On our way to crush the revolution
thechurchband.com ♥ myspace ♥ twitter
The first time song I heard from the Australian band, The Church, was "Ripple", which remained my all-time favorite Church song. Of course, even at that time, in 1991, they were well on their second wind from their big "come back" in 1988 with the brilliant "Under the Milkyway". No doubt about it, the band's old, as old as the church they are named after. It's really amazing that in 2010, that the band have existed, in one form or another (they were briefly known as The Refo:mation), in 30 years.
Although, admittedly, I am not a mega-fan, as I haven't kept up with the band in the mid-90s, I am happy to report that with Untitled #23, their 23rd album, that Steve Kilbey's songs have not much changed. And that's very comforting to me. Kilbey's voice is so familar and friendly, that Untitled #23 feels like it was written in 1996.
Some of the things I've noticed is that Kilbey seems to really like medieval themes (for Pete's sake, he sings "Minotaur" in "Sunken Sun"). Another really good example of Kilbey's "past tensed" can be found on my favorite song, "Deadman's Hand":
Camp by a lake in the blackened lands
Dealing out love and retribution
Dealing out the deadman's hand
As I have previously mentioned, I have not kept up with the band, but reading quotes online, I got the impression that this might be The Church's best album in a long time. Australia's Rolling Stone gave the album a 5 star review calling it "[a] return to form with a stunningly ambitious album of shimmering rock".
Not much to add to this, except if you love and remember The Church from the late 80s to the 90s, this latest album will fit comfortably in your discography. You can pick up the album, released in May via Second Motion Records, from amazon.
PS, too bad I don't live in New South Wales, as that intimate "dinner & acoustic show" sounds deliciously awesome.
On our way to crush the revolution
Someone should tell these Portlanders that there is already a band called The Church. Well, they did drop the "the". Still, naming a band after a common word might not be the best move? I know from interviewing so many bands that coming up with a name for your band is possibly the hardest thing in the world. And when you do settle on a name you absolutely love, people might destroy your hard work with a simple "that name sucks".
Ignore that first paragraph, Church's album is called Song Force Crystal and it comes from my favorite silk-screening record label called Tender Loving Empire. I have mentioned before that I think their products are very attractive and reasonably priced (most albums are handmade and under $10).
I'll be honest, I don't really get this really spacey, psyschedelic album. There's a lot of weird noises, "organic" sounds, and electronic farts inserted in their music, which sort of distracts me from their music. When I do like the band, it's when they're doing simple songs like the first part of "Golden Girls", which is mostly (I think) the two brothers, Brandon and Reechard Laws singing over some acoustic plucks. But since they're more focused on the layers of Moog synthesizers and experimental noise, there's plenty of those on the track "Aquamarine".
Where I think the best will be best experience is seeing them play live, I've read they've got quite a "sizable following along the West Coast... with their intense tour ethic". So check them out live if you get a chance:
08/29/09 Missippi Studios Portland, OR
09/04/09 Berbati’s Pan Portland, OR
09/11/09 The Woods Portland, OR
09/19/09 MFNW 2009 Portland, OR
09/23/09 Northern Olympia, Washington
09/24/09 The Silver Moon Bend, OR
09/25/09 The Crawlspace La Grande, OR
09/26/09 Visual Arts Collective Boise, ID
09/27/09 Backyard Show Bellevue, ID
09/28/09 Idaho State Pocatello, ID
09/28/09 SHO Salt Lake City, Utah
09/29/09 Flying Goat Boulder, Colorado
09/30/09 Rhinoceropolis Denver, Colorado
10/01/09 Everyday Joe’s Fort Collins, CO
10/02/09 Velour Provo, Utah
10/03/09 Beauty Bar Las Vegas, Nevada
10/04/09 The Smell Los Angeles, CA
10/05/09 Che Cafe San Diego, CA
10/06/09 Dtown Brewery SLObispo, CA
10/07/09 Muddy Waters S Barbara, CA
10/08/09 Boo Boo’s Record SLObispo, CA
10/09/09 The Crepe Place Santa Cruz, CA
10/10/09 Amnesia San Francisco, CA
10/12/09 North Bay Art Santa Rosa, CA
10/13/09 UC Davis Davis, CA
10/13/09 Luigi’s Sacramento, CA
10/14/09 Downtown Eatery Redding, CA
10/15/09 Lil’ Red Lion Eureka, CA
10/16/09 Jambalaya Arcata, CA
10/17/09 Sam Bond’s Garage Eugene, OR
10/18/09 The Space Salem
10/27/09 Portland State Portland, OR
10/30/09 Doug Fir Portland, OR
THE LOW ANTHEM
lowanthem.com ♥ myspace
Rhode Island's The Low Anthem seem to have won a few hearts and fans (such as NPR and selling out at popular venues in the UK) with their rootsy, folksy sound. I briefly mentioned them earlier because I thought it was cool that someone was interested in Charles Darwin's 200th. Plus I thought the title, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, was oxymoronic clever.
Their all-things Americana record label, Nonesuch Records, re-issued the album for a second printing, due to their popularity, with new silkscreening artwork.
So, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, deceptively starts off quite quiet - starting with the title track and to the almost Garfunkelesque singing on "To Ohio" to distorted guitars on "Ticket Taker". But soon enough, the foot-stomping "The Horizon Is A Beltway" and "Home I'll Never Be", they suddenly turned into a good-time, high-energy Americana jam band. I'm sure those two songs are crowd pleaser when they play live... but unfortunately, most of their songs are very soothing. "(Don't Tremble)" is a perfect example of the soothing gentleness, I mentioned earlier. The vocals aren't too sweet, and the song does come off as sounding kind of like Bob Dylan - complete with harmonica.
Looks like the band is still on tour!
08/30/09 Nixon Park Kennet Square, PA
09/03/09 Gaiety Theatre Dublin
09/04/09 Gaiety Theatre Dublin
09/05/09 Electric Picnic Stradbelly
09/06/09 Deaf Institute Manchester
09/07/09 Oran Mor Glasgow
09/08/09 Cluny 2 Newcastle
09/09/09 Glee Club Birmingham
09/10/09 Bullingdon Arms Oxford
09/11/09 End Of the Road Festival
09/12/09 End Of the Road Festival
09/13/09 Bestival Isle of Wight
09/15/09 La Salumeria Della Musica Milan
09/16/09 Atomic Cafe Munich
09/17/09 El Lokal Zurich
09/18/09 Broftabrik Frankfurt
09/19/09 Gebaude 9 Koln
09/20/09 Lido Berlin
09/21/09 Knust Hamburg
09/23/09 De Duif Amsterdam
09/24/09 Ancienne Belgique Brussles
09/25/09 Doornroosje Nijmegen
09/26/09 La Maroquinerie Paris
10/02/09 Austin City Limits Austin, Texas
10/15/09 Avon Cinema Providence, RI
10/17/09 Chop Suey Seattle, WA
10/18/09 Lola’s Room Portland, OR
10/19/09 The WOW Eugene, OR
10/21/09 Great American SF, CA
10/23/09 Troubadour Los Angeles, CA
10/24/09 Casbah San Diego, California
10/25/09 Plush Tucson, Arizona
10/27/09 House of Blues Houston, Texas
10/28/09 Granada Theater Dallas, Texas
10/29/09 The Parish Austin, Texas
10/30/09 Spanish Moon Baton Rouge, LA
11/02/09 Club Downunder Tallahassee, Florida
11/03/09 The Social Orlando, Florida
11/04/09 Earl East Atlanta, Georgia
11/05/09 Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN
11/06/09 University of NC Asheville, NC
11/07/09 Attucks Theatre Norfolk, Virginia
11/09/09 Cats Cradle Carrboro, NC
11/11/09 Black Cat Washington DC
11/12/09 Paradise Rock Club Boston, MA
11/18/09 The Tabernacle London
11/20/09 Crossing Border The Hague
11/22/09 Crossing Border Antwerp
donohoemusic.com ♥ myspace ♥ twitter
Colin O’Donohoe seems like a very cool, open-minded kind of guy. I mean, look at his debut album, Shi Jing: Ancient Book of Songs, are songs from Asia. This is followed by a Christian-themed album about some of the Saints, while his latest work is middle-eastern themed called Lyrical Sutras.
In keeping with the Christian/Church theme of my own article, Songs of the Saints, as a whole, sounds very world electronica, especially because there's the traditional soaring singing and Italian chants combined with dance music.
My favorite of the saint songs is St Francis of Assisi, who is known as the patron saint of animals and Italy - which would explain the vocals (but does not explain the wika-wika warped sound). In many ways, the mixing of old and new makes for an interesting album.
Songs of the Saints is definitely worth checking out if you're into dancing with the spirits. You can purchase O'Donohoe's albums (and sheet music!) directly on his website.
beliefandhustle.com ♥ myspace
Nicholas Howard is a soul-singer from New York, who seems to be influenced by many musical styles, based on listening to his album called God is in the City. The album is full of urban soul, blues/jazz, salsa songs with lots of backup singers.
The title track, and opening song, is basically two songs: the first part with a smooth Howard vocals and the second part that turned into gospel dance floor. That second part comes out of nowhere and, I'll have to admit, it surprised me at how much I enjoyed the unexpected.
Also surprising is that I thought the vocals are by a woman. In fact, it's Howard singing in a weird falsetto... he'll sound normal when he slows down to a talk-like singing, like on "Life is a Mystery".
You can purchase God is in the City directly from CD Baby or via amazon.