Live music

JULIEN BAKER TURNS PHILLY INTO THE QUIETEST CITY
September 21, 2016 11:09 am

It’s no secret that ATYPICAL SOUNDS loves Julien Baker. She was our November Artist of the Month last year, so when I found out she was playing at Underground Arts in Philly I knew I had to be there.

The two show line-up was Tennessee-based Baker and Philly’s Grayling. As much as I don’t want to admit it for the sake of losing “punk cred,” two show lineups are sick. You get to go see some bands, feel some feels and still not be too tired for the next morning (I was still late for class but that’s just because of who I am as a person).

Grayling came on around 8:30 and played about a 7 song set that shows me that this band is here to stay. They are pretty badass and if you haven’t checked them out you need to do so ASAP. They will make you feel badass too.

Julien Baker started playing around 9:30 and while her set was only about an hour, for that one hour the small venue on 1200 Callowhill, was the quietest place in all of the city. Baker played songs of her record Sprained Ankle, which is a powerful testament to love, heartbreak and realization. It was just Baker and her guitar on the stage with one spotlight that made the singer look like an angel. Just like on her record, her voice quieted down and then tore through the quiet, each time taking the crowd with it.

There was not a dry eye in Underground Arts, I can guarantee it.

POP ETC GETS DOWN IN TOKYO
August 29, 2016 11:13 am

As  summertime rolls around, artists travel around the globe to perform at the biggest music festival. It’s about time a New York native band come perform in Tokyo, and POP ETC finally made their way halfway across the world to bring their American indie-rock vibes. They were actually in Japan not even a year ago, but who cares? They’re rad, and they deserve to be back as many times they want.

Some of you may know POP ETC from the The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack (ha!). Some others may have seen them supporting big time indie musicians like The Black Keys, Death Cab for Cutie and The Kooks. Either way their music blurs the lines between indie pop and indie rock, sitting just in between those two genres. They create music that makes you want to chill with a beer in hand, but also wave your hands in the air and dance at the same time.

Their show in Tokyo was surprisingly filled with an unusual mix of fans ranging from young females in late teens to middle aged business men. And like any other show in Japan, people watched them quietly, showing major respect to the band and their music. I was surprised with front man Chris’ fluency of Japanese – who knew! Because of that, the band members were able to connect with the audience on a whole other level. I was amazed to see the lack of phones in the crowd, trying to record precious videos of the show on their iPhones so they can upload it on their social media. Literally nobody. Nobody had their phones or selfie sticks (thank goodness) out which made this show an even more superb experience. We’re hoping they’ll be back again sometime soon, but if you’re in the big apple, don’t miss their next gig!

Want to know more about POP ETC? Click here to check out our exclusive interview with them.

DSC_0005 DSC_0013 pop etc

ORTHY DANCES INTO THE HEART
August 8, 2016 12:08 pm

Ian Orth is an Austin, TX songwriter and producer. His dance project Orthy is a perfect example of the wide variation of music coming out of Austin. Besides the more well known acts such as Spoon, Okkervil River or Explosions in the Sky there is another side to the Austin music scene that Orthy well represents.

The project was inspired by a combination of events. A weekly dance party hosted by Orth in Austin went by the name of Learning Secrets. This was an event that Orth and others would host to try and introduce people that were typically fans of rock music to the electronic dance music scene. They would bring in the best DJs around to try to expose the crowd to a night of good vibes and stellar beats. Orth had been writing music for a good period of time, but never felt the urge to share the music with anyone.

That all changed when he met his soon to be wife. Orth said in an interview, “…Then I fell in love with my fiancée, and I know it’s kind of cliché or easy to say, but I just started writing all of these songs and all of it sort of started coming out.” After that, the music had to go somewhere. It came out in the form of Orthy’s first EP in 2011 called Suenos. The three tracks on the EP have a very organic feel to them, as far as electronic music goes. There’s a bedroom production quality to the tunes that is undeniably attractive. The track “City Girl” is a standout cut.

Orthy came back in 2014 with another EP called E.M.I.L.Y that garnered the band a little bit of critical success. They were featured on NPR’s World Cafe later that same year. Most recently, in 2015, the act released yet another EP titled Listen to Her Heart after the Tom Petty classic. Orth reworked the Petty song into a slow pulsing electronic groove. The EP also contains remixes of a few tracks that appeared on 2014’s E.M.I.L.Y.

Orthy will be playing at the Sound on Sound festival in Sherwood Forest outside of Austin with a killer lineup featuring Courtney Barnett, Run the Jewels and Phantogram to name just a few. Keep an eye out for Orthy in the future as they have to be poised to release a full length record at some point.

FEED THE BEAT
July 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Going on tour is an integral part of being in a band. Traveling all day and playing music all night in different places all over is the dream. However being in a band is less glamorous as most people picture it and unfortunately not many bands make a lot of money from shows. Usually money made from shows goes to gas and eating, so most bands come home just breaking even.

Thankfully, the Taco Gods have you covered. Taco Bell, beloved by stoners and broke kids alike have a campaign called Feed The Beat, which offers touring bands free food (suddenly I wish my mom pushed guitar lessons on me instead of soccer).

According to their site:

Since 2006, Taco Bell and its Feed The Beat program has helped support more than 900 artists/bands. Along the way, we have helped fans discover new bands, and bands discover new fans. Feed the Beat support starts in the form of feeding touring musicians with $500 in Taco Bell gift cards – no strings attached.

Some artists that have been featured on the campaign include: Allison Weiss, Chris Farren, DREAMERS, Robert Delong, Superheaven, The So So Glos, The 1975, The Front Bottoms, Best Coast, Title Fight, Wavves and many more names.

The program is a great way to give back to people who give their all for their art. As someone who has toured with bands before, I’ve witnessed the hardships that bands can face while on the road.

Shout out to Taco Bell, your dedication to the arts doesn’t go unnoticed — I’ll forgive you for putting cheese on my bean burrito.

TOP 5 UNDERDOG MUSIC SCENES IN THE US
June 24, 2016 1:35 pm

Keeping up with the slew of musical talent coming out of places like New York City and Los Angeles is enough to make anyone’s head spin. It can become overwhelming to keep up with all the other fantastic music scenes this country has to offer. From coast to coast, there are many cities making a significant mark on the musical world, many that go unappreciated.

For instance…

towers

-Atlanta.

With the likes of Deerhunter, Manchester Orchestra and Neutral Milk Hotel all hailing from Atlanta and nearby areas it’s impossible to say they don’t know what they’re doing. Venues such as The Earl, 529 and The Star Bar showcase many local and national acts. If luck is on your side, you can catch members of bands such as The Black Lips or Mastodon playing at these venues with side projects when not out on tour. Locally, Stokeswood gives everyone a reason to dance while Lazer/Wulf slays the instrumental prog metal scene. The Coathangers are a perfect example of the raw sounds that are coming out of this city right now. Further proof of the scene quality, multi-instrumentalist Derek Torres of TOW3RS has uprooted himself from Raleigh, NC to take his dynamic psych pop talents to ATL. The scene is hopping and don’t expect it to stop any time soon.

Noteworthy Artists:
T0W3RS
Jungol
The CoatHangers
Stokeswood

generationals3-940x300

-New Orleans

This city will be forever known for their blistering jazz- and understandably so. However, what lurks in between the bars is a whole slew of diverse greatness. The folk and blues styles that have been developed here for decades bleed into the city and it’s musicians in fantastic ways. From the always catchy indie pop of Generationals to the Americana influenced Cardinal Sons to the bluesy, sultry folk of Hurray for the Riff Raff, there truly is something to please everyone. With the Circle Bar showing live music every night and Gasa Gasa housing great up and coming acts, there’s no doubt that the music scene here is one to watch.

Noteworthy Artists:

Generationals

Cardinal Sons

Bantam Foxes

eli

-Omaha

Bright Eyes, The Faint, steaks…These are a few names that come to mind when thinking about Omaha. This city’s music scene is still churning out great bands and it’s only looking to get better. The locally legendary venue Slowdown, made famous as a creative experiment by the Saddle Creek Records, is the place to play. The venue has become a springboard for local artists and, with no cover, the best place to catch the next great band. The Mynabirds released a standout album in 2015 that showcases just what Omaha and Saddle Creek Records are bringing to the table.

Noteworthy Artists:
The Mynabirds
The Decatures
Eli Mardock

mo

-Portland

Portland has produced some stellar bands. The Decemberists. Sleater Kinney. Blitzen Trapper. The list goes on. The entire city seems to be a part of a hip band. There’s the indie pop of Radiation City, the shoegaze of Lubec, the folk rock of There is No Mountain. The list of music in Portland literally goes on forever. They’re enveloped by spectacular venues as well. Mississippi Studios, Doug Fir Lounge and the Aladdin Theater attract many local and national acts of an unimaginably wide variety. Good luck keeping up with all the talent coming out of this place.

Noteworthy Artists:
Typhoon
Mo Troper
There is No Mountain

bron

-Tulsa

Between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, you can find more than an earful of great tunes. From the kaleidoscopic sounds of Tallows to the indie rock of Horse Thief and Broncho, there’s plenty of variety to go around. Although a vast amount of the scene here is Americana influenced, that doesn’t stop any of the citizens from branching out. Annie Clark of St. Vincent was born here, only a stone’s throw from the birthplace of Woody Guthrie. The scene is varietal and interesting. Cain’s Ballroom is a nationally recognized venue. The Campus Corner provides a range of indie rock acts while The Blue Door features the quieter, folky side of the town.

Noteworthy Artists:
Horse Thief
Tallow
Broncho

Did we miss any?? Add yours and tweet us @AtypicalBeasts !

LAST NIGHT OF TOUR FOR WAXAHATCHEE AND KISSISSIPPI
June 23, 2016 12:21 pm

The Chameleon Club was the tour stop for Waxahatchee (the usual musical baby of Katie Crutchfield played with a full band), joined by Ali Crutchfield and Kississippi and I couldn’t think of a better bill for a warm June night.

Philly band Kississippi opened the show around 6:45 and if you’re like the couple next to me who missed the set to pregame, you made a big mistake. I’ve been a fan for a while but was never able to catch a set until last night. Dreamy, yet intricate and raw, Kississippi sets the bar high for Philadelphia DIY. Vocalist Zoe Allaire has the power to silence an entire room and building up drums and guitar will sweep you off your feet. The loving and well crafted sound makes it clear why Kississippi is one of the most talked about bands at the moment.

Allison Crutchfield played next (and then played next again, joining her sister in Waxahatchee). She played a set full of heartfelt longing backed by lo-fi electronic music. Crutchfield paints a picture of yearning without saying a word, the slow pulse of her synth does it for her. She is authentic, sincere and unapologetic, something I think resonates with an audience.

Lastly, Waxahatchee took to the stage playing mostly a set of songs from Ivy Tripp (an album that I feel so strongly about I’d staple it to my forehead if I could, maybe that’s a little too excessive but you get the idea, its a great album). Waxahatchee’s set definitely felt perfect for a June night, as her warm, delicate yet husky voice sang over defiant chords.  I watched her take control of the audience like a force to be reckoned with (I literally felt the burn as she scolded a group of obnoxious, drunk people who were talking loudly over her set with her eyes, rightfully so). I’m not sure if many people could deliver heartbreakingly poetic songs as well as Waxahatchee does, with music so simplistic and yet as if she were drawing your tears out of your eyes with her own hands.

Overall the night was a mix of beautiful voices, dreamy tones and heartbreaking words, if you missed it, I am so sorry for you.

LITZ: WASHINGTON DC’S LEGEND FROM BIRTH
June 1, 2016 1:25 pm

For somebody hearing your band for the first time, what would you want to tell them?

“We are a band focused on metaphysical ascension, our music is literally a sacred practice to enlighten, open the mind of the world and to evolve the collective consciousness.” -Austin Litz

The band LITZ is a spiritual tsunami of energy and talent that creates a beautiful vista of sound at every concert. We had the chance to talk with the face of the band Austin Litz about his family’s store, Victor Litz Music Store, and his journey to local fame and amazing connection with music.

To get started, could you introduce yourself and tell us about the store?

I’m Austin Litz and I’m a third generation musician. But we are the first generation that is trying to do live music and shows on a regular basis, not just make money from the music industry background. My grandfather started the store and played live for a bit, but kept going with the store and teaching lessons for the most part. My dad doesn’t really teach lessons, but he oversees all the departments and stuff. I was fortunate enough to grow up here with the store and take lessons on anything I chose.

What are some of your definitive points as a musician?

Life is like a sound wave. Here are a few of what I would call my defining moments: I have a brief memory of playing a 2 minute solo at a bluegrass festival when I was 7 because my father’s friend pushed me on stage between performers to fill the time. Playing the Saxophone was the biggest defining moment though, something just clicked, it was the first time I wanted to dive in and play music constantly, teaching music, seeing that I am a professional and was confident in instructing people. Lastly, selling out the show of our record release. It wasn’t just random people, we had roughly 350 people come and pay to see us. This was the moment where we thought, “Wow, we can be live performers and have a real career here.” So, I guess those three things, finding a new instrument, being a teacher, and being a successful performer.

After seeing you play and talking here, can you list off all the instruments you play?

(Chuckles)

Woodwinds – All the saxophones, flute and clarinet

Piano – Synthesizers, organs and keyboards of sorts

Strings – Bass, Classical guitar

Vocals – It counts as an instrument

Brass – Trumpet, Trombone and French Horn

Just about everything?

Basically everything but the drums set itself, but I do use a few other percussion instruments. Also the didgeridoo, pan flute and ocarina. We actually just covered the “Temple of Time” from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and put it at the very end of the last song of the new album.

Let’s talk about the album, was there anything in particular that helped create Illusion of Time?

All of it comes from personal experiences. The whole concept for the album didn’t come until after we recorded all the music. So the album is actually a double album and the second half of it was already recorded 6 months ago and both of them are that same concept of time. The second part of the double album will come out in October. We wrote all the material and recorded it and during post production, we took a step back and realized that a lot of it is about travel, time and circular patterns in life. A lot of these songs really relate to aging and growing. We have been playing music our whole lives and yet this feels like the first thing we really truly made. Like a paradox, releasing our album felt like our birth, and yet music has been alive in us for years.

What were some of the bands and people who really influenced you?

A college friend Chris Martin helped me to not fear being outlandish and the social parts of music. Even though I don’t listen to The Motet much, the idea for LITZ was literally an instantaneous moment at a music festival in a quasi religious experience where I was watching them, feeling the energy, realizing that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We also all grew up on ska and go-go music which was a huge influence (Fishbone, The Pietasters, Rare Essence Chuck Brown).

303345_143979772441727_886127356_nHow did you come up with the sound for LITZ?

We knew the venues, the crowds and we knew what we liked. We took our preferences and filtered them through what people enjoy and make our music. It’s a very conscious creation of music while being true to ourselves.

How do you deal with “writer’s block”?

Jam sessions. We might get stuck playing the same key or tempo at times, which isn’t bad, but jamming out helps creativity flow.

Thanks so much Austin, we are super excited for your next album in October. Anything you would want to tell your listeners about the band?

Thank you and you’re welcome! I would just say that we are very spiritual in our music. We want people to be able to come and enjoy our music and turn around with the motivation and dedication to achieve their own dreams.

Austin Litz, LITZ the band and Victor Litz Music Store are based in Washington D.C. Check out their music here and if there is a show near by you, nothing in the world should stop you from going.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS & IDGY DEAN INVADE SPLASH!
May 20, 2016 12:09 pm

There’s no reason for me to feign objectivism right now. This recap is mostly meant to be a piece for all of us at #ATYPICALSOUNDS to brag about the awesome show we just put on. This article will most likely read like Kanye’s ‘can I talk my shit again’ part off “We Major.” So if you were expecting some hard hitting analysis on Idgy Dean’s performance at Splash headquarters, then you’re kinda dumb.

Regardless of all the aforementioned bias, I am being so sincere when I say that Dean melted a bunch of faces, ark of the covenant style. Why would I say anything other than this? I love all of her music. Buy her album, you dunce, it’s good.

She came in charged up, commanding the crowd from start to finish. She went shoeless the entire time. This barefoot assassin put on a great show while also risking a possible staph infection out there. We love Splash, but we don’t know what germs are lingering on those hardwood floors waiting to pounce on an exposed foot.

I’m sure she’s fine. I hope she’s fine. It would be really underwhelming for a rock virtuoso like Dean to die from something as icky as a foot infection. Also, I do not know what type of liability we would have under those circumstances.

splash6

Thankfully, Dean’s performance went off without a hitch and she got everyone to rock out while lobbing a bunch of balloons back and forth throughout the crowd. No matter the age, balloons always tend to entertain. People spend millions of dollars producing highbrow television dramas while the same amount of stimulation can be accomplished from a room full of inflated rubbers.

Okay, so you’re reading this recap and so far you’re pretty impressed. You’re thinking, “wow, these guys had live music, an up-and-coming tech company hosting the whole thing, AND a whole mess of balloons??? How could they possibly top this?” I’ll answer that question with one word: booze. Thanks to Dos Equis and Widow Jane Distillery, we had it flowing all night. They helped make the night super fun and left people drunk enough to not notice that the Splash office was eventually overwhelmed by the smell of sauerkraut.

Regardless, no amount of sauerkraut would be able thwart Idgy Dean on this night. The maximalist showmanship put forth in her live performance simply inspires the hell out of us. Whenever she goes on a drumming spree and puts the guitar around her back, she is a knight preparing for combat. We couldn’t have asked for a better performance or a performer to encapsulate the Atypical Beasts aesthetic.

For more photos and videos check out ATYPICAL SOUNDS on Facebook and Instagram!

splash3

splash5

splash4

splash7

splash2

splash

THE KILLS: WHEN DOING IT TO DEATH IS A GOOD THING
April 13, 2016 11:04 am

The Kills came out with their first new single in 4 years last month.

It’s about damn time.

And the good news is “Doing it to Death” is sick. The new album Ash & Ice is slotted for a June 3rd release, and if their single is anything to base it off, we should be in for a treat.

Furthermore, their live show is straight bitchin.

Alison Mosshart (who you may know through her work with Jack White & The Dead Weather) and Jamie Hince have been working together since 2001 and it shows. They share an onstage chemistry that is truly infectious. These two clearly enjoy not just performing, but performing together. While Mosshart puts on a clinic of “How to Behave as a Lead Singer When Not Singing,” Hince plays the part of “the Rest of the Band.” Yes, The Kills do perform with a backing bassist and drummer, but the songs are still built around Hince’s ability to blend tones and textures into exciting songs. Mosshart brought a fiendish energy to the room with her vocals, and the two stomped all over the stage of Exit/In in Nashville.

Possibly the most refreshing aspect of the show was that it dispelled a slight worry about the new album. It’s evident that The Kills have moved a little out of the punk world and more into the indie one throughout their career. This is not an inherently bad thing, and frequently a band’s best work can occur at some point along this sliding scale, rather than at one end of it (see: Blood Sugar Sex Magik). But “Doing It To Death” could give some Kills fans pause. Simply put, it’s catchier than some of their older stuff. Emphasis on some. The Kills are no stranger to electronics – they started their career accompanied only by a drum machine. While some of the synth work may be a bit more forward in the mix, the effect is no different from that of the guitars on “Future Starts Slow,” the most successful song off their last record, Blood Pressures. And if you don’t think The Kills make catchy danceable songs, then you haven’t listened to “Getting Down” off 2008’s Midnight Bloom. Put it on now and thank me later.

The point here is not “The Kills make great catchy danceable tunes so why are you worried about them just doing that?” The point is that The Kills have always made great catchy danceable tunes in addition to the bluesy punky guitar and vocal centric tunes that they do SO well. They have no plans to let go of this side of their music, which they showed by performing songs like “Kissy Kissy” off their first album, 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side. As much of their set was dedicated to getting the crowd moving, probably more was dedicated to getting the crowd feeling.

The Kills have been writing and performing together for 15 years. They are not getting worse at either of those things. They may continue to embrace a more centric style and production, but better that than forcing an aesthetic that is played out. The Kills continue to grow and evolve as a rock band, and we should all be excited for their next step.

kills

SXSW SPOTLIGHT ON: LENA FAYRE
March 18, 2016 11:38 am

When listening to Oko, Lena Fayre’s debut album, for the first time, I did a lot of giggling. She’s 19 and is already brimming with all this talent, so I really don’t know what to do other than laugh because of how good she is. I refer to this as the Steph Curry Giggle for obvious reasons.

Fayre gets those SCGs out of me because, similar to the Davidson product, her range seems to be limitless. In her earlier work, she was able to show off her pop star impression on “Love Burning Alive”, which has everything a great pop song needs: strong vocals, a catchy hook and a heavy handed innuendo pertaining to sex. All of it came easy to her.

On Oko, Fayre wisely slows things down and focuses on opening up her entire tool chest to get it to work in her favor. ‘The Tiger’s Bride” shifts from delicate to powerful seamlessly in a stripped down effort. For the most part, the instrumentals are buoyed by a single patch of drums, and with that, she’s still able to make a booming chorus that’s catchy.

By opting to go minimal, the structure of the song, or its sonic accompaniment isn’t what’s being focused on. It’s a wise move that puts Fayre’s dynamic voice as the engine of the song instead of just an alternator (I needed to call my cousin who works with cars in order to complete this clunky metaphor). On “Ophelia”, her voice conducts the song’s pace. The piano compliments her timid moments perfectly, and when she builds up to a moment, the strings soar with her. 

The moments of overt liveliness isn’t as prominent compared to her EPs, but they’re each more well deserved while fitting to the flow of the album. “Games” has a droney dance floor vibe that makes everything appear to be going in slow motion. And the all over the place glitchy paradise that is “Intimacy Is Me” is a true gem. Neither have the directness of her earlier work, but it works more effectively because of the intimacy that surrounds this entire record.

Lena Fayre is only going to get bigger and better, seeing how she’s only 19 and has already gotten the modern day sultry R&B style down to a tee already. I’m expecting to do plenty more Steph Curry giggles at her music in the future. It’s why we’re excited for her to be performing at our SXSW this year…….TODAY! If you’re in town for the festivities, be sure to check us out at Darwin’s Pub. We’re kicking ass there all day from 11:30AM-6:00PM.

And if you’re not in Texas and still unsure about who Steph Curry is at this point, please watch a Golden State Warriors game for christ’s sake.