Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Lovely Feathers will be performing at Garfield Artworks on Tuesday, 10/6/09 in support of their new album Fantasy of the Lot. I recently reviewed the album which I will be re-posting below along with their video for their single Lowiza. The show begins at 8p with The Lovely Feathers going on at 9p. As you can read below they are a fun, entertaining band to catch live.
One of my favorites shows since being in pgh was in November 2006 when The Lovely Feathers graced the stage at Garfield Artworks. I am one of those types that always checks out who is coming into town that month, listen to a couple of tunes and see if I like what I hear. These guys were one of the bands I was glad I caught...their performance for about 15 people was uncanny and their album matched their frantic mesmerising charisma. Hind Hind Legs was their last album and one that stayed in my player continuously for almost 3 months.
I thought the Lovely Feathers might be done. I followed their blog hoping they would come out with a new album but it appeared that they might have run their course after a couple of members left. They often got compared to the band Islands/Unicorns which could be a crutch for them since they are from Montreal as well. After a couple of years and a new label, everything has come together. They are back with their new lp Fantasy of the Lot.
This isn't the schizo pop of the last lp, HHL. This is a more evolved endeavor that shows what surely should come out after HHL. Their single "Lowiza" is a very good indication of the album and their progression. Its a more subdued affair with a slow beginning before blowing up towards the chorus. The track details the sex life that has basically died between a married couple (video can be seen below). A good majority of the songs off the album are in the opposite direction...keeping a low key route with stripped down instruments and lyrics instead of the maniacal pace that they displayed before. "Agrotaker" is another tune that stands out with a eastern influence and balanced sound. It has some hooks and melodies that keep the listener's foot tapping. "Long Walks" is probably the only track that reminds me of the last album, although not enough to think that it shouldn't be included.
All in all I really enjoy the new record and growth of this band. Its a more relaxed feel and shows them not sticking to any one formula. I hope they make it back to Pittsburgh because they put on superb show that isn't to miss.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Bad Veins will be coming back to Pittsburgh next Monday 10/5, this time at Club Cafe. It's the late show beginning at 10p; they will be performing with NYC band The Subjects. I saw this duo back in September and they put on a hell of show not to mention these 2 are the nicest guys. If you like what you hear below please check them out. You won't be disappointed.
Please find a preview here and a show review (with video) from their last appearance in Pittsburgh at Garfield Artworks. Also, here is a interview with the band plus a little zinger at the end in reference to the Bengals (since they just beat the Stillers Sunday).
Here are a few tune selections:
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Here is a guest reviewer on the Jessica Lea Mayfield show at Schenley:
The city of Pittsburgh was the center of a conflict between anti-g20 protesters and police forces. You could feel the tension building in the air in the hazy Friday evening. For an hour and a half there was a welcome reprieve from the tension. Jessica Lea Mayfield began strumming her acoustic guitar under the tent at Schenly Plaza and everyone listened patiently. The crowd was a mix of families, college students, and out of town protesters. The event had even been broadcast on the twitter page of the g20 resistance, later calling it 'Very Peaceful'.
This was not Jessica's first time in pittsburgh. She had been here several months earlier for the Pittsburgh Arts festival Downtown opening for 'The Black Keys', whose guitarist, Dan Aurbach, helped produce here first album. However, at this venue she was not joined by her brother David, who had previously accompanied her on the upright bass. I was a bit disappointed by this, but then I realized, there wouldn't have been room for him to roll around on the floor of that small stage with such a large instrument as he had done at the arts festival. However, this made the show even more intimate, with Jessica's dark, heartfelt sound.
Jessica Lea played songs mostly from her first album, blasphemy so heartfelt. Iterestingly enough the protesters targets were somewhat present even here, the event was co-sponsored by whole foods, and Jessica Lea sang a song, words of love, which was included on the Starbucks compilation "Sweetheart '09 (Our Favorite Artists Sing Their Favorite Love Songs)". Despite this, there were no complaints from the audience.
As the show wound down and night fell, it was obvious of the police presence as police in riot gear slowly gathered in an adjacent walkway and fire trucks began to circle the lawn looking for parking. However, the finale was untouched by conflict. Jessica Lea couldn't get away without a large round of applause from the audience, begging for one more song. She complied with a final encore performance of 'I can't lie to you, love'.
People slowly wandered away as the lights went down under the tent. However, later, the Schenley Plaza would become the scene for yet another protest, sending college students running from tear gas as collateral damage.
Also see a great pre-show article at the pittsburgh citypaper.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
On Tuesday night, Wild Light played the nearly sold out Club Cafe in an opening slot for Irish band Bell X1. The crowd warmly greeted the band and seemed to enjoy their entire performance. Wild Light is a quartet from New Hampshire whose members take turns rotating through vocals, guitar and keyboards.
Aside from the drummer, the 3 frontmen changed on each song, and some fared better than others. The band played from their debut album Adult Nights, peaking with their single "California On My Mind". Wild Light performed a solid performance which the crowd appreciated giving plenty applause after each song. For a new band with only one release under their belt they delivered a charasmatic act showing off their ability and talent throughout.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Just a reminder that Wild Light will be opening for Bell X1 Tuesday night at Club Cafe. You can find a preview with album review below or here. Below are a couple of more songs off their album Adult Nights.
Friday, September 18, 2009
If you pay attention to the major music news outlets you know Pavement is reuniting for some shows after (guessing) a 10 year hiatus...trying to get a little $$. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Pavement and have all their albums. Honestly, however, I saw them a few times and they are one of the most boring live bands I have seen perform. I even purchased the Matador documentary which has a great deal of live footage. Yawn. I don't get the big deal, but I guess if you were too young to see them, it's a good opportunity. This is just my opinion of course.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Show Announcement - Wild Light - Club Cafe - 9/22/09 - Opening for Bell X1 - Album Review - Show Preview
Wild Light will be coming to Club Cafe next Tuesday, 9/22 at 8p. They will be opening for Bell X1, part of a 91.3 WYEP sponsored event. Below is a brief album review with some track previews for your listening pleasure.
Wild Light is a quartet from New Hampshire that features a previous member of the Arcade Fire. Their first lp, Adult Nights, came out on StarTime International which kick started the careers of the Walkmen and French Kicks. They play what would be described as standard upbeat indie pop with some electro synthesizers throughout. The album is full of hooks and layered vocal harmonies, giving the band a classic sound.
'California On My Mind'
In the opening track “California On My Mind” the band apparently would like to see the state sink into the Pacific. With lyrics “Fuck today/Fuck San Francisco/Fuck California” over a cheery melody and stomping beat. It really starts the album with the unexpected, merry harmonies over destructive lyrics. The song “Hear Attack” is another track that is memorable with a more folk sound and overlaying synthesizer without the cynical lines. “Call Home” is a piano ballad that brings a slower tempo and repetitive hook. There isn’t a bad song on the album which range in tempo throughout the lp along with several vocal changeups.
The band reminds me a bit of the Jayhawks with gruff vocals through rosy fueled guitars and that 70's pop/rock vibe. Its an upbeat record throughout that makes you want to grab a drink on a hot summer night, sit out on the porch and watch the sunset. Pop bliss.
'My Father Was A Horse'
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Last night's show started off with the feel of something special. When AA Bondy and his band began their first song of the night the crowd fell deftly silent while the slow build up began. AA Bondy jumped on the mic after a 45 second instrumental and began singing. It just simply blew the room away. Before, when we have seen Bondy, he has always played by himself with a simple acoustic guitar and harmonica. This night, however, he had a 3 piece group who played varying instruments depending on the song. Bondy proved he could perform with a powerful dynamic electric sound just as well as he does with a stripped down acoustic. Bondy sung with a aching, soulful heart and won the crowd over immediately. After his first song my little group looked at each other and said "whoa" in simple amazement and appreciation.
Bondy began playing a set full of his new songs off his excellent new release, When the Devil's Loose. However, just as things started off in the right direction, there was also a turn for the worse. After 5 songs it became clear that some members of the audience were there just to socialize having no issue talking loudly over his set. You could tell Bondy was getting a little frustrated, however, he maintained his professionalism and delivered a strong performance. Bondy's new album requires a hush stillness when listening and especially when playing in concert. Between songs people began to talk and then the conversations continued even with other audience members "shhh.." for silence. When Bondy felt the chatter was overshadowing the music he quickly strummed a bit louder and sung a bit higher not letting the distraction turn the show into a mess for those who came to see him.
If AA Bondy comes through your town, make sure to check him out. It would be a mistake if you didn't. He puts a lot into each performance (that I have seen him) with a laid back demeanor while putting out a great vibe. He definitely isn't someone to miss. Bondy, now traveling with a band, stretches the bounds of his old solo self and gives the audience something to remember for a while.
I usually try not to get negative on this blog but I want to say something. If you go to a show and you aren't there to to see the main act (or you were dragged there) have enough respect for the artist and other audience members to shut the f-up during a set. If you can't, go outside or downstairs to the other bar especially when it comes to the Brillobox as appears to happen every time I am there.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
AA Bondy will be playing at the Brillobox this Saturday at 10p in support of his new album. Below is brief album review. Please see previous concert reviews at Club Cafe and Mr Smalls as he puts on a fantastic live show.
When the Devil's Loose is AA Bondy's second album on Fat Possum Records that just came out on 9/1. The album continues down the same folk-rock path of his previous endeavor (American Hearts)but with some subtle differences. There is still the same stripped down feel, however, the album incorporates more of a full backing band providing new layers to his music. Throughout the record you hear delicate drum beats, subtle electric guitar and piano without it ever overpowering Bondy's signature crooning and folk sound.
"A Slow Parade"
Lyrically, his previous album treaded on spiritual tones and this can be heard with his first song "A Slow Parade" talking about the apocalypse down the road with "cremated ashes" singing, "With your saints on a chain/waiting on another rain. And I'm going down/Where the waves will surround. Sometimes I don't mind at all/With Head against the Wall". The song includes a plodding electric guitar and light drum beats over gloomy content. It has such a haunting melody that just brings the listener into a different state of mind.
"Oh The Vampyre"
"Oh the Vampyre" sounds more like a fantasy story until you get to the end. "With a vampire’s kiss/I’ve got a vampire’s heart/now I don’t roll out of bed ’til after dark". But then brings in a bit of mystery wondering if Bondy is speaking about himself "You see it ain't my fault/that I am this way". There are several tracks that appear to tell a narrative while relaying personal experience but in a guarded context.
The album is definitely in my top 10 for this year. You hear over and over emotional lyrics with a minimal sound that makes you nod your head think about the future. An outstanding sophomore effort and a lp that has been in my player ever since I received it.
Friday, September 4, 2009
If you follow the blog you know I have hyped this guy up...and if you saw him at the soldout Conor Oberst show a month ago, you know it was for good reason. Mr. Bondy will be appearing in Pittsburgh again, this time at Brillobox on Saturday 9/12. He will also have a full backing band on this tour. Take a look at my review from Club Cafe and Mr Smalls with Conor Oberst.
He is touring behind his new album When the Devil's Loose. This will be his first stop in Pittsburgh since his new album came out on 9/1.
This is a song off the new album entitled "I Can See The Pines Are Dancing".