Got the chance to see Philly’s own Kurt Vile play through a few new songs off of his Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze album as well as some favorites off of previous albums. There was a lot of droning guitars…and hair. Here’s a few pics and a video from the show.
If there is one trait that defines the band Futurebirds, without question it’s their work ethic. After releasing their superb debut Hampton’s Lullaby in 2010, the band got right back out on the road and didn’t waste any time getting to work on their next album. Writing songs while touring heavily in the Southern US over the following years, this Athens, GA band made a name for themselves for their rambunctious live shows. For fans like myself that reside in the Northeastern US, they’ve been a group that’s been extremely hard to catch on tour. Recently they’ve opened for Heartless Bastards and they are currently on the road with Band of Horses. The latter of which is a perfect fit for a band whose sound has always reminded me of previous iterations of My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses. There’s something about that reinvented twangy southern rock sound that I just can’t get enough of.
The new album is named after a monstrous female beast from Slavic folklore that would feast on children. Not really certain why the band chose this as the title, but if I had to take a quick guess it would probably have something to do with, what a giant beast of a record Baba Yaga turned out to be. Clocking in at over an hour long, it’s obvious that this was no easy feat to get these songs narrowed down to the 13 tracks that did make the album. After all, there are five different songwriters in this band. The only band member to not contribute to the writing process is the man playing the pedal-steel guitar, Dennis Love. The pedal-steel is an unmistakable sound and it has become a keystone in the construction of Futurebirds two full-length albums. Baba Yaga builds off of the spacy southern garage-rock anthems of Hampton’s Lullaby and adds a bit more polish to the vocals and overall sound. Where Hampton’s was raw, Baba Yaga is refined. That’s an incredible feat considering the album’s length.
The anathematic choruses that I loved so much on Hampton’s are also found aplenty here as well. No song more so than the album opener, and first single “Virginia Slims.” All the attributes that set this band apart, and make them an exciting live up and coming band can all be heard on this first track. Pedal-steel winds its way through the melody and rhythm. It takes you by the hand and leads you to that anathematic chorus over and over again. “Serial Bowls” is a hearty southern romp through a matter-of-factly stated bludgeoning of the soul. There are a few more songs on this album with a slower more introspective feel to them than there was on Hampton’s. There are plenty of sing-along moments throughout the choruses of these slower songs. The album feels like a release of pent up frustrations with plenty of personal highs and lows nestled gently in between feedback and guitar solos. “The Light” is a more folky catchy little number that breaks up the spacy peddle-steel driven tracks that surround it. “Womeo” and “Strangers” are similar in sound with a little fiddle and banjo thrown in for good measure. The album ends with “St. Summercamp,” a nearly nine minute extravaganza of not wanting the album to end.
The band probably could have trimmed off a couple songs or made one less guitar solo on a few tracks to keep the album from feeling a bit bloated, which it does. There’s plenty to enjoy here, especially if you were already a fan of the band. Everything that Futurebirds does well, they do it even better on this album. It’s expansive yet personal, ambitious yet straight forward. These guys know their strengths and they do their best to hit those strengths time and time again. Don’t let this band and this album pass you by.
Here’s the video for “Virginia Slims“
Another Friday. Another Free at Noon show at World Cafe. For those that aren’t familiar with Charles Bradley, think of an extremely humble and grateful James Brown. The man oozes charm and you can tell that he loves performing and gives back to the crowd twice the love that they give him. At the end of his set he came down into the crowd and was passing out hugs to anyone that wanted one. If there was any one musician that I could say embodies the word “genuine” it would be Charles Bradley. His new album Victim of Love is out now and his tour is just getting started and will no doubt be bringing him and his band to a town near you this summer.
Here’s a few pictures and video I took from the World Cafe for Frightened Rabbit’s Free @ Noon show. Yes, They Might Be Giants were there and played first. No, I did not take any pics or videos of their set, mainly cause I don’t care for them much. Frightened Rabbit, on the other hand, were quite good. I was surprised at the force and strength upon which they rocked.
40. AC Newman – Shut Down the Streets
39. Patterson Hood – Heat Lightening Rumbles in the Distance
38. Chromatics – Kill for Love
37. Maps and Atlases – Beware and Be Grateful
36. Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight
35. Dr. Dog – Be the Void
34. Ty Segall – Twins
33. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
32. Helvetia – Nothing in Rambling
31. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
30. New Multitudes – New Multitudes
29. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
28. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
27. The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance
26. Sigur Rós – Valtari
25. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
24. Menomena – Moms
23. Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit
22. Heartless Bastards – Arrow
21. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
20. Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu
19. Trampled by Turtles – Stars and Satellites
18. Woods – Bend Beyond
17. First Aid Kit – The Lions Roar
16. Cat Power – Sun
15. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
14. The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
13. Godspeed You! Black Emperor
12. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
11. Tame Impala – Lonerism
10. Wild Nothing – Nocturne
9. Grizzly Bear – Shields
8. Polica – Give You the Ghost
7. Beach House – Bloom
6. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
5. The Walkmen – Heaven
4. Lower Dens – Nootropics
3. Jack white – Blunderbuss
2. The xx – Coexist
1. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
40. Battles – Glass Drop
39. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
38. The Dodos – No Color
37. Gillan Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
36. My Morning Jacket – Circuital
35. The Roots – Undun
34. Nicole Atkins – Mondo Amore
33. Feist – Metals
32. Brown Recluse – Evening Tapestry
31. J Mascis – Several Shades of Why
30. tUnE-yArDs – WHOKILL
29. Deer Tick – Divine Providence
28. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – It’s a Corporate World
27. Panda Bear – Tomboy
26. Atlas Sound – Parallax
25. Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine
24. Yuck – Yuck
23. Vetiver – The Errant Charm
22. Givers – In Light
21. Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing
20. Woods – Sun & Shade
19. Fruit Bats – Tripper
18. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
17. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart
16. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
15. Akron/Family – S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
14. The Antlers – Burst Apart
13. Middle Brother – Middle Brother
12. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
11. Wye Oak – Civilian
10. Real Estate – Days
This album is just really really good.
9. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Well polished second album from Justin Vernon. His sound is full and rich and it’s coming into his own.
8. The Black Keys – El Camino
Not as good as Brothers, but a solid barn burner through and through. These guys are officially rock stars.
7. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me
Dark and brutally honest. If Elliot Smith was a troubled girl from the Southern US, this is what it would sound like.
6. Wilco – The Whole Love
So many good songs on here. Fresh and new sounding. Best Wilco effort in quite some time.
5. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
Lazy, hazy, sleepy, dreamy set of songs that sets quite the mood.
4. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
This album is highly underrated. Unique and tightly crafted Radiohead effort. Watch Live From the Basement and like these songs even more.
3. The Decemberists – The King is Dead
Every song is a winner on this one. The Decemberists at their best.
2. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
An amazingly deep and rich album that just gets better with each listen.
1. AA Bondy – Believers
This album is like leaving your entire life behind and hitchhiking to anywhere other than here. It’s dark and beautifully haunting.