This is banana blueberry bread.
After the last week I have a greater appreciation for both. Maritime is a band I have known about for a while and enjoyed but my real true love of them was borne last Thursday when I got to see them live. It was from the stage at Johnny Brendas that the waves of their midwestern bred indie rock emanated and the full weight of their greatness hit. The group initially sprouted from the remnants of The Promise Ring and Dismemberment Plan and the post punk pop sound has definitely stuck with them but they’ve developed their own sound over the years. Continue Reading →
Randomly happening on a really awesome band releases some sort of odd chemical release in me probably because it happens so very rarely. Well, last Thursday while on a bar crawl in Austin with a client I got a solid dose of said chemicals when I caught local act Mobley at the Mohawk. Despite an instrumental make up similar to a lot of the other percussion heavy indie bands out there now Mobley takes a much more distinct approach. They pull the stronger musical lines from a wide assortment of genres – aggressive guitar riffs, bombarding percussion, idiosyncratic synths and pop vocal lines- and hold them together with “only as much thread as necessary for coherence.” Originally from North Carolina Mobley’s front man Anthony Watkins even manages to infuse the music with a hint of alt-country.
Their music was enough to draw me in from the other room but their live set kept me there – even after my group had moved on to the next stop. Besides Watkins, who plays keys, drumpad, guitars and percussion Mobley consists of Tim Shelburne, Jr on bass, keys and percussion and Sergio Trejos on drums and the trio play off each other with a level of energy that reminded me a lot of Sharon Jones (yeah, I know it’s a strange comparison). Watkins’ presence is genuine and you can tell just by watching him there is a unusual level of intelligence behind their music. Trejos and Shelburne are right there with him in energy and precise delivery. They carved out a set that included tracks you could tell were both new (slightly more hopped up) and old (total comfortable in the riffings etc) and was the best Thursday night bar gig I’ve seen in a very long while.
Now that I have some of their recordings in hand I’m equally enthused that they sound fantastic in record as well. Give these two tracks a listen then be sure to keep an eye out from them as I am sure they’re bound to rise quickly.
[MP3] Cold War Cold
Philly was the second stop of The Dismemberment Plan’s much anticipated reunion tour last Thursday and no amount of snow, ice, stress or unfinished work could have kept me from going. I’m not cool enough to say that I have been a D Plan fan since their beginnings (or even during the ten years they were together) but sometime over the last few years they popped up on my radar and it was love at first listen. So, when they announced that they would do a brief tour to support the rerelease of their legendary album Emergency & I on vinyl tickets were immediately acquired. That was some four months ago and when Thursday night came I could hardly contain my excitement.
You’ve read my praises and know very well the soft spot I have for Dinosaur Feathers. If you’re smart you’ve preordered their album Fantasy Memorial. Now, I’m happy to report, you will get your chance to catch them live. They are performing next Saturday [March 6th] at Philly’s newest DIY venue The OX Warehouse with Lonnie Walker, Grandchildren, Ape School & The Armchairs. They’ll be back around on the tail end of their tour but, as I like to say, see them early and see them often.
*Photo by Todd Cook
Ever since I caught River City Extensions’ lead singer Joe do a solo set earlier this summer I have been anxious to see the whole six member crew perform live. Finally I had the chance to see them last week and it was far more incredible than I was expecting.
Like the Avett Brothers, their record (while entirely enjoyable) falls a little ahead of the pack while their live show is amongst the best I’ve seen this year. The music also has a vastly different vibe from the alt country sound of their recorded material. Instead, it is southern rock with heavy punk influence. RCE consists of the usual bass, guitar, drums as well as a cello, floor tom, assorted horns and percussive implements; and, this septet do their thing with a degree of energy and enthusiasm that could almost be considered another instrument.
The openers were ok but did very little to amp up the audience for the kind of intensity RCE had to offer. 3/4′s of the way into their first song though they managed to draw people in from the bar and get everyone on the floor moving. Each member, regardless of the instrument’s traditional roll in a band, plays in such a way that makes you really pay attention to who is carrying the rhythm, who is laying out the melody and who is providing the chaotic pulse that typically drives their songs. The cello, played by the v. talented Jenn, provides a soaring thread to tracks like Elephant while also managing to rock out on others.
Watching them play I realized that RCE is one of the few bands whose bassist takes more than a supporting role. In a few instances James carries the melody so deftly it pushed the floor tom to really pull out more of those juicy bass tones. The percussionists both took turns picking out lines in each song to emphasize or challenge to really build the depth of RCE’s overall sound.
Oh, and I can’t forget the horns. Switching between a baritone horn and a trumpet I really enjoyed the character and punkishness he brought to the floor. Often he served to reign in the massive storm of percussion but not without adding his own flair. Joe,the circus leader and head vocalist, was playing through a bloody finger but didn’t let that effect his delivery. Just as sincere and balls out as he was when I saw him play solo there was a raw emotional element on display when he was on stage interacting with the full crew. Tearing through Clever & Quickness I was in awe watching them all push it a little harder. On the songs, like (I Had Thought About This In) Marc where everyone sings you really feel their charge at full force.
Watching them during their last song, as they played acoustic in the middle of the audience, I got that feeling in my stomach that these guys are headed for much bigger venues. I can only hope their next album harnesses the power of their live show. If you’re in the NJ/NY/PA area try to get yourself to one of their shows. They are playing Philly again on the 25th at the North Star Bar.
(If I Had Thought About This In) March
While I was up in Brooklyn this weekend for After The Jump Fest I had the pleasure to chat with Philly’s own Drink Up Buttercup. These four gents have come quite a way in the last few months, amassing their energy, talent, passion and dollah dollah bills to make a running leap into the wider world of indie music. Beyond increasing their number of shows this has mainly meant going into the studio to record their first album. According to Ben [bass, general chaos] there wasn’t one way they went about trying to capture their unmistakable live sound, there were many ways. Depending on the song they adapted their recording style. At times parsing each member’s contribution and laying them down separately at others all four of them piling into the studio together. Not surprisingly, James [guitar, vocals, ring leader] admitted, the exactness of the click track didn’t really mesh with DUB’s heavily improve nature. So, more often than not, they ended up scraping convention and tearing it up in the studio. Those tracks are now in the finishing stages before the public gets a little taste of what is to come with the release of their first single this fall.
Catching their gig this weekend the was, once again, a noticeable improvement of their delivery. For those of you who are unfamiliar with DUB’s raucous shows, they make their music with garbage cans, tool boxes and an assortment of other odds and ends, as well as, the usual suspects (bass, guitar, drums). When there is that much involved there is a fairly good chance that what will come out is unformed, aimless noise. Not in the hands of these fellas though. Their outrageous energy is tamed by a clear vision of where they are taking their audience and shaped by adept musical skill across the board. Watching them over the last few months I have seen them become much more comfortable on stage which has served to fully round out their sound. Taking this show on the road will, no doubt, build up Drink Up Buttercup’s following. Rippling out from their tight Philly base to claim members in each stop along the way.
Despite the growing momentum, and crazy tour schedule staring them down, they all remain relatively unphased by what is to come. They’re winding down their day jobs, planning the video games arsenal to be packed and spending a little quality time with their Philly crew in preparation for the road. And, in a few weeks they will throw their garbage cans, beat up tool box, toys and the rest of their instruments into a van and head out for an indefinite tour of the east coast. And, while I’m sure they’ll miss all that home has to offer and have to partake in some shmoozing that is counter to their antisocial ways it is clear the minor impediments are no threat to need they have to make their music.
Be sure to get yourself out to see them now while their playing the small venues that truly complement their offerings. It will be a night to remember.
Gods & Gentlemen
Have you been looking for an excuse to get up to New York before summer officially turns into fall? Look no further. After The Jump Fest is this weekend and Saturday they will be featuring two of Philly’s newest buzz bands Drink Up Buttercup & Free Energy. One day tickets are only $10 and you will be supporting Philly music on NY turf.TWIAPC favs, Dinosaur Feathers, Holiday Shores, Das Racist & Suckers will also be performing. I can’t imagine a better reason to swing up NY way.