Get Out :: 02.20.08

Get Out is indierocket!'s occasional guide to getting down in the Soda City....for science!, Anthems for Odyssey
New Brookland Tavern :: 7 p.m.
...for science! plays loud, slow, heavy post-rock; Anthems for Odyssey plays tight, fuzzy, gothic shoegaze. It's a nice complement; trust us. Damage: $5 ($7 under 21).


New Noise :: American Gun: The Means and the Machine

American Gun
The Means and the Machine (Diamond D)
Verdict: 8.3.
RIYL: Whiskeytown, Lucero, Drive-By Truckers, Avett Brothers

In the grand tradition of Southern rock bands — and please note the distinction from Southern-rock bands a la Skynyrd et al — American Gun possesses a hootin', hollerin', carryin-on' spirit that wouldn't feel authentic coming from a band of carpetbaggers. Indeed, much of American Gun's swagger can be traced to old-time country's bigwigs — The Man in Black, The Possum, The Red-Headed Stranger, The Killer and The King — and the parts of which that can't are easily touchstoned — Whiskeytown, Lucero (hell yes, Lucero; the band expertly covers Ben Nichols' "All the Same to Me" on Means), Americana, Brit-rock.

So while such easy sonic references are a music journo's dream, it begs the question: Where are the original bones in the band's body? The bones here come from songwriters Todd Mathis and Donald Merckle, the creative forces behind the band's attractive indie-Americana tunes. Typical dual-songwriter comparisons — Lennon-McCartney or, perhaps more appropriately, Farrar-Tweedy — don't exactly fit, as there's never the sense that one is pulling in an entirely different direction than the other. Besides, both probably fall more toward the Tweedy side of the scale anyhow, though Merckle's tunes tend to be darker, folksier affairs and Mathis' to be edgier, overdriven affairs. And, indeed, the album works its best magic when each sticks to his strengths: Merckle scores a one-two punch with the tongue-in-cheek opener "Drunk Girls" and the roots-poppy "Fight Song"; Mathis sets Means ablaze with follow-up tracks "Horses" and "Neil Young Mood." Those themselves make for an incredibly strong side one, and while it's not that side two is lackluster or disappointing, it's not really again until the tongue-in-cheek closing number, the Mathis-penned "Jesus Gave Us Rock 'n' Roll," that American Gun again hits on all cylinders. Again: There are good tracks — Mathis' longing, lonesome "First Impressions" most of all — but the second half's preponderance of slow-burners and plodding tearjerkers bleeds off a little too much momentum.

I'm not thrilled with Chris Stamey's production of the record — it's a bit airy and dissociated for a band whose live strength is foot-stomping fervor. Stamey's saving grace, though, is introducing the band to pedal-steel virtuoso Al Perkins, whose melodic lines glide with blissful grace. Indeed, it's the steel playing that pushes most of the tracks into the alt-country straosphere; and when you add flashes of mandolin and horn sections, it's that much tastier.

Ultimately, The Means and the Machine is about the same as American Gun's debut, Dark Southern Hearts: A good-not-great, immensely solid outing that, were the band not toiling in relative obscurity, would provide a nice addition to the hallowed catalogs of New West or Lost Highway.

American Gun [MySpace]
American Gun [official website]


New Noise :: Grand Archives :: Torn Blue Foam Couch

You might remember me posting the demo for this song a while back. Back then, it was just a track on a four-song demo EP that they had thrown together themselves. Now signed to Sub Pop, Mat Brooke and Co. are about to drop their full-length (out Feb. 19th - pre-order and you get a bonus 7-inch), and to whet our whistle, Sub Pop has released the final version of 'Torn Blue Foam Couch.'

To be honest, I'm a little torn with how to feel about the new version. I suppose that's to be expected. For something like ten months, the demo is the only version of the song I had ever heard, and if I would ever get off my lazy butt and post my list of favorite songs from 2007 (soon, I promise), you would already know that this was my favorite song of the year. I have a few problems with the final version (and they really aren't problems, I'm just not used to the new arrangement). First off, I never realized that the chord structure was the same as Pachelbel's Canon (you know, that wedding song), but the new version's intro makes it unmistakable. Nothing wrong with that. It's just a little distracting. Another bother is that the piano is accompanied occasionally with a keyboard of some kind that occasionally detracts from the simple beauty of the piano. It's shorter, so it's build doesn't seem quite as magnificent as the original. There are new things that I do like. For instance, the horns really give it the Beach Boys feel that I think the band is going for, and the drums sound even better than the original, which I didn't think possible.

Anyways, enough of my opinions. Why don't you decide for yourself? Here's both versions. Discuss!

Grand Archives Torm Blue Foam Couch (demo)

Grand Archives Torn Foam Blue Couch (final)

Pre-order The Grand Archives here.


Get Out! :: 02.01.08

Get Out! is indierocket!'s occasional guide to getting down in the Soda City.

FRIDAY :: 02.01.08
Black Swan :: Hunter-Gatherer :: 11 p.m.
Black Swan's dark, progressive indie rock makes excellent use of post-rock and goth-rock touchstones, creating a moody, atmospheric sound all its own. Reid Hardaway's nimble, heavily reverbed arpeggios counter-balance Courtney Vincent's simple piano structures perfectly, and Hardaway's tasteful use of delay recalls early British shoegazers Ride. And let's not forget the rhythm section, the simple-yet-effective combination of bassist Joe Greene and drummer Daniel Wilson. The most striking of Black Swan's compositional elements, though, is Vincent's voice, which is at once seductively husky and elegantly restrained. Damage: $3.

SATURDAY :: 02.02.08
Colour Revolt :: New Brookland Tavern :: 6:30 p.m.
I say this with the utmost reverence: Colour Revolt blends everything I love about post-Good News Modest Mouse, pre-Worlds Apart ...Trail of Dead, Surfer Rosa-era Pixies and classic Neil Young and distills it into a perfect temper tantrum of indie-rock furor. Call Colour Revolt post-apocalyptic-rock: Drums hit like claps of thunder; bass guitars rattle like earthquakes; guitars twist and flail like whirlwinds; and singer Jesse Coppenbarger encapsulates the lonesome, confused spirit of the last man on Earth. The Oxford, Miss., quintet's new record, Plunder, Beg and Curse, continues in the same urgent vein as its self-titled debut; don't be surprised if most of the set is derived from it. Damage: $7.
Colour Revolt - "Naked and Red" [from Plunder, Beg and Curse]

Josh Roberts & the Hinges :: Headliners :: 9 p.m.
Put simply, there's no such thing as a bad Josh Roberts show. And that's all there is to it. The Hinges' new record, My War Cry is Amor, is a raucous, rollicking riot through the world of alt-country, from the punkish "Atom Inhibitor" to the lugubrious, triumphant "Every Brick of Downtown." Damage: $7.
Josh Roberts & the Hinges - "Every Brick of Downtown" [live at the Five Points Pub [via archive.org]]

Rob Lindsey & the Friendly Confines :: Art Bar :: 10 p.m.
We here at indierocket! love us some Rob Lindsey — I like to say he's a more literate John Mayer or a pop-rock Tom Waits — and we're glad to see he's put together a backing band — featuring members of another indierocket!-beloved local group, Magnetic Flowers — to flesh out his intricate and interesting guitar-pop. Damage: $3.

The Jam Room 20th Anniversary Bash :: Five Points Pub :: 8 p.m.
The Jam Room's a veritable Columbia institution; Jay Matheson's client-list is long and impressive, including The Queers, Kylesa and local heroes Stretch Arm Strong. We're most excited about our boys Death Becomes Even the Maiden, but the night also features some blasts from Columbia's past: Old-timey punks Scary Hand and 49 Reasons play, as do reunited goth-rockers Bachelors of Art. Damage: $5.
Death Becomes Even the Maiden - "Control" [from The Arrangement]