Tonight in Seattle: The Dirty Projectors, Wye Oak, MewithoutYou, Kevin Devine and more!Posted by Jessica Kaminski
Preview by Adam Barnett:
The Dirty Projectors mastered the art of packaging complexity and packing it into perfectly-crafted pop songs. This first became apparent on 2009’s critically acclaimed Bitte Orca, an amalgamation of polyrhythm, some incredibly unpredictable melodies with equally intriguing vocal play and the pop structure that led to the accessibility of these previously-held attributes. Where the overt artsy-ness of the band’s previous efforts might have seemed off-putting to some in the past – Rise Above was incredibly well-received, but some people might be lost as to why exactly someone would reinterpret a record he hadn’t listened to in 15 years – Bitte Orca put everything into a marketable package. Though, this didn’t dumb anything down, as seems consistent with increased accessibility of an artist. The added pop element seemed to add another layer of complexity to The Dirty Projectors, crucial to their rise as a staple in modern independent music.
Three years later, the band is on its sixth studio LP Swing Lo Magellan, a clear continuation of where Bitte Orca left off. In an interview with Pitchfork, frontman and multi-instrumentalist David Longstreth explained that Swing Lo is a much more “personal” endeavor, made up of individual of songs that don’t align themselves to a single, overarching theme. It’s intentionally raw like “unbleached f*cking leather,” which is clear on songs like “Unto Caesar,” where Longstreth was pretty lax on his backing vocal edits. But once again, it’s all in the name of art, right? And that’s where the genius of The Dirty Projectors comes full-circle. The combination of musical artistry and pop has earned the band a very fitting “art pop” tag on its Last.fm (among the also apt “experimental” in a much bigger typeface).
The Dirty Projectors are currently on tour supporting the record with Wye Oak, a Baltimore nu-gaze duo with drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack and guitarist/vocalist Jenn Wasner.
In addition to Wasner showing up everywhere over the past year (from The Mountain Goats at Lollapalooza, to The Dirty Projectors’ performance on Fallon, to a very recent cameo with Future Islands), 2011’s Civillian made AV Club’s top album of 2011 while earning spots on several other year-end lists. Where fellow Baltimore two-piece Beach House’s music is low-key enough to expect the minimal personnel, Wye Oak’s bigness and tendency to rock as hard as humanly possible is just as surprising live as it is recorded.
The Dirty Projectors and Wye Oak perform at Showbox at The Market on Monday, July 23, which leaves quite the dilemma: The Dirty Projectors, MewithoutYou or a long night of much-needed sleep following three days of Capitol Hill Block Party?
Preview by Adam Barnett:
There’s a clear and rare skill set involved in the art of storytelling with music, both lyrically and sonically. When present and implemented well, records can become more powerful than the written novel. Combining song and story for over a decade now, Philadelphia-based post-hardcore outfit MewithoutYou – made up of Aaron and Michael Weiss, Greg Jehanian, and Rickie Mazzotta – has proven its mastery in this art over-and-over again. It hasn’t gone unnoticed, to say the least.
Mewithoutyou’s presence on Tooth & Nail, tours with bands like Coheed and Cambria, and heavy, hard-hitting records like Catch for Us the Foxes brought an influx of devoted fans from the associated side of the national music scene. Aaron Weiss’ vibrant storytelling and religious candor mid-career attracted fans across music spectrums. Then came It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright, a surprising record of softer alt-folk that grabbed several avid fans who might not have given any band from T&N the time of day. So the 106,000+ “likes” listed on the band’s Facebook page isn’t as staggering as it may seem at first.
Finally, May saw the release of MewithoutYou’s fifth full-length record Ten Stories.
In a recent interview with Paste, drummer Rickie Mazzotta mentioned the emotional trials of each band member during the writing and recording of It’s All Crazy, leading to a “detachment” felt by Mazzotta. After a summer tour supporting that record, this detachment manifested into a short hiatus. When it was time for MewithoutYou to get back together and write a new album, Mazzotta said the band was “way more present.”
Already lauded as one of the best records of 2012 so far by MTV, the album is a highly-noticed departure from the alt-folk musings of 2009’s It’s All Crazy, but a definite return to the band’s original, heavier career. Though, elements of both are clear on the new record, combined with an upgraded and very clear sense of togetherness and intensity. Mazzotta’s feelings of “presence” are spot-on.
This increased cohesion might be due to MewithoutYou’s plans to self-release. Ten Stories marks the band’s first full-length on its own label, Pine Street Records, and departure from Seattle’s Tooth & Nail (Underoath, MxPx) with whom the band released its four previous LPs.
MewithoutYou comes to Neumos on Monday, July 23 with New York’s Kevin Devine and fellow Philadelphians Buried Beds.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club by Jon Killough
Preview by Daniel Ahrendt:
Come one, come all, get on board, and hold onto any alcoholic beverages you might pickup at the bar (or guzzle them before they end up on someone else). Denver’s gothabilly reverend Slim Cessna will be at The Crocodile with the one and only Auto Club. For one night only, the 2nd Ave. venue will become a $12 baptism by kerosene fire, delivered at the end of six Loony Toons twenty twos straight into whatever chakra is responsible for fun. As one of the many acts that have made up Denver’s gothic americana scene since the early 90s, the Auto Club have been blasting delightful punk country and gesticulating widely on stage for twenty years, two decades very well spent. The band is co-front manned by Slim Cessna (originally of the legendary Denver Gentlemen along with David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand) and the ethereally wild Jay Munly. The band has had the great honor of being on the Alternative Tentacles label since the beginning of their brazen existence and released their latest record on the label, Unentitled, back in March of last year. Joining them Monday night will be Seattle’s own Sons of Warren Oates and Michael Ray and The Plastic Sheets. This will make your Monday/week.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club on Exclaim! TV at the turn of the year
I took this video during SXSW 2011 at Red 7. There is a point in this video (3:40ish) where Munly is on the ground in front of me and catches me unaware with a raspberry on my bare stomach. You can’t see it happen, but you might be able to hear it along with someone nearby saying “That was f*cking awesome”