3 Minute Record

"We learned more from a three minute record baby than we ever learned in school..." -from No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen

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Preview: Cory Branan/Dave Hause to play Cicero's 12/20/2011

Not much to say other than get your booty to this show, you will not be disappointed. I first became familiar with Cory Branan's music when I saw him play at the Lucero Family Picnic a few years back. Mr. Branan is great at writing songs that will make you laugh your ass off, and yet can be so completely endearing. I have heard him say before that John Prine is a hero, and you can definitely hear the influence in Branan's songs. On top of being a great songwriter, Branan can unleash some tasty licks on the guitar as well. It has been a while since the Cory Branan/Jon Snodgrass split EP was released, and the promise of a new full length will hopefully be fulfilled in 2012.

I was introduced to the music of Dave Hause when I got to see the Loved Ones open for Less Than Jake back in 2006 at the legendary venue, Mississippi Nights. My first impression of hearing the Loved Ones live made me think of the iconic band, Lifetime. I was not surprised to hear that Hause was from the Philly/Jersey area scene. The Loved Ones 2006 record, Keep Your Heart became an instant favorite of mine. The follow up, Build & Burn, showed that the band had a wider range of influences and pushed the boundaries of being a punk band. Mr. Hause released his first solo album, Resolutions, this year and showed that no matter what the genre, he is a great songwriter. He is also a huge fan of Hot Water Music, so he has to be awesome. (I would not normally go to a show and request someone play a cover, but I would be really happy if he played his version of "Trusty Chords".)

It has been really fun to watch a lot of the singers/songwriters of some of my favorite punk bands put out projects that dwell in the folk/acoustic genres. Just goes to show that a good song is a good song, no matter the genre. Come on out Tuesday, December 20 and see a night a jam packed with amazing songs. Cicero's. 8PM. $10. 18+. Don't miss this one folks.

Shameless plug alert: If you are looking for something to do after the show, swing on over to the Royale where our very own Scott Allen and Jeff Fields will be spinning some vinyl, playing some 1's and 0's, and drinking some beverages from 10PM-close. Maybe if I ask nice they will let me play a few songs too. :)

Cory Branan - "Bad Man"

 

Dave Hause - "Time Will Tell"

Robbie Fulks at Off Broadway 10-16-11 (Preview)

I first became familiar with Robbie Fulks with his song "She Took A Lot Of Pills (And Died)" on the Bloodshot Records compilation Hell-bent: Insurgent Country Vol. 2. Shortly after hearing him on that comp., I would be introduced to his live show when he opened for Ben Folds Five at the American Theater sometime in 1997. I have done my best to never miss a Robbie Fulks show ever since. The list of venues that I have seen Mr. Fulks play at in the St. Louis area include many that have sadly closed their doors (Hi-Pointe, Lucas School House), some that have been renamed (American Theater), one that I can't remember the name of (the jazz club over by The Fox that had a short-lived series of Americana type acts), and a couple of clubs that are still going strong today (Off Broadway, The Duck Room). It doesn't really matter where Mr. Fulks plays, it doesn't even really matter if he comes through your town with band in tow or as a solo performer, he will always put on an amazing show. On top of Fulks' great songwriting, masterful guitar work, and dynamic voice, his between song banter and anecdotes are not to be missed. Fulks is great at making up songs on the spot about any funny/odd situations that may pop up during a show, his last performance at this year's Twangfest made for quite a few hilarious musical creations. It is always nice to see him take a couple of shots at the local "legend" Beatle Bob when Bob happens to attend Fulks' show. Fulks had also been known to throw in cover songs such as the unexpected covers of Cher's "Believe", ABBA's "Dancing Queen", or any of the many Michael Jackson tunes that Fulks recorded on his MJ tribute album Happy.

To simply say that Fulks' shows are entertaining only for the comical interactions with the crowd or the chance of an odd-ball cover, would be a great disservice. Yes, Fulks has penned his fair share of funny songs ("Fuck This Town", "Dirty Mouth Flo ", "Godfrey"), but to overlook the rest of his catalog that might deal with "serious" topics is just down right criminal. (And I do not mean to degrade any of the "funny" songs, a great song is a great song no matter what the level of "seriousness" is perceived to be.) On Fulks' 1998 release Let's Kill Saturday Night (still one of my favorite albums not only by Fulks, but by anyone), the wit and humor prevalent in earlier material seemed to be pushed into the backseat and the songs took a little bit heavier feel. Fulks' next release, Couples In Trouble, took on an even heavier feel, though it contains one of my favorite pop songs in "Mad At A Girl". To me, Fulks' 2005 release Georgia Hard is really a great combination of the humor found in earlier material and the more mature songwriting found on Let's Kill... and Couples In Trouble.

So, if you want to see one of the most entertaining shows by one of the best songwriters going right now, do yourself a favor and get on over to Off Broadway on Sunday, October 16 and witness the greatness that is Robbie Fulks. Doors are at 7:30PM, show is at 8PM. 12 bucks get ya in the door. I am personally hoping he will play "Little King".

Here's a taste of the awesome song "Let's Kill Saturday Night".

The Wood Brothers coming to Off Broadway [Preview]

If you're into music like me you've heard of Medski, Martin and Wood, but never taken the opportunity to dig deeper and check out their music. Maybe you've even heard some of their music, but not given it much of a chance or known that like most musicians there's always a side project out there that allows the musicians greater freedom from the sound they've created for themselves in a group or a scene. Here's a chance to check out some great music at one of the best venues in St. Louis to see live music. On Friday, June 3 (Yes, that's right folks, tomorrow!) The Wood Brothers will play at the historic Off Broadway in the Lemp-Cherokee district.

The-Wood-Brothers
The-Wood-Brothers

The Wood Brothers is a duo consisting of actual brothers Chris and Oliver Wood. Hailing from Boulder, CO, Chris is a founding member of the Jazz trio Medski, Martin and Wood playing bass guitar and Oliver played second guitar with Tinsley Ellis before forming King Johnson. In 2005, they finally decided it was time to work on a musical project together after spending years apart. The Wood Brothers take their masterful chops blending blues, folk and rock together in a guitar/bass duo sometimes backed by other musicians to round out the sound. They will release a new album Smoke Ring Halo on August 2, 2011 on Southern Ground Records. The album's first single,  “Shoofly Pie,”  features guest star multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook from the Zac Brown Band.

The Wood Brothers - "Shoofly Pie"

The Wood Brothers - "Blue and Green" (Presented by Mason Jar Music)

The Wood Brothers - "Smoke Ring Halo"

The Wood Brothers cover the Allman Brothers classic "Midnight Rider"

The Wood Brothers - "Get Out My Life Woman"

If Off Broadway impresario Steve Pohlman was a Major League Baseball pitcher he would be bringing Nolan Ryan type heat booking supremely talented musicians into the club. If nothing else please come out to support a local club that offers great music from local and national artists nearly every night of the week.

Sebadoh w/ Richard Buckner and Colour Revolt at Off Broadway - Sat. 4/2/11 [Preview]

For my spring break from college in 1994 I didn't go off gallivanting anywhere warm like Florida or South Texas. I called a childhood best friend then attending the University of Kansas and planned a trip to visit for a week. While he attended classes I hung out. Later, he and I would haunt the record stores of Mass Ave, flirt with waitresses and drink beer while watching college hoops.

Bakesale

On my way to Lawrence, KS that spring I booked a hotel room for one in Columbia, MO and bought tickets to see Sebadoh at The Blue Note. Then touring for their recent release, Bakesale, the band played a passionate set of indie rock that was as tight as it was loose; perfect for my early 20s self fully immersed in alternative rock. After that night, I went from casual Sebadoh fan to completest collector finding all of their main releases and tracking down hard to find singles on 7", import LP's, side projects, etc. Getting back to the room late that night and crashing, I awoke the next morning to several inches of snow covering the landscape. Checking out of the hotel, I hopped in my '68 Camaro convertible to finish the drive down I-70 to Lawrence to freeze my ass off for the rest of the week.

Filled to the brim with 15 songs of indie rock power, Bakesale, contained some of Sebadoh's best songs on record and one of the great album covers of the decade. The band abandoned the bedroom studio with recordings straight to cassette ethos for a studio treatment that led to a breakout album; their second with seminal '90's label Sub Pop. The follow-up, Harmacy, while slightly less gritty than its predecessor, still produced great indie rock songs by a band at their creative peak.

Currently touring 17 years later during the same late winter/early spring in support of their upcoming deluxe edition of their classic 1994 album Bakesale (due June 14 from Sub Pop), Sebadoh bring their lo-fi indie rock to the red velvet draped stage at Off Broadway in St. Louis tomorrow night with openers Richard Buckner and Colour Revolt.

This trip down memory lane is nothing new for the band. Following the lead of their '90s indie-rock contemporaries, Pavement, Sebadoh began a deluxe edition reissue program a few years ago. A deluxe edition of their 1991 album III was released in 2008 along with The Freed Weed and Bubble and Scrape (1993). Expect a similar deluxe edition treatment later this year for Harmacy (Sub Pop, 1996). However, the band has no plans to repackage their 1999 album The Sebadoh at this time. All of those demos, B-sides, rarities and live tracks that I spent hours and multiple trips to the record stores to collect can be yours (you lucky bastards) in one nice neat package.  

Cover of

To commemorate those initial reissues, a tour ensued with the "classic" Sebadoh lineup of Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and Eric Gaffney promoting the expanded releases to fans in the United States in 2007 and in the United Kingdom/Europe in 2008. Currently on the second leg of their latest tour, Barlow and Loewenstein started playing shows this time around on the West Coast to rave reviews. Check out a four-part series from Backstage Rider recounting shows from February here: (1) (2) (3) (4)

Taking the place of Eric Gaffney on drums this tour (Bakesale era drummer Bob Fay was fired from the band during the making of their last studio album in 1999) is Bob D’Amico, who has played with Lowenstein in both Circle of Buzzards and Fiery Furnaces. According to all reports the band has never sounded better which gives props to good drummers all over the world that you really can make a difference.

Recently, Barlow sounded upbeat about the prospects of new material from the band who haven't released an album of original material since 1999's The Sebadoh. Barlow told Seth Graves from the Nashville Scenethat given what's transpired on this tour and with the reunion records of his former band, Dinosaur Jr., he wouldn't rule out an album of new material from Sebadoh.

"[A new record] seems like it would be possible," Barlow says. "The thing that really keeps us apart is the 3,000 miles between Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles, California. We'd really have to make a very concerted and deliberate effort to get together and write the songs."

If you fall solidly in the Gen X demographic, for one night you can go back to the '90s remind yourself what the music of that era meant to you as a listener. If you're a bit younger please come get a proper education in a band that pioneered the indie rock ethic. Your learning will serve you well.  Get tickets now though, according to the Off Broadway twitter feed you don't to be left out on the sidewalk. Let's just hope it doesen't snow.

Here's a video of Sebadoh performing "Rebound" and "Crystal Gypsy" on Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien promoting their album Bakesale circa 1994.

Playing before Sebadoh is Richard Buckner, an important Americana performer in his own right. Here he is performing at the 88.1 KDHX studios in St. Louis.

Opening the show is Colour Revolt. Here's a video of their song "Moses of the South" recorded for a Paste Magazine session.

Two Cow Garage... Tonight at Off Broadway!!!

Columbus, OH rockers Two Cow Garage return to the stage at Off Broadway tonight. The boys are stopping by on their yearly trip to SXSW and in support of their 5th release, Sweet Saint Me. If you are not familiar with Two Cow, I highly recommend checking them out as their high energy show is well worth the admission. I hate comparing bands to other bands, but Two Cow's sound could be comparable to that of Slobberbone and Lucero.

Two Cow's sound has consistently progressed over their five released albums. 2008's Speaking In Cursive really showcased the band's ability to keep the high energy rock-n-roll abandon and great lyrics that they have become known for and add in some tighter and a little more pop-influenced arrangements. 2010's Sweet Saint Me further showed how tight the bands performances and songwriting has become. Tracks like "Sally, I've Been Shot," "Sweet Saint Me," and "Wanted To Be" make you think that this is what Springsteen might have sounded like if he were influenced by punk rock. The incredibly catchy chorus of "Lydia" makes the song pure pop-rock gold and an obvious choice for the first single released off of Sweet Saint Me.

One thing that has always made me a fan of Two Cow is how open and honest the lyrics of vocalist-guitarist Micah Schnabel and bassist-vocalist Shane Sweeney are. Whether the songs are about past loves, the hard life of being on the road, or the joys of being in a rock band, the lyrics always come straight from the heart and delivered with passion and sincerity. This passion and sincerity is extremely evident in some of the slower tracks on the record. "Closer To Me" and "Insolent Youth" are perfect examples that Two Cow doesn't need to wow you with the explosiveness they are capable of, but can lay down amazing songs with minimal instrumentation.

While watching Two Cow live, you can tell that Schnabel, Sweeney, keyboardist Andy Schell, and drummer Cody Smith wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment in time. Schnabel and Sweeney interact in a way that makes you think they have been lifelong brothers. This admiration and love for one another shows up on the album as well. Schnabel wrote the song "Jackson, Don't You Worry" for Sweeney's son. The line "Jackson don't worry you're a good man's son/But your daddy and me we were born to run." sums up the song perfectly, as the song seems to be an apology for being the son of a touring musician and a source of assurance that everything is still going to be okay. The song is a wonderful testament to the bond that keeps Two Cow going.

So come on to Off Broadway tonight, raise a PBR tallboy in the air, and enjoy some great rock-n-roll. I'll be the idiot trying to get the band to play "Camaro." Doors open at 7, show starts at 7:30. 8$ 21+/11$ 21- Cheap Girls, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, and Men Working in Trees kick the night off.

Here's a video of Micah performing "Jackson, Don't You Worry"...

And a video of the band playing "Skinny Legged Girl" with one of the cutest little guest performers you will ever see...


The Old 97's tonight at The Pageant

Don't let tonight be Friday night without you...at The Pageant! The Old 97's return to St. Louis tonight to bring their brand of cow punk rock & roll back to The Pageant stage. Currently touring to support The Grand Theatre Volume One the band has returned to their classic 1990s sound with a decade of songwriting, experience and touring under their belt. Recently the band has been playing strong set lists of their classic material and the new record. Don't let this one pass you by!

During this leg of the tour Those Darlins are opening shows.

Here's a few videos to either convince you to come out and see the show or tide you over before you go out. The first couple are some promo interviews conducted by Professor Cindy Royal during the recording of their new album, The Grand Theatre Volume One, released last October. The next is a live acoustic version of "Champaign, Illinois", their authorized "lift" on the Bob Dylan classic "Desolation Row." Next up a live version of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" from the new album and finally ending with their raucous classic "Timebomb" from the 1997 release Too Far To Care.

 

Look for my review of the show tomorrow!