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“Peaks” Performance: Swedish Singer/Songwriter Sofia Talvik, August 3 at Cool Beanz Coffeehouse PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 06:00
Sofia Talvik, photo by Kirk StaufferIf you’re a fellow fan of Twin Peaks – David Lynch’s 1990-91 cult favorite in which Special Agent Dale Cooper investigated the murder of high-schooler Laura Palmer – you can listen to folk singer/songwriter Sofia Talvik’s latest CD thinking that the Swedish musician sounds, sometimes uncannily, like that TV series’ resident chanteuse, Julee Cruise. With her light, airy soprano and haunting, faraway melancholy, it’s easy to imagine Talvik herself hypnotizing crowds in a small-town biker bar, right before vanishing into the ether and being replaced by a cryptic bald giant. (It was that kind of show, bless its demented heart.)

Poised to Conquer: JEFF the Brotherhood, July 27 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 09:05

Triple Play

Over the course of a week, from July 21 to July 27, RIBCO will offer an impressive array of acts: half of The Sea & Cake on Saturday, the national-pastime-themed supergroup The Baseball Project on Thursday, and the up-and-coming garage-rock duo JEFF the Brotherhood on Friday.

An interview with The Sea & Cake’s Sam Prekop can be found here, and an interview with JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall is below.

The Baseball Project. Photo by Michael E. Anderson.We interviewed The Baseball Project’s Scott McCaughey last year, and that article can be found at In addition to McCaughey – known for the Young Fresh Fellows and the Minus 5 – the band includes Steve Wynn (of Dream Syndicate and Gutterball), Peter Buck (of R.E.M.), and Linda Pitmon (who has regularly worked with Wynn).

As we wrote last year, songwriters McCaughey and Wynn help the band transcend gimmickry: “The songs don’t settle for easy recitations of historical highlights. Some are pure celebrations – such as the punky ‘Ichiro Goes to the Moon’ – that exude a love of the game through their understanding of it. But most of the songs are more complicated.”

More information and tickets for all these concerts are available at

JEFF the Brotherhood. Photo by Jo McCaughey.

Jake Orrall said that major labels these days wouldn’t put out something like Hypnotic Nights, the just-released album from JEFF the Brotherhood.

They might have in 1994, he said in a phone interview last week, in advance of his band’s July 27 show at RIBCO. And if that seems an odd date to choose, consider that was the year DGC released Weezer’s self-titled debut, popularly known as the Blue Album.

You’ll have no difficulty making the stylistic link between the two records, both packed with candied rock hooks, punkish drive, infectious melodies, and gleefully arrested development. As Stereogum casually put it: “Whenever people say to me, ‘Man, I miss Blue Album-era Weezer,’ I reply, ‘Then why the hell aren’t you listening to JEFF The Brotherhood already?’” To which the A.V. Club added (discussing JEFF’s 2011 album): “They’ve sidestepped Rivers Cuomo and created the album he’s no longer interested in making.”

The irony is that Hypnotic Nights was released by Warner Bros.

Constant Reinvention: Sam Prekop & Archer Prewitt, July 21 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 15:52

Archer Prewitt and Sam PrekopThe venerable Chicago band The Sea & Cake will release its 10th album in September. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Sam Prekop told me it will be called Runner. And ... well, that’s about all he offered initially.

“I haven’t actually listened to it,” he said in a phone interview last week, promoting his July 21 RIBCO show with The Sea & Cake bandmate Archer Prewitt. “It’s like a really fond memory already. I’m like: Why listen to it and attempt to take it apart?”

Prekop said he’s in the “recovery period” for the album – the time between when it’s finished and when he and the band need to learn the songs for live presentation and to prepare a new show. He said that at first he dreads reworking the songs for concerts, comparing the process to how most people feel about (and procrastinate with) taxes and homework.

But something with deeper roots could be contributing to his ambivalence about The Sea & Cake. The long-running outfit – which the All Music Guide called “the elder statesmen of impressionistic indie rock” – might just be inherently frustrating to Prekop’s admittedly “restless” nature.

Spiky Charms: The Statistix, American Dream EP; Performing July 21 at the Moline Viking Club PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Friday, 13 July 2012 05:49

The Statistix

The sound on the Statistix’s American Dream EP is rough, with echoing, thin, buried drums, and vocals that are often blown out and as a result sometimes have an unpleasant, visceral piercing quality. The bass on the 37-second-long “Punk as F---” is bloated and warped. The volume varies from track to track.

It is, in other words, pure punk, assaulting ears for less than 13 minutes over its eight songs.

None of this is a complaint exactly. The Quad Cities trio is simply conforming to the movement’s shabby-DIY template: full-throttle and full volume, with little patience for nuance – with little patience, period.

Complete 2012 Blues Fest Coverage PDF Print E-mail
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:59

This page links to the River Cities’ Reader’s complete coverage of the 2012 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, including new interviews with seven of this year’s performers and biographies of each artist.

Ticket information is here. The welcome letter from the Mississippi Valley Blues Society president is here. Biographies of workshop and BlueSKool leaders who are not performing on either the Bandshell or Tent stages are here.

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