There ain’t no difference between the two
Cocaine, running all ’round my brain
Looking for that girl who sells cocaine
Cocaine, runnin’ all ’round my brain
That old Cocaine ’bout to make me sick
Cocaine, runnin’ all ’round my brain
Black Water Choir, the folk duo of Corey Hines and Alexis Ambrose, has returned to the stage after a dormant period and we are more than excited to see the haunting melodies these two produce. The two are kind of a darker Gram Parson, Emmy Lou combination, they sing tales of love & heartbreak that sound like were written after a long night of rye and head scratching. With an aesthetic of a 50s variety show couple, the two are almost playing characters. Like in Revolutionary Road, behind all that Dapper Dan and pearls, there are things that lie deeper: looks can be deceiving, ya know?
Young Mister, the new project of songwriter Steven Fiore, is on tour supporting their self titled record, out now on Refresh Records. Fiore hasn’t played Savannah much, but has been on the road the past few years touring with Jay Clifford (Jump Little Children), Slow Runner, and even regularly performing with Jeff Goldblum’s jazz band in Los Angeles. Steven is one of my oldest friends and admirers, I went to see him play coffee shops and have heard him sing “Ooh La La” countless times in living rooms around the world. I am super stoked to have him in town.
Fiore’s touring band happens to include many members of the Stopover alums’ the High Divers, so they will join in on the action too. If you didn’t see them perform at last March, their set at the Grey was one of the more passionate of the Stopover weekend; a high energy indie rock group with some Carolina twang. They are also part of the much touted Hearts & Plugs roster, and will be featured at the Summer Shindig later this week. If you can’t make it up, its a great opportunity to see.
See you tomorrow kiddos.
The Dessner twins just released the mega tribute compilation to the Dead that has a number of delicious covers. A guide to the this 59 song behemoth is currently in the works but in the mean time, listen to Unknown Mortal Orchestra version of the disco crossover classic “Shakedown Street.” Lead by the lo-fi funk master Ruban Nielson, this song fits perfectly with his subtle analog energy he brings to his recordings and gives the song that r&b swagger that was featured on his last full length, Multi-Love. His penchant for imitating early female soul singers is always so fascinating and fun: a real gem on Day of the Dead.
TOPS’s debut, Picture You Staring, was one of the most charming records of 2014. It is just easy, full of lush synth pads, airy female vocals, slick jazzy guitar, and subtle dance beats. Pop music that you can play in the sunlight or hear at bar. The stand alone single, “The Hollow Sound of the Morning Chimes”, shows off their woozy side a little more. They referenced to such a mood before on “Outside”, a slow dance number that is an ode to Angelo Badalamenti’s theme from “Twin Peaks”, or a tune that barely missed the cut in a Molly Ringwald prom scene. But “Hollow Sound” is more wistful feeling. I can’t tell if it makes feel empty or gets me in the mood. Its like a cigarette after sex, gives you time to ponder. Was it good? Are we in love? Or was it just the lighting?
Sheer Mag continues its excellent run of lightning hot garage rock with III. And with each effort the band’s quality grows more and more. The production is slicker, the guitar riffs are as Thin Lizzy as ever, and the biggest difference is, vocal powerhouse, Christina Halladay has turned her stage into a soapbox. “With power comes great responsibility,” goes the saying and as Sheer Mag’s reputation rapidly grows, Halladay has not shied away from singing about crimes against humanity and the political distaste in the world today. She is giving a voice to the little man, which is so perfect for their music that possesses such fighting spirit and an ass kicking uplifting quality that would carouse anyone to wake up and fight back.
In a world where the majority of mass media is either nonsense or impartial due to political agendas of party committees, corporate money, etc., its harder than ever to get the honest journalism these days without having a very astute bullshit radar. Halladay does her humanitarian part by writing about the horrific female homicides rate in the small Mexican village of Ciudad Juarez, in which over 370 women have been killed in a 15 year span; women who are also cruelly overworked and exposed to insane amounts of carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. “Paloma walks home at night from the maquiladora / 8 days later no one has saw her” are the first lines of the EP, but you wouldn’t notice the solemn subject matter from the sound of the Philadelphia punk outfit’s beer chugging firework show of riffy rock and roll. And isn’t that the beauty of Sheer Mag? “Can’t Stop Fighting” is a real battle cry for a young band that plays in a genre that has been largely dominated by plastic machismo and air headed dull ness. This band aims to stand for something.
“Worth The Tears” is another example of Halladay’s maturity as a songwriter. Once again, the addicting catchiness of the guitar lead somewhat distracts from the story of a forlorn love affair. “But at least i tried / and the time we had was worth the tears that you made me cry / i won’t be afraid / and i’ll never forget the good lovin’ that we made,” Halladay sings, with her head held high, a pop melody that would make a good Diana Ross hit (and a bass line suitable for the great James Jamerson). In fact, her melodic rhythm also hints at a more raspy take on Camera Obscura, who specializes in songs of heartbreak in grand majesty. Sheer Mag is doing just fine without horns and string arrangements; their fuzz transcends your average fuzz rock.
There is not a band in recent memory that has come onto the scene with such confidence and strut in a very long time. This article mainly focused on lead singer Christina Halladay, deservingly so for her incredible development as a front woman and writer. But words cannot really do justice for the band itself, the incredible lead guitar/bass play of brothers Kyle & Hart Seely, the momentum and vigor at which they do… everything. Sheer Mag shows no sign of stopping and soon will be in the hearts of more than just the DIY circuit.
Brooklyn can be an incredibly hopeless place, especially if you’re a young musician. Competing face to face with the formidable nightlife of New York City, try convincing a stranger to pick between, say… a LCD Soundsystem reunion show, a performance at Sleep No More, happy hour with your study abroad roomie who just got into town, dinner reservations at Mission Chinese, a live taping of Ask Me Another at Bell House, and your show. Hell, have fun trying to convince your own friends.
That is why when a band breaks out of the so-called hallowed ground of Brooklyn they duly deserve the praise and your waning attention. So who is Sunflower Bean? A trio of early 20 somethings who were named the #1 Hardest Working Band in NYC in 2014 by show-list service Oh My Rockness. This is not an objective accolade whatsoever; it was awarded for their 50 (!) shows in the New York area in said calendar year. With the enchanting Julia Cummings at their disposal, and their nostalgic 70s rock aspirations boundless by lead guitarist Nick Kivlen’s chops, Sunflower Bean quickly separated themselves from their peers.
Fast forward to today, the band’s debut Human Ceremony was just released by Fat Possum Records and the band looks to begin their ascent to glory. The album operates in the realm of said throwback 70’s rock, early 90’s shoe gaze, and new psychedelia albeit more polished than their sludgy EP. But the major shift seen on the debut is the band opted to put Cummings front and center. One might assume that this move was to put the bombshell in the spotlight, after all her stunning looks might get anyone’s attention: even fashion giants Yves Saint Laurent. But, not the case at all. In fact, Cummings, whose previous contribution to recording was screechy yelping on bizarrely titled “Tame Impala”, can sing. On “Easier Said”, she sings with purpose and confidence; her voice hitting higher notes as she recites the chorus almost effortlessly. The whole record continues in this notion, Cummings’ voice commanding but also containing a gentle nature, like she’s exploring this territory for the first time.
But this is no means a fucking love note to Julia Cummings. Although this record signifies the great potential of a young female voice, this band is more interested in grooves. Grooves that a band only earns from playing out as much as Sunflower Bean has. heir cohesion is evident on songs such as “I Was Home” and “Creation Myth”, two numbers with instrumental movements that exhibit Sunflower Bean’s vast influences, musical prowess and unique songwriting ability. The music touches on Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and NEU!… brave bands for such a young band to reference. But throughout Human Ceremony sole guitar player, Kivlen explores his fretboard and navigates Sunflower Bean through 70’s psychedlia like the classic rockers before him.
As a young band though, they were bound to suffer at least one pitfall. Possibly an attempt to diversify their sound, slow numbers such as “I Want You To Give Me Enough Time” show some soft pop sentiment but aren’t fully realized and sound like songs that have been hanging around since Kivlen first started taking guitar lessons. “Oh, I Just Don’t Know” sounds like an exercise in writing a Rolling Stones blues riff.
Ultimately, Human Ceremony shows that Sunflower Bean has potential and great grasp on their garage dynamics but their identity outside of pure rock and roll is still unrealized. Whether they decide to explore the softer notions on Human Ceremony later, we shall see. But the experiences from escaping the Brooklyn scene will allow them to evolve in front of our very eyes. And if they come to your town, I’d advise to skip happy hour with your buddy
Universally thought of as the least interesting Rolling Stone, Bill Wyman has had this in his locker all along. Silly me. The footage speaks for itself. Currently falling into a youtube black hole of this cheese ball. Starting to question everything all over again.
For a band hailing from Boone, North Carolina, a town nestled deep in the mire of the Applachian Trail, its refreshing to hear the town has produced The Nude Party’s very sunny style of West Coast garage rock: a la Allah Lahs. In their new video, “Life’s A Joke” (from their new Hot Tub 7″), a hip hitchhiker gets dragged into a mysterious van full of brightly painted rascals, seemingly drugged, and thrown back onto the street to discover his own reflection in a shop window like he’s never seen it before (“visuals, man.”). He gets into some antics but it all turns out positive in the end as his happy gang of hippie shamans returns, ensuring that his little “trip” won’t be lead astray. The song, with a strut borrowed straight from Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”, shimmers with tremolo sounds and dancing harmonica lines. “Life’s a joke, not a tragedy / I get the joke if the jokes on me” is a mantra that mirrors the bohemian philosophy of the Grateful Dead: hang now and get old later. And much like the folklore of Ken Kesey’s bus, the hitchhiker gets dragged back in for what seems might be a long, strange trip.
Say Brother plays Saturday March 12th at The Jinx // 3pm
A true dark horse on the Savannah Stopover lineup, Say Brother are closer to veterans than their one album on Spotify, All I Got Is Time, suggests. The pride of Columbia, SC, Say Brother’s reputation precedes themselves in the Southeast for their straight-from-the-bottle blues rock and roll and spirited live shows. Tripp LaFrance and company are a real ‘dirt of the earth’ crew; they wear it on their sleeve as they swashbuckle and stomp through country rockers that pay homage to Waylon Jennings and Creedence Clearwater Revival. But this crew’s menace is matched by their songs, so full of hooks and memorable guitar lines… Perfect for either pouring another or starting off your Stopover Saturday afternoon at The Jinx.
Lead singer Tripp LaFrance below with some downright real talk:
How many beers have y’all collectively taken down in a night?
ill put it to ya this way, i have seen more beer cans in the grass round the fire than ive ever seen dollar bills in my bank account
Tedo Stone plays on Friday March 11th at Congress Street Social Club // 7pm
Tedo Stone‘s new album Marshes was released last fall but the music is really suited for right now as the days grow warmer. Stone and his band have made an excellent country rock record full of incredible tonal quality, catchy hooks, and layered guitar work that showcase Stone’s personality. This is music for fans of Whiskeytown; for people who want to hear some sorrow with confidence and soul. His disposition brings to mind Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon): someone who has been beat down by love or circumstance but still not afraid to show swagger.
On the slow number, “Get Off”, Stone opens up about his own persona, but with a wry smile: “How hard do i seem? Do i seem real loaded? Do i seem real mean? Or do i just seem sweet?” And it is this sentiment where I find this band incredibly interesting. On their infectious lead single, “Mind Wasted”, the lyrics confront that alcohol might be your downfall, yet the song itself is even more enjoyable with a PBR in your hand. I talked with bassist Frank Kieth IV about Tedo Stone’s music and influence.
How would you describe your music?
A blogger recently used the term “Glamericana” so we’re sticking with that. Take it or leave it.
Favorite deli meat?
Corned Beef. A good Reuben can save lives.