TUESDAY: David Ramirez
The life of the traveling songwriter certainly seems romantic. But as David Ramirez notched mile number 260,000 traveled in his 2006 Kia Rio, the novelty began to wear off. "I've learned a lot from being alone and isolated," says Ramirez, who until recently toured completely by himself, without a band, manager or anyone else for company. "Yes, it's romantic in a way. But it has also been kind of rough on my head and my heart. After a while it made it difficult to connect with people on a personal level when I got home. In hindsight, I can see that it's been kind of detrimental. You know, when you travel around alone for months at a time, the world revolves around you. There's no one else in the equation. Everything was just about me. It's a selfish way of living. And I'm ready to move on from that." It's taken three years since that realization, but with his new album FABLES, Ramirez takes strides towards that personal growth both as a musician and as a man. [...] That newfound maturity and clarity translated into his approach in the studio, as Ramirez traveled to Seattle to work with his friend Noah Gundersen, who produced the album. "My previous albums were a bit less personal. I always went in with a certain idea of what I wanted them to turn out like. I had never just walked in and said 'let's just see what happens.' And that's what we did this time. [...] After years on the road touring as an opening act for artists like Noah Gundersen, Gregory Alan Isakov, Shakey Graves and Joe Pug, Ramirez is excited to finally embark on his own tour. "Fans have been paying high-dollar tickets to watch me open for other bands, and I'm very thankful for it. I've also had the chance to see how other songwriters I respect work on a professional level. I've learned a lot and been challenged a lot. It's like I've been going to school. I've been taking notes. And now I think I'm ready for the job. I'm really excited to finally go out with a band and do my own full set. It will be more fun and energetic."
Sounds like: Tyler Lyle, Korby Lenker, Noah Gundersen
Enjoy a (free!) movie night at Turf Club, hosted by Trash Film Debauchery, starting with Coneheads - the 1993 big screen adaptation of popular early-era Saturday Night Live sketch about aliens Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Jane Curtin). Episodes from HBO's horror anthology series (1989-1996), hosted by pun-tastic puppet the Crypt Keeper, will be screened following the movie.
SAFIA are a band in demand. The electro-pop trio from Canberra have been a regular fixture on the alternative airwaves of Australia since 2013, reaching critical mass when they featured on Peking Duk’s double-platinum hit "Take Me Over" last year. Their own truly weird and wonderful tune "Counting Sheep" put the spotlight on their unique take on the Australian electro sound which has swept the world in the past couple of years. [News.com] SAFIA’s trajectory has been steadily on the up since winning the Triple J Unearthed competition to play Groovin’ The Moo back in 2012. Featuring on Peking Duk’s double platinum Top 5 single, ‘Take Me Over’, a series of sell-out headline shows nationally, a national support slot with queen bee, Lorde, sweeping sets at Falls Festival, and with over 2 million Spotify streams of their tracks plus 4 million Soundcloud plays, the Canberra-based outfit show no sign of slowing down. // The name Tora derives from the Greek word 'τώρα' meaning now. The concept of Tora was conceived in the later months of 2012 and came together as a 5 piece act in early May 2013. Tobias Tsounis, Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, and Shaun Johnston hail from Byron Bay, Australia, and made their EP Eat The Sun in their garage. // Featuring sMILOdon, Toffler, Levin, & Loom In Essence, the "Inconceivable Master Plan" is a 100% pure improv trio that was formed in the last weeks of 2008. Since then, IMP has opened as direct support to: EOTO, Ozric tentacles, Vibesquad, Desert Dwellers, Eliot Lipp, The Widdler, The Bassist & many more. Aaron Bjerke (Loom In Essence) joined as the 4th member in December 2013. They have also had sets featuring guest artists such as Willie Waldman on Trumpet and Seedless & Trevor on Digeridoo's. // Falling somewhere between MTV and LSD, Tribe Society has created a refreshingly classic sound that is entirely their own. Featuring lead vocalist Gavin McDevitt, Rory Given on bass and guitar, Bradford Alderman on synthesizer and keys, Phil Boucher on drums and Seth Hachen on flute and synths, the New York-based alternative-rock band fuses many genres and influences together from industrial grunge rock to hip hop, to create a completely unique sonic experience. About the band’s sound, Alderman says “we want this music to grab you and let you look at things in a way you may have never looked at them before.”
Sounds like: Little Dragon, Toro Y Moi, Paperwhite, Meg Mac, Crooked Colours
Hammerhead emerged in the early nineties from Fargo, North Dakota, a remote outpost in the northern plains of the United States. In that cold and desolate city, drummer Jeff Mooridian, Jr., bassist Paul Erickson and guitarist Paul Sanders rejected eighties pop music and instead devoured vinyl records and mix tapes that spanned the range of early punk, hard rock and experimental music. Like an animal that evolved on a remote island, Hammerhead’s sound was unique, combining a relentless rhythmic attack, sub-octave bass lines and searing guitar riffs enveloped by a shared dystopian worldview that placed them even further off the map than their geographic location. Their interest in science fiction themes were a byproduct of their of their realization that in their remote locale, they were viewed as aliens. [...] Several critically acclaimed full-length AmRep releases followed, with non-stop tours of the United States and Europe. Their live shows became legendary for their incendiary blood and sweat soaked performances. Sanders left the group after recording the album Duh…the Big City in 1996 and Hammerhead disbanded shortly thereafter. With Mooridian and Erickson continuing on to form Vaz, Sanders remained musically dormant until contributing to the final lineup of the Heroine Sheiks.[...] Hammerhead reassembled in 2014 to release Global Depression, a six song EP of tracks recorded in Minneapolis, to be released on Learning Curve Records. Musically, the band picked up from where they left off, their misanthropy now reinforced by a lifetime of experience. Technology, biological engineering and other shared illusions of progress are sonically explored, mapped and destroyed. The band continues to create new music, and future Hammerhead shows may debut even newer material. // Qui was founded in 2000 by drummer/vocalist Paul Christensen and guitarist/vocalist Matt Cronk in Los Angeles, CA. Since debuting in LA in early 2001 and the release of their first full-length album, Baby Kisses, (Heart of a Champion) in 2003, they have maintained a prodigious pace of both local performances and national tours. Their idiosyncratic blend of punk, noise, metal and experimental genres, coupled with their advanced musical prowess, earned them a small but dedicated following throughout the U.S. In late 2006, Qui was joined by vocalist David Yow of The Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid fame. Shortly thereafter, the trio released the single, "Today, Gestation" b/w "Freeze" on the Los Angeles-based Infrasonic Sound Recordings label. [Ipecac Recordings] In July, 2013, Qui released, "Awkward Human Interest," a limited edition spit 7" single with Mike Watt + The Secondmen on ORG Music. Life, Water, Living... was released in February 2014 through Cobraside Distribution, followed by a run of west coast dates supporting the Moistboyz (Dean Ween, Nick Oliveri). Later that year, Qui released, "Feel My Body," a split 7" single on Three One G records followed by yet more domestic touring. 2014 was quite busy as well. Leaving in the final days of February, Qui embarked on a 7 week tour of Europe, cover nearly the entire continent. Upon returning home, they entered the studio with Deaf Nephews again and began recording what would become their next several singles. In March of 2015 Qui began a tour of the east coast, midwest, and southern US supporting legendary indie champions Sebadoh. Beginning with the lathe-cut single, "I Definitely Love You," on Joyful Noise Recordings, Qui have had a steady stream of singles for the past year with two more singles and an EP to be released before the end of 2015. // Shadow in the Cracks is the abortion resistant bastard child of brothers Jim and Mike Blaha of The Blind Shake, conceived during the unaccounted for time between recording and touring. Self-titled album out this November on Goner Records.
Sounds like: Cows, Guzzard, Tar, Part Chimp, Giddy Motors
On a hot summer night in Veracruz Mexico circa 1982, Consuela Espinoza stumbled out of her dilapidated shanty and into Rock N Roll history. What began as an innocent night of snorting horse tranquilizers in a hotel room with seven members of the village jai alai team went on to produce the greatest metal band to ever live. Unhampered by a steady regime of tequila and ill-advised sumo lessons, nine months later five bastard children where born. Unable to care for her hungry offspring and concerned that motherhood would seriously interfere with her Tuesday night Karaoke league, Consuela hastily packed the babies into the saddlebags of a burro and sent her children off to America in search of a better life. Against all odds, 14 years later, and nearly dead from dehydration, the burro knelt down to drink from the stagnant waters of the Rio Grande just ouside of Juarez Mexico –mere yards from the U.S. border. With one fleeting burst of energy the brothers Espinoza cinco climbed from their leather restraints and scampered the vast reach of the river, collapsing onto the sweet amber hue of American soil. As if by destiny, lodged in the sand beneath their tanned faces was a record sleeve upon which were the words “PARANOID” and “BLACK SABBATH”. For many years to follow, this definitive black metal album served not only as a teacher and a mentor..but also as a friend. From these bleak and humble begins grew the seed that would eventually be the band we know today. Often referred to as the greatest heavy metal band to ever live..always referred to as METALACHI.
Sounds like: Green Jelly, Priestess, Bang Camaro
SUNDAY: Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady)
Perhaps best known as the singer of the Hold Steady, Craig Finn is a Minnesota-bred singer, songwriter, and guitarist based out of New York City. Combining literary influences like Jack Kerouac and John Berryman with the musical influences of Bruce Springsteen and fellow Minnesotan Paul Westerberg, Finn's highly descriptive lyrical style has a focus on narrative, crafting whole worlds for the people in his songs to exist within. In 1994, the singer put this style to work with the indie rock band Lifter Puller, refining his craft over the course of their three albums before the band called it quits in 2000. After the band dissolved, Finn relocated from the Twin Cities to New York, where he would collaborate with producer Mr. Projectile on the short-lived project the Brokerdealer in 2001 before eventually reuniting with Lifter Puller bassist Tad Kubler to form the Hold Steady in 2004. While the band's whiskey-fueled bar rock sound was a departure from the angular, synth-filled sounds of Lifter Puller, Finn's lyrically dense storytelling style remained intact, making the Hold Steady the thinking man's bar band. After five albums with the band, the singer and songwriter tried his hand at a solo album during some downtime from his main project, and in 2012 released Clear Heart Full Eyes through Vagrant Records. [Billboard] Faith in the Future is the second solo album from Craig Finn, and it’s being released on Brooklyn-based indie label Partisan Records. Josh Kaufman produced the record in the cozy, rustic confines of Woodstock’s The Isokon recording studio and helped Finn stretch the boundaries of his songwriting with confidence, invention and ambition in order to realize what is sure to be a defining moment in his career. At times stark and spare, at other times vibrant and dynamic, Faith in the Future is Finn’s most compelling collection thus far, each song a powerfully alluring and subtly nuanced composition wedded to his distinctive short story narratives, which owe as much to authors such as John Cheever and Raymond Carver as they do any rock influences. Most of the material on Faith in the Future was written several years ago, around the time Finn’smother died, and while none of them directly address that loss, he insists the idea of transcending grief and finding redemption running through the album can be directly traced to that event. “I had both the music and lyrics to these songs, though they changed a great deal in the studio,” Finn explains. “There’s a grandness to The Hold Steady that tends to make me write about bigger, more dramatic themes. Some of these songs are more mundane, with minor slices of life that wouldn’t best be supported by the hugeness of a rock group. It wasn’t always about what we wanted to put in, but what should we leave out? We didn’t want to sermonize or moralize. Just let these songs, and characters, be.”
Sounds like: Heartless Bastards, Crooked Fingers, Wilco
MONDAY: Old 97's (SOLD OUT)
Old 97's are an alt-country band originally based in Dallas, TX. The group formed in 1993 and took their name from a song popularized by Johnny Cash, "Wreck of the Old '97". They describe themselves as a rock band with influences as varied as the Kinks, the Beatles, Pixies, David Bowie, X, and Merle Haggard. The band often performs songs made famous by the latter two musicians, and has interspersed a number of these on their eight releases since 1994. Old 97's have been heralded as a great live band. They included five live songs as a bonus disc on Satellite Rides, and released a live double CD set recorded at historic Gruene Hall in 2005, Alive and Wired. Singer/guitarist Rhett Miller has released three solo albums and singer/bassist Murry Hammond released his first solo effort in April 2008. Ken Bethea plays lead guitar for the band and playing the drums/singing is Philip Peeples.
Sounds like: Son Volt, Whiskeytown, Drive-By Truckers
Blog by Gina Reis