Archive for Care

The Dead Weather

The Dead WeatherTo set the record straight, I don’t particularly like the Raconteurs. Broken Boy Soldiers is boring and, even though Consolers of the Lonely is much better, I just expected more as a big Brendan Benson/White Stripes fan. I was even surprised at how unenthralled I was at the Raconteurs set at last year’s ACL. Add to that the last-minute cancelation of the White Stripes show in 2007 and, well:

The Dead Weather had better get this right.

Horehound is a gem and it actually gives Jack White a side-project chance to shine on stage as opposed to the ho-hum Raconteurs who can’t decide who to feature. I’m not so deluded to pretend that I don’t really just want the White Stripes (and, let’s be honest, the Dead Weather aren’t all that far from it) but I’m still looking forward to this show.

THE VERDICT: Jack White owes me.

The Avett Brothers

The Avett BrothersEmotionalism isn’t the latest album by the Avett Brothers (see: I and Love and You) but since the “latest” one isn’t out yet — and nobody seems to have a preview copy — the tracks I’ve actually heard include “Die Die Die”, “Paranoia in B Major”, “Will You Return”. Make no mistake: they’re really good and generally upbeat which is not what I’d expected.

I wasn’t sure how much I’d buy into this indie-folk kind of thing, considering how burnt out I’ve been on Rilo Kiley and the like (I’m looking at you, Saddle Creek Records). The Avett Brothers have a fresh sound to my ears, though. They’re adequately hip and bluesy at the same time and I’m definitely fine with that.

THE VERDICT: Sounds like a good afternoon possibility.

Vince Mira

Vince MiraThis kid (17 years old) has pretty much nailed the Johnny Cash sound. It only takes a couple of songs to realize that Vince Mira has real talent. There’s a catch, though: it’s so unbelievably clear that he’s trying to emulate Cash that you really just want to hear cover songs. It’s not exactly the same as Paul McCartney playing his solo stuff instead of Beatles tracks but it’s the same sort of idea. Some sounds are simply inseparable from their originators.

At the least, it seems that he’ll be able to do those covers. Mira’s Cash Cabin Sessions EP was actually produced by John Carter Cash (Johnny’s son) — which is noted in very prominent wording on the cover — so I guess the family is cool with him. For me, the EP has the same problem as Johnny’s studio catalogue does: it just works better as a live performance.

Good thing this is live set!

THE VERDICT: Please play “Wreck of the Old 97”. Please.

Medeski Martin & Wood

Medeski Martin & WoodNormally, any act even loosely associated with “free jazz” would earn automatic disapproval from my brain. Radiolarians II is an exception, though. It certainly helps that it’s not that unmetered, disconnected schlock “loved” by people who make $140,000 a year or more. That’s not fair, though.

Medeski Martin & Wood (who, curiously, lack commas) write some genuinely interesting tunes. Lots of build-up and resolution and you just sort of get the idea that the guys actually know what they’re doing with this music stuff. In the interest of full disclosure, I remember liking the aforementioned record a lot more during the first listen than during the second but, regardless, I think they’ve warranted a stop-by.

THE VERDICT: If they start playing in 13/6, I’m leaving. I don’t think they will, though.

Medeski Martin & Wood

Medeski Martin & WoodNormally, any act even loosely associated with “free jazz” would earn automatic disapproval from my brain. Radiolarians II is an exception, though. It certainly helps that it’s not that unmetered, disconnected schlock “loved” by people who make $140,000 a year or more. That’s not fair, though.

Medeski Martin & Wood (who, curiously, lack commas) write some genuinely interesting tunes. Lots of build-up and resolution and you just sort of get the idea that the guys actually know what they’re doing with this music stuff. In the interest of full disclosure, I remember liking the aforementioned record a lot more during the first listen than during the second but, regardless, I think they’ve warranted a stop-by.

THE VERDICT: If they start playing in 13/6, I’m leaving. I don’t think they will, though.

Bon Iver

Bon IverYep, it’s indie folk, alright. Impressive as For Emma, Forever Ago may be, I’m shaky, at best, on going to the Bon Iver set. It’s a Fleet Foxes thing — they’re pretty and cute and fun to listen to with headphones but, when it’s 98 degrees outside, standing in the sun watching a few somber guys play down-tempo music is just not what I’ll be looking for.

Who knows, though? The hipsters think this guy is important and, really, “For Emma” could be a perfectly uplifting song to hear. I’ll plan to stop by but I won’t be at all surprised if it’s one of those 5-minute affairs.

THE VERDICT: Yeah, okay, fine.

Suckers

SuckersWith apologies to Greg Gutfield, Suckers are like Modest Mouse, if Modest Mouse were any good.

I have no clue what the deal is with these guys but Stereogum and Pitchfork both think I need to be paying attention. Currently, their entire catalogue is one self-titled EP (available free at the moment!) and a demo track. All four tunes on the EP are keepers — but particularly “Afterthoughts & TV” — epic and sprawling in a way that makes me curious to see what the live show looks like. Stereogum compares them to MGMT, which is odd. I’m not incredibly bored by Suckers, so I don’t think the comparison is apt. So there.

THE VERDICT: Maybe Sunday is better than I thought.

The Dodos

The DodosI was able to catch most of The Dodos‘ set at the Capitol Hill Block Party last year and, truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. These guys had a pretty unique sound enhanced by the intimate setting at Neumo’s. At one point, I thought I was dreaming the whole show up and, really, “dream folk” is probably one of the better descriptions of their music.

Although I walked away satisfied and impressed with what I’d heard, I was still surprised when I started seeing them mentioned around the hip indie circles. I mean, Visiter is fun to listen to for a while but seems to drag on and on. Having said that, it’s entirely possible that they just work a bit better as a live act. I’ll admit that I’m skeptical that they’ll be as interesting at an outdoor festival as they were at an indoor venue. That won’t keep me from checking them out again, though.

THE VERDICT: A necessary revisit.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

Black Joe Lewis & the HoneybearsThis is probably as close to a no-brainer as you get for me. I don’t really expect Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears to just utterly blow me away or anything.

Well, no. I guess I kinda do.

Loud blues with a horn section and a smattering of funky licks are the quickest path to my heart. With tunes like “Sugarfoot” and “Boogie”, these guys have no excuse not to have a hugely fun live set. One thing I’ve noticed while listening through Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! is that there aren’t really any solos of note. I guess they’re trying to keep the tunes accessible but I hope the ACL venue gives them an opportunity to go crazy. Just a thought.

THE VERDICT: Duh.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

Black Joe Lewis & the HoneybearsThis is probably as close to a no-brainer as you get for me. I don’t really expect Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears to just utterly blow me away or anything.

Well, no. I guess I kinda do.

Loud blues with a horn section and a smattering of funky licks are the quickest path to my heart. With tunes like “Sugarfoot” and “Boogie”, these guys have no excuse not to have a hugely fun live set. One thing I’ve noticed while listening through Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! is that there aren’t really any solos of note. I guess they’re trying to keep the tunes accessible but I hope the ACL venue gives them an opportunity to go crazy. Just a thought.

THE VERDICT: Duh.