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items tagged with RIBCO

Ozark-ian Mix and Match: Ha Ha Tonka, May 13 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-05-10 20:25:59

Ha Ha Tonka. Photo by Todd Roeth.

It’s little surprise that the members of Ha Ha Tonka, hailing from the Ozarks, have a natural affinity for bluegrass.

“Anything we do, whether we’re trying to cover an R.E.M. song or what have you, comes out sounding Ozark-ian,” said frontman Brian Roberts in a phone interview last week. But on Death of a Decade, released in April, that influence on the band’s indie rock is front-and-center with Brett Anderson’s mandolin.

Roberts said the quartet, which will perform at RIBCO on Friday, aimed for “brighter, more hopeful sounds” on the album. And because Anderson had been playing lots of mandolin, “it just became the starting point for a lot songs. ... It’s such a colorful, I daresay happy-sounding, instrument. It definitely has a bright sound about it that I think ... helped capture the type of vibe or mood that we were wanting on the songs.”

That description misses the tonal and artistic expansiveness of the album. The mandolin drives opening track “Usual Suspects,” and it’s indeed an upbeat rocker. But elsewhere, the instrument brings shading or a counterpoint; on “Lonely Fortunes,” the mandolin adds balance, emotional complexity, and ambiguity simply through its pregnant tone.

Read More About Ozark-Ian Mix And Match: Ha Ha Tonka, May 13 At RIBCO...

Crafting a Mythology: Lord Huron, May 4 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-04-28 01:32:44

Ben Schneider is a visual artist who studied painting, and his music – as Lord Huron – reflects that. It’s not merely the covers for his two EPs – warmly evocative, slightly foggy images that showcase the natural beauty of figures, water, landscape, and light together. The ethereal, tropical songs themselves have their origins in the visual.

Schneider and his four-piece backing band will be coming to RIBCO on May 4, and in a phone interview this week, he described the translation from the visual to the aural.

“When I’m writing songs, I usually try to tell a story ... ,” he said. “A lot of times, the way I’ll start is by getting an image in mind and then try to translate that image ... sonically. ... I just kind of try to make a soundtrack for that image. It’s almost like making a little film in your head, and then making music that will go with it.”

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The Lunacy of a Three-Decade Marriage: Fishbone, March 12 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-03-02 16:14:44

Angelo Moore of Fishbone

Fishbone’s Angelo Moore has taken inspiration from an unlikely source: Britney Spears.

In 2007, the pop singer shaved her head. “She did that because she needed a change,” Moore said in a phone interview last week. “She probably did it because she needed to be able to look into the mirror and see a different person. And from there, if she saw that different person, she would probably perform from a different perspective, which would be a fresh and new one.

“So in my particular case, these days, I’ve been wearing a wig.”

Fishbone will be performing at RIBCO on March 12, and to appreciate Moore’s wig-wearing ways, it’s helpful to consider that the band has been around since 1979 (when Moore was in his early teens), and it hasn’t been an easy ride.

Read More About The Lunacy Of A Three-Decade Marriage: Fishbone, March 12 At RIBCO...

Don’t Overdo It: Whitey Morgan & the 78’s, January 21 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-01-05 11:33:52

Whitey Morgan & the 78's. Photo by Doug Coombe.If you listen to the self-titled second album by Whitey Morgan & the 78’s and think the band makes outlaw country sound easy, Morgan probably wouldn’t object.

When he described finding his sound, Morgan – the stage name of Eric Allen – said, “It was difficult until I realized that ... limitations can be a beautiful thing.”

He said his band – which will perform at RIBCO on January 21 – initially tried to sound like country from the middle part of the 20th Century, but they didn’t have the chops to pull it off. It was only when they embraced the relative simplicity of the outlaw-country movement – personified by artists such as Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings – that things started to click.

I jokingly suggested that the problem was that he was too ambitious, and Morgan didn’t take offense and didn’t think I was kidding; he agreed.

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Jumping Off a Cliff and Landing on Your Feet: Retribution Gospel Choir, December 31 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-12-22 11:47:16

Retribution Gospel Choir. Photo by Chelsea Morgan.When I interviewed Alan Sparhawk in 2007, the singer/songwriter/guitarist touched on the idea of a “golden moment ... when you’re sort of just struggling with some instrument and you sort of have just figured it out, and you are just figuring out the first possible ideas and melodies on it; it’s really exciting.”

He was talking specifically about Low’s Drums & Guns, in which the Minnesota trio (featuring Sparhawk, his wife Mimi Parker on drums, and bassist Matt Livingston – who has since left the band) experimented with instruments they weren’t comfortable playing.

In an interview last week promoting Retribution Gospel Choir’s December 31 performance at RIBCO (supporting the Meat Puppets), that concept re-emerged in slightly different form. He cast it as freedom – but it’s critical to understand that it isn’t a natural state of being but the result of work and getting rid of ego. “Those are everything,” he said. “‘There was a moment where I was not in the way.’”

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