Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Last night was like a locomotive ride, the slow scenic beginning has it's charm, but once you get moving is when things really get interesting.
Starting off the night was the gravel road serenade of the Huck Notari Trio. Ripe with a back porch mystique the mournfully eloquent songs of their set held the wonderful ache of honesty. Introspectively moody, their set lead perfectly into the earthy duet of Jenn Rawling and Basho Parks.
Once the Birds of Chicago took the stage, they awakened a new presence in the room. Like the first break of sun on a rainy day, the energy of their live show is undeniably infectious. Paired downed to the bare minimum of JT Nero, Allison Russell and and their hired gun Joe Faulhaber on electric guitar . The fun near-danceable set this trio brought to the Mississippi Studio Stage was a great boost of life after the beautiful melancholy of the opening bands.
JT's white mans blues was richly indicative of his home town while Allison's soulful singing was a sweet mixture of Carol King's power and the lite island energy of Phyllis Dillon. Combined they livened up the trudging weight of a Wednesday night until you could almost forget that you had to work the next day. Their set list was mainly populated by songs from their self-titled album with the occasional gem from one of their individual projects. In particular was the phenomenal rendition of the JT & The Cloud's song "I Have Heard Words." The way that JT and Allison dug so deep and played off each other made this song amazing. I hope that someday they'll take the time to put it down on tape.
As the night wrapped up,you couldn't help but feel like the band had reached out on a personal level. The fun and liveliness of the band seemed to lighten the wait of the week. While the live treatment of their album tracks made me excited to listen to the CD on the ride home. In all, the night was wonderful and Birds of Chicago used their gracious charm to win over a few new fans on a cold Wednesday night.
Los Angles based Youngblood Hawke has had an amazing year. Lively energetic and buoyantly optimistic their music is a joyful celebration of life and the friendship of the band members who making it. With their debut full-length in the works the band momentum should only grow stronger in the new year. The band took sometime to answer BLS's questions about their music and successes.
BLS: In the short time your band has been together, you’ve had phenomenal success gaining amazing amounts of attention. You’ve even been herald by some as the best new band in America. What do you think lead to the whirlwind of fanfare? Is their anything the band did to cultivate this exposure?
YB: Simon and I locked ourselves in a tiny bedroom studio and came out with a handful of songs that are deeply personal and close to our hearts To have people respond so positively is incredible! It's an amazing feeling. The growth of our band has felt very natural and organic. We started slowly developing a fan base by playing shows around the West Coast and things just started to grow, more and more people started turning up at shows. We're very appreciate and extremely thankful that people are connecting to our weird stories!
The best band in America? That's a pretty ridiculous statement! I don't feel like a "best" in music exists, its all subjective, from one person to the next. The beauty of music is that there's so many different styles and genres.
BLS: Of all the experiences the recent exposure has given you. Do you have a favorite?
YB: Touring with Passion Pit was insane! They're an amazing group of people and their live show is mind-blowing. We all got along really well and every night was basically a huge party. Good times indeed!
BLS: Sam and Simon, how has this experience differed from your time in Iglu & Hartly? What steps, if any, are you taking to assure that this band doesn’t suffer the fate of your last band?
YH: We made sure to surround ourselves with people we really care for, trust and respect. All the people in our band are our best friends so we get along very well. No inner band turmoil. That can take all the excitement out of these kind of experiences.
BLS: You’ve been in the process of recording your debut full-length album since the drop of your EP in August. What should we expect from the new record? How dose the band dynamics translate into the studio?
YH: The full length is another side of us. We explore other styles, different sounds and weirder lyrics. Everyone gets in the studio and does their thing! Adds their spice! That's what makes each song so unique.
BLS: I’ve read that in the recording process, you are highly active in isolating and removing elements of your songs that you deem overly poppish or rocky. Ultimately what’s your goal in doing this? What happens to these orphaned elements, especially if they are really good?
YH: We just want to make something unique and fresh. We don't use any formula, its all about feeling! If it feels good and it really means something to us, we keep it. It's all about the feeling for us. We're huge fans of pop music, the blues, rock music and we love blending genres to come up with our own sound.
BLS: Ideally what would be the perfect state of the band if you had a choice? Recording in the Studio? Playing Live? Or just sitting around making music?
YH: We love both! We love writing songs then seeing how they translate live, what kind of reaction they get. Touring is the life line of any band and we want as many people to hear our songs as possible. I think we'd all get cabin fever if we were only in the studio. We want to see the world!
BLS: With a band made up of so many friends and family, how dose it effect the dynamic of the group on both a personal and artistic level?
YH: It makes everything better! The music, the traveling. You're the happiest when you're surrounded by the people you truly care about. We feel very lucky to have the opportunity to play music with our best friends.
BLS: You recorded some of the material for the new album at Red Bull Studio L.A.. What do you think of the recent trend of companies like Red Bull taking such interest in more independent bands and the music industry as a whole?
YH: I think its great! The music industry needs all the support it can get right now! Musicians do too! Companies stepping up and keeping the industry alive is very positive thing.
BLS: With the successes of 2012 still in your peripheral vision, what do you have waiting for you in 2013?
YH: Shows shows shows! We want to play for as many people as possible and continue writing songs for our second album.
BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?
The New Limb.