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items tagged with Redstone Room

Photos from Eric Sardinas Concert, March 23 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-03-26 15:54:14

Photos from the Eric Sardinas concert at the Redstone Room on March 23, 2013. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit MRE-Photography.com.

Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com


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A Judiciously Expansive Palette: The Kopecky Family Band, March 26 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-03-19 22:46:29

The Kopecky Family Band. Photo by Will Morgan Holland.

The second track on the debut album by the Kopecky Family Band is the mid-tempo number “Heartbeat,” pleasant but unremarkable until the two-tiered bridge, which ultimately explodes with what sounds like a theremin.

It’s actually co-founder Gabe Simon whistling, multitracked and treated with reverb, and those 15 seconds demonstrate a maximalist tendency – understandable for a six-person band with members who play several instruments. The album starts with horns and cello, for instance, before the guitar rock kicks in, and the record employs an expansive sonic palette.

But the key thing about that whistling is that it’s right, the perfect touch at the perfect moment. Beyond the typical mix of loud and quiet songs, the Kopecky Family Band on the vibrantly dynamic Kids Raising Kids (out April 2 on ATO Records) has a judiciously sharp sense of how much or little songs require; adventurousness is tempered by discipline.

“Change” is acoustic guitar, some ethereal atmospherics, and vocals – anchored by the inherently poignant singing of Kelsey Kopecky. Straightforward opener “Wandering Eyes” has a swagger bordering on stalker menace. “Are You Listening?” finds Simon whistling again, but in a conventionally tuneful way.

“That’s the dynamic of the record: to get that simple or to get as a big as a song like ‘Hope’ – multiple layers, tons of strings, tons of keyboards ... ,” Simon said. “There have to be those moments when you say, ‘Does it need everything? ... Can this song survive just by itself? Or does the song need these layers to build it into something great, ... memorable?’ That’s what I think is cool about the record: It has both of those things. That’s what six people allows to happen.”


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“The Guitar Plays Me”: Richard Lloyd, June 14 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-06-06 13:59:15

(Editor’s note: This concert was canceled on June 13.)

Richard Lloyd. Photo by Brian Jenkins.What’s essential to know about the Redstone Room’s June 14 headliner can be summed up succinctly: Richard Lloyd was one of the guitarists of Television, the seminal band whose 1977 Marquee Moon is widely considered a great debut, an unmistakable influence on post-punk and alternative rock, and a classic, period.

The All Music Guide calls it “a revolutionary album, but it’s a subtle, understated revolution. Without question, it is a guitar-rock album – it’s astonishing to hear the interplay between [singer/songwriter/guitarist] Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd – but it is a guitar-rock album unlike any other,” composed entirely of “tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group’s long, interweaving instrumental sections ... .”

But to reduce Lloyd to a member of Television – whose initial incarnation disbanded in 1978 after two sterling studio albums – is to diminish a more-than-respectable career as a performer and songwriter outside of that band, and to rob the world of a fascinating person.


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Finding an Easy Oddity: Ragaman, “And Other Anagrams”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-03-22 12:31:30

Ragaman

My first listens to And Other Anagrams, the full-length debut of the Quad Cities trio Ragaman, brought to mind something Andrew Bird said to me in a 2007 interview: “I don’t know what a bass line is supposed to do.” The context was finding collaborators who didn’t play “stock footage,” who fight pop formulas in the creation of pop music.

Bird and Ragaman share an endearing softness and a natural aversion to subjugating intelligence, and both seem constitutionally incapable of conventional approaches, from instrumentation to style to structure. Ragaman employs the sitar as the lead on “Everyone You Know,” for example, and it’s the perfect essential detail: Taking the traditional rock role of the electric guitar, the instrument is comfortable yet foreign, and its chattiness anchors the song. The break of “Ankle Bells” features what sound like kazoos and trumpets – although I suspect some of that is mouth-mimicry.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Lars Rehnberg, bassist/engineer Gordon Pickering, and percussionist Leif Rehnberg make up Ragaman – an anagram of “anagram,” a joke referenced in the album’s title. Their style is a pop stew with distinct flavors – jazz, funk, and world music intermingle and take turns dominating. But it’s unified enough by its ambition, its breezy texture, and the vocals and playing of Lars Rehnberg – a former co-worker at the River Cities’ Reader.


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Meeting in the Middle: Kaivama, March 10 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-29 12:27:22

The Minnesota-based Finnish-American instrumental folk duo Kaivama – performing at the River Music Experience on March 10 – has been around for less than two years, and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rundman acknowledges that “the whole band has kind of happened in reverse. We got a gig before we existed as a group. So we had to form the band in order to play the gig.”

And its self-titled debut album came out less than a year after the group’s genesis – before it had even toured.

Rundman attributes this to demand. The Finnish-American population, he said in a phone interview last month, is small but active, and that audience frankly doesn’t have many options when it comes to traditional music from its ancestral home.“It’s a niche,” he said. “We’re some of the only choices they have as far as that goes.

“But apart from the demographics, I think it’s because Nordic music is really beautiful. I don’t say that because we’re such a great band; I say that because ... it’s just beautiful music. ... It’s just undeniably gorgeous music. ... The raw material is wonderful.”

He’s right, but also too modest. With roughly the same number of traditional tunes and originals, Kaivama is expertly poised between the old and new – aged melodies adorned by modern flourishes. A warm, jaunty keyboard, for example, matches Sara Pajunen’s coolly nimble fiddle on opening track “Schottische 150.”


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