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items tagged with Bier Stube

Try to Keep Up: Müscle Wörship, December 16 at Bier Stube
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-12-10 17:25:43

Müscle Wörship. Photo by Jonathan Van Dine.

There’s a perfectly practical reason the Kansas-based band Müscle Wörship uses umlauts in its name – to protect people who would rather not know about a particular sexual fetish. So a word of advice to those folks: Don’t do an online search for the band without those umlauts!

But the combination of a somewhat-deviant punk-ish name and those metal dots (à la Motörhead) makes musical sense, too, as Müscle Wörship lives in the cracks between styles. There’s the lean aggression of punk, the experimental complexity of post-punk, the general heaviness of metal, extensive use of the tremolo bar that sometimes recalls the signature guitar sounds of both My Bloody Valentine and Neil Young, alternative tunings that bring to mind Sonic Youth, a grunge-y emphasis on hooks and distorted melody, and even hints of emo in the vocals.

The magic is that – on Müscle Wörship’s self-titled debut album from earlier this year – those disparate elements have been combined in a way that, against all odds, is nearly monolithic: 32 furious minutes of great and nearly great infectious hard rock. (And just to be clear: The whole record is 32 minutes.) The group’s music has three very different methods of persuasion – forceful enough to grab you by the throat, accessible enough to suck you in, and intricate enough to get lost in. In that sense, the name is wholly appropriate: This is music that’s all beautifully sculpted muscle.


Read More About Try To Keep Up: MüScle WöRship, December 16 At Bier Stube...


Different Ways of Digesting: Laura Stevenson, October 4 at Bier Stube
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-10-01 22:00:01

Laura Stevenson. Photo by Dave Garwacke.

Laura Stevenson’s song “Sink, Swim” could be called an apocalyptic ditty, a cheery, up-tempo rock song with soaring vocals that sketches out the destruction of the West Coast: “Oh California, I tried to warn ya. / The earth is gonna quake before ya. / You’ll be real sorry but it won’t be sorry. / The dirt is gonna crack and split you in two.” The casual address certainly suggests the musical approach, but it’s easy to miss the lyrics in such a joyous ruckus.

The song appears on her 2013 album Wheel, and she explained in a phone interview last week that “I like that juxtaposition of mood and ... undercurrent – the actual meaning of the song. ... Two different ways of feeling the same word[s]. You can read them on the page and take them at face value, or you could hear them put to music with a completely different mood. It’s just a different way of digesting it. Kind of what life is like.”

She and her band will be playing the Moline Bier Stube on October 4, and in that setting it will be easy to gloss over grim words. But Stevenson’s songs are rewarding both musically and lyrically, whether you consider their sometimes disparate components together or separately.


Read More About Different Ways Of Digesting: Laura Stevenson, October 4 At Bier Stube...


Disposable Fun, and a Bit More: Them Som’Bitches, March 22 at Bier Stube
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-03-17 15:54:40

Them Som'Bitches

The title of the second track on the Asphalt Plains EP from the Quad Cities-based garage-country band Them Som’Bitches is “D.G.A.F.,” with the first three letters standing for “Don’t Give a.” You can figure out the rest, and it’s about that subtle. For good measure, the phrase turns up in the next song, too.

Despite that symptomatic coarseness, the six songs on Asphalt Plains represent a modest achievement, despair and nihilism delivered with a wink and elevated by consistently engaging performance. Over 20 minutes, the band’s shit-kicking aesthetic unerringly evokes a very particular picture: for me, aimless folks marking time in a trailer on the scrubland, with no other sign of human activity.

That’s nearly explicit in “Buzzard Ridge,” with animal-call samples taking the roles of instruments – and doing it well. I particularly like the owl, which appears to think it’s a background vocalist, and the howling. These fanciful flourishes all over the EP are a bit on-the-nose, but that’s part of their charm; we ain’t talking high art.

Even without the sound effects, though, the punks-doing-country songs suggest a dual nature: the barren beauty of the American Southwest invaded by loners with nothing better to do than drink and shoot stuff.


Read More About Disposable Fun, And A Bit More: Them Som’Bitches, March 22 At Bier Stube...


DIY A-OK: Centaur Noir, “Rock the Hall”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-06-30 14:39:18

Jon Burns, a.k.a. Centaur NoirThe first two tracks of Centaur Noir's Rock the Hall are a study in contrasts. Lead track "Market Street" is a dusty piece of lonesome folk -- guitar, percussion, and a little harmonica under restrained twin vocals, one falsetto and one a hoarse croak.

It's followed by "Only English Spoken," with blunt beats and dominating electronics overwhelming the vocals.

So Centaur Noir, a solo project of Meth & Goats frontman (and Moline resident) Jon Burns, embraces a dual nature. Sometimes the two sides meet -- as on album standout "Ten More Years," in which the lead acoustic guitar is balanced by soft, droning synthesized melodies. But even when they do converge, each song's heartbeat is clearly either folksy or electronic.


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