I have had a limited sampling of German pop music, introduced to me by a German (whose first choice when working late was, oddly, Commodores’ “Nightshift”…) and while I’m not well-versed enough in music to identify or explain it, the opening minute of “Precipice” instantly reminded me of Germany.
Curiously, then, Sun and the Wolf is composed of three Berlin transplants from New Zealand. It may be the cautious and deliberate pace, or the minimalist sound space. And of course once you set eyes on the style of the music video, the diagnosis, “hell will have to freeze over before North America considers this kosher” is all but cemented. It is nonetheless an interesting and oddly addicting track. I just can’t agree with the leotards though. Never leotards.
Sometimes a band’s name just doesn’t quite seem to match up with what you might expect them to sound like. Case in point: The Shacks, whose moniker might cause one to imagine maybe something countryish, or perhaps a garage rock band, but who instead offer up a breezy pop sound which often veers toward a moody, mildly psychedelic vibe. This just goes to show that, much like you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, you shouldn’t necessarily judge a band by their name. Unless that band is Hoobastank. That is a terrible name worthy of harsh judgement.
One of the highlights of their set was “Orchids,” a song which, singer Shannon Wise explained, wasn’t about aliens, but did feature aliens in the video. She urged us all to watch it if videos with aliens in them were something we were into, cheerfully adding, “It’s on the internet!” Isn’t everything though?
Following them onstage was Austin’s Khruangbin, who had the packed house at the Garrison on their side from the get-go with their mellow psych/funk chill out tunes. And while I didn’t find them as compelling as the openers, the band did put on an impressive display of musicianship and threw in a nice cover of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker” as a tribute to the old “funkateers” who came before them.
The studio recording of “High Lonesome” left little doubt that the star in Adam Torres’ songs is his voice. Although some YouTube commenters enjoyed the imagery of Wes Anderson, Michonne (Walking Dead) and Jack Nicholson being responsible for the modern American folk offerings at a Tiny Desk Concert.
Whichever version you listen to, the American West comes alive as if from the perspective of a soaring eagle. Normally the Canyonlands landscape demands a certain majestic awe; I enjoy how this track dispenses with that requirement. You are simply taken on a plain-sailing, stratospheric ride. Technically, eagles are visual hunters and need sunlight – although I doubt the perspective of a soaring jetliner would conjure the equivalent emotion.
Fittingly, Showtime is taking the opportunity to promote the upcoming series as part of COLLiDE On Rainey with “two days of live music performances inspired by the series” at Clive Bar featuring the likes of Agnes Obel, Neko Case, Real Estate, and several others. And of course, there will be coffee and pie. One of the artists performing will be New York’s Julie Byrne, whose ambient folk sound seems quite well-suited to the Twin Peaks theme.
Check out Byrne’s “Natural Blue” below:
Julie Byrne plays Clive Bar at 9pm on Thursday, March 16.