July 18, 2008
Well, it’s not necessarily a NEW idea, but it’s still a pretty novel concept. I recall early tweer-than-fuck Belle & Sebastian holding concerts in churches, and I think Arcade Fire decided to do some of their Neon Bible shows in church too (obvious much?).
As of recently though, many bands have made the move to use churches as recording spaces rather than venues. The aforementioned Neon Bible, and B&S’s Lazy Line Painter Jane EP were both recorded exclusively in churches — both to great effect. Off the top of my head, I The Decemberists also recording Picaresque in a church as well.
(L) Low plays cathedral, (R) Belle & Sebastian flier
Anyway, this is a LONG way to get around mentioning that I just saw Cleveland’s The Muttering Retreats play at South Union Artsyesterday (interview with T.M.A.’s Tim Thornton to be posted soon). Aside from S.U.A. being the first German-language school ever built in Chicago, it also operated as the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church before South Union Arts took over the space… the highlight of the cathedral is a GIANT NEON CRUCIFIX… more creepy than the one from Se7en. Jealous much, Arcade Fire? You shoulda played here.
(L) South Union Arts in Chicago, (R) Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible cover art
So yeah, Indie Rock in a church is an interesting experience. Which is now why I have to mention that both Jenny Lewis and “slowcore” legends Low, will be playing what Oh My Rockness is referring to as “Epiphany” in September. Epiphany is, indeed, Epiphany Episcopal Church on 201 South Ashland.
(L) Epiphany, (R) Jenny Lewis
April 25, 2008
m83: Saturdays = Youth
Best album Anthony Gonzalez has put out BY FAR. The rolling sonic washout of “shoegaze” is still in the mix here, but the vocals, dreamy as they are, are put to the forefront. The thick electro dissipates a bit to make these gorgeous songs shimmer without overwhelming you. m83 was never “inaccessible”, but this one hits the pop palate a lot more than his previous work. A few reviews point out this could be the background synth soundtrack to a never-made Brat Pack movie… sounds crazy, but totally true, and it totally works.
RIYL: French electro, stereo bliss, John Hughes
MP3: “Graveyard Girl”
Biirde: Catherine Avenue
A well-paced strummy summer winner. Definite Rilo Kiley L.A. sound going on here with deliberate midwesterness with some top-of-the-line west coast production values. It’s an exercise that’s pop one minute but often wanders into Ballad Country. Wistful guys and girls swap songs and versus, while songs build and fade tastefully. “Catherine Avenue” is the single they’re pushing (on the website), but the real winner is the cover of “Who Were You Thinkin’ Of” where charmingly hilarious lyrics are underlayed by a jaunty organ wheeled into the studio straight from Haight and Ashbury.
RIYL: The 1900’s, Saddle Creek Records, California mythos
MP3: “Who Were You Thinkin’ Of”
Cut Copy: In Ghost ColorsI’m trying to limit the number of Madchester-esque dance/pop bands I claim to love, but I can’t deny that this is a flippin’ great album. A record meant for oscillating wildly to on beer-soaked bar floors and shiny disco ones (and maybe Pitchfork Festival maybe?! Plllllease?!). These guys would tear up the outfield grass in no time. In Ghost Colours will surely usurp Justice’s Cross as THE default records to spin this season — it’s what the Junior Boys would sounds like if they stopped being ethereal and just shook their asses. Standouts include “Out There On the Ice”, “Lights and Music” and the can’t-miss club banger “Hearts on Fire”.
RIYL: half-dancing, half-bouncing, New Order