Thursday, March 22, 2012

Amy LaVere in Cambridge, MA 3-15-12

Well. We're not going to lie and say that Amy had a bigger crowd than Rich Robinson, the main act last Thursday. But we are going to say that her trio (Shawn Zorn d., David Cousar g.) certainly deserved one. Our gal in Memphis felt the love in the dingy TT The Bear's, and armed with her repaired acoustic bass (plus stickers of Johnny Cash, a cartoon), the diminutive bassist + two conjured a mood perhaps more fitting for a slightly cleaner basement bar; judging on the dark color of their songs, plus the knit, almost jazzy vibe between the three, we're going to presume they'd fit in a seedy venue in gay Paris. Unlike Robinson's 'blast the mid-range through and pretend they hear the vocals' approach, LaVere and her crew showed far more restraint and balance through tunes ranging from Bowie to Waites, and of course, her own 'knuckle-draggers' on her latest full-length. We're going to complain that they only got just under an hour for their set before the Black Crowes-man got to his sound and fury (signifying... well, the release of his album we suppose), but in that brief moment we were surprised by the depth of moods conjured by the light setup. LaVere's three reminded us much of another trio, the short-lived Morphine, both in darkness and - damn! - range of color. From heavy, low-ended, sultry seduction, all the way to bright, 'open up the shades already' sway ("Stranger Me," no less), we're going to affirm that their live act is no one-note band. In short, live: impressive. And she's really sweet in person, too. Check out her further dates on her site, and her upcoming gig in The Wandering. Yo.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Amy LaVere in Cambridge! This Thursday!

For a sweet-looking gal, there seem to be a lot of skeletons in Amy LaVere's closet; and likely in the river, under the floorboards, etc. etc. The Memphis-based singer and acoustic upright bassist plucks her dark, almost sociopathic love songs at T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge this Thursday (check it out here) in support of her third full length, Stranger Me. While we doubt she's going to showcase her Fruit of the Loom again (link not provided, but check out MTV's '$5 Cover'), we strongly suspect she'll bring out some of her sunnier tunes, possibly including "Pointless Drinking" and the new "Red Banks" (lyrics - "I didn't push him in [the river]/ He'da killed me if I did"). So yeah, if you're the kinda gal (or guy) who thinks a chorus like "Killing him didn't make the love go away" works as a singalong, then you might want to get there early and stake out a seat at the bar. The Tennessee gal opens for Rich Robinson, and we hope he knows that pitcher she keeps swigging from ain't just water. Bring your broken heart and love of cheap brandy, you'll fit right in.

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Delta Spirit" lacks much of band's energy, spirit

Delta Spirit - Self-titled
Concord Music Group
-due March 13
3.5 / 5

Here it is, the third full-length follow-up to 2011's Middle Brother. In comparison to Deer Tick's and Dawes' latest LPs, we're going to say the Cali band's release here is the strongest of the three; yet, we're going to admit that wasn't a terribly strong contest. Fans inducted by their debut EP, I Think I've Found It, will find this latest album passable, good enough to get their Delta Spirit fix. But, truth be told, are there any tracks here as socially aware as "Streetwalker," any raucous singalongs like "People, Turn Around?" Unfortunately, no and no. The single promoted here, "California," is pretty good. Lyrically, it's not as strong as it should be, and more importantly, it's musically not their apex: singer Vasquez doesn't really pull out the stops (and we damn well know he can), and moreover, the Spirit's percussionist hardly wavers from the 2-and-4 beat he's set up for this song. There are highs and lows, mostly punctuated by weak, repetitive drumming, and only every now and then do we get a peek at Vasquez's monster pipes. All in all, there are some good tracks ("Tear it Up, "Otherside") and some not great ones ("Tellin' the Mind" - still no idea what this one's about). It's good, but really, you're likely to plop in that debut EP anytime over this one. Still recommended for your Delta Spirit fix.

Check out the band and get a single right here!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In one hour (Newport Folk Fest 2012 update)

Yes. That's right, the Newport Folk Festival, which takes place in Fort Adams State Park, will put their tickets on sale in about an hour. So, at 10:00 am ET, you'll be able to purchase tics to this two-day music extravaganza.
Now. Before you all flip out and ask 'yeah, but who's gonna be there this year?', let's remind you that this is the same festival that had Neko Case a couple years back, Middle Brother last year, Calexico in recent memory. So then, who's gonna be there this year? We dunno...
'K, we do. The press release is right in front of us. A lotta people, actually, but we don't feel like detailing every Conor Oberst or Iron & Wine who might show. In fact, we're going to make a point not to mention Dawes, or the Head and the Heart, not even Jackson Browne, who, if he were to make an appearance at the NFF this year (which takes place July 28-29), would make this his first appearance. But we're not gonna tell.
So! Check out the site in about an hour - - and keep in mind, the tickets last year SOLD OUT. OUCH, that's gotta hurt. So if you think you might possibly enjoy any of the aforementioned acts (though we're not gonna not-mention them again) your clock has started. My Morning Jacket. Enjoy!