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items tagged with RozzTox

A New Way of Seeing: Hey Rosetta!, April 24 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-04-17 18:20:13

Hey Rosetta! Photo by Scott Blackburn.

It’s not often you’ll hear a story about label interference making a record better, so let’s marvel at Hey Rosetta!’s Second Sight.

The band was twice short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize and has been nominated for a Juno Award – the Canadian equivalent of the a Grammy – and Second Sight has been warmly received. SputnikMusic.com described it as “a collection of profoundly beautiful and well-arranged songs that I’m sure will stand the test of time.”

Yet the story of its creation shows some of the opportunity inherent in a little adversity.

The Canadian septet had finished recording the album’s 11 songs, and the band’s label liked it, but ... the staff felt it needed a single, something to launch it. Singer/guitarist/pianist/songwriter Tim Baker – in a recent phone interview promoting the band’s April 24 Communion Tour gig at Rozz-Tox – said he disagreed.

“We thought we had a great record, and we had to go back in” to the studio, he said of the band’s frustration. Hey Rosetta! assented because they also wanted to make the album as commercially viable as possible, “to get it out to people.”

But writing to grab people’s attention is difficult, and something that was foreign to Baker as a songwriter. “I’d never written a single before,” he said. “We’d gotten this far just playing our sprawling tunes and touring all the time. If we were going to try to get something on the radio, then I really wanted it to be moving and really mean something to me. And hopefully be one of those songs that isn’t just skin-deep, kind of asinine music. ... A song that actually reaches past and does something to you. ...

“We took it as a challenge ... trying to write something short and catchy but meaningful. ... I think we got it, but it was a trial for sure.”


Read More About A New Way Of Seeing: Hey Rosetta!, April 24 At Rozz-Tox...


An Anything-Goes Tapestry: All Them Witches, February 15 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-02-06 11:54:04

All Them Witches hails from Nashville, and the combination of name and hometown gives you a pretty good sense of a split personality. The moniker hints at a band in thrall to Black Sabbath, and the Tennessee city hints at something Southern – although its debts are to blues and Southern rock and not in any way country. (Bassist/singer Michael Parks Jr. noted, however: “We have been known to just pop up on the street somewhere during tour playing bluegrass on the street.”)

But when the band returns to Rozz-Tox on February 15, it will be apparent that the quartet is far more expansive than that would suggest. All Them Witches embraces not just blues-based music but the blues themselves, particularly on “The Marriage of Coyote Woman” from its most recent album, Lightning at the Door. The elemental riffs of Ben McLeod have the heaviness of Sabbath’s Tommy Iommi but also the razor-sharp lyricism of Queens of the Stone Age’s Joshua Homme.

And, most importantly, there’s an experimental psychedelic core, a grounding in improvisation that allows each person in the band to bring a distinct personality to tracks that might go anywhere – including, to cite just one example, throat singing in the folk-ish and completely un-metal “Romany Dagger.”

And that anything-goes quality is the reason I was curious about this comment I read from drummer Robby Staebler: “As individual players we are more concerned and focused on our own playing. We are not focused on what the others are playing. We all do what we want. It’s why it works.”


Read More About An Anything-Goes Tapestry: All Them Witches, February 15 At Rozz-Tox...


The Whole World Opened Up: The Soil & the Sun, December 4 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-11-25 19:25:09

The Soil & the Sun. Photo by Rotten Photography.

Given the expansive, spacious, and precise sound that Michigan’s The Soil & the Sun achieves on Meridian – the band’s third record – two things leap out from its history: that what’s now a seven-piece ensemble started as a duo, and that its first two albums were home-recorded by people who didn’t really know what they were doing.

Meridian – released in August – marks the first time the group worked with a producer, and the most obvious difference from its predecessors is in its choir-like group vocals, particularly on “How Long.” The band has retained its orchestral breadth and adventurousness, but with its soaring collective singing the album becomes something more celestial; songs dominated by gloomy clouds have given way to bright stars.

Working in a proper studio “was a little bit overwhelming, actually,” said frontman, primary songwriter, and co-founder Alex McGrath in a recent phone interview, promoting The Soil & the Sun’s December 4 performance at Rozz-Tox. “We had the whole world opened up to us, really for the first time. We had to exercise some restraint and not get too caught up in effects ... .”


Read More About The Whole World Opened Up: The Soil & The Sun, December 4 At Rozz-Tox...


Break-Up Artists: Madi Diaz and Christian Lee Hutson, November 21 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-11-13 11:16:18

Madi Diaz

Madi Diaz’s new album Phantom is a break-up record, but you’d never know that from a casual listen – and that’s just what the singer/songwriter was aiming for.

“I’m trying to push past the break-up-record thing,” she said in a recent phone interview in advance of her November 21 record-release show at Rozz-Tox. “I’m hoping the music pulls it past the cold, harsh idea of a break-up record. ... That’s kind of my favorite thing, that juxtaposition: the very dry, grounded, present lyrics with a kind of uplifting, soaring musical bed. That’s what I was striving for with the record.”

Both Diaz and Christian Lee Hutson – who will be returning to the Quad Cities for the Daytrotter.com show with Diaz – are promoting records whose idiosyncratic pop textures mask darker emotional content.


Read More About Break-Up Artists: Madi Diaz And Christian Lee Hutson, November 21 At Rozz-Tox...


A Voice Found: Muddy Ruckus, September 19 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-09-17 14:39:42

Muddy Ruckus. Photo by J. Elon Goodman.

By design, the opening three tracks of Muddy Ruckus’ self-titled debut are meant as an introduction.

But it might be more accurate to say that they’re a reintroduction – particularly for the Quad Cities. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ryan Flaherty hails from these parts, and the album and a September 19 performance at Rozz-Tox will show what he’s been up to in the decade-plus since he left.


Read More About A Voice Found: Muddy Ruckus, September 19 At Rozz-Tox...





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