Sons of Fathers - “Hell And Back”
See SoF at Schubas on June 19 - Tickets
Enjoy a new Swans track from their upcoming album To Be Kind.
See them at Lincoln Hall on June 22 - Tickets
Guest Mixtape: Eisley
Our latest guest playlist is unlike anything we’ve ever received. Coming from Eisley, we have 317 tracks covering nearly a full 24 hours.
From Sherri DuPree, “I always feel like I have to have a mix of my old ‘tried and true fav’s’ and new music. I love anything with a strong melody…”, which you will surely be able to find in this massive mix.
See Eisley this Sunday at Lincoln Hall. Tickets are still available.
Guest Mixtape: Daley
Manchester-based singer/songwriter Daley brings us this week’s guest mixtape, a playlist of what he’s “currently listening to”, saying it is “just a fairly random compilation of exactly what I have in my playlist at this moment in time, some old, some new, but I’m feeling all of it right now.”
See Daley this Friday at Lincoln Hall. Tickets are almost gone!
Guest Mixtape: Hari Kondabolu
Check out this week’s Guest Mixtape from comedian Hari Kondabolu.
The Flannelmouth Sessions: NO
About 20 minutes into NO’s set on March 27th at Schubas, vocalist Bradley Carter dropped the microphone. It sounds like the intro to a gig horror story or a memory best flushed away by too many shots, but Carter was too distracted to hold the microphone. He was too involved with the tambourine he was hitting as the band built up into another rousing finale.
It doesn’t matter whether it was just an on-stage goof, it’s a testament to NO’s ability to find the groove between devotion to their sound and being showmen.
On tour now with label mates, The Darcys and Reuben & the Dark, NO are in the homestretch of an Arts & Crafts tour. Though their first album, El Prado, was just released back in February, NO have been together for three years.
They’ve previously toured the US and Europe twice playing material from their first EP, Don’t Worry You’ll Be Here Forever, self-released through a record store/label called Origami Vinyl. They’ve also supported bands like Public Image LTD, Smashing Pumpkins, Best Coast and Father John Misty, but this is their moment.
On first listen, NO appears to be another baroque indie band in the mold of The National or The Walkmen, but while Carter’s grizzled rumble resembles the malted baritone of those bands’ front men, NO is unafraid to shy away from rafter-shaking hooks.
Carter stalks the stage with a theatricality that betrays the possibility that the band is playing smaller clubs. A six piece since shortly after the band’s birth, guitars whirr and contort from textured noise to new wave pomp all while drummer Michael Walker revs tracks from shadowy ballads into unabashed anthems.
The Flannelmouth Sessions talked to founding members, Bradley Carter and Sean Stenz about what it’s like to balance six members of a band, why legendary crooner Leonard Cohen speaks to them, their secret oasis during SXSW and the unexpected sweetness of Johnny Rotten.
FM: This is your third time back in Chicago, how was the last time you were here?
Bradley Carter: We couldn’t make it here for our last show in Chicago. We couldn’t afford the gas to come here from another show.
Sean Stenz: It’s literally the only show we’ve ever cancelled in our lives and we felt so bad about it!
FM: How has the band changed since the last time you were here?
SS: The band has grown so much closer. These songs are just more defined. Some of the songs that are on the record now were just written on that first tour back in 2011. They were real loose and we hadn’t quite figured out what they were yet.
FM: What was the difference between recording the EP and being on a big league label like Arts & Crafts?
BC: The first EP came more out of a friendship. We all like music and it was very simple. With Arts & Crafts, they helped to spread the word. We hung out with them in Canada and it felt like being part of a family as opposed to being in a company.
SS: We had just finished our album and we started looking around for homes. We looked at A&C and there were inter-communal groups of musicians like Broken Social Scene and that’s what appealed to us. They were all so close-knit.
BC: For us, it’s always been about making something beautiful. Some of the songs we’re playing tonight we’ve had since we started, but it doesn’t mean they’re bad.
FM: It seems like there’s a really strong identity of Los Angeles in the band. Your debut album is named after a bar in LA and you guys seem ingrained in the scene there. Is there something special about LA?
SS: I grew up there, that’s home. I met Bradley there and it’s the neighborhood we all live in. Everything just built out of Echo Park (a neighborhood in LA) organically.
FM: Is there something specific about LA that draws you all to it?
BC: I’ve been there for 12 years and I’ve had three or four different lives there. El Prado is this bar we go to almost every night. It translates to “the park,” and it just kind of made sense. It’s where we came from; it’s where we all met. We’re all fucking broke, but we’re making stuff we love.
FM: One of your most interesting recent recordings was the cover of Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne with The Mynabirds’ Laura Burhenn. Why did you guys pick that song to cover?
BC: Sean and I actually got to see Leonard Cohen. We just sat there mesmerized for three hours.
SS: He really does have a presence. There’s a general aura that is alternately soothing and wise, but at the same time it’s like he has this secret that we all need to sort out.
BC: Shortly after that, I became friends with Laura and I saw that she posted the lyrics of Suzanne on her Instagram, and we joked that we should cover it. Later, we picked her up at the airport and she had like 5 hours between sound check and a show at the Greek Theatre and we recorded all the vocals.
FM: Was it frightening to cover a song you love so much?
BC: Oh completely. Laura was actually like, ‘we can’t fuck this up, it needs to be amazing or we’re not doing it at all.’ I’m really proud of our version though.
FM: How do you feel when people cover your own songs?
BC: It makes me so happy even if they get all the chords wrong because they’re singing their heart out. That’s what it’s about. It’s about that connection.
FM: On your Facebook page, you list Lou Reed, Bill Callahan, Leonard Cohen as musical influences, do you feel a greater affinity with singer/songwriters than bands?
BC: They’re all storytellers.
SS: It could be a hardcore band; it could be a folk singer, as long as there’s a story it matters.
BC: It’s not about a guitar tone or a riff, it’s about a feeling. We want it to be an experience whether they hear a three and a half minute song or the whole album.
FM: It was a pretty quick period to release the album, wasn’t it?
BC: We feel like we took our time. We did 200 shows on an EP, but it’s like we weren’t taken seriously until we had an album (Laughs).
FM: How do you guys mesh the influences of six different members?
BC: We’ve been learning that. We would ask, ‘is this a NO song or not?’ Stay With Me was the first song that felt like it was a thread for the band. The theme for this album was letting lonely people know they’re not alone.
FM: Under your genre on Facebook, it’s listed as Post-Hymnal Anthematic, what’s the story on that?
SS: It came from one of the first reviews of our music and we liked it (laughs). When you’re watching a comedian or a film and you catch the eye of someone else having that same moment, and you’re together in that thing, we want that moment.
BC: There was a show last night in Ontario where there were maybe 15 people and there was a woman who drove three hours from Michigan just to see the show and she sung every word. Even with only 15 people, that one person made that show special. It doesn’t matter if there’s 15 people or 500 people, it’s still an important show.
FM: You guys opened for Public Image LTD, how was it to meet Johhny Rotten?
SS: It was cool, we got to open for PIL in Manchester. It was pretty amazing watching 60 year olds with liberty spikes just swaying and dancing to our music. The whole thing was like we’re all a little bit intimidated and everybody turned out to be super sweet and Johnny (John Lydon) just starts spouting poetry, and it was just surreal.
BC: They were so gracious, I thought we were going to get slaughtered (laughs).
FM: You guys did a string of shows at SXSW, how did you handle the chaotic scheduling?
SS: It’s a sprint no matter what you do. The last day we were led to this secret place in the middle of 6th street and it felt like an old speakeasy where a slot opens and they ask you for a secret password. It was just peaceful music and free alcohol and just getting hammered in peace. It doesn’t matter how many shows you play, you still have to navigate that festival and that’s tough.
FM: How do you bounce back when the morale is low for a number of shows?
BC: You just need to stay positive and be grateful. You have to be patient. I’ve read so many stories about bands that played shows for like one person. It takes a lot of time and work to let the songs soak in.
FM: What have you guys been listening to lately?
SS: The new Future Islands record is amazing. You would never expect it listening to their album, but they whip crowds into a frenzy. People jump off the stage like they’re at a hardcore show. We really like the new Connan Mockasin and Lou Doillon as well. We’ve also been listening to a lot of D’Angelo in the van. You know, sometimes you gotta get sexy.
This edition of the Flannelmouth Sessions is brought to you by:
Photos: Jason Barnes
Words: Michael Snydel
Galantis EP Stream
Enjoy a stream of the new EP from Galantis below. See them at Lincoln Hall on April 29th. Tickets available now.
Check out a review of Nathaniel Rateliff’s new album Falling Faster Than You Can Run from Jon Pareles at the New York Times. See him live at Schubas on May 1st. Tickets available now.
“Falling Faster Than You Can Run”
(High Water Music/Mod y Vi)
“I’ve got pain and I’m gonna salt it now,” Nathaniel Rateliff announces in “Don’t Get Too Close,” one of the up-tempo songs on his third album, “Falling Faster Than You Can Run.” Despair, striving, stubbornness, longing and brief glimmers of hope fill his new songs, as they have in the past. An acoustic guitar, both frail and comforting, is still at the core of the music. But Mr. Rateliff is not just brooding anymore. On the new album, he also plugs in and gets riled up now and then, finding strength on the far side of his longtime folky melancholy.
Mr. Rateliff’s old introversion hasn’t disappeared. His lyrics are elusive and imagistic, but telling: “I don’t want to brag, but we made it out alive.”
Through the album, as he sings about a tangle of relationships, music, old injuries and tentative solace, the prime cause of his frustration and disappointment is most likely to be himself. “I don’t know a goddamn thing!” he rails, with raw desperation, in the album’s opening song, “Still Trying.”
His voice is honeyed and mournful, and many of the tracks leave it bravely exposed: just a lightly strummed guitar, brushes on the drums, perhaps a distant piano or a harmony vocal. But often, with little warning, the dynamics open up radically. Mr. Rateliff produced the album with its engineer, Jamie Mefford, and their understanding of hand-played instruments in intimate spaces is meticulous and startling: the loneliness surrounding a quietly picked guitar, the liberating thrust as an electric guitar suddenly breaks in and the hollowness it can leave behind.
Few of the songs continue the same arrangement from start to finish; they change from verse to verse, and sometimes line to line. In its five and a half minutes, “Forgetting Is Believing” — an enigmatic song about conflict, separation and shared accomplishment despite it all — moves from floating electric-guitar raga to acoustic anthem to vocal chorale to full-tilt electric march, with every fluctuation serving the mood.
The finale of “Falling Faster Than You Can Run” is the album’s title song, which finds its own eerie quietude: an ensemble of sustained and slightly wavering strings, a sparsely plucked guitar, and Mr. Rateliff’s voice, low and diffident. “I’m gonna fall and probably should,” he confides. “Catching me, you never could.”
The song lingers in an isolated limbo, alone and out of reach, until Mr. Rateliff intones its last line, a last-ditch reconciliation as the strings hover far above him: “I’ll tear off my shirt,” he decides, “and wrap it around your wound.”
Source: The New York Times
Desert Noises - Birds
See Desert Noises at Schubas on April 4th as they open for Wheeler Brothers. Tickets available here.
March 30, 2014: How To Dress Well & Forest Swords at Lincoln Hall
Credit: Brigid Gallagher
Concert season is upon us and we have a ton of shows coming up. Enjoy these four album streams ahead of each of their shows at Schubas or Lincoln Hall.
Split Single Fragmented World - Listen
See Split Single at Schubas 4/05 - Tickets
Small Black Real People EP - Listen
See Small Black at Schubas 4/06 - Tickets
S. Carey Range of Light - Listen
See S. Carey at Lincoln Hall 4/23 - Tickets
Cloud Nothings Here And Nowhere Else - Listen
See Cloud Nothings at Lincoln Hall 5/03 - Tickets