All you need to do to win 2 complimentary tickets to the 10 PM Solstice Party is send me an email at: clevelandbachelorATgmailDOTcom. The first to write in will have their name sent to the publicist that bequeathed these freebies to me, who will in turn make sure these names get on the hook-up list at the door.
CB can't make the party, which is a bummer, as he's dug the Phenomenal Handclaps since two SXSWs ago. Check them out for him, por favor, and pour a little bit of your cocktail out on the ground in his honor when they star playing "15 to 20" and get a little freaky when they play "Baby."
Peter Wolf Crier's new album, Inter-Be, is quickly becoming one of my favorites of 2010. Yeah, it has a while to catch this year's releases by The Octagon, Beach House, and CocoRosie, but those releases also had a significant head-start on romancing my eardrums.
Inter-Be is chock full of solid tracks, from the album opener "Crutch & Cane" to the penultimate tune, the utterly brilliant "Saturday Night" (my favorite song on the album). In between are gems like "Down Down Down," "Untitled 101," "In Response," and "For Now."
And that doesn't even take into consideration moment-to-moment sneakers like "You're So High" and "Demo 01."
Seriously, this is a good record. A really good one. And the show should be pretty sweet, too. So go there. Tix are $7, the show's at 9 at the Grog Shop, and you might be able to see PWC and then jet over to Cranky's on W. 25th in plenty of time to see Folklore!
If you know me in the slightest, you know I have a very soft spot for Swedish pop (or, really for any kind of Northern European pop music). I was super excited to see First Aid Kit coming through town, and totally devastated when I was made aware I would not be able to attend the show. So, do me a favor, will ya? Hit this show and let me know how awesome it was. But do so gently, please. Don't rub it in. I'm sensitive enough already.
The show gets going at 9 at the Grog - get there early to see Craig Ramsey rock the opening slot.
I'll admit it - I'm a fickle bastard. I get excited and grow tired of certain developments in this wonderful city more quickly than I should, but, well, that's just how it goes. What keeps me from falling into a pit of cynicism and selfishness, however, is when I see good work being done by good people in ways that I hadn't noticed before. Just like RA Washington's efforts in my own neighborhood get me pumped, Rachel Hart has been doing some good things on the west side, especially in bringing better and better talent to Cranky's Pub on West 25th.
There are oodles of examples I could point too, but instead I'll just give a shout out to the next one. On Saturday (ahem, tomorrow!), Athens GA/Philly PA's Folklore rolls through Clevo to play a gig with local heroes Afternoon Naps and Chicago's The Bears of Blue River.
Folklore is Jimmy Hughes and lots of his friends from Athens GA and Philadelphia PA, the two towns that Hughes calls home. A veteran to the Athens music scene where he plays as a full-time member of Elf Power and also toured playing with Vic Chesnutt throughout 2009, Hughes took the songwriter role when he formed Folklore back in 2005 to create the conceptual album, The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman (released in 2007). A grandiose tale, the songs sounds like they’ve appeared off different records initially but the fog will clear and you’ll find yourself traversing through the story many times over. The bonus of course is that there are splendid melodies to be found on every corner, with guitars, clarinets, strings, trumpet, trombone, digeridoo, and more forming the backdrop to songs that have been called poignant, provocative, heartbreaking, and haunting. 2008 brought the darker, more psychedelic follow-up album, Carpenter’s Falls.
The new album, Home Church Road (to be released in Summer 2010), is 16 songs telling the story of the Earth after humans have become extinct. Only a few species of mammals, birds, lizards, and bugs remain. They peacefully coexist on Earth until the day they discover, alive but buried in the ground, a human priest. His name is Loki. Mistaken as the last human, Loki is actually a shape-shifter, and his friendly manipulations and seductions will ensure the rebirth of the large carnivorous beasts and dinosaurs that once roamed the Earth. Such is the story of Home Church Road.
In 2005, Jimmy started writing the Folklore songs as an outlet for unfinished fiction, a collection of connected stories written as songs rather than prose. The Athens band was born and released two albums together. In 2009, Jimmy relocated to Philadelphia where he managed to find several people who wanted to continue playing as Folklore, and within months of moving there, the band was already playing regular club shows and house shows. So what would have most likely faded into a lost bedroom project is now a stronger than ever live band in Philadelphia: Jason Henn (drums), Chad Arnett (guitar), Scott Churchman (double bass), Avalon Clare (clarinet), Yianni Kourmadas (bass clarinet), Cheryl Nguyen (violin), Andrew Keller (viola). The Home Church Road recordings feature performances by all of the Philadelphia cast as well as all of the Athens players. This current tour will involve members of both the Athens band and the Philadelphia band.
I recently had the opportunity to do a little q&a with Jimmy - read on, he's a pretty interesting chap and a nice guy to boot!
1) How are things going with the Folklore project these days? What's next? Things seem to be really picking up momentum. We have a new album in the bag titled Home Church Road that should be out in the Fall of 2010, we've been touring a lot, and our band (and friendship within the band) has been growing really strong. So it's been really fun being involved in Folklore! As far as what's next, it's hard to tell at this point. I guess it will all depend on what becomes of this new record and if audiences, fans, critics, etc respond to it. But even if the record just becomes another lost gem in a sea of albums, I hope that we make another one. We have already started discussing what our next concept album will be about.
2) What are you looking forward to most about this upcoming tour? We'll be recording a Daytrotter Session (www.daytrotter.com) so that will be exciting. But just in general, I think we are all excited to get out on the road and play with some awesome bands (The Bears Of Blue River, Poison Control Center, and more) and have a really good time. Most of the touring we have done recently has been short term regional shows which is fun, but it will be nice to get out on the road and stay out on the road for a spell. I like playing shows that way because I feel like it gives the band a chance to really get in a groove. We're also looking forward to seeing old friends in Cleveland, Chicago, and so on.
3) What do you think are your most significant inspirations on the forthcoming album, Home Church Road? Birds, Lizards, Cows, Deer, Good, Evil, and the general idea that humans take the Earth for granted and will one day be erased from it. Musically, I have been inspired lately by bands like the Kinks and CCR and Bob Dylan, but I don't think that our sound can be directly linked to any one of those influences. That's just what I like to listen to. Also, all of these songwriters deal in story-telling and that is what Folklore's main objective is, so I guess I have to take a few lessons from the masters.
4) I noticed you did a Kickstarter project. I really dig the concept behind that program. What did you think? Would you do it again? Kickstarter was an amazingly helpful tool for us to get the money to press this new album on vinyl (which we definitely wouldn't have been able to afford without the astounding generosity of our friends, fans, and family). I would definitely do it again, and Kickstarter is set up in such a way that it is easy and super user-friendly, both for us the band and for the people donating. If we had set out to do this on our own just soliciting donations from our friends via email, word-of-mouth, etc, there is no way it would have been as successful as it was.
5) Ever been to Cleveland before? Any interesting memories to share? Yes, Folklore has played in Cleveland once before at the Beachland, and I have been through Cleveland before with other bands that I play in as well, such as Elf Power, Bugs Eat Books, and others. It was really fun last time Folklore was in town because we had a great show and then we got to hang out afterwards with my friend Paul at his warehouse studio Zombie Proof (which sadly I hear is no more). That was a really great night. One of these days if I find the time in Cleveland, I would like to visit the museum in the old house from A Christmas Story, but I don't know if we'll have time this time around. I like that movie though and that seems like it would be a fun visit. But in general, I don't think I have ever had a bad time in Cleveland.
Saturday's Folklore show is 18+ and costs $5 for legal drinkers, $10 for those not yet of age. Cranky's is located at 2527 W 25th St and the get down gets down at about 10 PM.
Ever since Arts Collinwood hired the inimitable and impressive R.A. Washington, things at the non-profit that anchors Waterloo Road have just gotten cooler and cooler. Whether pop-up art benefits for Haiti or a bewildering array of well-curated music and film events, Washington has upped the ante at the spot.
The most recent example of this takes place on Monday, June 14th, when indie rock drummer par excellence Kid Millions (most famously of Oneida) brings his percussive noise-symphony to town in the form of his newest project, Man Forever.
I've spent hours listening to the tracks that I was fortunate enough to receive from Mr. Millions, and still have only barely wrapped my mind around it (or, perhaps, I still haven't). Rather than butcher the description of something that is conceptually weighty and enormously ambitious, I'll let the man describe it to you himself:
“A few months ago I went to see Fireworks Ensemble perform Metal Machine Music, I read the liner notes for the show, listened to the original record and learned how the piece was originally recorded and discovered Ulrich Krieger’s transcription process. During the performance I was inspired to record an album right away. A conversation I’d had a year or so ago with Brian Chase (from the YYYs) about just intonation tuning with drums popped into my head and I realized I could do something with acoustic drums inspired by the “noise” of electric instruments. I visualized a monolithic recording that would utilize the rich tonality of carefully tuned acoustic drums, played powerfully and multi-tracked at different speeds onto the Ocropolis (Oneida’s Brooklyn Studio) 16 track 1” tape machine. I asked Brian Chase to come to the studio and help me tune my drums so I could capture my ambition for the piece. Richard Hoffman (Sightings) added some bass to the final mix. The tempo is something like 180BPM. The piece moves fast at an almost imperceptible rhythm. It feels overwhelming and fluctuates constantly. Turn it up!”
After reading that description and listening to the music, I just had to get further into it. Below is the best transcript my creaky old fingers could produce of a conversation the drummer and I had a few days back. Enjoy!
How do you characterize what you are doing musically right now? I think words like “free” and “post” could be used, but that there is possibly a better way to get it said. What’s your preferred way?
It’s funny - I don’t really do that, for whatever reasons. I’m kind of uncomfortable with words like free or improvisation. It is improvised and it sounds like high-energy free music, it certainly has that touchstone, but my idea conceptually is kind of like a physical performance. For the performer, it’s not meant to be something they express themselves while doing. It’s not supposed to be five guys soloing together, but more supposed to be about an ensemble and the individuals subsuming their egos to the main goals of the ensemble. The main goal would be to create a very complicated aural tapestry of tones that kind of create overtones, like acoustic noise music. That’s how I describe it to people. The show is also very aggressively played, but at the same time people find it kind of meditative. It’s kind of like taking the concepts of minimalism and noise and tuning and just intonation and bringing them all into a drum context and then just going balls out.
So kind of like there is sort of a sonic ideology behind it.
That’s a cool way of thinking about it. I would agree. I have an agenda. Definitely.
It seems like you are playing at some interesting venues on this tour – galleries, DIY venues, etc. Do you think that fits in some way with the musical project?
I agree. I wanted to get out of the rock club mentality and that kind of presentation. I do that with Oneida and it’s awesome and I love it, but I felt this would work better with less PA support and be more experiential with the acoustics. I thought that it could be presented in more alternative spaces, and everywhere except Chicago (where the show is taking place at the more traditional rock club The Empty Bottle) people saw what I had in mind and came up with some great ideas.
To be honest, this is probably gonna totally suck money-wise, unfortunately, but it’ll be super cool for the experience. The experience is about all kind of different things – yeah, it’s a performance, but its also relational. The idea is that the acoustic tone is supposed to be the most important thing, and then of course there is the physical element, with very physical drummers trying to build up a ton of energy, playing as hard and as fast as possible.
I could totally see this music being played with some sort of visual dimension.
Yeah, man, I agree. Visuals could totally complement what I’m going for. There are gonna be some visuals at some of the shows. I’m open if someone wants to do it, but I haven’t focused on that so much. It’ll happen in Pittsburgh, though, and if there were people I knew in more cities that did projections, I would totally reach out but I don’t really know everyone everywhere. I did every aspect of this project on my own, from publicity to recording, and there were some things I just had to give up on for now. But, yeah, visuals are something that’ll happen.
You have an impressive bunch of folks you’ve been working on this project with as of late. To what extent is this a Kid Millions jam versus being a collaborative thing?
They are part of the ensemble. They are really there to execute my vision and I’m really super honored by that. Everyone just wants to make it sound the way I want it to. We’ll see how it shapes out on the road, because we’ll have a bunch of different shows and we’ll probably talk after about what was successful and what wasn’t. I’m totally interested in other people’s ideas, and in terms of Brian Chase’s (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) involvement, he totally helped me execute my ideas. A year and half or so ago I had this long conversation with him about intonation and what he was doing with his drums and when I decided to do this I thought he could really help me realize what I was going for, and he did.
And then Shahin (Motia, of Oneida) helped me in the studio when I was recording it – I did everything myself, but he was there and he helped me realize it.
For another example, with Richard Hoffman (the bassist from Sightings), I told him the key the drums were tuned in and asked him to reference that, and he did, but you can tell it isn’t normal bass. It was Richard.
On tour, even though we are playing music that I originally recorded by myself, I’m not telling the drummers what to play but I also have a concept for how the piece should go. The piece needs to be full-on the whole time. Everyone’s there for me, which is kind of scary, but I’m excited.
What’s next for Man Forever?
It is gonna be interesting to see. I’m definitely going to do another album. It’ll come out on Brah (Oneida’s label) and I need to buckle down and explore what the next step could be. I’m doing a bunch of shows on weekends through the end of the year in cities all over and will be collaborating with local musicians in each space. I really view this as an opportunity to connect with other musicians outside of a traditional rock band type of setting. It’s just a different kind of conceptual playing field. So, yeah, I’m still gonna keep doing it. The album will be coming out in Japan so I might go to Japan and collaborate with Japanese drummers. Man, there is lots to do – the sky is the limit.
Finally, I always ask, any Cleveland stories worth sharing?
Oneida has played here many, many times. In fact, we played there on our first tour in 1997. We’ve made great friends there, like the guys in This Moment in Black History. You know, I think we’ve played every venue.
Now, I’ll admit, I’m an outsider – Cleveland might have more charm for me than it does for the locals. I love Cleveland. Bobby and Jane (from Oneida) both spent time at Oberlin and love Cleveland’s history, especially the punk history. We’ve always felt that connection when we are there. I’m excited it (the upcoming show at Arts Collinwood) worked out – I feel really good about the music and arts communities there. I see the punk era there being such an essential part of this country’s musical heritage so it is exciting to play there. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, well, it could be more local-centric, but maybe they have a Pere Ubu section I don’t know about. Overall, I think Cleveland is very unique, much richer musical scene and feels less striated than say New York or Chicago. I like that all kinds of artists and writers and musicians are pals and come out to the shows. I’m psyched that it worked out. I wasn’t sure that it would but it did. Come on down to Arts Collinwood (15605 Waterloo Road, Cleveland) for what promises to be a performance that gets your brain working more than usual. You'll end up being more psyched that Man Forever came than Kid Millions was that they were able to book it.
One of my favorite and most trusted publicists recently turned me on to The Golden Filter. She tends to rep a lot of the bands I like and though I wasn't aware of the band before she sent me a note, I'm glad she clued me in. Although I usually don't dig on the electronica stuff too much, but these guys make even a curmudgeonly fat-ass like me shimmy. Their new record, Voluspa, is something special. For those of you that thrive on endorsements, consider this: MOJO deemed Voluspa their "Electronica Album of the Month," Pitchfork called the band,"an infectious slice of shimmering disco beats, sparkling synth melodies and breathy disaffected vocals," and NME describes them as, "post-millennial disco with an icy sheen."
Stated simply, you should (a) see them live when they play the Grog tonight and (b) pick up a copy from the merch table during the set break. The show's at 9 and tix are a mere 8 bones. Not bad, considering openers The Hundred in the Hands and Pictora are worth catching, too. HOWEVER, thanks to the generosity of the aforementioned publicist, I have 2 free tickets to give away to tonight's show. So, the first person to send me an email (clevelandbachelorATgmailDOTcom) with your name gets them. I'll make sure you are on the list at the door plus one.
OK, so "oblique" might not quite have the ring of "jiggy" but work with me here. Looking for something funky to do like tonight? Maybe have an incentive to seem hip and cultured and in the know? If so, come on down to Waterloo and catch the Oblique Orchestra at the Cafe at Arts Collinwood tonight. Every Wednesday is jazz night, but tonight will be a special treat. If nothing else, say goodbye to Cleveland cultural stalwart Ryan Weitzel of Mystery of Two and Exit Stencil Recordings as he prepares to make his mark on NYC.
I've written elsewhere and repeatedly how much I love this band. You are crazy if you don't go see them. Ignore the hipster anti-HOB snobbery about bad sound and expensive drinks (both claims are largely incorrect) and hit up what promises to be one of the best shows you'll see this year. In fact, be smart and go grab dinner at the HOB restaurant beforehand (I heartily endorse the rosemary cornbread and the specialty shrimp dish) and you'll get to enter before everyone else, thus ensuring the opportunity to get right upfront. Trust me - for this show, you'll want to have a bird's-eye view.
Tickets are $17, doors open at 7, the show starts with openers Dawes at 8. If you need more info, check out the venue's site here.
We took last month off around here, but all the better considering the monster of a poster John G came up with for this month's show. There'll be more info to come - much, much more - but for now I just wanted to share this brilliant art with you.
Montreal's Stars come through the http://www.beachlandballroom.com/ tonight. You are crazy if you miss this. They'll be playing selections from their yet unreleased (unless you read this after June 22nd) new album, Five Ghosts. (Pre-order it here!) It'll be awesome. So will the show. Aw man, just make plans to go already. Tickets are only $17 and with an 8 PM show time (doors open at 7), you'll be back home and in bed early enough that you won't even feel it in the morning!
As a blogger who writes a lot about music, I get more unsolicited music than you could ever imagine. Sounds cool, right? Not when you listen to most of it.
HOWEVER ... Sometimes you get some really cool stuff from boutique publicists and hustling musicians. Sometimes, for example, you get turned on to a band like Florida's Morningbell, a band who knows how to mix guitar hooks and volume as well as anyone else. For evidence, check out the video below. I recommend donning your headphones and turning the volume up.
Afterwards, you'll most definitely be wanting this information, so here goes:
The band will be playing Now That's Class tonight at 9. Other bands on the bill (all of which are worth catching) include Craig Ramsey, Sixes and Sevens, and Tides.
So much going on this summer - June looks great but July is looking better and better and there is still a long time left for more big announcements to come in!
Also, kudos to whoever is doing the Grog's talent buying these days - they are destroying the field!
JUNE: 1 - Holy Fuck @ Grog Shop 2 - Morningbell @ Now That's Class 5 - The Very Knees/Tastycakes/Rebecca Nagle @ Beachland 6 - Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Surfer Blood @ Beachland 8 - Stars @ Beachland 9 - Caribou/Toro y Moi @ Grog Shop OR Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes @ HOB 10 - She & Him @ House of Blues OR The Golden Filter @ Grog Shop 11 - First Aid Kit @ Grog Shop 12 - Peter Wolf Crier/Lighthouse & the Whaler @ Grog Shop OR Phish @ Blossom OR Folklore/Bears of Blue River/Afternoon Naps @ Cranky's 13 - The Spits/Nobunny/The Wooly Bullies @ Now That's Class 14 - Dutchess and the Duke @ Now That's Class OR Man Forever @ ArtsCollinwood 16 - CocoRosie @ Beachland 17 - Beach House @ Beachland 19 - Mates of State @ Grog Shop OR Prisoners/Coffinberry @ Blue Arrow Records OR Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ Beachland 21 - Tortoise @ Grog Shop 23 - Melvins @ Grog Shop OR Truth & Salvage Co./Paleface @ Beachland 24 - Mono/Twilight Sad @ Grog Shop 25 - Two Man Gentleman Band @ Beachland OR Sisters of your Sunshine Vapor @ Now That's Class OR The Modern Electric @ Grog Shop 26 - Waterloo Arts Fest (bands tba) 27 - Public Enemy @ House of Blues OR Lilith Fair @ Blossom 29 - Woven Bones/CCR Headcleaner @ Now That's Class OR Cindy Lauper @ HOB 30 - Paper Tongues @ HOB
JULY: 2 - Prisoners/Young Mammals @ Happy Dog 8 - Small Black/Beach Fossils @ Grog Shop 9 - Sweetapple @ Grog Shop 11 - James McMurtry @ Beachland OR Cheap Trick/Squeeze @ HOB 13 - Sleigh Bells @ Grog Shop 14 - Kurt Vile/Real Estate @ Beachland 15 - Wolf Parade @ Beachland 20 - Old 97s @ Beachland 22 - Lightning Bolt @ Grog Shop OR Heartless Bastards/Builders and the Butcher/Peter Wolf Crier @ Grog Shop 24 - The Zookeepers/Netherfriends @ bela dubby OR Tokyo Police Club/Freelance Whales @ Grog Shop OR Black Keys/Jessica Lea Mayfield @ Nautica OR Black Mountain @ Beachland 29 - Blitzen Trapper/Avi Buffalo @ Grog Shop
AUGUST: 2 - Bear in Heaven @ Grog Shop 3 - Rogue Wave @ Grog Shop 6 - Maps & Atlases @ Grog Shop 7 - Phosphorescent @ Grog Shop 11 - Deer Tick/The Modern Electric @ Rock Hall
Like your rock minus the vocals and with a little instrumental electronica? Well, Holy Fuck is for you. They'll be wowing the crowd at the Grog Shop and enabling teenagers all over Cuyahoga County to slip an f-bomb past their parents and still be technically moral while doing so. Doors at 9, tickets are $12 at the door.
Moving to Cleveland a couple years ago for work, I soon learned how rich the cultural community around town was. Whether rock shows or poetry readings, edgy gallery openings or string quartets, Clevo has it all. I do my best to bring you some coverage and advocacy about what I think you should check out, support, and exploit.