Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some Noise from the Silent Years

As published on WirelessBollinger:
At nine months old, Josh Epstein used to hum in his crib. A prodigy? No, “just an infant that hummed”, he humbly clarifies. From little things big things grow, and now he is the lead singer of a Detroit band called The Silent Years who have just released their third album The Globe.

Their new album is “about the universality of everything,” Epstein explains, “Everyone’s got these problems, and I’m not saying that one is more real than the other, but they’re both equally real to the person who’s experiencing them at the time. The really rich kid in Long Island who’s upset that he didn’t get a BMW for his 16th birthday and the really poor kid in Harlem who’s really upset that he didn’t get, you know, breakfast. They’re both really upset. And while you might say the latter example has the real conflict, they’re both real to those who are experiencing them and the person in Long Island has absolutely no clue in most instances that there’s someone else with a problem that’s greater than their own and that feeling of pain is very real.” keep reading...

Photo of Josh Epstein from the live show at the Hiro Ballroom, NYC

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"You Gotta Get A Gimmick..."

Ultimately as a performer, success comes down to talent. But having a gimmick sure helps to make one talented musician or artist stand out amongst the thousands of others.
In this regard, Minneapolis based band Cloud Cult is good to go on their road towards success.

The seven-member band, who headlined at the Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night, includes not only an electric cello and violin, electric guitars and drums, but also two live artists. As in, visual artists: painters. It doesn't even seem appropriate to diminish this aesthetic element by deeming it a "gimmick". But in a sense, that's exactly what it is, since it is a trait entirely unique to this group of talented musicians- who could stand out on the radar for that fact alone.

Not to mention the versatility of their sound, as the songs grow from simple lines of gentle strings (beautifully drawn from the violin by Shannon Frid) or acoustic story-telling (by lead singer and guitarist Craig Minowa) to all-out psychedelic jamming or syncopated rock. Or the trombone might come out, and everything takes a turn for something new and different altogether.

The energy onstage is contained but not stifled; the musicians are comfortable working the room and having a dialogue with the ecstatic, overpacked crowd. They put on no airs of celebrity or rockstar: they just show up to play really awesome music. Minowa humbly affirmed that "it's not a given that people are going to come out to hear us play. We know that there are tons of options for music here and we're really grateful that you all chose us".

It would be a shame not to, seeing as the band tours very rarely (and when else is there the opportunity to bid on an iconic painting done onstage by band members?). Their CDs will have to suffice in the meantime; to quench the appetite of all the die-hard fans who are, admittedly, in on some kind of secret. Although, once you've headlined at the Bowery Ballroom, news will get out pretty quickly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Makin' News:

f you're not already familiar with Gringo Star, from Atlanta, you better hurry up. The band is up-and-coming in the Indie scene, and they're coming up quick. I saw them play as part of the CMJ Festival at the Delancey (see post below) and was instantly struck by their raucus sound, their unique energy and their standout skills.
My opinion of them has been justified, to some extent, as they were just named Artist of the Day on Spin.com. Read the article here!
They have a new album out, which you can download here ;
or if you prefer to test drive their music first, catch a video of them on Have You Heard here ;
or listen to them jam on Matt Pinfield's show here!
What are you waiting for?? Go!
As published on WirelessBollinger.com

The Theater Fire, a melting pot of a band from Ft. Worth Texas, played from the fittingly old-fashioned stage at Union Pool in Brooklyn on October 17th. Setting up before the act was almost as much of a production as the act itself, but all was warranted as the seven men launched into beautifully complex songs, pulling more and more instruments out to infuse the down-home country sound with sprinklings of mariachi, zydeco, bluegrass, polka and rock... read more!