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items tagged with Daytrotter

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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Not Minding the Dark: William Fitzsimmons, March 19 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-03-12 15:54:18

William Fitzsimmons

Most folks don't like to talk about painful personal stuff, such as a failed relationship.

William Fitzsimmons -- who will be performing a Daytrotter show on Thursday, March 19, at RIBCO -- doesn't have much choice.

"I wrote a record on divorce, so I opened the door," he said in an interview this week.

You'd never guess that The Sparrow & the Crow, Fitzsimmons' album from last year that the Boston Herald called a "near masterpiece," is about divorce on first blush. It's unfailingly delicate, intimate, and gentle musically, with folk-y lead piano and acoustic guitar lightly accented with other instruments. And it starts with the words "I still love you" and "I still need you" and what sounds like a reaffirmation of marriage vows. It absolutely does not sound like divorce.

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Hot and Odd: Dirty Projectors, March 8; and Cut Off Your Hands, March 12 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-03-04 01:48:41

Dirty Projectors

Editor's note: The Dirty Projectors show scheduled for Sunday, March 8, was canceled the day of the show.

Three years into its existence, the variety of acts that has brought to the Quad Cities for concerts defies pigeonholing, but they've tended to fall into two broad categories: the highly idiosyncratic and the on-the-verge. (Remember that founder Sean Moeller brought in Vampire Weekend, Blitzen Trapper, and Fleet Foxes before they were big.)

Read More About Hot And Odd: Dirty Projectors, March 8; And Cut Off Your Hands, March 12 At RIBCO...

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