Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Razor & Tie
3.5 / 5
With great grungy pop songs such as "Run From the Gun" and "Giving It All Away," it's not difficult to imagine a world in which Athens, GA rock group Dead Confederate could hold their own against My Morning Jacket and other top current rock acts. While "Sugar" doesn't quite measure up to MMJ's "Evil Urges," still the above tracks showcase a band capable of jamming, crafting songs, and performing memorable songs. While "Run From the Gun" and "Giving it All Away" are the exceptional tracks here, there are moments where the material lags, such as "Father Figure," which shows a band that needs more experimentalism and consistency (easy enough to pull off, right?). Nonetheless, these two tracks are worth the admission, especially for fans of post-grunge, Nirvana, and the like. We're hoping this band will take its strong, fairly mainstream-friendly sound and develop it, as they certainly have the potential to make waves in the long term. A great second album, and a band to look at a couple releases from now. Recommended.
Listen to "Giving It All Away": www.myspace.com/453173424
Monday, August 2, 2010
As you may have recalled last year, we'd reviewed the Newport Folk Fest on Saturday. Well, this year, things are a bit different (it's still just a Saturday). We'll show you what we mean:www. allierunnion .com), we're now able to provide you with concert photographs. As some of you may know, this particular artist is the lush and political-minded Nneka (percussionist Gary Sullivan, bassist Emmanuel Pokossi), who opened on the main stage with her Marley-tinged "Your Request." Note that she's wearing a sweatshirt over that dress; it really was a bit cool to start. We were able to meet up with the chilly musician back stage, and she is as sweet and polite as she appears, which is unusual given the often haunting nature of her music. Though the day threatened to rain (again, if you recall 2008), we believe it was in part Nneka's plea for peace and love that kept harsh streams of water from pouring through the festival. Thanks, Nneka!
Surviving random attacks by Providence's What Cheer? Brigade (Susan on a vicious trombone) and frequent run-ins with Jim James (who was either watching every performance, or maybe had clones), there were three stages of folk, rock, and even some Girl Scout rap ("Dough for Dough" by Liz Longley). Here are the highlights:
Horse Feathers, who we interviewed for the Mercury, was genuine and amicable before their performance. With a packed crowd on the third stage, they were probably second only to Jim James (shoulder to shoulder - we couldn't get close enough for a picture) in drawing a crowd away from the main stage. While it was tough to make a decision during the Calexico/Horse Feathers/ Yim Yames trifecta, we found some time to catch the Portland, OR band play a few off of their 2010's Thistled Spring. Asking for more high-end from the engineer, here's Justin Ringle's quote of the day: "You don't hear people say 'more banjo.'" No, you don't, Justin, and that's why the world's in the trouble it's in.
By the time Calexico joined him, he'd octupled his number onstage for "Skin, Is My," and a few others. (We should probably mention the real quote of the day at this point, during Caleixco's set: guitarist Joey Burns to an especially loud and annoying woman in the front - "Nice to hear you. Thanks for coming.") Let it be said that the pairing of the two, Calexico and Andrew Bird, was, in our opinion, the highlight of the day, as Spanish-tinged horns just seem to work with Mr. Bird's eclectic electronic stylings. It was, in a word, fantastic.
Thanks for joining us this year, and we hope you enjoyed our coverage of part of the (as always) fantastic Newport Folk Festival. Take it from us: buy or finagle your way in, because it's worth it. Or you can catch it slightly less than live on NPR, at www.npr.org/newportfolk. We'll leave you with a bit of Where's Waldo a la Newport-style: