A little all over the map today on stuff, but its all good at the same time, so I think it works out for the better, no?
I have had a couple of really good submissions lately and despite already being aware of both of them, sometimes I need a push…sometimes. Those two bands are Uncles and Joseph & David. I know of Uncles due to their recent release “Replacing Words With Other Words” that I saw on the great site Ampeater and Joseph & David due to the Green Man Festival readers poll on a band “opening the festival”.
Let’s start with Uncles. Uncles provide a 10 track down tempo indie album that is free on their website – something I think is great option for newer bands to get noticed (it worked here at least). I also feel bad as the album sounds like a real work – like it took something to get it out there. Not in a physical sense like recording, mixing (but who knows) – but in a sense that it isn’t an album with throw away songs and fluff to get a “full length” album out into the music scene. There is some really good tracks on this album, including the two below – but I suggest picking up the entire album to get a cohesive listen – get it on their site HERE. Listen to the below tracks and tell me you aren’t picking it up?
I also have Joseph & David from over yonder in the UK. I first saw them over on the Green Man site when I was voting for Evening Chorus for the very same contest that these two are in – to play the opening of the Green Man Festival. Well they both need to be in the top 5 to move on and they both currently are, so all is still rosy.
Well these two polite gentleman craft that soft acoustic folk-pop with (at time) soaring vocals. Despite the songs having a slightly “tragic” sound, it builds character in a song (I think). Not unlike Uncles above, the songs seem to have depth which can be hard at times for bands that play songs that can have a label such as “pop” attached to them. The EP “So Short of Time” contains 6 tracks of piano infused beauty that sounds much beyond their young(er) years. Once again, I am stunned by artists that at a such young age (or early in their musical career) can bring forth a collection of songs that are well done, sound good, have something that makes you want to sing along to and all around seem like good guys. You can visit them on their Bandcamp page HERE or on MySpace HERE.
Next we have a “review” of last weekend’s The Tallest Man On Earth w/Nurses show here in Calgary. While I don’t pretend to be a great reviewer of live shows – mostly due to my lack of extensive show attendance, I do think it was pretty darn good. The crowd was pretty good – appreciative at the right times, sang along (wow, Calgary sings along to Tallest Man?? Nice) and while they crowded the stage, they weren’t difficult to get around to take a photo or a great view of the bands. The venue, Local 522, is a mish mash of good and bad: great service for drinks, parking – had decent sound (which means something as TTMOE is entirely acoustic and Nurses have percussion, keyboards, etc.) – but lighting was a bit suspect. I know it sounds trivial about lighting, but there was a constant “orange hue” to everyone in the crowd and the acts performing, so much so that I have had to move the photos to black and white to even make them decent. The photos were taken from a local photog (David Kenny) who was gracious enough to send over a couple – they are downsized for the blog and again, moved to B&W for this blog only.
Aaron Chapman of Nurses (with shorter beard than normal)
The main man Kristian Matsson!
Okay the show – again, sound was pretty good overall and I was assured of this when “opening” band Nurses started playing – sound was full and fully recognizable as their music. Sounds weird to say that, but sometimes the album clarity gets a bit forgotten in some venues and you end up getting what sounds like a grade 8 tribute band playing in place of the actual artists. They did play the expected tunes like Technicolor which translated extremely well and a song that I am a big fan of. There was a little banter, but not much and it was pretty much 6 songs and gone. The 3-part team did a great job and I would see them again definitely – James from the band even worked the merch table and was very gracious in autographs and helping out all around to the fans.
Next Kristian came on after about a 15-20 minute break and did not disappoint. Opening with the title track to the new album “The Wild Hunt” and everyone immediately got into it. I have to say that he plays live extremely well and his voice is incredible – it holds up under everything he belts out. With a tour like he is currently in where he is performing constantly, you might expect a touch of vocal fatigue but alas not here folks. His delivery was phenomenal – front to back of the club – was spot on. I mean, you know it’s live, but the power he delivers with lends to what could only be a great show. The entire sound was full – guitar and vocal levels (not one over the other kind of scenario) was where it needed to be. Some may ask how hard it is to have a guitar and sing – you can’t get the sound wrong??!! Do not let these skeptics tell you this – in order to create great pitch and sound loud enough to get to the back of a sold out show (I would say 3-4 hundred where there) with no crackle, hiss, feedback or overfed channels – it takes a talented vocalist and good sound. Kudos to the venue and who would I assume be the “roadies”!
A highlight was his cover of “Graceland” which I ever so helpfully yelled out during one of the breaks to ensure he did have the official “Slowcoustic recommendation”. Fantastic. He played almost the entire new album with a couple of previous cuts and ended the main set with King of Spain. There was an encore attached which was just perfect – Kristian did talk with the audience during the show, but his speaking voice was much quieter than when he was performing, so honestly I could not make it out (what was I saying about the sound again??). Recommended as a must see if he is in your neck of the woods.
After the show, both Nurses and TTMOE stuck around for autographs and to say hi – yours truly now owns both “Apples Acre” and “The Wild Hunt” on signed vinyl – how good is that?
That is all.