UPDATE: Check out our exclusive interview with vocalist/pianist Steve Patterson of White Rabbits here!
Meanwhile, after the jump, podcasting Glass Candy and free White Rabbits songs…
Check out free White Rabbits, new songs from their daytrotter session here.
Click here for Taxlo’s podcast of Glass Candy Live from Baltimore, 01.18.08
Cadence Weapon, Born Ruffians
Justice, DJ Mehdi, Fancy
(details after the jump)
Cadence Weapon/Born Ruffians
March 5th, Ottobar
In a bit of a head-scratcher, two Canadian groups with little more in common than release dates and nationality will be coming to the Ottobar on March 5th. Tickets, available through missiontix, are $8 (adv), $10 (day).
Cadence Weapon, hip hop artist from Edmonton, Alberta, will finally follow up his 2005 release Breaking Kayfabe with the much anticipated Afterparty Babies (Epitaph) due out on March 4th.
I saw a bit of the Cadence Weapon show at the Pitchfork Media Music Festival in July of 2007 – he put together a tight little performance, showcasing his vocals over minimal beats. To get a good example of the show I saw, give a listen to “Sharks” (stream over myspace). While hip hop doesn’t always translate in an outdoor venue, I’m looking forward to checking him out in the coziness of the Ottobar.
Born Ruffians, on the other hand, are somewhat precocious indie rockers from Toronto. They will be promoting their new LP Red, Yellow, Blue (Warp; also due out March 4th) this tour. Take a listen to their single “Foxes Mate for Life” here (stream; source: The Fader).
Justice, DJ Mehdi, Fancy
Sonar, March 9th
Tickets (ticketmaster): $30 (adv)
Paying $30 to go see something called the “Myspace Music Tour” feels dirty on a couple different levels. Unfortunately, I still would really love to go see this show, excessive cost and all.
Justice will be touring in support of their recent album [cross symbol] (Vice 2007). Being house artists from Paris, France begs comparison to Daft Punk. However, that feels a little trite to me. So I’ll say this: Justice are a little less robot, and a whole lot more dirt. Their music demands dancing. You can sample some of their original tracks, as well as remixes of other artists on their myspace page.
As an aside, these guys are pretty prodigious when it comes to remixes. They can claim the following artists (among many) as receiving their revisions: Britney Spears, Fat Boy Slim, Daft Punk, N*E*R*D, DFA 1979, Justin Timberlake, Klaxons…
On the other hand, if that doesn’t sound good (or expensive enough) for you – you can alway pop across town that night to 1st Mariner Arena to catch Van Halen. Tickets absurdly run $49.50 – $125.
The Shondes claim to generate moody political punk fused with a variety of more traditional music forms (classical, Jewish traditional). They just released their album The Red Sea. I could buy it. I definitely agree with the Sleater-Kinney comparisons being thrown around. I also hear alot of post-hardcore influence in the vocals and guitar-work on songs like “Let’s Go”. But it’s probably best if you hear for yourself.
Stream the album here.
Three MP3s for your downloading and listening pleasure:
So far Sonar’s decade celebration year has been rocky, to say the least. General Manager Dan McIntosh found it necessary to personally take over booking responsibilities. When the past booking staff left Sonar, they apparently left many of the club and lounge slots open.
In a recent press release the troubles are only mentioned in passing, but what I find most interesting is talk of Sonar’s focus returning primarily to djs. For the time being Lisa Chaplin Suit, found and president of Baltimore Music Conference, and Chad Moore, of Give Productions, are acting as talent buyers. Here is what they have to say:
“I wanted to see Sonar stay as a viable venue for the dance community
and want to bring in those that may not have played in Baltimore for
quite awhile and in many cases, have never played here” stated Ms Suit.
Engaging Mr. Moore with her ideas, the two then met with Mr. McIntosh to
discuss the possibilities. “I want dance music! I want a variety!” were
the words from Mr. McIntosh. “We still have 2 years on our lease and
lots of ideas so we don’t plan to go anywhere else anytime soon! We are
making upgrades to the venue to include a new state of the art video
system! We want to bring everything in here and when the lease is up, we
can move somewhere bigger if need be” he continued and so a new
beginning has started.
It’s just my speculation, but when people talk waiting out the lease, shit can’t be going well. But heres the bit I do like:
In addition to the February 23rd show, Sonar will have the newly formed
‘Koncrete Jungle Baltimore’ parties starting in March as well as a
weekly party in the lounge featuring drum and bass hosted by Justin
Patchett of Top Ranking Records. Ms. Suit and Mr. Moore also have plans
to bring electronic dance music into Sonar twice a month as a Saturday
show as well as any additional nights that the schedule allows.
I would really like to see dnb come back to Sonar. For awhile, there was a really strong jungle scene going in this city, until Lonnie decided to be a party-pooper. Junglists can be some angry, intimidating people, and I don’t know if they will forgive Sonar so easily.
Part of the reason the Fiery Furnaces are a live draw is that, unlike many touring artists out there, you are guaranteed a different show EVERY night. My last experience was more of a “miss” than a hit, which happens when an artist makes a decision on how to interpret their music. While I could appreciate the musical talent required to execute their show at DC’s the Black Cat last year, I really wasn’t enjoying it.
Luckily, this time around, I got the best of both worlds from a heavily funk and jazz-fusion influenced show at Baltimore’s Ottobar.
This show was well-attended relative to some Ottobar shows as of late, but the place should have been mobbed when it was actually only 50% full. Thank You provided the first opening set of the night, playing their distinct version of electronically-tinged noise-wave. Not my thing. I felt most of the songs got lost in themselves, no real momentum was obtained and no release to be had. Uninspiring post-punk dragged through the gutters of trance and electroclash. I think they could learn some lessons on where to take their sound and how from DC legends Q and Not U, and with some focus, could create a compelling body of work. But they need to tidy up their arrangements.
Next up were another, more well-known band of locals, the Oranges Band. A distinct contrast to the more technically complicated and experimental headlining Furnaces, and openers Thank You, Oranges prefer to play straight-ahead, unashamedly hooky indie-pop. They have become proficient at their craft, but there is one problem: so many other artists are in this stable that, unless you are a true prodigy or have some distinctive hook, you WILL get lost amidst the sea of others. Though infallibly catchy and easy to listen to, Oranges Band pushes no envelope and makes no real distinctive impact. But that’s ok tonight, because the Fiery Furnaces provide enough of it all to sate even the most cynical listener.
Let me preface this by saying that the Fiery Furnaces are some of the most talented musicians on the indie circuit today. They play music not as individual musicians, but rather a gestalt. With how much they change their songs on the fly when performing live, I am always surprised at how tightly they play. A true testament to their talent and work ethic.
The Furnaces live show is quite different from their CDs…to the delight of some and the chagrin of others. They approach their live performances as a chance to create art and deconstruct their own music, changing tempos, times and keys like so many dirty pairs of underwear. It seemed the Furnaces were listening to a heavy dose of funk judging by their interpretation last Friday night. A large portion of their setlist laid down heavy grooving funk beats and basslines. This contrasts favorably to the aforementioned Black Cat show where things were much closer to a fusion of spoken-word, free-style rap, trip-hop and acid jazz; technically complex but rather dense, detached and inaccessible. Their set this past Friday was definitely more cohesive and preserved more of the sugary hooks from their recorded material.
“Single Again” was delivered at a slower tempo (relatively) with more pop flavor and melodic vocals, faithful to the recorded material. “Evergreen” was a highlight as one of the most vulnerable and moving performances of the night. “The Philadelphia Grand Jury” and “Duplexes of the Dead” were infused with electrifying energy while remaining the closest resemblance to their recorded performances. What I think set this show above the previous one at the Black Cat was that Eleanor spent more time delivering melodic, tuneful vocals rather than the rapid-fire rapping she loves so much (while good, she’s got such a knock-out singing voice it pains me to see her let it sit unused). Matt’s keys and the rhythm also tended to gel much better at the Ottobar, probably because Matt reined in some of his more obtuse and avant-garde urges.
The Furnaces closed with one of their famed, monstrous medley tracks, assembling pieces of no less than 4 songs from their catalog (that I could discern) into one epic, lumbering giant of a finale. The sheer quality in execution of this feat at each live show is awe-inspiring to behold. And basically guarantees I will be front and center again for their next show, testing the waters and eagerly awaiting the next reimagining of their sound.
Photo Credit Tim Castlen
Fans of reverb and psychedelics rejoice! Louisville, Kentucky’s own My Morning Jacket have announced the title of their sinister new LP…henceforth known as Evil Urges.
My expectations are growing by the day as the gap between 2005′s spectacular Z has only been filled by the excellent-but-still-old-material live album/DVD release Okonokos.
Z still holds my personal title for best sequence of opening tracks on an album in the past decade…maybe more. Here’s hoping frontman Jim James delivers plenty of spectral caterwauls to sate the hungry, teeming masses.
I remember thinking, “There are way too many instruments on this stage right now. They must be hiding something; no talent, bad musicianship… it only remains to be seen.” I have never been more wrong in my life. White Rabbits has a huge sound, carefully crafted and under control. I was reminded of Hunter S. Thompson quoting Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
White Rabbit. I need rising sound… And when it comes to that fantastic note where the rabbit bites its own head off, I want you to throw that fuckin’ radio into the tub with me!
I’d like to think that White Rabbits found some inspiration in these words.
Read Aural State’s post for a complete review of the show. I intend to focus a little more on White Rabbits and what made them stand out so much on stage. Opening things up for White Rabbits were The Subjects: the perfect band to warm the crowd up. They were well-rehearsed and enjoyable to listen too, especially when they let the drummer take a crack at singing. I want to dispel the myth that you have to be an emotional tenor with an ornamental guitar — a guitar is not a handbag, kids — to front a rock band.
I already mentioned that I initially thought there were too many instruments on stage. My preference is to find economy in all things, but I was fairly open to the idea of a big band rock group. As White Rabbits set up, I noted two trap sets, two guitars, bass, and keys. For those of you keeping count, that’s a hockey team right there. My curiosity was further piqued when the keyboard player dragged out a tack piano and a Nord Electro 2, the backup choice of Rhodes and Hammond B3 players the world over. The instrument is a mark of good taste (I have one in my living room right now). I had some high expectations for this player. While not revealing himself as a melodic player, he proved to have fantastically quick hands and excellent timing. Although I am not a fan of screaming, his vocals were generally spot on and I would say very authentic for the style of music.
Playing with two drummers on stage can prove to be rhythmically disastrous. White Rabbits pulled off the trick exceedingly well, however, proving how well-rehearsed they are as a group. Even though I was initially wary of the concept, I would now have to say that having two drummers is an essential part of this ensemble. On the other hand, I couldn’t see any justification for having two guitars in the group even though neither of them were at all shabby.
The glue that holds this many musicians together is endless hours of rehearsal and it shows that White Rabbits has put in the time. Each individual was absolutely comfortable throughout the show, moving effortlessly between instruments and movements. This careful rehearsal also shows up in the quality of the arrangements that start with a simple rhythmic or melodic idea and build to a level of excited tension and release.
It was refreshing to hear a band go after some sinister sounding music with gypsy minor keys and the unusual but tasteful calypso rhythm stylings. I would love to hear this band slow it down a little and take on something a little more sophisticated. The cover of “Maggie’s Farm” was a hit with the crowd, but I’d love to hear them try “All the Right Bullets” by Tom Waits. They could really stretch on that tune.
The Arcade Fire just released the new video for Black Mirror, in the vein of interactive vids from the original neonbible.com features.
Arcade Fire – Black Mirror Official Music Video
The Subjects sit at the intersection of Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. Capably and entertainingly, but also forgettably unoriginal save a few surprise songs.
The Walkmen couldn’t stand up to the White Rabbits’ performance. Vocals were off, flat and uneven for almost the whole night. Also, they desperately needed to tune. Points for effort and stage presence, but they delivered a show that was maybe 50% as interesting and engaging as the Rabbits. The sound guys pumped up their levels to try and match the Rabbits’ sound, but amplifying something without dynamism doesn’t make it dynamic. Check out our blogosphere neighbor, Butterteam’s interview with the Walkmen regarding their newest material and label changes in their future right here.
The White Rabbits killed.
Absolutely phenomenal set, and the best new opener I’ve seen in nigh on 3 years. Read the rest…