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items tagged with Daytrotter

The Incredibly Shrinking Band: Pattern Is Movement, June 6 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-06-03 21:54:12

Pattern Is Movement

By the fall of 2007, Pattern Is Movement -- which started as a five-piece band -- finished shedding members, ending up as a duo.

Drummer Chris Ward recalled last week that the remaining members booked a tour before they'd even figured out exactly what the new incarnation would sound like. "That was the dumbest idea ever," he said of the tour.

They'd written a new album -- what ended up being 2008's All Together -- "not knowing that we could ever perform those songs," he said. "We hoped we could. We were banking on that. But we had no proof. We had never been a two-piece ever."

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The dumb idea got dumber when the headliner of one concert canceled, and the venue offered Pattern Is Movement more money for a longer show; the band accepted. On the drive to the performance, Ward and keyboardist/singer Andrew Thiboldeaux picked four songs to cover to flesh out the set, and the drummer admits that it didn't go well. "The crowd didn't really like the show," he said.

But Pattern Is Movement's take on Radiohead's "Everything in Its Right Place" that night was an epiphany for both band and audience. "They loved that cover," Ward said. "They freaked out."

The original song is a keyboard and Thom Yorke's voice (both straight and heavily manipulated), and Ward said both were a good match for Thiboldeaux's falsetto and Rhodes - one of two keyboards he plays on stage, along with bass pedals.

"It anchored us; it just connected with the audience," Ward said. "I felt they were able to understand our songs a little more. ... That cover really opened up a direction for us as a band."

After three U.S. tours, the Philadelphia-based duo certainly has a better sense of itself, with the results on display at Huckleberry's on Saturday in a show. The covers these days are more cheeky --Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" and D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" -- and the band is undoubtedly sunnier than Yorke and company, but that Kid A-era Radiohead touchstone remains. With Rhodes, Mellotron, drums, and Thiboldeaux's airy voice, the sound is warm and burnished but complicated with the experimental textures of jazz and the subtle variations of minimalism.

While it's took the band six years from its 2001 founding to arrive at its current form, the destination isn't surprising. Ward and Thiboldeaux were a Christian-rap group in their early teens, formed a band in high school, and assembled Pattern Is Movement after college.

It was awkward to lose members regularly, Ward said: "Every time somebody saw us, we were a different band. 'Oh, there's four of you ... ? Oh, no, three, right? What? Hold on, there's two of you now?' ... You can't really get into a band when you don't have a clue what they're trying to do."

But that process helped the two recognize that they were the band by themselves. "As people started leaving, it just became apparent," he said.

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The duo wants to make complex, challenging music, Ward said, "but when you boil them down, he [Thiboldeaux] wants people to walk away and whistle them."

A great song, he added, "can always be pared down to a kick and a snare and an accordion, or a piano. That essentially is what we already are."

Pattern Is Movement will perform at Huckleberry's ( in Rock Island) on Saturday, June 6. The all-ages show also features The Netherfriends and starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $6.

For more information on Pattern Is Movement, visit To hear the band's session, click here.

As Much Time as It Needs: The Daredevil Christopher Wright, June 3 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-06-01 14:02:50

The Daredevil Christopher Wright

As you might imagine, there are a good many Christopher Wrights in the world, and one of them was a conspirator with Guy Fawkes in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. But according to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jon Sunde, his band The Daredevil Christopher Wright takes its name from a person he made up for a song.

"As far as we're concerned, he's a fictional character," Sunde said in a phone interview. "But it's interesting to hear about the Christopher Wrights of the world." (What's dryly funny is that the song bearing his name has the chorus "I want to grow up to be Christopher Wright.")

The use of such a common name with the vivid "daredevil" mimics the approach of the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, trio, headlining a show on Wednesday at Huckleberry's in Rock Island.

Sunde called it "pairing the profound and the mundane," and that means searching for enlightenment in the everyday. "Trying to shoot straight at love or straight at agony or trying to expound on the concept of romance - it's too big, it's too broad, it's too strange," Sunde said.
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A Fine Line Between Serious and Clever: Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, May 29 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-05-26 19:07:03

Dent May

The debut album The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele begins with an a cappella number called "Welcome" that starts, "Welcome to my record / Welcome to the show."

The second track features vocals mimicking electronic bleeps before the ukulele actually shows up, and the lyrics begin, "Every Tuesday, and every other Friday or so ... ." The voice is clear, confident, and forward, not at all the tentative instrument one might expect with indie-pop music defined by the miniature guitar.

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Space Oddities: Drakkar Sauna, May 18 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-05-15 20:49:52

Drakkar SaunaHere are three things that Wallace Cochran told me in an interview last week to promote Drakkar Sauna's May 18 performance at RIBCO:

  • The old-school country duo's upcoming album (set to be released on August 1) is titled 20009, which is pronounced "two thousand-ousand nine."
  • "It's a theme record. It's about astronauts and love. Mostly astronauts and rocket travel and the failures of rocket travel in history."
  • "Jeff [Stolz] definitely brought the Louvin Brothers to our relationship, and I'm glad I could respond to that with Mandy Patinkin."

A word of warning: None of this is necessarily true. Interviews with Drakkar Sauna typically play like dry comedy routines between Cochran and Stolz, as if they were lost members of Spinal Tap. For evidence, see the e-mail interview between the band and founder Sean Moeller, who has previously featured the band on his site and is bringing them back to town for the show and another recording session.

But while the band's interview style might be self-effacing and silly, and there's undoubtedly an oddball element to the music, it would be wrong to accuse Drakkar Sauna of not taking its craft seriously. On the band's albums, indie-sensibilities are fused with old-time country in an appealingly ramshackle concoction that sounds as if it came from a time-traveling saloon.

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Ready for Anything: The High Strung, May 8 at Theo’s Java Club
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-05-05 21:47:36

The High Strung

On the one hand, Josh Malerman -- The High Strung's singer, guitarist, and songwriter -- sounds receptive to new ideas. When I asked whether the band will record an album of library songs -- the on-the-spot compositions generated with the help of the audience at the band's many gigs at public libraries -- he replied that generally the songs are performed once and then disappear.

But then: "We have probably 12 this year," he said. "If we recorded those 12, that's an album. I actually think that's a very good idea. Maybe we will. The more that I talk about this, I really think that we should just do that."

On the other hand, Malerman said he was perfectly happy for the trio to record with the same producer (Jim Diamond) well into old age. When the Detroit group's label suggested a new direction, Malerman said he was skeptical. He recalled that a representative told the band, "You've made three albums with this guy. Time to do something different." That was seconded by the High Strung's drummer and its bassist, but Malerman had to be sold: "I was ready to keep going like we were going until we were 80."

The High Strung will perform a Daytrotter show at Theo's Java Club on Friday, and the band's story suggests that Malerman indulges wacky ideas more than he rejects him. The group left its old tour bus in front of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and it is probably best known, from a 2005 This American Life story, as the band that plays gigs at libraries -- full rock shows missing only booze and profanity.

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