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items tagged with Daytrotter

New Chops: Dr. Dog, February 9 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-02-04 17:24:25

Dr. Dog

To understand some of what makes Dr. Dog sound like it was preserved in amber in the mid-1960s, listen to singer/guitarist/songwriter Scott McMicken talk about drums.

The quintet -- performing a show at RIBCO on February 9 -- has a new record (Shame, Shame) due out April 6, and for its sixth studio album it finally enlisted a producer, holing up in a New York studio for nearly a month.

"The real crux of the problem in New York was the drums," McMicken said last month. On previous Dr. Dog albums, which regularly sound 40-plus years old, "the drums aren't really dominant ... very muted."

But on the New York recordings, the drums had a modern microphone configuration -- overkill, in McMicken's view. "The real problem was that you were hearing all 16 microphones at once. I knew if I could put my hands on that console and turn off 75 percent of the mics, we'd probably be getting to hear a really cool drum sound."

Read More About New Chops: Dr. Dog, February 9 At RIBCO...

Out of His Own Way: Freedy Johnston, January 23 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-01-12 15:52:38

Freedy JohnstonIf you followed the career of Freedy Johnston, you might wonder what happened to him after 2001, when Elektra released his Right Between the Promises album.

Until Rain on the City (out today), Johnston released a live record and a CD of covers, but the man behind the 1994 single "Bad Reputation" -- who was Rolling Stone's songwriter of year that year, and whose major-label discography included albums produced by Butch Vig and T-Bone Burnett -- doesn't want to talk about the more than eight years between albums of original material.

"That's why we put it in the bio," he said last week. "I didn't want it to be talking about it every time, rehashing the same story."

In that official record-label bio, Johnston -- who will perform a show at RIBCO on January 23 -- is vague: "It takes a while to re-adjust one's priorities and get back on track after working with the big budget that the majors give you. I went through issues with the IRS, had a relationship go south and a touring vehicle grind to a halt, but through it all I never gave up writing and gigging whenever possible."

In our interview, Johnston didn't elaborate much on the specifics of his personal life. (In addition to living in Austin, Texas, in Nashville, and in New York, he did live in downtown Rock Island in 2002 and 2003 and married a woman from the Quad Cities.) But he did discuss his difficulty completing songs.

"I used to have no problem writing songs before I had a major-label deal," he said. "All of a sudden it was really hard to finish the damn things. ... Now I'm on the other side of it. ... Maybe I just needed to reset my clock. I'm working better now than I ever was."

Read More About Out Of His Own Way: Freedy Johnston, January 23 At RIBCO...

Happy Hooking: Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, January 16 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-01-06 11:28:14
Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers. Photo by Chris Becker.

Shilpa Ray has a voice with the unpolished force of PJ Harvey and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O on their early recordings, and she sometimes unleashes an uninhibited bluesy growl. Yet she's also capable of reining in her vocals to suit the song, as when she sounds (intentionally) a little sloppy/slurry/drunk on "Beating St. Louis" but also manages to nail a passage of higher notes.

She has a testimonial from the king of dramatic singing, Nick Cave: "She has a great voice; she writes great songs, great lyrics."

And Shilpa Ray - who will be playing with her backing band the Happy Hookers on January 16 at RIBCO - also plays a portable harmonium, a reed organ she picked up while studying northern-Indian classical singing from ages six through 17. (The instrument sounds a lot like an accordion.)

Read More About Happy Hooking: Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, January 16 At RIBCO...

Escaping the Trap: The Mieka Canon, December 15 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-12-11 19:15:46

Mieka Pauley. Photo by Josh Rothstein.

Listening to Mieka Pauley play and sing "All the Same Mistakes" in her session released earlier this year, it's hard to imagine somebody who at one point loathed her music.

Using just her voice and an acoustic guitar, she is defiant and forceful yet also surprisingly supple, muscular but precise. The version that appears on her 2008 album Elijah Drop Your Gun is prettier and more delicate and takes advantage of her full band, but the Daytrotter version smolders, builds, and ignites.

Yet in early 2007, Pauley said that she felt ensnared by that voice-and-guitar combo. She had what she called "a very sad epiphany" while looking in a bathroom mirror: "What am I doing?"

Read More About Escaping The Trap: The Mieka Canon, December 15 At Huckleberry’S...

Feel the Terror: Andrew W.K., December 5 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-12-01 20:17:02

Andrew W.K.I have no certainty that the person whom I interviewed late last month is the real Andrew W.K., or the original Andrew W.K., or even that Andrew W.K. as a human being (as opposed to an entertainment entity) exists.

But the guy who called me introduced himself as Andrew W.K. and talked a good game, and he'll presumably be the man performing as Andrew W.K. at a benefit show Saturday at RIBCO. So we'll go with it.

"When someone says you're not a real person, or you don't exist, or that your life is a lie, that's a very strange feeling," he said.

If this sounds a little odd, you've likely not encountered Andrew W.K. I first saw the man on Saturday Night Live in 2002, and the spectacle was so bizarre that it had to be a joke -- some mix of Andy Kaufman's dry meta-comedy and Spinal Tap's sharp musical satire. I was fascinated and bought his record I Get Wet. My wife considered divorcing me.

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