Thursday, August 04, 2005
My six day break sadly over, I'm back at work playing catch-up. My ears are still filled with the sounds of the two shows we played, thanks to the merch-table discs I snagged and the live recordings I've been editing down to share.
Picastro, The Broken River Prophet, and LOOK IT in Brooklyn on Saturday, A Northern Chorus and Sianspheric back here in town two days later. Charlene played both nights, and there wasn't a let-down among the lineups.
I taped everyone on Saturday night at Williamsburg's Trash Bar except Brian Bonz (they were last, and I was loading out), as well as a new sorta-super-groop called LOOK IT. They were up first, and I was too preoccupied setting up to tape it, which I regretted almost immediately. It was their very first show, and they've got a nifty pedigree: Cindy Wheeler of the Caulfield Sisters on guitar/vocals, Andrew Deustch (singer/guitarist of Home) on keyboards/vocals, unmistakable flutist Suzanne Thorpe from Mercury Rev, and Dave Janick from Company on drums. Seems this is a little side project for Cindy until the Caulfield Sisters return to action in September, so who knows if we'll hear more from 'em.
Next up was The Broken River Prophet, and captain Adam Brilla's (he also of Lockgroove) rotating cast of collaborators keeps helping take his songs to greater heights. I say this having been one of them, making me not just an ex-BRP member, but a current-BRP fan. As much as I miss playing on the songs, I'm infinitely glad I get to stand in the audience and simply enjoy 'em. Adam & Co. need to get some recorded output together right now... I cannot wait to hear the stuff get a studio treatment.
Until then, here's the two songs that ended last Saturday's set. I believe these are BRP's first available recordings, aside from a demo over at their site...
(files removed on 10/1/05)Charlene played right after BRP, but the recording is, shall we say, less than stellar. While we played well, I thought, the mix to my little microphone was fairly funky. So I'll spare you until later on this post...
Toronto's Picastro was up next, and I was in the perfect mental place to take them in, coming down from our set. Sparse, mellow, occasionally off-kilter songs anchored by an acoustic guitar and the haunting voice of Liz Hysen. As hard as I'm trying to avoid using the words 'Cat Power', and as sick as Liz probably is of hearing it, it's kinda unavoidable. Here's their entire mesmerizing set, and if you know the names of the two I don't, lemme know in the comments...
PicastroAfter a Sunday drive back to Boston, and not enough sleep that night, it was over to the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge for another show on Monday. Charlene was in the middle of a Canadian sonic sandwich, with A Northern Chorus opening up, and Sianspheric closing things out. This was the last night of a short east coast trip for those two bands, with ANC supporting their latest disc 'Bitter Hands Resign', and Sianspheric offering up their brand-new DVD/CD release, 'RGB'.
I'll save myself some writing, and just agree with what Frank over at Chromewaves had to say about seeing the two bands earlier this year: "Comparatively, if A Northern Chorus were the sonic equivalent of a gentle rainshower, Sianspheric were a tidal wave."
So, first, the cello-colored rainshower...
A Northern ChorusThe Lizard Lounge is so small that I was worried some of our Charlene songs would overwhelm... I mean, we're not exactly an all-out rock band, but sometimes Matt's guitar noise and my snare hits can threaten the ol' eardrums. We actually had free plugs at the merch table just in case, and they hopefully saved some unprepared patrons a good ringing. (That said, we were like church mice compared to Sianspheric.)
It's been a loooong time since the release of Charlene's self-titled debut disc back in late 2002, so these two live tracks will hopefully ease the wait for the in-the-works follow-up...
Charlene - Ripoff (live)The studio version of 'Ripoff' (which you can download here) appears on that debut (although you'll notice the original's drum machine is replaced with, um, the far-less-precise me), but 'The Way of Things' is new and unrecorded. Hopefully you'll hear a studio version of it, along with a whole bunch more, before too long.
If our set didn't have people breaking out the earplugs, then Sianspheric's sent them scrambling. Seriously, I had some hi-tech plugs in, and it was still loud as hell. But in the best way. The layers upon layers of guitar wash, the cymbals and buried vocals (try to make them out here... good luck), the rolling bass lines... it all combined perfectly. The influence of their foot-pedal forebearers abound: Echoes of Slowdive, MBV, Spacemen 3, the fuzz of Flying Saucer Attack... I was more than impressed with the aural assault.
Supposedly there was a massively deafening thunderstorm outside while the band played on, but honestly, there's no way any of us would have known.
So here, for you, is their tidal wave. It's an absolute miracle that it didn't overload my little microphone...
SiansphericIt inspired me enough to pick up that 'RGB' CD/DVD, which just came out last week, and all of the songs from their set save one can be found on it. As I was starting to pull together this write-up, today's Chromewaves post appeared in my RSS reader. Who's it about? Why, Sianspheric, of course. Mystery & Misery also reviewed RGB a couple days back, too. So head over to those fine music blogs to read more.
More photos over at my flickr space. Big thanks to Petrina over at WZBC for putting together Monday's show. A memorable night if ever there was one.
(A little Almanac reminder: Posted live tracks remain up for at least a couple weeks, sometimes longer, depending on server space. If any of the artists shared here have issues with the posting of their live recordings, just let me know. My email addy is over in the left column.)
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on november 14th, 2008
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