Tag Archive | "Band of the Day"

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Falling for Shovels & Rope

Posted on 28 January 2013 by Mylynda Guthrie


Sometimes you find the next thing you’re meant to fall in love with completely by accident.

In late 2011, a venue that seemed to be the only one in the area to draw any of the bands that my husband, Steve, and I actually want to pay money to see shut down due to a classic dispute between owners. The Southgate House split in two; one of the owners reinvented the historic Newport home Southgate House as the Thompson House, and the other owner cleverly transformed a beautiful, old church building in to the Southgate House Revival. So far the two venues have truly been like two halves of a split personality, with Southgate House Revival continuing to draw many of the alternative folk, punk, and bluegrass groups that we once sought out at the original Southgate House, and Thompson drawing bands that can range from questionable (Trapt) to fantastic (Bad Books featuring Kevin Devine).

Steve  and I were scrolling through the list of upcoming shows at Southgate House Revival when I saw the name Shovels & Rope. I had a nagging feeling I’d once told myself to look them up after hearing a song I liked on local radio station WNKU, so I switched over to YouTube and typed their name in the search bar.

Steve and I are both pretty set in our musical tastes and band preferences – open to new bands but rarely finding one to get excited about. We’re both the kind of people that seek out new or reissued releases from groups we already like versus searching for the fresh or unknown. I couldn’t even write a “best of 2012″ list this past new year, because the only things I bought were releases from First Aid Kit, Tegan and Sara, and Tilly & the Wall, and being the only albums I bought certainly doesn’t make those the best releases of 2012.

However, we’re both music lovers, and the hope is always alive that there are new, wonderful songs to discover. Thus, when we began watching the first Shovels & Rope video that a YouTube search produced, we were pleasantly surprised. Extremely, pleasantly, surprised.

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They. Were. Fantastic. We watched the entire video for “Gasoline” in a stunned silence, a buzz of excitement palpable in the space between us as we watched the two members, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, flawlessly play a raucous tune under a tree. I clicked on another video, and another, and another. We listened to Shovels & Rope’s toe tapping, rebel-with-a-heart country the rest of the night. We smiled watching the obviously in love (and married!) duo croon to each other in the melancholy ballad “Lay Low.” We laughed watching the two shout at each other in the rowdy call and response song “Tell the Truth,” and I danced around in the kitchen while a video of their album’s title track “O’ Be Joyful” played. The night ended in exclamations of future plans to start a husband and wife band of our own.

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Are you in love yet?

Hearing Shovels & Rope is delightful in its own right, but watching the duo is even better. There’s just something utterly charming about them, and that’s why I think this post will be lost in an amorous sea of thousands after their performance on the Late Show with David Letterman airs on Wednesday, Jan. 30th. I’m not bitter, though, about their surely forthcoming notoriety.  If a rude businesswoman asks me if I’ve ever heard of Shovels & Rope, I won’t even let it get to me (read: like that time I got all uptight about Mumford & Sons).

The Letterman performance will kick off a two week sweep of the Southeastern US for Shovels & Rope, including a stop at Newport’s Southgate House Revival on Feb. 5th. You can keep up with Cary and Michael – which I highly suggest you do! –  at www.shovelsandrope.com.

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Band of the Day 3/9/11: The Window Theatre self-release “Away,” and find a new fan

Posted on 09 March 2011 by Mylynda Guthrie

There are these guys. They’re twins. They like tea. They like to cook. Oh, and they recently released a great EP.

When Erik and Joe Dueming aren’t busy wrapping up their time at Columbia College in Chicago, they’re touring and working to get their art out there on their own terms with their band The Window Theatre. The Window Theatre, which is generally a duo of the Duemigs with other live band members revolving in and out, recently released the album Away. The self-released Away is rapturous and tender with strong traces of folk and chamber pop music present in the four tracks.

The Window Theatre – Away

The Duemigs have definitely cultivated a new fan (me) with the release of Away. Though the title track seems to be the prevailing favorite on the guys’ social networking sites, my personal preference is for the more cheeky and complex  last track “Almost Home” (which reminds me of The Format’s “Dog Problems” in a very complementary way). A whole LP of songs like “Almost Home” would be well worth a piece of anyone’s paycheck.

Away can be streamed or bought for the criminally low price of $1 on The Window Theatre’s bandcamp page, and you can read a full biography and view other media from The Window Theatre at www.thewindowtheatre.com.

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Band of the Day: Wye Oak – “Hot as Day” {from FaceCulture.com}

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Mylynda Guthrie

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Band of the Day: The Veils video for “The Stars Came Out Once the Lights Went Out”

Posted on 23 February 2011 by Mylynda Guthrie

The Veils’ Finn Andrews is one of those rare artists whose passions and eccentricities stretch so far that you cannot simply hope to understand him, you just have to sit back and enjoy the end product. One of the hallmarks of their stage shows is Andrews possessed stage performance, convulsions and speaking in tongues oft included. The UK based indie group released a new ep, The Troubles of the Brain, and three weeks ago a video for the single “The Stars Came Out Once the Lights Went Out” followed. View it below and spread it around – this is a great band for you to be in the know about.

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Band of the Day: One for The Team of Minneapolis, MN

Posted on 20 December 2010 by Mylynda Guthrie

credit: TheWildHoneyPie.com

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Album Review: Madjo – “Trapdoor”

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Mylynda Guthrie

While I am an indie kid through and through, spending many nights in the audible company of Okkervil River and The National, I’ve always had a weakness for the music of my people, the Fench. I like being French for innumerable reasons, including but not limited to my love of the country’s seductive yet relâché take on fashion and the French’s laissez faire attitude towards relationships, but the thing I love most about my heritage is chanson. From Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy to modern day French multitaskers like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Keren Ann, I’ve always been taken with my proverbial motherland and I’ve always wondered why it is exactly that more French music isn’t widely available and beloved in the states.

 Part of that, of course, is the fact that some of the loveliest French releases never even make it to America. One of these such releases is the debut full length album by chanteuse Madjo, a classically trained French-Senegalese violinist. If Trapdoor, her September released album, were brought to the U.S., I feel like Madjo could be the next big quirky indie female… if only people could hear her!

 Madjo is a spritely scamp who’s adorable nature brings to mind, vocally, a mix of Fiona Apple and Imogen Heap and, personality wise, a more three dimensional version of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s enigmatic pal Zoe in The Science of Sleep.

 Trapdooris split almost evenly between perfectly enunciated English indie pop and edgy, quirky tracks in Madjo’s native toungue. Album opener “Leaving My Heart” spins a jazz tinged web that’s not completely out of step with Fiona Apple, back when she was ripe with Jon Brion’s lovely oddities. As with the rest of the album, “Leaving My Heart” is heavy on layered vocals, making Madjo’s husky and melodic voice even more alluring.


 The dance beat of “Another Day” is ripe for play at hipster bars while “Le Coeur Hibou” is audible sex appeal, with enticing vocals that only a French woman could provide and a backdrop of multi-layered, echoing instruments. The album’s title track is a clap-along number that spares no expense when it comes to charm and it just begs to be in a Focus Features off-beat romance, during the inevitable “Why don’t we just fall in love?” moment between the two quirky and neurotic main characters.

 While I am French by birth, I cannot hold my own in a French conversation to save my life. Nevertheless, one of Trapdoor’s most captivating tracks is  “Le Nid Des 100 Soucis.” What’s Madjo saying? I haven’t a clue! But the fact that “Le Nid Des 100 Soucis” a straight up, infectious jam is a testament to Madjo’s talent. Nothing to do with the appeal of the song, or Madjo herself, is lost in translation.

 Amber Valentine is the editor in chief of Radio Free Chicago and you can read her review of Madjo’s first release, a self titled EP, here.

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Band of the Day: Emil & Friends

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Mylynda Guthrie

“Somewhere inside the glowing rectangles, Emil found album worthy tinkerings of nylon strings, waterfalls of voices, flutterings of bells whistles and synths. So goes descriptions of danceable weirdpop act Emil & Friends….”

I also found all sorts of stuff online about Emil Hirsch supposedly claiming to be part of this project…more likely it was just people assuming he was, because there aren’t many famous Emils.

Anyways, I was intrigued by them and thought you may be, too!

Enjoy this song from Emil & Friends -“Josephine.”

Josephine – Emil & Friends

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Band of the Day: Agent Ribbons is…

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Mylynda Guthrie

Agent Ribbons is way too cool.

Guys, they are like the cool musician girlfriends you wish you had. Gals, they are the chicks that inspire you to pick up some bright hair dye and an instrument just hoping you will achieve an ounce of their utter, effortless, awesomeness. Yes, they’re so cool, they make awesomeness a word actually worthy of being used in print.

They’re press release was written by a media genius, because once you read such gems as “a tree house club of post-feminism dreamers trying to find their place in the scheme of things, like a hand-sewn and lovingly-crafted garment in a modern disposable world” and “banned in the UK in 2008,” you feel extremely compelled to give their music a spin and see what this Austin-by-way-of-Sacramento trio is all about. Or, at least I did.

If you, like me, feel there is not nearly enough appreciation and performance of cabaret and burlesque in the world today, you may find that Agent Ribbons is a comforting yet sexy breath of hope. After listening to the first few tracks off of the trio’s upcoming sophomore release Chateau Crone, it struck me that I had actually heard the group perform  in San Diego as a two-piece a couple of years ago. Vocalist Natalie Gordon belts out the band’s baroque pop in a style that is somehow both melancholy and exuberant, and hard to forget. Her delivery on Chateau Crone is the special little prize of the album, giving the sometimes threadbare garage band jams a decidedly more whimsical inflection.

Percussionist Lauren and Naomi, who does “violin and various odds and ends” provide a landscape that is vintage but not overly so, and I do declare – I think I hear a bit of punk influence mish mashed in there.

01 I’m Alright

Chateau Crone isn’t seeing the streets until October, but Natalie, Naomi, and Lauren Ribbons (they’ve adapted the unified Ribbons surname for the stage) are embarking on tour Aug. 16. To tide yourself over, check out them out on the web and if you like what you hear, preorder their album now on CD or LP (I vote vinyl). Both come with a full color handbook and a temporary tattoo!

Dang, those girls are so cool.

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Band of the Day: Silent Comedy

Posted on 26 August 2009 by Mylynda Guthrie

Over the course of the next week, I’d like to talk about a few San Diego bands while San Diego is still my locale.
Rather than save the best for last, I am going to hit the ground running straight out of the gate with the Silent Comedy. These guys are absolutely amazing. I first discovered the Silent Comedy after I learned that another San Diego act that I liked called Dehra Dun had disbanded and a few of its members had formed something new. The new press pictures were interesting – the band was dressed (and still does) in prohibition era clothing. It is fitting garb for a band that takes Americana and folk music back to its very roots. The singing is soulful, the instruments are aplenty, and you have never had as much fun as you have at a Silent Comedy show.

I applaud these guys not only for their talent, but also for their foresight. They were about two years ahead of the curve as one of the lonesome few west coast acts playing folk inspired tunes before hipsters everywhere became enamored with it. Though many have jumped on the good ole bandwagon since then, the group has a core group of fans that have been there since its inception. Though they are one of the hottest tickets in the SoCal scene, routinely selling out venues that nationally recognized acts can’t even seem to fill, they are careful to connect with their fans on a personal level and often personally invite familiar faces back to shows in each city they play. Perhaps due to their overall likeability, each show feels like a family reunion. You can’t help but have a huge smile on your face watching these guys on stage, hollering and stomping like its Sunday mass, while you dance and sing along next to your best friends like you’re never going to be able to dance again.

I’m including a video of one such performance that I personally attended at the famed Casbah. The boys often play a raucously fun tune called “Road Song,” and it is almost always the grand finale of the show. I am really, really going to miss seeing this band.

Take heed, hipsters! If the Silent Comedy doesn’t become a national phenomena in the next couple of years, I will eat my straw hat.

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Band of the Day: Bedford Grove

Posted on 26 August 2009 by Mylynda Guthrie

For today’s installment of “Music Mylynda Has Enjoyed While In San Diego,” I’m going to talk about the uber-talented Bedford Grove. Essentially the brain child of young but seasoned musician Marc Gould, this band takes the laid back SoCal guitar grooves popularized most recently by fellow San Diegan Jason Mraz and mixes it up with jazzy New Orleans flavor and New York wit.
I want to keep things rated PG around here, but Bedford Grove makes me feel sort of PG-13. The sultry voices, the horn lines, the lyrics…this band is sexy. There’s just no way around it. If you’re wearing out your Marvin Gaye albums on date night, pop this one in the player and skip ahead to “In the Car.” Try not to blush.

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