Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Felice Brothers

A friend and I caught The Felice Brothers at AA Bondy's CD release party of American Hearts a few weeks ago in Birmingham. I dug up some of their music online (it was initially pretty difficult to find) and loved every second of it, and Scott... er... AA Bondy has good tastes in opening acts.

Good taste in brothers-in-law, too, apparently. The Felice Brothers, hailing from New York state, are the rough-and-tumble brothers of Bondy's lovely missus; they were opening for Bondy, but I'll be damned if they didn't near steal the show.

Five minutes into their set, my friend and I were dancing up a storm and laughing like crazy; the brothers were having just about as much fun as any band I've ever seen. Where did these guys come from? That's what I wanted to know. Soon, others around the country will be asking the same question. An upcoming US tour with Bright Eyes has been announced, and the brothers have also landed an enviable gig with Levon Helm and his Midnight Ramblers. This shouldn't be surprising, as comparisons to Bob Dylan and The Band have been irresistible for reviewers who have listened to these guys:

“Singers of ragged and lovely Catskills harmonies, rickety gospel backporch jams, 19th century medicine show charmers, cheap suit rhapsodizers, watchers of the Nashville skyline, part-time residents and always-welcome houseguests at Big Pink, students of Bob Dylan and Levon Helm, the Partridge Family in pinstripes and scruffy beards.” -stolen from songs:illinois, stolen from Gabe Soria of Vice Magazine

Upcoming Dates:

Wed-Oct-10 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom (supporting Jason Isbell)
Sat-Oct-13 Woodstock, NY Woodstock Film Festival
Sat-Oct-27 Woodstock, NY Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble

With Bright Eyes:

Tue-Nov-06 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre
Wed-Nov-07 Birmingham, AL Alabama Theatre
Thu-Nov-08 Charleston, SC The Plex
Fri-Nov-09 Winston Salem, NC Millennium Center
Sat-Nov-10 Norfolk, VA The NorVA
Sun-Nov-11 Washington, DC DAR Constitution Hall
Mon-Nov-12 Wilmington, DE Grand Opera House
Wed-Nov-14 Binghamton, NY Magic City Music Hall
Thu-Nov-15 Rochester, NY Main Street Armory
Fri-Nov-16 Portsmouth, NH The Music Hall
Sat-Nov-17 Providence, RI Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
Sun-Nov-18 Worcester, MA Palladium

Finally, the songs, the songs! These are from The Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol. I:

Frankie's Gun!
Radio Song
Whiskey in my Whiskey

Find the Felice Brothers on myspace.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Writing sentences composed only of song titles

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oh, Sophia Petrillo!

I was excited to see Biirdie's second album, Catherine Avenue, in my inbox last week because I was a fan of of their last album, Morning Kills the Dark. It looks like Biirdie decided to follow up Morning's "Open Letter to Jenny" (their ode to Jenny Lewis) with a tribute song to Estelle Getty. Well, actually I'm not sure if "Estelle" is really about her, but it should be if it isn't. Because she is awesome and we need more songs in this world written in her honor. In fact, I think I will begin to compose a concept album about Sophia, Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy as soon as I finish this blog.

But back to Catherine Avenue for a moment. Team Clermont describes the album as a collection of "sweeping anthems told in California semi-gloss, with twinges of West Coast Country and big-hearted Southern balladry" and this is an apt description.

Biirdie - Estelle
Biirdie - Him
Biirdie - I Wish I Could've Been There

Catherine Avenue will be released on October 30. Okay, I'm off to write the lyrics to "Picture It, Sicily 1912" and "Back in St. Olaf."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This Season In Indie Music, Sneaky Is The New Black

From the Desk of Jordan Sowards, RB Semiregular Guest Blogger

Remember a couple months ago when Stars oh-so-quietly released the digital version of In Our Bedroom After the War approximately 1/4 of a year before the previously announced release date? The official reason given for the premature "drop" was to, like a diaper, "combat leaks."

And how silly did we all feel, scrambling to be the first to download it after Arts & Crafts threw a royal monkey wrench into our own personal album release schedules? I had already used up my eMusic downloads for the month, for crying out loud.

To me, this release-to-beat-the-leak business is also not unlike one of those middle school preemptive defensive breakups. You know, when you catch wind that your B or GF is going to break up with you, so you make tracks to their locker and announce conspicuously that you will, in fact, be doing up the breaking. Upper hand officially secured. And me and my denim shirt are back all up on the market.

Well, apparently this ultra-absorbent (back to the diaper joke) record release method is becoming a fashionable trend among the twee pop set. Last night I was having a look at the Internet, and at one point I must have blinked because when I looked back, there was the new Beirut album, The Flying Club Cup. And it was all, "What? I've been here the whole time." But I knew it hadn't. It had snuck out. And it's been out since Tuesday on iTunes, people! Did we know this?

Whatever. All I know is it's out now. And, as you might expect, it's gorgeous. I'm talking Brad Pitt sliding up out of the swimming pool in slow motion gorgeous. Wait, did I say Brad Pitt? I meant Angelina Jolie, but the backspace key is broken on my compuper.

The Flying Club Cup is said to be based more on French pop than Balkan music, so expect less Hawk and A Hacksaw, and more Yann Tiersen's Amelie soundtrack. "A Sunday Smile" opens with a waltzing organ whose sound you will recognize from the pair of sublime lo-fi electronic numbers on Gulag Orkestar, and continues with the gentle, more familiar still, baritone croon of youngster Zach Condon. Like any indie pop song worth its salt, "Guyamas Sonora" starts with a cute, tinkling glockenspiel (which I adore) and whimsical piano. As proof of the community effort, both songs build into a mighty Euro-hoedown sing-along. The whole of The Flying Club Cup, like the Lon Gisland EP, employs the contribution of Condon's entire touring orkestar, and is also augmented with string arrangements from Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy. And is awesome.

Listen here first, then go score it for yourself. The physical release is still scheduled for October something somethingth. (Ed: October 9)

Beirut - Guyamas Sonora
Beirut - A Sunday Smile

Thursday, September 06, 2007

more love for Akron/Family

I have championed freak-folk rocksters Akron/Family so much around friends and family that most folks hold their breath or roll their eyes whenever the words "Akron" and "Family" come out of my mouth in close proximity to each other.

Like I care. People, when I champion bands, I champion them for a reason. Because this band is Gary Oldmanin' AMAZING. Their upcoming release, Love is Simple, both improves upon things they've been doing and showcases them diverging from the path they've been traveling.

The abrupt, mid-song changes (from slow- or mid-tempo to fast, soft and pretty to raucous and weird, raucous and weird to laid-back and country) that characterized, nay, helped to define their first, self-titled album is still present, but the transitions on Love is Simple are smoother.

Although the warm sounds/moods we've become accustomed to are still present, the band's style changes quite a bit on this record. It's more primitive and more communal; they added some additional musicians to what sounds like a big, sometimes jam-bandish party.

Luckily for those of us in Alabama, these fellas will be returning to Birmingham to play their second show in Alabama. It's been two years since their last performance, and nobody has been anticipating a return performance more than I. If you're in town next Thursday, September 13, come out to Bottletree to catch the show.

Oh, and menfolk, be sure to grow out your beards!

Ed is a Portal
I've Got Some Friends

Buy the new record in all its hippie glory here