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items tagged with Rozz Tox

Setting the Scene: “Hello Quad Cities – Volume 1”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-08-29 14:34:23

The first thing to stress about Hello Quad Cities – Volume 1 is that as compilations go, it’s strong from front to back and varied without feeling scattershot. The challenging format tends to result in well-intentioned hodgepodges of second-rate leftovers, but the tracks here – from 12 area bands – are all exclusive, and most were written specifically for the compilation. More importantly, while you might not find all of them to your liking, there isn’t a weak link.

The second thing to emphasize is that if you’re curious about the project, you shouldn’t dawdle. The release is available only on vinyl, and a mere 350 copies were pressed. (Each album includes a download code, but there will be no separate digital or CD release.) And they’ll only be sold at a pair of record-release shows, by the featured bands, and at Ragged Records.


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Elusive but Enticing: Blues Control, September 9 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-08-29 11:51:07

Blues Control

If you haven’t heard of the instrumental duo Blues Control, as an introduction let me try to describe the first two tracks from its Valley Tangents album, which was released in June.

“Love’s a Rondo” is a jazzy, piano-based tune with one of the keyboard lines often matched by a fuzzy guitar whose frayed edges serve as a gentle contrast. The rhythms are laid-back and slightly exotic, and there’s the feel of unhurried, purposeful improv.

“Iron Pigs” starts with beats followed by majestic, cheesy keyboards followed by scratchy, aggressive noise followed by a piano played on the left side. When it emerges, the lead guitar is expressive yet concise, and memories of that agitated opening quickly melt away.

The band will perform at Rozz-Tox on September 9, and, in an interview earlier this month, Lea Cho described its sound as “instrumental psych rock.”

That’s as brief a description as you’ll get, but it’s probably more instructive to repeat some of the more verbose attempts. TinyMixTapes.com wrote that Cho and Russ Waterhouse were “an anomaly to me for ages, and listening to their records only made things worse. Their particular mysticality is created with a deeply abstracted series of layers that end up feeling sublimely confounding alongside the various swoons and gritty feelings of transcendence ... .”


Read More About Elusive But Enticing: Blues Control, September 9 At Rozz-Tox...


Honestly Alluring: Cains & Abels, August 19 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-08-13 14:09:06

David Sampson of Cains & AbelsThe Facebook biography of the Chicago-based trio Cains & Abels is four words: “honest rock and roll.”

That might sound glib, vague, evasive, or even a dig at other bands – and it is. But a truer explanation is that singer/songwriter/bassist David Sampson means it, and to expand on the idea would simply take too long. When I asked him a general question about the genesis of “Money” – from the band’s gorgeously, patiently articulated My Life Is Easy album – he talked for more than four minutes.

He touched on how his fictional songs seemed to bring their specific sadnesses into his life, and how he decided – almost as a joke – to write happy songs to conjure a different vibe.

“One of the main troubles in my life is money,” he said. He discussed how hip-hop artists rap about what they aspire to, and “if it works out, ... they’ve made it happen by talking about it. ... So I decided at one point that I should try to write some songs about how awesome it is to be wealthy, or at least comfortable financially.”

He then deflated what had seemed a hopeful tale. “I ended up writing a song addressing money as a lover that spurned me,” he said. “It didn’t actually come out the way I intended it to.”

Even Sampson’s fantasies are weighed down by truth; he couldn’t complete a tongue-in-cheek exercise in wish fulfillment.


Read More About Honestly Alluring: Cains & Abels, August 19 At Rozz-Tox...


Destroy the Language: Matt Hart and the Poets of “Locuspoint: Quad Cities,” March 10 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Literature

2012-03-08 14:52:49

Matt Hart

Philosophy wouldn’t seem to lead naturally to poetry, but it can if you find the right philosopher. For Cincinnati-based poet Matt Hart – who will be reading from his work on Saturday at Rozz-Tox along with poets from the Quad Cities edition of the national journal Locuspoint – it was the 20th Century Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Hart fell in love with poetry as an undergraduate at Ball State University, but he studied philosophy. Pursing a graduate degree in the subject at Ohio University, though, “I really bought Wittgenstein hook, line, and sinker. As a result, I quit doing philosophy. One of his main ideas is that philosophy is a sort of mental illness; if you understand him, you quit doing it.”

And Wittgenstein offered an alternative to philosophy’s relentless rational argument, writing that “philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry.”


Read More About Destroy The Language: Matt Hart And The Poets Of “Locuspoint: Quad Cities,” March 10 At Rozz-Tox...


Recording as Canvas: In Tall Buildings, February 15 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-12 01:53:21

Erik Hall. Photo by David Sampson.

Less than a minute into In Tall Buildings’ 2010 self-titled debut is a moment that hints at Erik Hall’s cut-and-paste method. New vocal lines burst abruptly from beneath the previous ones, as if overeagerly jumping their cue. But the music is so carefully constructed that it’s obvious this was a choice rather than a mistake, and the effect in an otherwise patient and gentle song is the understanding of a clear vision behind the music.

The album was crafted over four years, Hall said in a phone interview this week promoting his February 15 performance at Rozz-Tox. “I didn’t push it at all,” he said. “I didn’t work on it unless something came to me, unless I had an idea that I knew I wanted to apply to the music that I was already working on. So it was very gradual.”

While the album’s gestation period was long by music-industry standards, Hall’s composing and recording approaches were particularly unusual. He started out with a backbone – a chord progression or rhythmic pattern – and recorded it for the final product. “That’s it,” he said. “It’s not like a demo. ... Sometimes I have to sit and live with that for a good while before I figure out where the vocals are going to come from, what the song is going to be about, and what else sonically it needs.” He added with a laugh: “That can take anywhere from a week to a year.”


Read More About Recording As Canvas: In Tall Buildings, February 15 At Rozz-Tox...





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