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items tagged with Daytrotter

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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Equal to the Influence: Superdrag, April 24 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-04-22 16:48:03


The first impression of Superdrag's Industry Giants is pure punk on "Slow to Anger," barely updated for the new millennium, and the second impression is My Bloody Valentine on "Live & Breathe," with its patient, droning guitar textures. The rest of the band's comeback album is confirmation that it defies pigeonholing.

But Superdrag -- which will be performing a Daytrotter show at RIBCO on Saturday, April 24 -- isn't impressive for merely being more than competent at different genres. What's striking is that it's nearly liquid; despite the stylistic shifts, the quartet is comfortable enough in the songs that the music all sounds of-a-piece. While Superdrag never transcends its influences, it is sometimes their equal, and that's no faint praise.
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Freed from the “Southern Thing”: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, April 18 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-04-15 12:05:56

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

As part of the three-headed songwriting monster of the Drive-by Truckers, Jason Isbell was overshadowed by Patterson Hood's grim, vivid, and vernacular Southern tales sung with an inimitable, scorched voice that could become a haunting howl.

That says more about Hood than Isbell, though. Isbell wrote some the Truckers' prettiest music, but the band has never been much about pretty. Its three-guitar attack and working-class outrage meant that Isbell's songwriting and singing contributions to Decoration Day, The Dirty South, and A Blessing & a Curse got largely lost. And the truth is that his vocals are probably better suited to the Eagles than the Truckers.

When Isbell in 2007 split from the band (by all accounts amicably), it freed his songs from the Southern-rock context and gave them the space to be appreciated on their own. And following a 2007 solo debut mostly recorded with his Drive-by Truckers bandmates, the new Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - released in February - represents a clean break.
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