Though she’s the daughter of renowned singer-songwriter John Hiatt – arguably one of the biggest names in modern Americana – Lilly Hiatt is not content to rest on her father’s reputation. Earlier this year she released her powerful sophomore album, Royal Blue, and already the Nashville-based musician is developing a sound which, though it draws heavily on the traditions she grew up in, she’s making her own.
Words: Dave Kear Photos: Patrick Jacobi
Two longtime Wilco fans and conscientious hedonists journeyed to Solid Sound 2015. One is a free-lance writer by trade and the other is a regular contributor to ChunkyGlasses. With a shared history of two previous Solid Sound Festivals, countless Wilco shows attended together, and a friendship built around their shared experience of love for the band, Dave and Patrick plan to describe all that is great about Solid Sound in a personal and experiential way. Think Chuck Klosterman at a Kiss festival. They will explore not only what they love about Wilco, but also why the band is important to them as they age, how their perspective has changed over time, and what it all means -- the Festival, the band, and life.
This is how it begins...
(Music Selection: “Sunken Treasure” by Wilco)
PATRICK JACOBI: So, another Solid Sound.
DAVE KEAR: Yee-haw!
PATRICK: I cannot wait. Is this really the third one we’ve been to?
DAVE: Number 3.
PATRICK: And to think it all started as an excuse to get away from our wives.
PATRICK: Uh, no. No, we’re just kidding.
DAVE: That’s right. We love you, pretty wives.
Patrick–It came out of our mutual love for the band known as Wilco.
PATRICK: Actually, I think my very first Wilco show was with you and your lovely wife at the Riviera in Chicago back in 2001, was it not? Air conditioning was a block of ice with a fan behind it.
DAVE: Yeah, and the rest is history. We’ve seen a lot of shows together and a lot of shows apart. Not always the easiest thing to make happen with me in Brooklyn and you in DC.
PATRICK: But then along comes Solid Sound up in North Adams, Massachusetts, and all our eggs are in one basket. Why, in a single weekend we get to hang out together and take in not one, but two Wilco concerts. That’s enough live Tweedy to hold me over for at least 6 months. And they usually have a bunch of other stuff we want to see, too. Comedy.
DAVE: Yo La Tengo.
PATRICK: That was awesome. Euclid Records.
DAVE: Smuttynose Beer.
PATRICK: Okay, now we’re starting to sound like a commercial.
DAVE: But if anyone wants to send us free merch, we are more than happy to keep on shilling.
PATRICK: The point is we love music and we love this band called Wilco, and we have an abiding platonic love for each other that makes the other’s presence bearable for 3 days at stretch, so you put it all together and what do you get?
DAVE: Solid Sound?
PATRICK: Exactly. Oh, yeah, yeah, turn that up.
DAVE: What is this? This sounds familiar.
PATRICK: It’s “Last Night” by the Mar-Keys.
DAVE: Right, right, that’s the first song you put on the Mixtape.
(Music Selection: “Last Night” by The Mar-Keys)
Patrick and Dave's
Official Solid Sound 2015 Mixtape
PATRICK: I came up with the Mixtape idea after the first Solid Sound we went to, because as much as we love music, we were constantly flipping back and forth between each other’s phones and playlists on the way up and I thought Dave was going to drive us off the road.
DAVE: Right, I always drive. I hate to ride. But I always have a back log of tunes that I want to share with Patrick during the one time I get to see him all year or maybe two years.
PATRICK: So I got the idea to get the sharing part out of the way before we leave. Basically, I start the ball rolling with the first song. This year it’s “Last Night” by the Mar-Keys
DAVE: Right, then I chose “The Last Days of Disco” by Yo La Tengo.
PATRICK: Then I picked “Waitin’ for Superman” by the Flaming Lips because Georgia’s drums in the YLT song reminded me of the Lips drummer. And so on and so forth. It’s not rocket science.
DAVE: We never agreed on any rules, I kind of just held myself to a set of standards, like no artist can be used twice. If Patrick plays the Tom Waits card, then that’s all the Tom allowed on the mixtape.
PATRICK: Unless you pick one of those Primus songs where Tom sings. It’s kind of like a rhyme riche in poetry. A sweet move in the mixtape game.
DAVE: Funny you call it a game, because there’s no winning. But we started this one when? Back in January, and for the past 6 months it’s been like the best game of chess by mail. You make your move, then I listen to it and I think for a day or two, I play through some options and finally I arrive at a decision.
PATRICK: I have to tell you, I do believe this year’s Mixtape is our best yet.
DAVE: It’s a true Masterpiece of Mixology.
PATRICK: Can Mixtapes win the Nobel Prize?
DAVE: They will after this one.
PATRICK: We've got Dylan on here singing with Mavis Staples
DAVE: The talking part is hilarious.
PATRICK: (nasal Dylan voice) Welcome to California, Mavis.
PATRICK: I even put a Drive By Truckers song on there in your honor.
DAVE: I know, and it’s fricking “Steve McQueen.” One of my favorites. Because I really did want to be “Steve McQueen” when I was younger.
PATRICK: You turned me on to those guys.
DAVE: I don’t know, though, I haven’t been much into their later albums. They haven’t been “Steve McQueen”-good in a long, long time. I've pretty much tuned away from them in the last couple of years. The music starts to lack specificity like early versus latter day Springsteen.
PATRICK: Happens to the best of us. When we first start out young, we’re so hungry and fired up, we write and create from what we know, and we deliver it with roar and passion, but over time especially with success and adulation, the fire cools and the message softens, all the great details got used up in the early work. Burnt up really, and the jagged edges are smoothed and polished. The music takes on a more populist bent, and in trying to be for everybody it winds up being about nobody.
DAVE: Very astute, Mr. Jacobi. But what time is it?
PATRICK: Almost 1 o’clock.
DAVE: Holy crap, we better hit the road. It’ll take at least an hour to get out of New York City.
(MUSIC SELECTION: “GONNA CHANGE MY WAY OF THINKING” BY BOB DYLAN W/ MAVIS STAPLES)
PATRICK: (doing nasal Dylan impersonation) Mama, we got anything to eat?
DAVE: (in woman’s falsetto) We got some some chickens out there in the yard.
PATRICK: (still Dylan) Well, let’s go knock a few of ‘em off and fry ‘em up.
DAVE: (back to regular voice) Which album is this off originally?
PATRICK: Change My Way of Thinking? Not sure. One of the Christian ones. Saved, maybe. But this version is way better.
DAVE: Ah, crap.
DAVE: Google Maps is saying 3.5 hours to North Adams.
PATRICK: Luckily we have just spent the past six months assembling a Mixtape that is at least that long. Time to drop the needle and pray.
DAVE: And don’t forget we are supposed to be music journalists on this trip. We should talk about things lofty and musical, and you should get lots of pictures.
PATRICK: Click. I call that one “Urban Decay”, and Click, that one is “Metropolitan Squalor.”
DAVE: Yessir, you gotta love the Bronx.
(FFWD 2 Hours…)
PATRICK: …which is why it is a crying shame that Nick Cave and PJ Harvey never procreated. That kid would have been like a demon rocker savant.
DAVE: “I got the no passy blues!”
DAVE: Pacifier. Come on, man, I have three kids.
PATRICK: But this weekend you are just a cool rocking daddy looking to listen to a little dad rock before you put on your Depend undergarment and go to sleep in your overpriced motel room bed.
DAVE: Yeah, ain’t life grand.
PATRICK: Are you looking at this countryside, by the way?
DAVE: Suddenly I feel like Kerouac. New York State is not so crowded once you break the gravitational pull of NYC. Suddenly we are slingshot into the rolling hills and all that billowing greenery blurring past the window. Rolling mad across the great vast continent to some dangling destination.
PATRICK: Did I ever tell you that you drive like an African Taxi Driver, 70 mph with all the windows down?
DAVE: What can I say, man, I like the wind. And besides, air conditioning burns gas or so they tell me.
PATRICK: These are things we talk about whilst driving to the Solid Sound Festival.
(FFWD 30 minutes…)
DAVE: My son is crazy for Spotify. First it was Dean Martin, then David Bowie, then Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys, and now the Beatles, but the Beatles aren't on Spotify so we have to go back to the CDs for that.
PATRICK: I was reading somewhere that kids have a much broader selection these days with streaming services. They don't think of things in terms of genre. It's just music. They'll make a mix with reggae, punk, garage, classical, jazz, rockabilly, surf, etc. and like it all, and group it all together in their minds. It’s just music.
DAVE: Hell yeah, it’s just music. Hey, is that Skynyrd on the Mixtape?
PATRICK: “Tuesday’s Gone.”
DAVE: Well, turn it up, man.
PATRICK: Ah, Berkshires.
DAVE: Ah, Mt. Greylock.
PATRICK: Ah, Pittsfield and Lenox and Williamstown and North Adams. Here we are. We have arrived. What a stunning, ridiculous sunny afternoon in the country with Lynyrd Skynyrd on the radio.
DAVE: I think the weather said it was supposed to start raining tomorrow.
PATRICK: And probably straight through the rest of the time we’re up here.
DAVE: But that’s pretty much par for the course. That’s New England in late June. It’s rained before, and we kept right on rocking.
PATRICK: In some countries rocking is the only way to keep warm.
DAVE: Rock for survival.
PATRICK: Time check.
DAVE: Uh, almost 6:00pm.
PATRICK: Dang, that traffic in the Bronx nearly killed us. We’ve got to get to the shuttle.
DAVE: Get to da choppah!
PATRICK: Come on Cohaagen, give deez people ehyar!
DAVE: Don’t forget you have to pick up your press credentials.
PATRICK: Ha, oh, yeah.
DAVE: And we need food and beer.
PATRICK: It’s going to be tight, but I think we just might be able to pull off a decent buzz and a decent spot in the crowd by the time Wilco takes the stage.
DAVE: Well, lead the way, Ahnuhld.
(Music Selection - "The Jolly Banker" by Wilco)
PATRICK: Do you want another sip from the Rusty Bear.
DAVE: Sure, man. What is the significance of the Rusty Bear, by the way?
PATRICK: That’s what my wife calls me when I get cranky on vacation. So she had it engraved on this flask.
DAVE: Ah, cute. Perfect name for it. Every time I take a sip I wanna wheeze, ugh, Rusty Bear.
DAVE: You know, I don’t know. I’m not so sure about this acoustic set.
PATRICK: Yeah, I think I had something different in mind. The sound is not so hot, is it?
DAVE: No, and that’s surprising, because they usually have such great sound. I’ve never had a problem with the sound. Maybe because they usually play plugged in. This is supposed to be such a big deal that they’re doing a totally acoustic set, but I am kind of underwhelmed. I’m going to get another beer.
PATRICK: I’ll be here.
DAVE: Hi, I’m back.
PATRICK: Like the Central Scrutinizer.
DAVE: I’m digging this beer list, man. They have the Wilco Tango Foxtrot from Lagunitas. And Smuttynose brewed a special beer just for the festival, Summerteeth IPA.
PATRICK: How is it?
DAVE: Not bad. I like it better than their original IPA, Finestkind. Wanna sip?
PATRICK: Thanks, I’ll stick with the Rusty Bear.
DAVE: Yeah, let me have another hit of that.
(Disclaimer: We are actually not those guys who talk throughout an entire concert who you want to punch in the nose and kick to the ground. Most of this conversation took place elsewhere, but for the sake of space and time parameters it is being included here during the Wilco Acoustic portion of the evening. In point of fact, we are very reverent Wilco audience members singing along with every song we know, which is most, no matter how poor the sound is, and quietly nodding our heads up and down during the words that we don’t know, which are few. End of Disclaimer.)
PATRICK: “Misunderstood” is an interesting way to start.
DAVE: Yeah, but when they play it acoustic it doesn’t make sense for Tweedy to do all those balls-out Nothings at the end. NOTHIN! NOTHIN! NOTHIN! When it’s acoustic it kind of turns navel-gazely like I’m sitting in my room strumming my guitar and I’m so misunderstood. Boo-hoo.
PATRICK: Actually, this is a pretty standard setlist, just acoustified. I kind of like the plugged-in versions better.
DAVE: Right, I was kind of imagining them doing this radical set of songs they normally don’t play because they sound better acoustic, but they typically aren’t set up for that. Like go back to some deep Uncle Tupelo cuts, or a bigger chunk of Woody Guthrie stuff. Like the “Jolly Banker,” you know, on that new box set.
PATRICK: It’s still pretty good.
DAVE: Oh, it’s great what they’re doing. But remember last festival, the first night was that set of all covers.
PATRICK: That was amazing.
DAVE: That was a great idea. “The Boys are Back in Town.” “Dead Flowers.”
PATRICK: “Get Lucky.”
DAVE: Holy shit. That’s right they covered Daft Fricking Punk.
PATRICK: It’s still Wilco.
DAVE: How much of that Rusty Bear have you had exactly?
PATRICK: Enough to sing along to “New Madrid.”
DAVE: “Cause death won’t even be still.”
PATRICK: “Caroms over the landfill.”
DAVE: What the fuck does that mean?
PATRICK: I have no idea. Tweedy listened to a lot of Dylan back then.
DAVE: Remember that old story Tweedy told about his kid saying, “Daddy plays harmonica, and Bob Dylan plays Harmonica…”
PATRICK: “But daddy is not Bob Dylan.”
DAVE: (somewhere about the beginning of the encore, Mr. Dave slips into a moonlit soliloquy. It seems that the traffic and the drive up and the Summerteeth IPA and the sips of the Rusty Bear have finally gotten the best of him…) Finally I can’t hold it any longer and have to take a pee, and while I'm waiting in line the band plays their last song and leaves the stage and turns off all the lights. So when I come out from the porta-potty, I don't know where the fuck I am. Maybe if I can just find a purple line bus, cause that was the shuttle we caught over here, wasn’t it? Then I'll text Patrick and let him know I've headed back to the motel. At some point, I think I ask some people for directions, but once I hear my own voice it’s probably for the best that I don’t talk to anyone ever again so they don't lock me up somewhere. Wait, this doesn't seem right, I'm walking too far away in the wrong direction. The buses are right outside the venue. I have to turn around now. Okay, okay, this is looking better. There, over there is a purple line bus. I mumble something about “ich bien purple line” and the driver confirms yes, but maybe he isn't leaving right away, but I don't care. I need to sit down and regroup. Time slips and stumbles, it stretches and jags. Sorry, sorry, I'm sorry to everyone whose life I may have affected or inconvenienced with my slovenly sloppiness. Then I start thinking about that YouTube video of the guy at the music festival trying to put his flip-flop on for like half an hour and everyone standing around laughing at him and taking videos of him with their phone. Hopefully that wasn't me anytime tonight, though I can’t be for sure. Maybe it was. Remind me to check YouTube in the morning. But now I have miraculously made it home and only have the energy to stumble the last few feet from the door of the motel room to fall face forward into bed. Black out. End of Day #1.
The Great Flood w/ Music by Bill Frisell (Or, What Patrick saw.)
(Music Selection: “Pipeline” by Bill Frisell)
PATRICK: (in the meantime, Patrick has his own monologue.) It is not, however, the end of the day for me. Not quite, anyway. Unsure where Dave slipped off to, I drift over from Joe’s Field to the Hunter Auditorium where Bill Frisell is just tuning up. What is this Great Flood thing all about, anyway? I’m familiar with Mr. Frisell’s music from the album Guitar in the Space Age! Which has a killer cover of Pipeline on it, but I’ve never seen the man play live. Great googly moogly! Apparently he has written some kind of soundtrack to this old black and white silent film called the Great Flood.
I’m exhausted, but I am digging this.Check out that juxtaposition of the giant black and white images and the little band down below lit in color. So cool. And that tone Frisell has. That incredibly delicate, expressive tone, such a touch. Dave is really missing something for sure. Where did that guy go anyway? Wait, here’s a text from him, says, “On the bus headed back to the hotel.” Then a bunch of indecipherable gibberish.
Well, at least he’s on the bus.
Hope he’s okay on the walk back from the parking lot. Should be fine. This is just one of those small towns. Maybe one murder in ten years. Of course, I could be making that up. But you just feel it when you’re here. With the Berkshire Mountains all around, like you’re in some place out of time and all previous experience. You know what I think? I think Bill Frisell is like an avocado. He’s good anytime, and no matter what you mix him with, he only makes it better. Of course that could be the Rusty Bear talking, too. Speaking of which…Ah, that’s the last sip.
End of Day 1. For real this time.
Tune in tomorrow for PART 2!
Check out the full gallery of Patrick's shots from 2015' Solid Sound Fest below.
This week on the podcast, we’re talking BIG releases from two of the biggest indie bands around.
First up: Wilco got their start out of the ashes of alt-country legends Uncle Tupelo, and while their sound might not have fallen far from the tree at the beginning, over their twenty-plus year career they’ve consistently reshaped their sound, lineup, and even the musical landscape around them to become known as one of the most adventerous bands in rock history. For their latest “trick” the band released Star Wars, their ninth album proper, unannounced and for free last week on their website. Kevin, Patrick and Carrie dig into the history of the band, why this album matters, and most importantly: is it any good?
Next: Kevin Parker and his band Tame Impala are your guides through a headtrip worthy of the roller-rink most hip, but is their new album Currents a sonic step forward for the band, or a cold, harsh reminder of how cruel a Bee Gee’s B-Side could really be? We buy the ticket and take the ride to get to the bottom of this critically acclaimed sonic adventure.
PLUS! You want a hot new track from North Carolina’s See Gulls? We got you covered! Deep thoughts on the sad double standards of entertainment journalism? CHECK! It’s a smack-talking, mega-fanboying, super-catified hour of fun, and it’s all for you on Episode 136 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
As one of the founding bands of the British folk-rock movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Steeleye Span has long been recognized as musical pioneers. Mixing traditional folk music with electric instruments might not seem all that unusual today, but when the band’s first album, Hark! the Village Wait, came out in 1970, it was nearly unheard of. The band has gone through numerous line-up changes over the years – husband and wife duo Gay and Terry Woods left after that first album (performing as a duo for several years; after that, Terry was a founding member of Irish folk-rockers The Pogues, and Gay returned to the Steeleye fold briefly for a pair of albums in the late 90s), then after their third album, Ten Man Mop, Ashley Hutchings left to form another seminal folk-rock band, Fairport Convention.
In fact, the band that came to The Birchmere on Tuesday night has not (yet) recorded an album together, with only singer Maddy Prior continuing to represent the original group and drummer (and sometimes guitarist) Liam Genockey, who originally joined the band in 1986 rounding up the old guard. New members Julian Littman (guitar and vocals) and Jessie-May Smart (violin) have managed to integrate themselves into the band’s sound, though, and last-minute fill-in bassist Nils Petersen handled the pressure of having to play a whole concert of songs he’d just learned with ease (Prior’s son Alex Kemp, who was supposed to be with the band on bass for this tour, had visa issues and was unable to join them for their US shows).
On Friday evening, DC9 hosted an early show featuring two up-and-coming Canadian folk artists, singer songwriters Tamara Lindeman – who performs as The Weather Station – and Andy Shauf. Both touring to support recent releases – The Weather Station’s third album, Loyalty (her first to get a US release, on Paradise of Bachelors), and Shauf’s first full-length, The Bearer of Bad News – the two artists shared a stage and a backing band (Ben Whiteley on bass, Adrian Cook on keyboards and guitar, and Ian Kehoe on drums).
Andy Shauf has been compared to singers like Elliott Smith and Josh Rouse, and hearing him live, it’s easy to understand why. His breathy, often falsetto vocals are reminiscent of both singers, as is his penchant for minor keys. But despite his clear place in a tradition, he’s developing a style of his own, as can be heard in songs like “Hometown Hero” and “You’re Out Wasting.” Live the songs are a bit more sparse and direct, without the layered vocals and additional instrumentation.
In 24 years as a band, Guster has only released seven albums. Compared to many bands, that may seem sparse, but it’s clear that they’re a band that likes to do their own thing, at their own pace. Though they haven’t strayed far from their 90s alternative rock roots over the years, they haven’t stayed stagnant either; their latest record Evermotion, released earlier this year, has been somewhat divisive amongst fans as the band has shifted their sound with it in a more synth-heavy direction. But sometimes, seeing a band live can help to put an album into perspective, and that was the case on Thursday night at Wolf Trap, where the band played a set intermixing the new tracks with fan favorites from throughout their career, and showed that the new material isn’t so different after all.
This week on the podcast we’re talking new albums from Jason Isbell and Kacey Musgraves! Both artists delivered highly acclaimed records in 2013 - Southeastern and Same Trailer Different Park respectively – and now are back with their hotly anticipated follow ups. Are Something More Than Free and Pagent Material worth the wait? Can these immensely talented artists charged with, for better or for worse, changing the face of country music strike lightening twice? Kevin, Paul and Patrick dig deep into both records and try come up with the answers.
But first! Returning to the podcast after what seems far too long, Ben Tufts, the hardest working musician in the DC Scene, swings by the basement to fill us in on his upcoming annual Ben Tufts and Friends Benefit show on August 22nd at Jammin’ Java. Started as a way to honor the work of his father, the all day concert fundraiser has grown steadily from year to year, and this time out it’s bigger than ever.
So tune in, grab a seat and get ready for a super-charged, super-informative audio adventure. Coming to you live-ish from the baddest basement in DC, it’s Episode 125 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
Alejandro Escovedo has had a long and storied life in music, from his start with early San Francisco punk band The Nuns in the mid-70s, to his 23-year and counting solo career as a roots rocker. Backed by his current band The Sensitive Boys (in this incarnation, Billy Masters on guitar, Bobby Daniel on bass, and newcomer Shawn Peters on drums), Escovedo came to DC to rock The Hamilton and share some of his history.
Dick Diver may have chosen an… interesting… name, but don’t let it fool you. This foursome from Melbourne, Australia isn’t a joke band, and their recently released third album, Melbourne, Florida (named after the other Melbourne – Dick Diver is a band that obviously likes wordplay) has received almost universal acclaim for its brand of jangly indie-pop that lands somewhere between their Aussie predecessors The Go-Betweens and their next door neighbors on New Zealand’s Flying Nun label. Finally getting some recognition on this side of the world, the band is on a US tour, and last Wednesday came to the Ottobar in Baltimore.
This week on the podcast we’re talking to Washington, DC’s Sara Curtin! For years she’s been wowing audiences as one half of The Sweater Set, and more recently singing backup DC’s “supergroup” Justin Jones and the B-Sides, but now it’s time for Sara to stun on her own…again. Michigan Lilium, out July 24th, is Sara’s second solo album and in advance of her release show in New York City on July 17th, Kevin sat down with the illustrious singer/songwriter to talk about singing, family, cats, the DC scene, and, most importantly her fantastically adventurous and sublime new record.
Whether you’re just discovering Sara Curtin’s music or are a longtime fan, this is a chat you’re not going to want to miss on Episode 124 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
Boston lo-fi shoegazers Swirlies have been an on-again-off-again project in recent times, surfacing briefly every few years and then disappearing again. They’ve gone through a number of line-up changes over the years, and their last studio album release was over a decade ago. Yet the band has never quite stopped, and this month they have embarked on another short run of shows to celebrate their 25th year with their “Silver Ostrich Anniversary” tour. On Monday night, they brought their noisy, often dissonant indie rock to the Black Cat Backstage.
For this tour, band constants Damon Tutunjian (vocals/guitar), Andy Bernick (bass/keyboards), and Adam Pierce (drums) were joined by founding member Seana Carmody (vocals/guitar) and new member Elliott Malvas (guitar/keyboards). The band’s sound is one of controlled chaos, in which they somehow manage to simultaneously sound both incredibly tight and like they could fall apart at any moment.
In this week’s episode, we’re talking Apple Music, Prince, Foo Fighters and more! Apple Music launched this week to much fanfare…and then fairly immediate internet derision. Kevin has been testing it out and share’s his thoughts on its current state, and the verdict on if anything can really ever replace Rdio in his life. In other news, Washington City Paper fired a shot across the bow of crappy photo releases that concert photographers are often asked to sign by publishing the release for the Foo Fighters 4th of July blowout in DC. Is the outrage justified? Can we all just get along?
All of this PLUS Kevin and Paul pulling their best Statler and Waldorf on the new album from jazz bass master Thundercat, and a track from DC’s incredible The North Country taboot? Come on down for the basement, it’s time for your weekly dose of curmudgeonly love on Episode 123 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
Manchester, UK-based PINS may have seemed like a buzz band when they first appeared on the scene in 2012; The Guardian called them “exactly the sort of group the music papers would have been fighting over more than 20 years ago” before they had even released their debut single (“Shoot You”). But with the release in early June of their second album, Wild Nights, they have shown themselves to have longevity, with their riot grrrl-meets-indie pop sound upping the sophistication, while still maintaining its edge.
Opening with “Lost Lost Lost” from their 2013 album Girls Like Us, the band launched into a 14-song set which leaned heavily on the new material, with the first single from the latest album, “Young Girls,” along with equally single-worthy tracks “Baby Bhangs” and “Dazed By You” as highlights.
Singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt writes the kind of tranquil, meditative folk music that feels equally at home on a snowy winter afternoon or a calm summer evening. Her music has a retro feel to it, steeped as it is in the influences of artists such as Karen Dalton or Vashti Bunyan, yet like those artists it is so far removed from the tropes of anything that might be considered “popular” that it feels almost timeless. Her sophomore album, On Your Own Love Again, released on Drag City at the beginning of the year, continues down the musical path that she started on with her self-titled first album in 2012. Last Thursday evening, she brought this new album to the Rock and Roll Hotel.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the midway point of 2015, but besides being a flat circle (obvs) time, the great equalizer, ever marches on. This week on the podcast, guests Marcus Dowling and Quinn Myers join Kevin and Paul as they dig deep into some of the year’s best music that slipped through our cracks/might not have received the attention it deserved down in the basement. It’s the end of the “list", Taylor, Kendrick, shaolin monks and more on Episode 122 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
Murder ballads, fiddle tunes, and a poem about Jimi Hendrix selling salmon…
A Sam Amidon show is a surreal mash-up of the old-fashioned and the hyper-modern. Touring for the recent release of his sixth album, Lily-O, Amidon brought all of these elements and more to the stage at Jammin’ Java last Monday night.
In a set which consisted, like his albums, primarily of re-workings of traditional songs (the notable exceptions being covers of Tim McGraw’s “My Old Friend,” which Amidon recorded on his 2013 album Bright Sunny South, and “Your Lone Journey” written by Rosa Lee Watson, wife of bluegrass legend Doc Watson, recorded by Amidon on Lily-O), Amidon provided his own unique take on the folk music genre. Throughout, he seemed like someone transported from another time – yet whether that time was the 18th century or the 23rd century might, at any moment, have been up for debate.
D’Angelo didn’t have to show his abs.
By the time his album Voodoo hit back in the early dawn of the 2000s, the forbearer of the neo-soul flame from Richmond, Virginia was already established as a force to be reckoned with. With his 1995 album Brown Sugar, he shined a light on and gave name to this re-expression of a music deeply embedded in African-American culture. The five years between Sugar and Voodoo saw the genre blossom in ways that nobody could have expected. Jazz, hip-hop, funk, and even rock and roll: Nothing was off limits, especially when it came to D’Angelo’s own music.
Co-written and produced by fellow neo-soulophile Raphael Saadiq, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” on its own packed in as much sex-per-square-inch as could possibly be allowed on the airwaves. A deep cut that smashed together the innocent soul practiced by the likes of Al Green, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding, with the more get-to-the-point bedroom jams that dominated mid-to-late-80s R&B radio, the track already held the libidos of fans hostage, melting speakers and inhibitions in equal measure.
And then the video happened. Unnecessary in all the best ways, D’Angelo, fairly or not, went from just being a talented up-and-coming purveyor of neo-soul to being a legend. It wasn’t just smart marketing and smart sales; it was an indication of total commitment to his music, his identity, and most importantly, his duty to spread this new history of a culture’s experience as far and as wide as humanly possible.
And that’s the D’Angelo who showed up at The Fillmore Silver Spring last Thursday night.
As half of the duo at the core of indie rock band Girls, Christopher Owens found himself at the center of one of the most hyped acts of the early years of this decade – a band that you either loved for their patchwork pastiche of influences ranging from the 60s pop of the Beach Boys to the post-punk swagger of The Replacements, or rolled your eyes at because of the sheer amount of praise the music press seemed determined to lay on them at every turn. After two albums and an EP, just as the band seemed about to truly break out, Owens announced that he was leaving the group to go solo.
Soon after, he released Lysandre, an orchestrated acoustic album that seemed to mark a significant shift in musical direction. He cleaned himself up from a heavy opiate addiction, and last September released his second solo effort, A New Testament, which marked yet another sonic shift, this time towards a more country-tinged sound. Not to be outdone (by himself) Owens startled fans again eight months later when he put out his third album Chrissybaby Forever, which sounded like a return to form, with the indie pop that had made Girls famous front-and-center.
Richard Thompson has been performing for nearly 50 years now, first as a member of pioneering British folk-rock collective Fairport Convention, then as a duo with his then-wife Linda Thompson, and, since the early 80s, as a solo artist. His 16th solo studio album, Still, was released this week, and in advance of its release he came to The Birchmere for a two-night stand with his “electric trio,” consisting of Thompson, bassist Taras Prodaniuk, and drummer Michael Jerome – both virtuosos in their own right – and proved to be a performer still at the top of his game even after all of these years.
This week on the podcast, Kevin and Paul are talkin’ METALLLL! Melding medieval instrumentation with the blackest and loudest sounds found in rock, Tanner Anderson’s Obsequiae project leans hard into the dungeons of old to create ear-quaking cacophonies of doom…but does it satisfy his dark lords? Meanwhile, somewhere in outer space, Boston’s ELDER hurls towards our home. Their new album Lore promises sweet, sweet oblivion with a side of Yes-worthy prog, but does it rain hellfire supreme from the heaven’s below or does this trio still have a ways to go before their Charisma points are as maxed out as their Strength?
Plus! MORE Apple Music talk, SoundCloud might be breaking the blogosphere , Skyrim addictions and much, much more on Episode 121 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast! This one goes to 11.