infectious rhythms as T-Model coolly reeled out song after song, many from his brand new album, The Ladies Man. This recent release is truly reflective of T-Model’s swagger; recorded in one casual take with snippets of conversa- tion like, “It’s Jack Daniels time!” Beginning his songwriting career in the LIVE REVIEW late ‘90s, T-Model Ford was in the loop at the Southern-based Fat Possum Records along with blues masters R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. T-Model played for over a good hour, proving that a man of his age can still stomp some ass and keep the crowd going. After the crowd cheered for an encore, the duo finished up strong with one last number. The announcer promised that T-Model Ford would be in the back to sign merchandise, but all I wanted to do was thank the blues boss and shake his hand, which I did. Thoroughly satisfied, I left laughing at the quote, “T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry fuckers how it’s done.” XRurik Schtaklef fountain/Inthefaceofdanger/I’mnotafraid,”he sings.Thetrack“Sweet”willbecomeafastfavorite foranyonewholikesagoodbuild-upandsomeocca- sionaljamming.Italsodoesn’thurtthatitincludes glockenspielandtrumpet.Whilethedrumsand guitarsaretheshow-stealersintheseaofinstrumen- tationfoundonthisfolkalbum,it’sCrici’ssincere vocalsandheartfeltlyricsthatmakethesesongs complete.FeralHarmonicmarksthetriumphant returnofOldCanesandprovestobewellworththe wait.(SaddleCreekRecords)XJackie Miehls Xwww. myspace.com/oldcanes “Medieval, punk rock rapscallions” The Crux Now, Ferment Santa Rosa, CA Produced, engineering mixed by Ross Harris Punkrockcan beprettypasséthesedayssoit’snicetohearthat someoneistryingsomethingnew,likemixingpunk sensibilities(andlyrics)withbanjos,harmonicas, violinsandclassical(notclassic)guitarriffs.What happenswhenyoubringthesethingstogether?Well, formostofthisalbumyouendupwithsomething prettypleasanttotheearsandquiteentertaining. “LouisXIVLovedHisLegs”wouldgeteven themostpretentiousIvyLeaguersmilingandthe drunken“EveryCrookedFinger”wouldmakeShane MacGowandizzywithenvy.Althoughnovel,they aren’tnovelty.“ClownandBard”showsofftheir musicalprowessandon“131stFloor”theyshowtheir penchantsforpolitics. It’stheEasternEuropean-tinged“TheHouseOf TheClingingAndTheHouseOfTheGentle”andeven moreso“Don’tNeedNoMan”thatarethehighlights ofthealbum.TheCruxsoundsmostathomewhen theyarebringingdownthehouseorbringingoutthe tears.Andtheysoundliketheyarehavinganawfullot offunnomatterwhattheyaredoing.It’snowonder thattheywerevotedatop10livebandintheirlocal NorthBay,Calif.,rag. AlthoughtheymightwindupontourwithTom Waits,theywouldappealtoanyonefromRusted RootfanstothedirtiestCrassfan.Notanalbum foreveryone,andveryclearlytheyarecomfortable withnottryingtobeaswell,sincethereisnopre-set audienceformusicthisunique.(BiteTheHand Records)XAndrew Fersch Xwww.myspace.com/ thecruxandfriends “A folkloric renaissance folk bard” Spitzer Space Telescope Spitzer Space Telescope Boston, MA Recorded by Dave Suchanek in East Lansing, MI // Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering in Chicago Gatherroundthe crackleofthefireand listentoDanMacDonald tellstoriesfromatime longago,aboutincrediblevoyagestotheedgeof theworldanddeepintotheNetherworld;talesof unicorns,phoenixesandaslewofotherfantastic creatureslikeGraknils,GerkinsandMynocks.This modern-dayminstrelmasqueradesunderthename SpitzerSpaceTelescopeandhe’sreleasedafull- length,self-titledvinylLP. Themusichasafreshsoundforthepresentfolk resurgence.It’spartoldworldacoustics,partsea shantyandepisodicfolklore,allwithaslightIrish flare.Folkisaprettytraditionalformatforwarprotest songs.However,whenMacDonaldsingsofbattles in“HouseofSevenSisters,”youknowit’sgottobea completelydifferentkindofwar–thekindwheresol- diershavetomarchfordaysoverfoggy,lushhillsides andfightwithantiqueweaponry.Thentherearetunes thataresostrangelyupbeatanderraticallysillylike “SongofVoyage”and“GraknilsandGerkins”thatyou maybecompelledtolaughorgetupanddoajigwhile listeningtothem. Performinglive,MacDonaldisasighttobeseen. RurikSchtaklef
  • 30. 32 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE ////Reviews //////////////////////////////////////////////////////// XIU XIU The Drunken Unicorn // Atlanta, GA // March 6, 2010 WITH THEIR LATEST ALBUM, God, I Hate Myself, having been released only a week and a half earlier, Xiu Xiu opened their latest U.S. tour at the Drunken Unicorn to a crowded, enthusiastic audience who surrounded the stage as close as possible, much unlike many Atlanta shows, where bands actually have to ask the crowd to come closer. It was clear that they commanded attention. This is Xiu Xiu’s seventh album, but Jamie Stewart and Angelo Seo were selling their own merchandise, setting up, breaking down and pack- ing their own equipment like they were touting their debut. When asked for a setlist, Stewart wrote one by hand because the songs were memorized and not copied by a computer – right after operating the hot pot that pro- vided water for the herbal remedy or hot toddy from which he drank before each song. After mic checking “Meow” and thanking the opening bands, Xiu Xiu began a sonic assault that ranged from tenderness and almost absolute quiet to extreme crescendos. There was a wide range of instrumentation, from Stewart’s raw, emotional singing and electric guitar, to the percussion instruments that he and Seo both wielded, to various whistles, flutes, Seo’s wonderful Korg R3 keyboard, effects machines including a Korg Kaoss Pad and a Nintendo DS played as an instrument using the Korg DS game. By the second song, “Apistat Commander,” the audience had begun to dance. By the fifth song, “Muppet Face,” Stewart began stomping and building excitement in the crowd. Seo held strong, providing steady beats on her keyboard, keeping the drum machine running, playing the Nintendo DS and hitting the cymbals wildly at times. Other audience favorites included “This Too Shall Pass” and “Chocolate Makes You Happy,” both from the new release. Usually referred to as art pop, Xiu Xiu gave an excellent performance of heartfelt emotion and sonic excitement that had goth and experimental musical elements that intrigued and satis- fied the audience. The evening ended after Stewart hit the merch booth once again, chatted happily with the customers and posed for a few fan photos. XGail Fountain Xwww.myspace.com/xiuxiuforlife LIVE REVIEW Withaguitarstrappedonandmaybeaharmonica aroundhisneck,hehasanotherworldlyenergy.He strumserratically,makinggoofyfacialexpressions, runningallaroundthestageandoccasionallyraises hisguitarneckhighintotheairasifitwereacannon outofwhichhefiresdangeroussounds. SpitzerSpaceTelescope’sfirstreleaseisan archaicjourneywithanunmatchedtalentforcreating expansivemythicplaceswithafewwordsandchords. (GoodPeople)XLeeStepien Xwww.myspace.com/ spitzerspacetelescope “Gloomy, driving guitar rock” Retribution Gospel Choir 2 Duluth, MN Recorded by Eric Swanson at Sacred Heart Studio in Duluth // Mixed by Matt Beckley at Faux Rock in Sherman Oaks, CA Forthebetterpartofthe15yearsleadingupto 2007,slow-movingandcrawlinghavebeenthepre- dominantcharacteristicsdescribingAlanSparhawk’s work,particularlyinregardstohispioneering slowcoreband,Low.Whatremainsmostlyunnoticed, however,isthatSparhawk’scareerhasbeenmore orlessdescribedthroughhisuseofatmospheric earnestnessandtense,loomingdynamics.Yetmany weresurprisedwhenheformedRetributionGospel Choir–agroupdefinednotonlytothelikesofan increasedtempo,butalsoaloudersound! However,thisisnotacompleteseachange forSparhawk.Whatmosthaveoverlookedinhis endeavorswiththisprojectisthatthegroundwork fromLow–deliveryanddynamics–remainsintact. RetributionGospelChoirdoesleanawayfromLow’s minimaliststyle,though,fallingclosertothelikesof BlackMountain,QueensoftheStoneAgeandother stoner-rockcontemporaries. RetributionGospelChoir’ssophomorerelease,2, openswitharesolvedpurposepreviouslyunreached bythegroup.“HideItAway”poundswithadeter- minedmid-tempo,angst-riddenrock,asSparhawk’s repeatedlycries“You’rerunningaway/Youhideit awaychild.”Theirresolvedloudness(relativetothat ofLow)continuesthroughoutmostof2,particu- larlythroughtheeffortsofSparhawk’sfull-bodied, psychedelic-lacedguitar,aswellasdrummerEric Pollard’sthumpingwork. Betweenthegloomyhazeof“YourBird”andthe accessiblefocuson“WorkingHard,”Retribution GospelChoirhaveappearedtohittheirstridewith thesetightlycraftedtracks.Theremainderof2, however,stretchestowardstheexperimental,and attimesoverreachesthegroup’scapabilities.“Poor Man’sDaughter”buildsupintoaborderlinepsyche- delic-thrashing,while“ElectricGuitar”featuresa sprawlingsix-stringattackthatdrudgestowardsa noisyclimax,beforeeffortlesslycollapsingintoafade away.Whiletherearesomeexcitingmomentshere, thesetwolengthynumbersareratherhitormiss. RetributionGospelChoir’s2enduresasa progressionofAlanSparhawk’sslowascenttowards thefasterandlouder.Itstandsinatimelyplacein Sparhawk’scareer,asitstillbearsresonancetohis past,yetoffersplentyforthoseunfamiliarwithhis priorwork.(SubPop)XMaxBlauXwww.myspace.com/ retributiongospelchoir “Listen to a dream come true” The Mary Dream This Kind of Life Nashville, TN Produced by Elise Bellew Blake Ryan Dayton // Mixed Mastered by Richie Biggs, F. Reid Shippen Greg Calbi at the Art House in Nashville The latest from Nashville’s the Mary Dream is not your average indie recording. This Kind of Life paints a beautiful portrait of overwhelming honesty. Elise Bellew and Blake Ryan Dayton have GailFountain
  • 31. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 33 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /taken truth and emotion to a magnificent level. “Deeper” starts with moody vocals drifting over a steady, driving beat. “Sing” has a nice groove riding along on a distant piano. The sound is reminiscent of bands like Madder Rose who with grooves, vocal effects and hooky drums delivered a very memorable sound. This Kind of Life hits with a waltz-like mood, thick bottom and wash of guitar and leads you down a path of intelligently written poetry. “Wrong Every Time” grooves innocently through Bellew’s vocals. “Below Zero” softly caresses after successfully pulling your heartstrings. “The Best of Me” takes your ears on a nice lyrical journey filled with warm chorus arrangements and wide, flowing bridges. “Home” starts with distant piano slowly pushing through subtle accents of cello and guitar, making this a masterpiece of devotion. “Lighten Up” is very similar in color, but dances effortlessly over the guitar’s background. “Best Thing” comes crashing like a huge wave of sound washing around you with soft, subtle ambience. “Burning Bridges” holds the momentum with sweet piano and warmth, but as the recording concludes, we are given “Save You,” a beautiful ending to a masterpiece of musicianship and songwriting. This recording will make any listener crave a warm embrace from Bellew far before the music is over. Excellent chord progressions, intelligent dynamics and wonderful production fuel this piece masterfully. (Super Universe Records)XBryon TurcotteXwww.myspace.com/themarydream “Bob Seger, by way of Ryan Adams, traveling along Route 66” The Reverend John Delore Ode to an American Urn Brooklyn, NY Produced by John DeLore, Bryan Pugh Steve Lewis // Recorded mixed by Pugh at Gödel String in Brooklyn // Mastered by Justin Shturtz at Sterling Sound Wisconsin native and Brooklyn transplant John DeLore maintains the rural textures of home, blending them elegantly with life amongst concrete, steel and strangers. Ode to an American Urn plays out like a Midwestern man warmed and scratched up by the big city and is meaningful like a heavy handshake with an old timer. DeLore writes catchy songs with easy melodies and his gravelly, soulful voice echoes Dr. John and Patrick Sweaney. It’s Americana mixed with traditional rock and the sentiments are tangible like dirty hands, while a fair amount of restraint leads to ambiance and warmth. DeLore never boils over, making sure to simmer like butter on a hot plate. “Don’t Fall Asleep at the Wheel” is fun yet tempered, a love song as much as a road song. The narrator says to someone making their way home to “turn up the radio, just sing along to whatever comes on, make up words.” “Jerusalem” bears a ‘50s swagger matched with Muscle Shoals flavor- ing. “Slow Down” digs deep with simple tribal beats and sparse piano playing and DeLore sings as if in the distance, his voice reaching from the past. For the Izzy Stradlin-flavored “In’Shallah,” the steady backbeat stomps with driving piano funk. DeLore paints imagery with lyrics, such as “I cut my tooth in a city where there is no orchard on a hill / where the undertaker kicks a stone down the street / I guess even death has lost its thrill.” With Ode to an American Urn, DeLore crafts music and literature, topography rich in American scenery and weary hearts. (self- released) XBrianTuckerXwww.myspace.com/ reverendjohndelore DAVEGREERPHOTOGRAPHY DESIGN www.davegreer.cc hello@davegreer.cc
  • 32. 34 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE ////Reviews //////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// “Lyrically John Mayer, musically Del McCoury and altogether something pleasantly familiar” Joy Kills Sorrow Darkness Sure Becomes This City Engineered by Eric Merrill // Produced by Merrill Joy Kills Sorrow // Mastered by Dave Sinko Itmaycomeasnosurprisethat2006John LennonSongwritercontestwinnerBridgetKearney wrotemostofthehighlightsofthisalbum.Kearney alsowrotesomeofthemostlyricallyclichésongs, here,rivalingtheliteraryqualitiesofJohnMayerat hisbest.SingerEmmaBeatonsoothinglycarriesyou throughseveralofthemorecountrycompositionson therecord. “Books”isaslow-movingpleasantrythat, althoughenjoyable,doesn’tholdacandletothebeauty ofasonglike“ThinkingofYouandSuch.”Buton“All theBuildings,”it’seasytolosesightofthatbeauty withlyricssuchas,“Whydon’twestayinmyroom/ wasteawaytheafternoon…allourfavoritesongs/we canprolong.”Noteverythingneedstobealyricalmas- terpiece,butonecannotrelyonmusicalone(unless youarethemosttalentedgroupofmusiciansalive). Asfarasthatgoes,thisshouldbeoneofthemost talentedgroupsofmusiciansouttherewithBerklee flatpicking-championmandolinplayerJacobJolliff, guitaristMatthewArcaraandCanadianFolkSinger oftheYear,EmmaBeaton.Atthesametime,while listening,youwishtheirskillswereshowcasedlittle more.Thehighlightofthealbumactuallyhappens tobe“NewShoes,”aCalebKlaudercover.Itjustgoes toshowthateventhebestsingersandsongwrit- erssometimesneedalittlehelpfromtheirfriends. (SignatureSounds)XAndrewFerschXwww.joykillssor- row.com “Hip-shaking, stabbing, fuzz-rock” Thick Shakes Ooh Mommy Boston, MA Recorded mixed by Jerry MacDonald Iusuallydon’tpay muchattentiontobandnames.Theyseemtocome fromhappenstanceandrarelyhavemuchtodowith aband’ssound.NotthecasewithThickShakes.Yeah, it’sareferencetomilkshakes,butit’salsoarefer- encetodancing.ThickShakesconjuresupimagesof dancinginacrowdasthickasaDairyQueenBlizzard andtheOohMommyEP,ThickShakes’firstofficial release,providestheperfectsoundtrackforsuchan occasion.Therearesurfacelayerpunkandsurf-rock influencesthatmakeyouwanttomovehere,butthere isalsoaslow,sinisterdrivebeneaththissurfacethat deliberatelydragsandthenpops. Thislayeringismostsuccessfulintheopening track“Starfish”andtheMagneticField’scoverof “Underwear.”Themelodyin“Starfish”soundslikea crossbetweenLeeHazelwood/NancySinatraandthe Ventures.It’scatchyandpunky,butalsohasthesame finger-shakinggirlpowerthatappearsonthesongs ofNancyandLee.Also,comparingtheircovertothe MagneticField’soriginalversionuncoversalotof whatisatworkhere.Whiletheoriginalissparseand ominous,ThickShakes’versionbothspeedsitupand intensifiesthemelodybyaddingafiercedrumbeat andsomefiercevocals. TheentireEPwasrecordedthroughtelephone microphonesandgivetheEPasoundsimilarto TheeOhSee’srecordings.Thisalsomakesthelyrics indiscernibleattimes,butwhocares?Theimportant onescomethroughandtheunclearonescomeoff asadelightfuloutburst.(SnuggleHoundRecords) XAshleyThomasXmyspace.com/thickshakesmusic “The best dance-in- your-chair ‘60s throw- back pop Jersey has to offer” Status Green Cheap Sunglasses Asbury Park, NJ Recorded mixed by Ron Haney Bart Schoudel of NEAR Studios, Joe Dell’Aquilla of Exeter Recording Studio Jay Agel Rob Kinowski at Sony NYC // Mastered by Tom Ruff at Asbury Media Fromtheveryfirsttrack,“RoomToPlay,”you feellikeyou’rewalkingintoamodern-dayversionofa beachmovie–onlydarker.It’sadancetunejustbeg- gingforsomeonetostepuptotheplateasthemodern FrankieandAnnette.Thissongisagreatwayforthe Jerseybandtointroducethemselves,assomething aboutitjustfeelsepic.Infact,everythingaboutStatus Green’slatestalbumremindsyouofeverythingthat waseverfabledtobegoodaboutthe‘60s. Anundefinablepartofthisbandelicitsremi- niscencesoftheKillers,eventhoughthesongsare nothinglikeKillerssongs.They’refartooupbeatand straightforwardforcomparisontotheoft-ambiguous, alt-rockband,yetthesemblanceisthere.Someofthe songsontheCheapSunglassesreleasearedarkerthan others,buteventheedgieronesarestillprettysing- along.OneobviousparalleltotheKillers’HotFuss: youcanlistentoeverytrackonthealbumwithout hittingabadsong. Thereareweakertracks,namely“Guessing Games”and“WhatINeed.”Iflistenersgetthrough thisslighthiccuprightinthemiddleofthealbum, theywillberewardedwithagratifyingfinishasthe finalsixsongsareaburiedtreasureofchair-dancing, popgold.Thestrongestsongsonthealbumare “Circles”and“Diana”(buriedastrack11),whichare ascatchyandalluringasanyouttoday.(self-released) XKateDavenportXwww.status-green.com “Hip-hop that’s gritty, witty and delicious at once” Stevie Crooks Diamonds and Guns Los Angeles, CA Mixed mastered by RJ at Fullrange  Stevie Crooks is a striking individual to say the least. At nearly 7-feet tall, it doesn’t take much more than a ski mask to clue you into his swagger – oh, and he does wear one. He’s a crook after all; the L.A. native once held up his own listening party as a way of introducing himself. According to his MySpace, Stevie’s mask is representative of a Robin Hood-esque view of the hip-hop game: the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, the “kingdom” has been over- run by greedy tyrants and standards have fallen abysmally. Mr. Crooks is here to steal the game back and bring into it the essence of love, passion and pure soul that it was founded on in the first place. And he he doesn’t mince his words. In “Gnarly,” he has this to say: “Somebody do me a favor / buy me that Wayne CD so I can take a dump on it later.” Stevie’s second mixtape, Diamonds and Guns, brings the same raw quality he came with on his first, CTSC, and both are worth a good listen. His flow is catchy and witty as usual, though some- times dips into some more personal and poetic thoughts. He’s equally strong lyrically as he is with the aesthetic of his voice – even lines that would sound forgettable from someone else will echo in your head. One particular track that stands out lyrically and conceptually is “Seeds of Change,” in which Stevie revisits the story of two parents having an unexpected child (possibly based on his own past). The child tells the story from inside the mother’s womb, watching the interaction of the parents and hoping they make the right decision for him. Diamonds and Guns seems as if it might lack some of the diversity of CTSC and feels a bit more poppy – but it’s a smooth ride nonetheless. XMadelineReddington Xwww.myspace.com/pvjf
  • 33. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 35 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// LIVE REVIEW HIROMI UEHARA Dakota Jazz Club // Minneapolis, MN // March 9, 2010 HIROMI UEHARA IS STILL THE BEST thing jazz has going. Her work with legends including Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Anthony Jackson, Lenny White and her own chops-busting Sonic Bloom band is tearing right into the image of jazz as a stiff, old white man’s medium and injecting a healthy dose of bubbly, sexy charisma back into it without sacrificing one iota of musicality. For her second set at Minneapolis’ Dakota Jazz Club, a venue the artist has called “one of the best,” it was troubling to see her slink into a stereotype of Japanese musicians, which she has previously system- atically obliterated. Sure, the execution was next to flawless, but the delivery was a little cold and some of the cheap parlor tricks weren’t helping. Uehara opened with a road-burned “Tom and Jerry Show,” a blis- tering boogie woogie-inspired tune that has gotten untold mileage since her 2003 debut. The highlight of the evening followed, “If,” off of 2004’s Brain. But after the majestic dynamic cascading contour of the piece died down, technique and gimmicks began to take hold.  “BQE” followed before Hiromi jumped into “Somewhere,” a tribute to Oscar Peterson. Between songs Uehara would talk in her moderately conversant “aww shucks” colloquialisms about each song that had nearly every patron lapping up every drop.  The second highlight of the night came again from Hiromi’s Brain album, Desert on the Moon. “Pachelbel’s Canon” followed, with muted strings to emulate a clavichord (aforemen- tioned parlor trick) and then “Bern Baby Bern,” “Cream Puff” and the encore “Place to Be.” In all, it appears (and feels) cynical judging harshly such a technically virtuosic performance that seems so outwardly earnest, but in this case, to quote Flea, it felt like there was a lot of flash and not enough crash. XJoe Lang Xwww.myspace.com/hiromimusic WoodyWolfe Real Analog Mastering For CD and Vinyl • Expert Engineer The Finest Equipment • Guaranteed To Sound Amazing on a Variety of Playback Systems • Richness Unmatched by Any Computer-based Plug-in Call Today to Arrange a Test Mastering or Consultation Sound Affair Mastering 31 Years of Experience is at Your Service 800-570-6656 • www.SoundAffairLtd.com SoundAffair_3.5x2.25_Color_Perf v1 11/18/09 7:01 PM Page
  • 34. 36 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE MAUS HAUS The Mezzanine // San Francisco, CA // Feb. 27, 2010 IWAS HAVING ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS where nothing seemed to run smoothly. The bus left without my friend and I just as we arrived at the station, a woman berated us as we sipped whiskey from a flask and after arriving at our stop, we got horribly lost trying to find the Mezzanine, which is tucked away inconspicuously in an alley. Seemingly by kismet however, the band I came to see, San Francisco’s Maus Haus, started playing the moment I walked through the door. I felt like they were waiting just for me. The place, a mix between an underground warehouse venue and a trendy dance club, was packed and the whole crowd had their eyes glued to the stage. People cheered after their opening chords in anticipation of the song to follow. Maus Haus put on an inspiring show. They don’t sound like anyone else, and yet also sound completely familiar and accessible. I told this to singer/keyboard player Josh Rampage after the show and his reply was, “That’s ridiculous! We steal from all sorts of people.” It’s true, they do “steal” from other artists, but their music is greater than the sum of its parts. Maus Haus has a way of making sketches of songs and weaving them together that is perfect for our generation. Akin to a modern novel’s way of communicating stream of consciousness, the structure of Maus Haus’s songs relate to the sublime experience of everyday life. The truly impressive part about their music is that they do all of this heady stuff and maintain the fun. That night, the crowd was danc- ing and jumping up and down in excitement (definitely not the reaction most people have to reading Joyce or Faulkner). The band pulls this off because, like Animal Collective or Olivia Tremor Control, they use pop and go beyond it, leaving us with sincere yet transcendent music. XAshley Thomas Xwww.myspace.com/maushausmusic LIVE REVIEW JesseHoff ////Reviews //////////////////////////////////////////////////////// “Seattle art-punk dream team” Past Lives Tapestry of Webs Seattle, WA Produced, engineered mixed by Steve Fisk at Avast Studios in Greenwood Foralltheirflaws,Seattle’sstill-relevantBlood Brothershavemanagedtospawnatleasttwonotable bandsintothepoolofthePacificNorthwestinthe pasttwoyears.WithPastLives’TapestryofWebs, theythickenthegenepool. TapestryofWebswasrecordedbetweenthe summerandfallof2009withlegendaryNorthwest producerSteveFisk(Unwound,BeatHappening, Low)pressingbuttonsforlocalfavoriteSuicide SqueezeRecordsatthealsolegendarystudioAvast. Therecordfindsthebandtryingalittleharderto figurethemselvesoutandperhapsalsotheaudience withwhomtheywanttosharetheirsentiments.They certainlymakesomeinterestingpledges,suchas “AerosolBouquet”wheretheyusebeautifullittlegui- tarschismsalongsidesomenearlymutedsynthesizer partsthatbalancesbetweenpepperingtherecordand blanketingbetweentracks. Similartotheband’sfirsteffort,theStrange SymmetryEP,thereisstillplentyofhaunting,lyrical andbuildingguitarcircles.Andyetagain,drummer MarkGadjaharfailstodisappointwithanotherround ofpercussionloopsthatleavesyouwonderingifhe’ll everrunoutofideas. PastLivesretainthebasicelementsthatmade theBloodBrothersadesirablemess,transitioning betweentumblingandfuzzyguitarlinesthatare meanttobeenjoyedlive,butsubtlystraddlethatline andsuitablyimpressonrecord,too.It’stoneddown. Infact,youcanunderstandwhatBilliesingshalfof thetime.“Ifyou’vegotsomethingtosay,sayitatthe topofyourlungs”hesingson“HospitalWhite.” Thisisago-betweenrecord;itfindstheformer BloodBrothersimmersedhappilyinthenextelement oftheircareers.Theyareasuncertainasweare. Thereisnolawagainstarecordthatseguestothenext one,infact,itcanmakeforacompellingtrip.Likeany bookworthreading,itmakesyouanxiousforthenext chapter.(SuicideSqueezeRecords) XClintGoulden Xwww.myspace.com/pastlivesmusic “Poetic folk without the cliches” The Wooden Birds Montague Street Austin, TX Self-recorded produced TheWoodenBirds’AndrewKennyhaslongbeen achampionofthehomespunsound.Theformer AmericanAnalogSetfrontmanhascollaborated withBenGibbardofDeathCabforCutieforapurely acousticEPaspartofthe“Home”series,givingita natural,untouchedfeel.TheWoodenBirds’other members,includinganotherformerAASmember, LeslieSisson,andMattPondofMattPondPA,are alsowell-versedinstripped,acousticperformances. Beforetheband’sdebutalbumMagnolia’screation, andbeforehismigrationtoAustin,Kennyworked diligentlyfromhishomestudioinBrooklyntodefine thegroup’ssound.Namedafterthelocationwhere itwasrecorded,thenewlyreleasedMontagueStreet EPfeaturesfourpre-Magnoliarecordingsselected fromKenny’shomeworkshopsessions.Guidedbyan obviouslycarefulhand,theorganiccutsarefilledwith serenityandgentleness. Kenny’srichtenorglideseasilyoveracoustic guitarlinesthatdripwithawarmthandresonance. Thereisanatmosphereofsomerareandquiet equilibriumthatmakesithardtobelievethatthe albumwasrecordedanywherebutinalogcabin, muchlessNewYork.Kenny’stypicalpoeticprosefits inperfectlywiththeacousticsongs,andtitlessuchas “BelieveinLove”and“TheOtherOne”instantlygive theirromanticizedcontentaway,butmanagetoavoid
  • 35. APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 37 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /akitschydoom.Kenny’scrooningisn’tallinnocent, however.Themaliciouslyricsof“Choke”sound almostcomicalagainstthesweetlystrummedguitar thataccompaniesthem.It’sthesleepyandquietly moving“Bad”thatsustainstheEP,though.Thesoft strumshaveaclarityandtruthaboutthem,andare bothheavywithpurposeandlightontheearsatonce. Overall,MontagueStreetwasasuccessfulroadmap forthefutureofWoodenBirds,layingthefoundation forunabashedlyhonestfolkalbum.(self-released) XAbbyJohnstonXwww.myspace.com/thewoodenbirds “Electronic funk mired in mysticism” Rafter Animal Feelings San Diego, CA Produced, mixed recorded by Rafter Roberts RafterRobertsbrings akindofjoytotheartofmixingandremixingsongs inadditiontoputtingouthisownrecords.Hecomes acrossasaguyhavingfun,doingwhathefeelsis best.AnimalFeelingsintroducesfanstoahybridof electronicfunk,dance-popandrockrhythms.From theopeningtrack,“NoFuckingAround”totheclose, “BeautyBeauty,”listenerscanexpecttheunexpected inthemesandstyles.Thevocalsarepleasingtothe earandmeshwellwiththeinstrumentation. Happychoruseslike,“I’dknowthatyouloveme ifyoushareyourfruitwithme”makefordanceable tunesinsongslike“Fruit,”whichcarriesabouncy rhythmthroughthesoundofclappinghands.The titletrack,“AnimalFeelings,”swoonswithcrescendo inharmonizedvocals.Inspiredbypunk,itpacksa punch,butitconformstopopstandards:easytoplay onmostmajorradiostationsandtrendyenoughfor danceclubs.Theelectronicmovementthroughallthe songsmakesthewholealbumfeelfun. Rafter’sprojectsremainentirelytheworkof RafterRoberts,amanwhoacquiredhisnamefrom ajokemadetohispregnantmotheraboutbeing conceivedinaloft.Hisrootsinpunkmusicencourage thespiritofindependence,whichhetemperswith morepalpablepopbeats.(AsthmaticKitty) XEllen Eldridge

 “An education on ‘90s indie-rock” Mass Solo Revolt Bend in Time Athens, GA Produced by Martin Brummeler // Recorded in Athens at M. Ca- det the Bakery by Brummeler, Joel Hatstat Russ Sherman // Mixed mastered by Brummeler MartinBrummeler’sMassSoloRevoltstarted asaprojecttochannelhisdissatisfactionandangst, buthassinceburstintoafull-fledgededucationon theindie-rockrootsthatthecollegetownofAthens hassincetransitionedanddevelopedfrom.Although highlyreminiscentoflandmarkbandssuchas PavementandBuilttoSpill,thebandtakesthese solidindiebuildingblocksandcraftssongsthatare nostalgicyetincrediblyfresh. “It’sAllCircles,”beginstherecordwithwhat becomessomeofthealbum’sindispensablefun- damentals:asolidcadenceintheformofdrummer RussSherman’sprecisebeatsandbassistJames Frye’ssteadyyetintricatebasslines.Theguitars bellowandbuildwithtremolo,delayandvarious othereffects–providingcolortoallthetracks–while Brummler’shonestandearnestvocalsprovidesooth- ingandrevealingwords.Thepost-rockbuildon“Let’s Pretend”showcasesMassSoloRevolt’sabilitytobe dramaticandappropriatetothesong’ssubjectmatter, whilethebandsassemblyofaninfectioushookon “Swallow”willhaveyoupressingtherepeatbutton morethanafewtimes. Theparamounttrackonthealbum,“Youin100 Words,”incorporatesapost-punkclimaxandatruth- fulmixofself-reflectivelyrics.Thearpeggiopeak towardtheendofthesongisoneofthebestresolves toasongI’veheardthisyear.Witharevampedlineup, MassSoloRevoltispoisedtotakeon2010inimpres- sivewaysandbringbackasoundtoacityteeming withyoungfanseagertohearsomethingaccessible andjustplaingood.(Hop-SkipRecords)XAlbert OpraseuthXwww.myspace.com/masssolorevolt “ADHD shred by Nintendo” stOrk stOrk Los Angeles, CA Produced by Shane Gibson Thomas Lang // Recorded by Nick D’Virgilio at Guitar Ogre Studio the Garage in L.A. // Mixed by Jeremy S.H. Griffith // Mastered by Maor Appelbaum Mastering Ifyou’veseenKornlately,thenyoumayhave noticedoneoftoday’spremier“shred”guitarists tuckedinthecornerofthestage,quietlywaitingfor thespotlight.HisnameisShaneGibsonandheis outtosetyourmindsandfingersafirewithhislat- estrelease,stOrk.Forthoseofyouunfamiliarwith the“shred”genre,itsstarsincludeSteveVaiand Buckethead(theguywiththeKFCbucketonhishead thatmakesyouwishyouhad15fingersonGuitar HeroII).Foraspiringguitaristsunfamiliarwiththese twonames,justthinkofanythingthatyoucannot play.It’sonthisalbum.Shaneisaguitarist’sguitarist, agraduateofBerkleewithuniqueideastospareand bettersweepingtechniquethanyourgrandparents. stOrkalsofeaturestheexcellentbasschopsofEloy PalaciosandaCostco,bulk-sizeheapingofuber- complicateddrummingfromThomasLang. Standingoutarethegroovy“Moonrock,”the frenetic“ChangingLanes”and“Loki,”whichmay takeayeartodeciphertheaccentpatterns.Bythe timeyoudo,youshouldresembletheguythatstared attheArkoftheCovenant.“PreludeintheKeyofShut theHellUp”willpleaseclassicalpurists,while“Metal Fatigue”soundsinhuman. Ifyou’relookingforgreatmetalandagoodtime, avoidthebathroomstallsatyourlocaltruckstopand pickupacopyofthis.(self-released)XDamionSanchez Xwww.myspace.com/officialstOrk “Electronically-in- fused, pumped-up rock ‘n’ roll” We Are Wolves Invisible Violence Montreal, Quebec Produced by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh We Are Wolves // Engineered by Arlen Thompson // Recorded by Moumneh at Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango // Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering Upon first listen to We Are Wolves’ new album, Invisible Violence, I found myself in a zone of recognition. The sound was so familiar, yet the idiosyncrasies that stood out within the music make it difficult to place. The opening track, “Paloma,” is a guitar-driven, high-energy compilation of catchy riffs, exploding drum beats and flawlessly placed synth accents. The music brings to mind the Killers and Franz Ferdinand, as easily as it does Black Sabbath and INXS.  The vocals of Alexander Ortiz, reminiscent of the powerful emissions of Ozzy Osbourne, soar above the electronic creations mingling with a post-punk-influenced rock soundscape. “Reaching for the Sky” is another highlight track that starts out with a fluttering keyboard and crescendos into an all-out whirlwind of danceable, discotechque-worthy rhythms, interspersed with strong guitar licks and an ethereal melody. The album closes out with an exquisite track, “The Spectacle of Night,” which oozes with fun, punk-inspired vocals that run on top of contagious rhythm and bouncy keyboard riffs, similar to what we got from Devo, without the ‘80s tinge. The entire album maintains the energy
  • 36. 38 APRIL 2010 PERFORMER MAGAZINE ////Reviews //////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ////found at the start, making it an indulgent listen the whole way through. The Quebec-based group even includes lyrics sung in French on several tracks, such as “La Rue Oblique” and “Paloma.” Invisible Violence is neither invis- ible nor violent, but rather distinctly rapturous. (Dare To Care) XNadiaLelutiuXwww.myspace.com/ wearewolvesnoussommesloups “Deep, dark, haunting, ethereal and gloriously orchestrated classic rock” Arcanum Sleepwalking on the Highwire Atlanta, GA Produced, engineered mastered by Brett Schieber, Tree Profes- sor Ace in Atlanta // Mixed by Dave Desbordes // Mastered by Rodney Mills The riveting statement “We don’t know what it truly means to be free” echoes near the chorus of “Let Me Go,” a stirring epic ballad and a tune that encapsulates the entire rich- ness of sound and atmosphere in this new EP by Arcanum. It’s an album of dark, ethereal colors and textures, and much creativity and sweat must have gone into its making. The first two songs, “Sleepwalking on the Highwire” and “Scar,” epitomize a fully orchestrated epic brewing with strings, morose and dark vocals and punching drums – bringing out deeply hidden emotions. Perhaps that was the reason Arcanum had for initially getting together and writing the record. Morehauntingmusicpopsupinthelushacous- ticguitarsandgorgeousbaritonevocalsontrackfive, “President.”Thevocalsarepowerfulandgripping, showingthegroup’svulnerabilityandversatility.The majorityofthealbumisfurtherexperimentation,as theycontinuetoreinvent“Scar”invariousversions. Itshouldbenotedtheremixesgivetherecordits meatandweight,aprojecttakenonbyICON71, AerochordandProfessorAce. Probably not considered a mainstream album, Highwire won’t likely be featured on a commercial radio station, but look out film and TV industry! Arcanum have a true stronghold on the mood and feel they wish to capture, and these songs fit the bill for a perfect match with visual mediums. (self-released) XShawnM.Haney Xwww.myspace.com/arcanummusic “Hazy, ethereal shoegaze-punk” Bambara Dog Ear Days Recorded mixed by Joel Hat- stat David Barbe // Mastered by Hatstat With Dog Ear Days, Bambara’s follow-up to their self-titled debut, the trio dials down the conventional song structure and augments tex- ture and atmosphere. Each of the EP’s six tracks focuses around slowly evolving guitar effects, sudden explosive shifts in dynamics and muddy, obscured vocal melodies. At the forefront of the band’s sound is gui- tarist/singer Reid Bateh. His guitar technique retains some melodies of his earlier work, but has expanded to incorporate larger doses of ethereal, reverb-soaked pedal textures and cha- otic, disquieting shards of noise. “Stay Gray” in particular showcases this more abrasive side. Twin brother Blaze Bateh’s drums, always a pummeling force, have assumed a more tribal bent; many of the drum passages comprise mostly toms and snares (“Feed the Pigs”), while INTERN WANTED FOR email: nationalnews@performermag.com MARKETING POSITIONS IN BOSTON CORRESPONDENT POSITIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY MAGAZINE

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