(Sandy) Alex G – Thalia Hall (Chicago) – 11/4/2018
(Sandy) Alex G got up on stage at 10:30 PM. Any other day would be fine, but it was Sunday and the Scaries were in full effect. Monday would arrive soon, dragging work along with it. Why the hell are you playing so late? What about me – the working man?
Who cares? It doesn’t matter I would go watch him play anytime of the day.
(Sandy) Alex G jammed through a set that featured 23 songs. Opening with “Whale” and immediately following into “After Ur Gone” which featured an out of control solo from the guitarist. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of the guitarist. If you’re reading this (which you are most definitely not) you could jam and are very talented. (Sandy) Alex G’s style on stage was a little strange. The stage featured no light show or even a stage banner. While playing nearly every song, (Sandy) Alex G would turn around and play away from the crowd for a minute or two. It wasn’t right or wrong, just something that I haven’t ever seen live.
I know nothing about drums other than they make noise, but I also noticed that the drums were set up a little differently. It was like if Neil Peart were playing and someone photoshopped out the majority of his drums, but forgot to delete a really out-of-place one. A cymbal was hung up awkwardly high. Again, something that I don’t think is too common.
The main set ended with “Sarah”. “Sarah” is a great track by (Sandy) Alex G and one of those that sounds sweeter live. Those funky flute sounds came from the keyboards which was kind of surprising – maybe not, after second thought.
The comparisons to Elliot Smith are not farfetched with (Sandy) Alex G. The talent and songwriting is there. The cymbals may be a little too high up for comfort, but (Sandy) Alex G put those Sunday Scaries to bed.
Andrew Savage (Not to be mistaken with Andrew Savage of Survivor: Pearl Islands) is a co-frontman of NYC band, Parquet Courts. In October of last year, he released his debut solo album, Thawing Dawn to pretty solid reviews. Just two weeks later, Parquet Courts and Savage collaborated with Italian composter, Daniele Luppi to release Milano, a record about 1980s Milan. This was all followed up by the release of Parquet Court’s sixth album, Wide Awake! in May.
Before Savage was jamming with Parquet Courts he was in Teenage Cool Kids. The Denton, Texas based group came out with three albums before calling it quits in 2011.
Some elements of Parquet Courts are here in the song, “Landlocked State”. Imaginative and whimsical lyrics follow the nice melody of guitar and drums. The backing vocals that occasionally peek through are also very enjoyable.
At one point, Andrew Savage sings, “Stealing groceries just to stay awake”. I’ve never heard of that before, but it does kind of transport me to those times where you find yourself falling asleep late in a Meijer or Walmart fucking around with your friends.
Anyway, You Should Probably Listen to Landlocked State by Teenage Cool Kids
Just by going through Beirut’s catalogue you can travel the world. “Perth”, “Nantes”, “Rhineland (Heartland)”, and “East Harlem” are just some of the song titles that take you around the globe. Now there’s another one.
Beirut dropped a song yesterday, entitled “Gallipoli”. The song starts and just a little bit in, the sound of those all too familiar horns come in. Those beautiful goddamn horns. As soon as they started going off, I knew Beirut was back. This is the first song of the same titled album, which will be released February 1, 2019.
On his site, Zachary Condon writes about the series of events and the writing process behind his new album. The most interesting part was how he used the same organ he used in Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Club Cup for Gallipoli. Fans of those albums know they are in store for a good one here from Beirut.
Courtney Barnett –Riviera Theatre (Chicago) – 10/18/2018
This is the second time I have seen Courtney Barnett at the Riviera Theatre. The first time was almost two and half years ago when she was touring, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. I think it’s safe to say that she has enhanced her craft over those two and half years.
The confidence flowed as Courtney performed a whopping 8 songs (8 out of the 10 total) from her new album, Tell Me How You Really Feel. She may have found the perfect set opener with “Hopefulness”. The tune has a nice buildup before ending in an explosion of sound. It’s a great song to open with and one we should all hope Courtney continues to use.
The set was long (5 more songs compared to 2016) and featured a nice blend of the new and the old. An interesting part of the show was when Courtney Barnett played “Small Talk” which was just released earlier in the month. Out of all the songs she played live, “Small Talk” seemed to be the one she was having the most fun playing. You could see the genuine joy on her face as she was playing along. There The set also featured two covers: “Houses” by Elyse Weinberg and “Everything is Free” by Gillian Welch. For “Houses”, Waxahatchee joined Courtney and band on stage for an awesome performance. Waxahatchee, who opened for Courtney Barnett was excellent.
If Courtney Barnett makes her way to your city on this tour, go catch the show. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be watching an artist in their prime.
The EP that features songs like: “Desire Be, Desire Go”, “Skeleton Tiger”, and “Half Full Glass of Wine” was released ten years ago today on 10/11/2008. This was the world’s introduction to the magic of Kevin Parker before Tame Impala’s debut album Innerspeaker was released two years later.
Besides the great tunes, the EP cover also featured a painting Parker did of a diagram that showed the stars Antares, Mira, and the Sun.
The Maccabees released four albums before ultimately disbanding in August of 2016 (although farewell shows were played in 2017). Performing for fourteen years, the London band is probably best known for their song, “Toothpaste Kisses”.
On May 4th, 2009 the band released their sophomore album, Wall of Arms. The album included iTunes extended tracks that featured “I Drove All Night” as one of the songs.
“I Drove All Night”, made famous by Roy Orbison and Cyndi Lauper is played a little differently by The Maccabees. Orlando Weeks’ voice is much quieter and the song is sung almost like a hymn, with somewhat of a hypnotic effect. The instrumentals also offer a distant and atmospheric sound. Altogether, this cover by The Maccabees is definitely a unique one.
You Should Probably Listen to “I Drove All Night” by The Maccabees.