Get into the kitschy and wandering Radiohead-style of “Marion” the superbly multidimensional synth-heavy psychedelic soul track from fresh new Aussie musician-producer act Jimi Crisp. Reviewed by Erin Shay.
Jimi Crisp (Soundcloud)
Sometimes the best songs are the ones that surprise. LA-based, electronic-soul band Idesia finds new ways to massage your ears on their recent single “Nu”. The opening drum beat finds me thinking of Radiohead’s “Morning Mr. Magpie”; but then the bass drops, and I’m looking around for Pino Palladino. Still somehow, lead singer Sophie Dimitroff could make even my econometrics homework seductive. By the time the chorus comes around, I am thinking no more. Enjoy “Nu” here, and grab a free download from their bandcamp. Review by Leora Mitzner
Irish band Cloud Castle Lake merge the cinematic quality and musically adventurous arrangements of Sigur Ros and Radiohead (stick with us) with modern indie and excellent melodic writing on “Sync”. Well done. “Sync” is part of Cloud Castle Lake’s “Dandelion” EP, out September 22 on Happy Valley Records.
Cloud Castle Lake (Soundcloud)
So I heard you like Radiohead? Outside of his lordship Thom Yorke, the Earl of Oxford, we’re maybe the most pumped bros on planet Earth right now for The Acid. “featuring dark hand-to-chest pulsating electronics and the sort of muscular rhythmic fits and starts that could sit comfortably on a later days Portishead track. As well as being very good, “Creeper” adeptly hits that critic-baiting nexus of darkness, mysteriousness, and UK beats band-ness. “Creeper” is excerpted here from The Acid’s just announced debut Liminial, out June 2 on Infectious.
The Acid (Soundcloud)
The mighty Marian Hill announce new EP “Play” with the excellent new single “One Time”. Neatly balancing jazz influences in the melody with modern arrangement and rhythmic elements all while tying up the track within a compact and cool Marian Hill minimalist frame. The path to successfully blending jazz and contemporary sounds is lined with seemingly endless traunches of hokey garbage (Email subject line: Hey! Check Our Band, We Blend Miles Davis w/ Radiohead!) but the Marian Hill (taste and adeptness at selecting for the right arrangement help) sound just really really works. “Play” is out March 4th.
Marian Hill: (Facebook)
“Grand Union” is primed to ‘double-take’, complete with a bridge worthy of The Bends era Radiohead and a melodic rock mix that’s as at home in 2013 as it would be in 2001. “Grand Union” is the new single from UK four piece Arthur Beatrice’s debut album expected 11/4 via OAR/Polydor Records. Get familiar.
Arthur Beatrice (Facebook)
On Friday, fans gathered at Chicago’s Vic Theatre to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club hit the city for an epic 22 song set as they promoted their seventh album, Specter At The Feast released on March 18th.
Thenewno2 (pronounced “the new number two”) opened with a performance worthy of their Rolling Stone endorsement as one of The 10 Must-See Acts at Lollapalooza in 2012. The band, best known as the brainchild of Dhani Harrison (son of the late George Harrison), opened the night promptly at 8 pm. Their music is a multi-layered amalgamation of genres: indie, rock and psychedelia mixed with synthesizers, hip hop, electronica, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Reminiscent of Radiohead at times, thenewno2 has a distinctive sound all their own and live, oozes hard rock. Their set culminates with the shirtless, mohawk-sporting drummer, Frank Zummo, giving the audience the bird, as he stands behind the drumset before walking off stage.
Harrison spoke only twice, once mentioning the warmth of Chicago’s welcome inspiring a night of musical experimentation. There were no pauses as sprawling music covered the audience the entire set. Harrison preceded their last song saying, “We’ve got only one song left, but we’ll see you again soon. Probably at Lalapaloo-ta or some-ting.” Gotta love the cheerful mood that inspires end-ting word-ts in t’s.
After half an hour’s break, the venue blacks out. Slowly, dim lights shine on the drums and the audience cheers loudly as Leah Shapiro descends behind the kit. With production in full swing, Peter Hayes and Robert Levan Been walk on stage with badass aloofness reminiscent of James Dean.
Keeping in line with their role models, Been wears a black leather jacket over black t-shirt and ripped jeans. Hayes wears a button-down long sleeved shirt–black, of course. His hair is slicked back, exposing his long sideburns. Been’s hair has been dishevelled to stand voluminously on end. His sideburns also scream of another era. Both men wear leather boots. Drummer Shapiro wears a short sleeved gray shirt.
Named after Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in 1953’s The Wild One, the trio does Brando proud as they stand solidly on stage, seeming to contain their emotion before it explodes into chorus. Opening with the track “Let the Day Begin” from their new album, the band either close their eyes or stare at their instruments as they play, seeming to focus on the music itself and ignore audience interruption. They ooze the rock spirit, touching the essence of badassness and showing a seasoned skill that comes with years of touring and music-making.
The consistent percussives leaves Shapiro’s drums perpetually active; Hayes works the strings of his guitar expertly while looking like the rebel your mom warned you about. But Been; Been steals all attention. One moment he’s stationary, sipping water; the next, he’s throwing himself into his bass, propelling himself vivaciously across the stage. His silhouette shows sweat drip from his hair as he propels into a rift.
BRMC lyrics and persona encompass the rebellious spirit. With their leather boots, classic haircuts and emotionless faces singing, “We’re not the righteous, we’re not the innocent, we’re just a sign it’s all gone wrong” as they rock passionately across stage, they’re the rebels your mom warned you about. They revel in their status as the spiritually damned, the morally debased. There’s just something about lack of facial expression, black clothes and aloofness that draws you in every time.
Forty minutes into the two hour set, Hayes and Been swop instruments and stage placement for one song, giving each side of the crowd a little love. Been’s presence is constantly known on stage, while Hayes sinks into the background unless singing. Midway through the set a spotlight shines on Been and an acoustic guitar, encompassing the stage in darkness as the band disappears for a well deserved break. With the expressionless face he’s worn all evening, Been approaches the mic, “I wanted to play a song I usually don’t, but Chicago is especially welcoming. So, this is for you.”
Been strums the chords to The Call’s “You Run,” in honor of his late father, a member of the popular 80’s band. However, two lines in, Been stalls to a halt. For the first time that night there’s a crack in the aloof shell, revealing the deeper humanity behind. He smiles as he steps back from the guitar. “Sorry, it’s been a few weeks,” he jokes as he continues to strum and remember the lyrics. After an interlude he returns to sing.
Hayes returns to perform “The Fault Line” from the band’s 2005 album Howl, as Been escapes the stage for a moment’s break. He plays harmonica as he strums the guitar, resurrecting memories of their blues inspired roots, something the band has wandered away from. A stillness falls over the room as they listen to the lone singer on stage. As Shapiro and Been rejoin him for “Fire Walker,” anticipation awakens for the livelier songs which subsist within BRMC.
The middle of the two hour set served almost as an intermission as the audience listened to the band play through their slower, contemplative songs “Returning,” “Love Burns,” “You Run,” “Fault Line,” “Fire Walker” and “Windows.” The hungry crowd bears with it only so long, becoming somewhat disgruntled as they wait for the band’s characteristic hi-temp rock to return.
Yet, life and experience have reshaped the band since their last record, clearly seen in the pensive, slower pace of Specter at the Feast. The album is a more contemplative record in remembrance of Michael Been, Robert’s father, who was so integrally involved in BRMC that he was deemed the unofficial fourth member of the band, filling roles from co-producing to running sound on tour. Been died backstage of a heart attack at Belgium’s Pukkelpop Music Festival in 2010. The new album clearly reflects the band’s emotion as they work through their pain and memorialize someone so important in their lives.
After this emotional interlude (and, more practically speaking, a jogging break for their marathon set), BRMC broke the sombre mood with “Conscience Killer.” Hayes and Been look at each other as they began the first chords, smiling mischievously. A happy crowd responds with fists in the air and head bangs as Been theatrically points his guitar out to the audience like a gun looking for consciences to kill. Scary, scary.
As the show breaks the hour and a half mark, Hayes pulls out a cigarette between vocals. The red embers shine through the darkness and production, hanging from his mouth as he plays. The badass spirit deepens.
“Well, goddamn,” Been says after the song “Six Barrel Shot Gun.” “How about another one?”
Fans scream as the band launch wildly into their close, playing “Spread Your Love,” with sensual intensity and ferocity that reverberates through the crowd. The strobe lights flicker so much that all you can see is Been’s silhouette as he propels himself from stage left to right. While lights settle, he returns to his mic and with the third smile of the night, dramatically presses his hand through his hair and reaches out for an invisible vixen. Strobe lights make a resurgence, and he walks to the edge of the stage, throwing himself into his guitar–fingers flying, head pumping. As the lights calm, Been huddles over the crowd with his head on his bass, almost caressing it to sleep before waking it violently for the close. And then he walks away, without looking back.
As lights blacken and tech’s return to stage to prepare for the encore, a fan exhales a “god damn!” seeming to release the emotion of the entire room.
For encore they play, “Sell It,” a song which retains the high momentum fans so much hoped would be their go-home gift. And yet, as their final goodbye BRMC ended with the pensieve lyrics and melodies of their new album’s concluding song “Lose Yourself.” With it’s epic sweep, the song conveys the spirit of a band transformed by life and shows BRMC as they are now, not as they were five years ago.
Overall, the night was a BRMC statement of rock n’ roll. The aging men (with young lady Shapiro in the background), continue a persona, a spirit, a culture of an age gone by. The classic leather-wearing rockers, so often subject of fantasy, inspire a well-needed nostalgia for the rock that needs a re-emergence. And if it also inspires me to watch Sons of Anarchy, I’m ok with that too.
Review and Photo by Jessica Greene
The badass trio are are on tour with thenewno2 for the next two weeks in the US before venturing abroad:
May 20 – Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
May 21 – Belly Up Aspen, Aspen, CO
May 24 – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
May 25 – Sasquatch Festival, Sasquatch Festival
May 26 – Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
May 27 – Knitting Factory, Reno, NV
May 29 – Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
May 30 – The Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ
May 31 – Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
June 1 – The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
June 2 – The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Official)
London quintet Eliza and the Bear have conjured up a delectable new AA single for the indie folk/pop/rock enthralled. The insatiably melodic Upon the North / The Southern Wild sees release later this month on February 25 via Generator. We recently caught up with vocalist James Kellegher to talk about songwriting, a debut album, Justin Bieber and more. Check it out below.
B3SCI: How did Eliza and the Bear come to be?
EATB: We’d all played in bands that had crossed paths once or twice. Paul, Martin and Chris were all quite local to me (James), Callie and I were in bands together. These bands ended for one reason or another and most of us decided to have a good break from all of it. There was a point in time, boredom set in and we decided to go back and write music that we wanted to hear and to keep enjoying it. We recorded our first demo “Trees” in Paul’s bedroom studio, with absolutely no plans to tour or do much with it. Eventually it became apparent that people enjoyed it, so we thought we’d better write some more songs!
B3SCI: The band explore a variety of eclectic rhythms and cultural folk and rock styles. How would you describe the musical cauldron of Eliza and the Bear?
EATB: It’s certainly a busy cauldron! We all have musical tastes that differ from eachother, but there is a overlapping section that we all agree upon. We are constantly listening to new music and branching out into different genres. We aren’t really afraid to stray from the path a little bit, which I think can limit some bands, if you think too much about what you “can’t” do, you may lose your spark. Most importantly, don’t force it, if we find ourselves trying to force a song to work we usually put it to bed for a few months and then go back to its core.
B3SCI: Speaking of various influences, how about sharing a few guilty pleasures? Any surprises with your main influences?
EATB: This band are FULL of guilty pleasures. We are all hoping to go and see Justin Bieber on his UK tour and maybe One Direction! I don’t think our main musical influences are that surprising, but they don’t particularly sound like us. Bands like: Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Coldplay, The Maccabees.
B3SCI: Much of your music feels colorful, showcasing strong range, restraint and dynamic all without saying too much. Is this a conscious effort and in any case how do you want people to feel when they hear an Eliza and the Bear song?
EATB: I don’t think its too much of a conscious effort. I think if there is a vocal line or piano line that we particularly think will stand out on its own, we will use it. I have an inability to sing about anything overly happy, so I think it’s a nice mix with the upbeat music. I think the music has quite a grand sound, it’s quite euphoric in places but we like to expose the delicate nuances of the song as well. It makes me feel nostalgic, so I hope that comes across to listeners.
B3SCI: Your upcoming double A-side / 7″ for “Upon the North” and “The Southern Wild” beckons the obvious juxtaposition curiosity. How do Eliza and the Bear see the roles of ‘North’ and ‘South’?
EATB: I think in these songs “North” and “South” play a similar role in the way that they are a direction to choose. Almost an escape/new start.
B3SCI: The single drops on the 25th of February. How will Eliza and the Bear be spending their days leading up to its release (besides sleepless nights of course)?
EATB: On the 25th we start a short tour, so I’m sure we will be keeping our minds active in the rehearsal studio. Making sure everything is ready to go!
B3SCI: What role does the live show play in the overall Eliza and the Bear experience?
EATB: I think the live environment is very important for bands. A lot of people will hear your band live before anything else, so you have to be tight. For our shows, we make sure we just enjoy ourselves and I think that can be contagious to an audience.
B3SCI: When will fans in the United States get their chance to see Eliza and the Bear? Is SXSW on the horizon?
EATB: We are all hoping to get out this year or in 2014. I think SXSW 2014 is a goal we are aiming for.
B3SCI: When can fans expect a full length release?
EATB: We are currently writing and demoing for a full length, so we are looking forward to getting into a studio at some point this year to start work on it!
B3SCI: When you guys aren’t making music, how do you bide your time?
EATB: We all still have dayjobs right now, some of us work in schools/colleges and others are labourers. If we aren’t at work, we are either sleeping or practicing!
B3SCI: In fine tradition as now B3SCI interview alumni, we’re hooking you guys up with a free ride on our B3SCI Time Machine… Where/when are you guys heading?
EATB: I think we all want to go back to the 1920’s and be gangsters running an alcohol factory. (Yes we watch Boardwalk Empire!)
Denitia Odigie continues to impress the b3 team with new track “Weekend”. Driven by jazz-inflected guitars, quiet storm rhythms, and a overall breadth to the track that sounds almost analogued to latter-day Radiohead (the picked arpeggios, the deep in the mix glacial vocal harmonies) “Weekend” is an absolute do not miss track.Denitia Odigie – Weekend
Denitia Odigie (Facebook)
NYC band Walking Shapes (ex-Click Clack Boom) come up aces on their first major release “Pusher”. The syncopated drum/guitar combos and hooky melodies remind us a bit of Radiohead’s “15 Step”, if instead of being “really into” Flying Lotus and bowler hats, Thom Yorke hung out more at the beach. A+ track, boys.
Walking Shapes (Facebook)
Let’s say that you really wanted to catch Radiohead at Coachella this past year, but you live somewhere like Chicago and are not interested in paying a small fortune to sweat your ass off in the middle of the desert… what did you end up doing? You live streamed the shit out of that festival! Apply that same concept but on a nightly, worldwide scale, and we introduce you to your next favorite live content streaming destination, IROCKE. With over 2,000 live shows now streaming per month, this new start-up based out of Hermosa Beach, Ca. is at the forefront of what just might be the next big step in the rapidly evolving music industry.
B3SCI recently paid visit to the official beta launch party for IROCKE and received a first hand look at what the hype is all about. Mingling with different bloggers, venue owners, artists, managers, marketing execs, live streaming sources and others, we realized the true viability in the live streaming industry. Live music from Tom Freund and friends (tomfruend.com) was accompanied throughout the evening by a collection of brief speeches from IROCKE co-founder Karl Rogers and representatives of SkyRoomLive, ShowGo.tv, and TRI Studios (Bob Weir’s state of the art studio). In fine fashion, being projected on the back wall during the party was IROCKE in full swing, showcasing real time and live streams from Benny Benassi, Andrew W.K. gigs taking place around the country.
IROCKE is now open to the public. Visit the site and the first thing you will notice on the home page is an intuitive layout and design. It’s simple to use and easy to navigate, with many cool features, like sortable live shows by genre and other criteria. Also, members who choose to sign-up with IROCKE have the ability to click on an artist and see where they are playing next and what live streams have already happened. As a member of IROCKE, you can personalize your own profile with RSVPs for streams, sharing capabilities with friends and more. Throw in the fact that membership to join is currently free – and you have a winning recipe. With an expanding roster of live streams, IROCKE is the new source for live streaming music performances worldwide. By Brian Litwin