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items tagged with Rozz Tox

Forcing Freshness: The David Mayfield Parade, November 1 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-10-25 20:50:24

David Mayfield.A lot of bands decide to track their albums largely live in the studio, but until I talked to David Mayfield, I’d never heard such a strong rationale. The typical goal (outside of saving money and time) is to capture a live energy, with the incidental benefit of retaining some charming flubs.

But for the self-titled debut of the David Mayfield Parade, this bandleader knew that live tracking – including recording the drums with a single microphone – would get the best out of the players.

“I think there’s some merit to limiting your options,” said Mayfield, whose band will perform as part of the Communion Tour at Rock Island’s Rozz-Tox on November 1. “It really helped to just put us in a mindset of pulling the trigger and making these choices early on. All the lead guitar, and drums, and bass are in the room together, and there’s so much bleed that you couldn’t go in and fix something. You had to just choose a take and live with it, which kind of made everyone ... more precious about their performance.”


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Growing Comfortable with Vulnerability: Shenandoah Davis, September 16 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-09-09 13:36:56

Shenandoah Davis. Photo by Jennifer Lynne Sweeney.In April 2008, Seattle alternative-weekly paper The Stranger dubbed Shenandoah Davis its artist of the week, writing that “fans of Joanna Newsom have a local act to love.” The comparison to the idiosyncratic harpist/singer/songwriter was flattering, but there was one problem: Davis had never played in public as a solo artist.

She began to get inquiries about shows, but she was unseasoned as both a songwriter and performer. “I remember very distinctly that there was one show that I was so nervous about I canceled it maybe half an hour before – the second show I was ever supposed to play,” the 26-year-old Davis said in a phone interview promoting her September 16 show at Rozz-Tox.

So started a steep learning curve for Davis, who began playing piano as a toddler and has a degree in opera performance but has been writing her own songs for less than four years.


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A Classical Take on Bold Rock: Skye Carrasco, June 17 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-06-14 19:36:09

Skye Carrasco

For her forthcoming debut album, violinist, songwriter, and singer Skye Carrasco initially thought big. “I had envisioned all these different instruments – piano, trumpet, trombone, string bass, maybe even some accordion,” she said in a phone interview promoting her June 17 Rozz-Tox show.

“It ended up being much simpler that I had originally imagined,” she said. “As I recorded the songs – the vocals and the violin parts – ... and really listened to them a lot, ... we decided that perhaps we should start with some drums and electric bass.”

That’s where it started, and that’s where it ended. The first half of the album – which the Iowa City resident hopes to release this fall – is so lightly adorned that it might escape listeners’ notice until the relative cacophony of “Empty Buckets.” That track signals a distinct change in tone, from elegantly lyrical to abrasive and often discordant.


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Capturing It: Bedroom Sons, June 11 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-06-08 23:09:29

Chris Dertz of Bedroom Sons

It’s not often that a performer who sings and wields an acoustic guitar – and who writes songs – will claim not to be a songwriter. Modest ones say they’re still learning the craft. But Chris Dertz – half of the acoustic-guitar-and-drum outfit Bedroom Sons, which will be performing at Rock Island’s Rozz-Tox on Saturday – won’t even go that far.

“I don’t really think of myself as a songwriter,” said Dertz, who grew up in Woodhull, Illinois (halfway between the Quad Cities and Galesburg) and now lives in DeKalb, Illinois. “They just kind of come through me from wherever they come from. ... I don’t really know where they come from.”

And once he’s got them down – which usually takes half an hour, he said – they’re finished. “Sometimes it feels like I might be cheating them by not giving them their due time to sit with them and think about what they are, what could be changed to make them better. But usually, songwriting is a very isolated incident for me. It’s hard for me to start writing a song and then come back to it weeks later. When it comes, I have to sit down and capture it.”

Dertz considers himself a performer rather than a songwriter. “I think it’s less about creating different sounds for people to hear live than it is just trying to be as energetic as possible and give people something compelling to watch,” he said. “When I was playing solo, there was rarely a show where I didn’t break something.”

Lest you think that Bedroom Sons involves Dertz and drummer Ben Gross thrashing about with no larger purpose, it must be said that Bedroom Sons’ new EP, Father, is an adept blend of the acoustic oddity of Neutral Milk Hotel and the unfiltered, direct rage of Against Me! In six minutes, the first two parts of “My Blood” build from warm memory to anger and then collapse into spent reverie. The rawness and soft/loud/soft dynamics of “Frozen to the Bone” suggest Nirvana through an Americana filter.

Dertz does a lot of distortion on his acoustic guitar, but other elements of the recording – the organ and horns, for example, of “My Blood Part 1” – are discarded for performance. “A lot of the stuff, compared to how it sounds on the EP, will probably sound kind of bare-bones to people live,” Dertz said, “but I think that’s part of what makes the show unique. It’s all about putting out a bunch of energy to try and make up for any instrumentation that’s lost.”

But he admits that the band’s aesthetic has pragmatic roots. “Nobody knows who I am at all,” he said. “I wanted something that would grab a bunch of people’s attention but that didn’t have all the things you have to work around with your traditional four- or five-piece band. ... It just simplifies things, and I think, for my songs, two people is really all that’s necessary to play them well ... .”

Bedroom Sons will perform at Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue in Rock Island) on Saturday, June 11. Cover for the 9 p.m. show is $5, and the bill also includes Carver and Jeremy Suman.

For more information on Bedroom Sons, visit Facebook.com/bedroomsons. The Father EP can be downloaded for free at BedroomSons.BandCamp.com. Chris Dertz’s solo recordings can be downloaded for free at ChrisDertz.BandCamp.com.



Maturity in a Funny Facade: Danielle Ate the Sandwich, June 2 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-05-20 11:47:08

Danielle AndersonStarting with the stage name Danielle Ate the Sandwich and extending to her unabashedly silly intros to YouTube videos, her press photos, her jokey stage banter, and her ukulele, Danielle Anderson projects a whimsical image that’s a marked contrast to her voice and her songs.

And while she made that bed to sleep in, she’s not hesitant to say that it irritates her when people don’t take her music seriously. “I hate when people laugh or call my songs ‘cute’ and ‘little’ and ‘funny,’” the Colorado-based singer/songwriter said in a phone interview this week, promoting her June 2 show at Rozz-Tox in Rock Island.

Despite the gimmickry that suggests a novelty act, the 25-year-old Anderson is worth watching. Her third album, last year’s Two Bedroom Apartment, is mature and even startling in its writing and performance.


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