The Shilohs come from dewey-eyed Vancouver and are ready to shake things up in the patio capital. They share the stage with the Fresh and Onlys this Friday, July 18th at the sordid Horseshoe Tavern.
All the music on the band’s 2014 eponymous release shelters hardened summer love. It’s even more true of the lead-off single “Student of Nature.” These guys know how to inject sunshine into guitar lines. The production is reminiscent of TREX — we’re talking handclaps and stirring coo’s of backing vocal here folks. The single highlights the laidback tempos and easygoing vocal delivery of the album as a whole, but shows how those two elements can be adopted in a compelling sing-along single.
For the Smith Westerns and Tennis fans out there. Put your groove boots on and come down to the ‘Shoe tomorrow night!
It’s easy, it’s breezy, it’s beautiful. It’s not CoverGirl.
There are bands I’d recognize anywhere – Cake, the Decemberists, Andrew Bird – and Bishop Allen tops the list. The hallmark of every Bishop Allen song is the brilliance of its simplicity. This is a band that doesn’t need flash, doesn’t need bells and whistles, doesn’t need gimmicks – all they need is a light and airy melody paired with easy, breezy, beautiful lyrics:
“Take another picture with your click click click click camera”
“The morning belonged to the grapefruit/ripe in the gold Rome sun/I throw out the rind it’s just bitter to me/done, done, done”
“Things are what you make of them, things are what you make of them, baby/and you know what I mean/yeah you know what I mean”
But that’s actually not the main way I recognize a Bishop Allen track. I can always identify their songs because by the end of them I’m wearing a silly, fade-resistant smile.
Bishop Allen’s newest release is called “Start Again.” And what an apt name it is – you’ll play it once. And then you’ll hit that replay button and start again. And again. And again.
After 20 years or so, we’ve more or less come to know what to expect from Low – spare, contemplative tunes centred around the harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. Yet even after all these years the Duluth band still has a few tricks up their sleeves and can still surprise, especially in a live festival setting where the audience might possibly be treated to a Rihanna cover or even a nearly 30 minute, drone-based, one song set. This is not to say that they’re likely to go all Spinal Tap Mark II during their set at The Horseshoe for NXNE, but you never know. To be honest, a small part of me hopes that they do.
What we do know is that Low are touring behind their Jeff Tweedy produced The Invisible Way, released last year. Have a listen to “So Blue” off of that very album.
Low plays The Horseshoe Tavern Wednesday June 18 @ 12am.
There are a few standard parental words of advice I think we all wish we’d listened to when we were kids:
1) Wear sunscreen;
2) Write thank you notes;
3) Don’t pick your nose in public; and
4) Practice the piano.
Although #1-3 are super important, this post relates to the fourth. I am on a huge ivory-tickler rampage lately, meaning my ears have been full of American standards like Billy Joel – but the list is currently being topped by a certain European musician. Yann Tiersen is basically rocking my world. The French music-maker has me dreaming of taking up the piano (… and guitar, and xylophone, and accordion… and typewriter) and making a new life as a runaway keyboardist.
A perfect example is his Comptine d’un autre ete, l’apres-midi. The track is 2:21 of beautiful. And it’ll remind you of the epic quality of Amelie. Take a listen. Or 3.