Grandchildren, Golden Age (3.5/5)
Need a soundtrack for your summer roadtrip listening? Look no further than Grandchildren’s second full-length album, Golden Age, which just dropped earlier this month. With dreamy sensibilities and a laid-back but versatile style, Grandchildren’s new record has the feeling of wanderlust written all over it.
While the album maintains a subtle electro pop vibe throughout, all of the tracks still stand out individually. Each song is a testament to the group’s ability to allude to past decades and infuse them with their own innovative mix of sounds. Highlights of the album come in the form of the haunting but ethereal sounding vocals, the infectious quality of drums and beats, and a consistently whimsical feeling throughout.
San Francisco, CA
Normally when I take pictures at a show, I will spend the entire concert snapping photos, however this time I was allowed to shoot for just the first two songs. So after 10 minutes of frantically pressing down the shutter, I found myself with nothing left to do but enjoy Born Ruffians as they put on one of the liveliest sets I’ve ever experienced.
After an ambiguous instrumental intro that left me curious as to what song would kick off the night, the Toronto natives jumped right into the stuttered rhythms of “Badonkadonkey” from Red, Yellow & Blue. Starting with a song from their first album got their long-time, loyal fans (which was honestly just about everyone there) immediately invested in the show. The old-school music kept coming as the hectic “Kurt Vonnegut” followed. Fans needed no encouragement to scream along with the acapella ending, begging a lost love to come back.
4/18/13,The 5 Spot
…Is this the part where I open with a cheesy one-liner? Because Quiet Company was far from being “quiet company” as they swept through town, performing at The 5 Spot in Nashville last month. (Whew, sorry, glad we got that out of the way.)
The band took the stage and began what would wind up being a short and sweet 8 song set, comprised of music across the spectrum of Quiet Company’s releases. Being my first time catching the band live, I was blown away by the sheer amount of energy radiating from the stage throughout their performance. Seriously. In the simplest of terms, Quiet Company brought a level of vigor to a venue that was entirely too small to contain it. From tracks such as “You, Me, & The Boatman” to “It’s Better To Spend Money Like There’s No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There’s No Money,” the band produced an endless mixture of unique instrumentation (such as using a drumstick on a guitar), foot stomping, and horn parts, adding a vibrancy to their songs that made them go from good to completely danceable.
Interview - Jon Peter Lewis
July 12, 2008 by Cathy Wagner
Cathy: Tonight’s your last show in a 2 week stint of San Francisco dates. How have these shows been going and how has working with the other Idols been?
Jon: It’s been an enlightening experience getting to meet other Idols that have been through it all before. It’s been interesting, it’s been educational, it’s been fun. It’s awesome to be around such really talented people. I love it.
C: Have you had any chances to explore San Francisco at all?
J: Not as much as I want! I still haven’t made it out to Alcatraz, which I’m kind of sad about. I ventured over to the Golden Gate Bridge and did a couple touristy things, but I haven’t done as much as I’d like.
C: Are you going to stick around here for a little while longer?
J: I wish I could! I’ll be back though, but I’ve got to run back to Los Angeles tomorrow. I have a bunch of shows down there, and then I’m in New York the week after that.
Dawes, Stories Don’t End (4/5)
The self-proclaimed Americana soul band, Dawes, is back with a new bunch of tracks just in time for summer with the release of their third studio album, Stories Don’t End. The band has managed to regenerate their sound in a way that is still appealing to avid fans, but also yields creative expression.
The album commences with “Just Beneath the Surface,” which is the musical equivalent of a warm breeze on a summer afternoon. Not only does it perfectly set the tone for the album, but it also shows the musical range the band has perfected in the last 5 years of releasing music. “From A Window Seat” is a flawless combination of soulful rock and funky elements, while “Just My Luck” is the subsequent come down from the roaring start to the album; it’s a beautifully written ballad, and the lyrics are gloomily relatable. Next up is “Someone Will,” which is an invigoratingly quirky song that I could imagine being featured in any independent rom-com. If the finger-tapping beat doesn’t instantaneously put you in a great mood, look no further than the adorable lyrics, “’Cause if I don’t tell you I’ve fallen in love, someone will.”
Born Ruffians, Birthmarks (4/5)
When you drop down the needle on a brand new record, there are three things you don’t want to hear: an album that shows no musical progression, an album that loses touch with the band’s roots, and a scratch in the disk. If you take care of your vinyl, you shouldn’t have any issues with the last one, however the balancing act of showing growth while sticking to your niche sound can be a difficult task for bands. With the release of their third album, Birthmarks, Born Ruffians have found the balance point of these two sides.
Born Ruffians’ 2008 debut, Red, Yellow & Blue, stole the hearts of many with its quirky and raw sound. Birthmarks is a little more polished and produced, but the first three songs will reassure you that the lighthearted and jerky-sounding band is still alive and well. Luke LaLonde punches out guitar chords in “Needle,” Steve Hamelin creates a stuttered rhythm in “6-5000,” and Mitch DeRossier rumbles out a bass line in “Oceans Deep.”
Kiernan McMullan, Company (4/5)
Often times the term “unique” is loosely used to describe music, and sometimes even used with a negative connotation. However, McMullan’s latest EP, Company, is truly unique, in the sense that while the instrumentation is something you would expect of an acoustic EP, the lyrics are not. Generally speaking, acoustic music has an innately romantic undertone (or maybe I’m just a sucker for an acoustic guitar), but this Irish-Australian’s cynical and anti-romantic lyrics are honest and painful. This dissonance gives Company intricate dimension that is refreshing among a sea of cookie cutter acoustic tracks.