Fateful encounters at Cleveland bars rarely lead to musical mythology, but SomeKindaWonderful have a different story to tell. A three-piece featuring Jordy Towers (vocals/lyrics), as well as Matt Gibson (guitar) and Ben Schigel (drums), the genre-bending group came together after Towers became a casualty of the major label system. Once signed to Interscope as a solo act, he refused to become yet another faceless persona and the label left him hanging on the vine. Towers knew it was time for a reset and headed to Ohio to re-examine his life. The band's hit song, “Reverse” is endlessly catchy, feeling both modern and classic, nodding to '60s soul and contemporary R&B with the dynamic range of big-room pop-rock and cinematic emotion. Its structure, which features Towers unraveling a backwards narrative with a cadence that merges rap and soul, provides a novel lyrical framework to a unique sound. Opening up Monday night will be Tired Tongues; the result of change based on previous circumstances by electroclash musician, composer, & producer, Taylor Nelson and drummer Adam Szczepaniak, of Minneapolis, MN. The duo of Tired Tongues came together when hard hitting electronic music clashed un-forcefully with hammering guitar riffs and larger than life synths, only to be duetted by the filling sounds of an aggressive drumming style.
Sounds Like: OneRepublic, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon
TUESDAY: SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE
Six Organs of Admittance's Ben Chasny has devised his very own system of musical composition, The Hexadic System, which is the basis for their newest album, entitled Hexadic which was released on Drag City on February 17, 2015. A lyrical mastery of acoustic finger-picking would be enough to build a body of work for most musicians; this is just the stepping-off point for Ben. From the earliest days of private-press psych home recordings, Six Organs of Admittance has sought out alternative spaces in which to make music and challenge audiences to keep up with his rapid advances into new terrain. Over the last two years Ben assembled a comprehensive system of musical composition. The System builds all of the tonal fields, chord changes, scales, and lyrics on Hexadic, creating the framework of the songs that the musicians engage with. Yet the System is open; within the framework, Chasny's own personal aesthetics - such as the production mode of loud guitars, the order of songs, the editing of length, were all conscious decisions made to communicate the pieces. Starting off Tuesday night, Elisa Ambrogio with her lyrical intelligence, guitar g'rilla, and awkward weirdo presence, is back (and forth, too) performing in the 7th St Entry.
Sounds Like: James Blackshaw, Sun City Girls, Comets on Fire, Espers
WEDNESDAY: HOWLIN' RAIN
The Howlin Rain we thought we knew has evolved, on Miller's newest, Mansion Songs, into something strange and true and beautiful, a sound made of cigarette ash and swollen moons, salt air and the eggshell light that comes just before the dawn. The result is an album that pines and yearns, lusts and wails. “Meet Me in the Wheat,” “Big Red Moon” and “Wild Bush” push the album into high gear, up-tempo jammers that form the yang to the mellow yin of the album's deep feel ballads. Tracks like “Restless” and “Lucy Fairchild” ache like raw wounds or sway like lost, half-sunken ships. “New Age” is bright and clear-eyed and full of wary joy. “Coliseum” prowls, red-veined and hungry - claws out and teeth sharp.
Sounds Like: Black Mountain, The Black Crowes, Comets on Fire, Wooden Shjips
THURSDAY: TWO GALLANTS
On February 3, 2015, the San Francisco based guitar-drum duo Two Gallants released their 5th studio album, We Are Undone, on ATO Records. While singer and guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel have stayed true to the two-person format since their acclaimed 2004 debut, The Throes, their sound has evolved considerably over the intervening years. Thematically, the album ranges from songs that attempt to make sense of the dramatically shifting social landscape of their home town, to the illusion of authenticity, impending environmental collapse, and romantic estrangement. Blank Range, will be taking the stage first Wednesday night. They're an American rock & roll band living in Nashville, TN. With nods to great things present & past, Blank Range stand tall as a unit and collapse wildly together in song and onstage.
Sounds Like: Neva Dinova, The Felice Brothers, Langhorn Slim
Sales is a collaboration between long-time friends, Lauren Morgan (guitar/vocals) and Jordan Shih (guitar/programming). The duo has been recording together on and off for years, eating an abundance of Thai food, and dreaming of tennis - but never really going the distance to the court. Instead, they have remained dedicated to their musical project, which has been described as minimalist guitar pop. Sales consists of vocal & instrumental improvisation, sampling, a lil' bit of chopping & screwing, and of course, friendship. Warehouse Eyes and Aubades will perform first Friday night. Warehouse Eyes is a dream/synth pop band formed in 2012 in Minneapolis. The band members are Jennie Lahlum (vocals/synth), Christopher Williams (keys/synth), Jason McGlone (drums), Colin Sheffield (guitar), and Kevin Scott (bass). Aubades is also a local, four-piece band.
Sounds Like: Tom Misch & Carmody, Seoul
SATURDAY: BNLXFEST III featuring BNLX
Upon first listen, it's immediately obvious where BNLX's obsessions and influences lie. From the overdriven feedback fuzz that scores the record, to the epic, post-punk spirit that courses throughout, Jesus and Mary Chain and Echo and the Bunnymen are an easy reference point. But while many modern DIY projects can plug in and produce squalling reverb and angst-y vocals, in most cases the results reek of posturing and shallow imitation. BNLX, dare I say, transcend time. Saturday will be the second night of BNLXFest III (night #1 is Friday at Turf Club) and will feature three supporting local bands - Two Harbors, Frankie Teardrop, and Pale Spectre.
SUNDAY: DUSTIN THOMAS
Big hair, big smiles, and a whole lot of love: International globe-trotter Dustin Thomas is making waves from Australia to Moscow with his infectious blend of beat-box/soul folk. Armed with a voice, a guitar and universal anthems of faith, love, and war; this young artist continues to inspire hearts around the world on his mission of music, joy, and peace.
Blog by Kevin Clancy