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Archive for the ‘Garcia Peoples’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: GARCIA PEOPLES-Hear Here Presents (2020).

Sometimes it takes a band you like to introduce you to something you didn’t know about.

Like Hear Here Presents, a non-profit studio in Wisconsin that records bands in a small setting with great audio quality.  And there are some fantastic bands (and yes, many many more that I haven’t heard of) on their page.

The band just released their session from this live show on bandcamp.

Back in January, Garcia Peoples went into the studio at Hear Here Presents for a session.

I’m not sure how long the sessions usually are, but this one runs about 35 minutes and consists of two songs.

Up first is what they are calling “Hear Here Jam.”  It’s 12 plus minutes of  a jamming instrumental.   It’s impression how tight these guys are that they can improv for 12 minutes and not only not step on each others toes, but actually make a composition that sounds interesting.

There’s a raging guitar section at around three minutes and an impressive build to a peak around 8 minutes before finishing up a few minutes later.  Having the three guitar of Tom Malach, Danny Arakaki, and Derek Spaldo allows for terrific interplay and a depth of sound.

That depth of sound is really evident on the second song, which opens with the introduction to “One Step Beyond.”  Of course, before they start that, there’s some tuning to be done, with some snippets of recognizable riffs:  Close Encounters of the Third Kind, “Hey Joe,” “Sweet Child of Mine.”

But once everyone is ready, it’s down to business.  It’s fun picking out which guitars are playing what in the complex intro to “One Step.”  It’s impressive the way the three guitars can keep the looping melody original and changing while bassist Andy Cush more or less take a lead role.

It’s also important to keep an eye (or an ear) on drummer Cesar Arakaki because he can keep a beat and keep it from being dull as well.

Then after nine and a half minutes of intro, the band shifts gears into the rocking “Feel So Great,” a terrific song with a fantastic musical bridge.  Ringing guitars and a super cool bass line propel the song before the chill chorus.

Not content to let a short, catchy song end their set, they proceed to stretch of “Feel So Good” starting around 15 minutes.  Multi-instrumentalist Pat Gubler trades his keyboard for flute as the psychedelia commences.  After some raging guitar work up until about twenty minutes, the band slows things down to ring to a close.

The only thing disappointing about this set is that when the song is over, you can hear them talking and someone says, “we can do another one,: just as the audio cuts out.  What else did they play????

[READ: September 24, 2020] We All Die Naked [an excerpt]

During the COVID Quarantine, venerable publisher Hingston & Olsen created, under the editorship of Rebecca Romney, a gorgeous box of 12 stories.  It has a die-cut opening to allow the top book’s central image to show through (each book’s center is different).  You can get a copy here. This is a collection of science fiction stories written from 1836 to 1998.  Each story imagines the future–some further into the future than others. As it says on the back of the box

Their future.  Our present.  From social reforms to climate change, video chat to the new face of fascism, Projections is a collection of 12 sci-fi stories that anticipated life in the present day.

About this story, Romney writes

[In 1896] Svante Arrhenius first calculated the increase in Earth’s surface temperature caused by increases in industrial carbon production — what we now know as the greenhouse effect. …  As far as I know, James Blish is the first science-fiction writer to imagine an apocalypse caused by climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions.  It’s a biting satire, simultaneously bleak and gregarious, that catches the characters on the brink of catastrophe through climate change.

To me, this story felt a little preachy.  But then, I’m reading it after fifty years of this kind of story already existing.  I imagine it was pretty impactful back in the era of Silent Spring (if sci-fi ever had an impact on anything).  And, indeed, it’s still pretty impactful given how many things he gets right.

The protagonist, Alexei-Aub Kehoe Salvia Sun-Moon-Lake Stewart, Sa. D., is forty and set in his ways.  He is the General President of Local 802 of the International Brotherhood of Sanitation Engineers.

Blish was eerily prescient to 2020 in one aspect of the story

Adjusting his mask–no matter how new a mask was, it seemed to let in more free radicals from the ambient air every day–he put the thought aside and prepared to enjoy his stroll and his lunch.

But some things are more grim.  The roads around Times Square, Wall Street and Rockefeller Center are all canals. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CHRIS FORSYTH WITH GARCIA PEOPLES-Peoples Motel Band (2020).

This is a fantastic document of a band an an artist who are totally in sync with each other, making forty minutes of amazing jamming music.  I saw this combination of artists in New York City on New Year’s Eve and the set was spectacular.

I absolutely could have (should have) gone to this show.  It was recorded on September 14, 2019 at Johnny Brenda’s in Philly, a place I have been to many times.  I can’t recall why I didn’t go to this one.  But this document (while obviously shorter than the real set) is a great recording of the night.

Recorded September 14, 2019 before a packed and enthusiastic hometown crowd at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, Peoples Motel Band catches Chris Forsyth with Garcia Peoples (plus ubiquitous drummer Ryan Jewell) re-imagining songs from Forsyth’s last couple studio albums with improvisatory flair.

As is often the case with Forsyth shows, the gloves come off quickly and the players attack the material – much of it so well-manicured and cleanly produced in the studio – like a bunch of racoons let loose in a Philadelphia pretzel factory.

Recorded and mixed with clarity by Forsyth’s longtime studio collaborator, engineer/producer Jeff Zeigler, the record puts the listener right in the sweaty club, highlighted by an incredible side-long take of the chooglin’ title track from 2017’s Dreaming in The Non-Dream LP (note multiple climaxes eliciting wild shouts and ecstatic screams from the assembled).

The disc opens with “The Past Ain’t Passed” a kind of noodling warm-up with three guitarists all taking various solo pieces and it segues into the catchy riff of “Tomorrow Might as Well Be Today.”  It’s a bright instrumental with a series of jamming solos all around a terrific riff.

Up next is “Mystic Mountain,” the only track with vocals.  It has a classic rock vibe and Forsyth’s detached voice.  The highlights of this nine-minute song are the riff and the soling.

The best part of the disc is the 20 minute epic “Dreaming in the Non-Dream.”  The studio version of this song is terrific with Forsyth playing some stellar riffs as both lead and rhythm lines.  But here with three lead guitarists Forsyth, Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki) the experimentation is phenomenal.  But it’s Forsyth’s wailing solo at 18 minutes, when he is squeezing every noise he can out of his guitar, that is the peak of the song and the set.

Also playing: Peter Kerlin: bass guitar; Pat Gubler: organ/synthesizer and two drummers: Cesar Arakaki and Ryan Jewell.

This is a great release and I’m pretty happy to have gotten the vinyl of it..

[READ: September 1, 2020] “Serenade”

I started reading this and thought it was a short story (the title where it says “Personal History” was blocked).  It seemed to be oddly written.  Then when I got to the paragraph where he talks about writing Love in the Time of Cholera, I realized it was non-fiction.

He says that Love is based around his parents’ own love story.  He had heard it so many times from both his mother and his father and he seemed to remember it in different ways, so that by the time he wrote the book he no longer knew what was the actual truth.

And what a fascinating and tangled story of love they shared. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 7, 2020] Garcia Peoples

I saw Garcia Peoples on New Year’s Eve eve at a Phish after party.  The show was great with them playing their new 30 minute song “One Step Behind” as well as a few others.  For that show, their original bassist Derek Spaldo was in town (after this Philly show I talked to Tom Malach and he told me that Spaldo lives in Chicago and tours with them when he can–sometimes they are a six-piece band).  That show was great.  It was the second time I’d seen them playing a short set and I really wanted to catch them as a headliner. So I was pretty excited to see that they’d be playing Boot & Saddle (even if I’d only seen them a month ago I wanted to check them out again).

When I arrived the place was pretty empty, but by the time Garcia Peoples went on, it had filled in nicely.  I was intrigued by the diversity of ages in the crowd–a lot of old Dead-heads and a few younger frat boy types as well as a lot of (drunk?) women.  I am also pretty certain that Chris Forsyth was in the audience.

The crowd was responsive and really appreciative whenever the guys played some impressive soloing (which was often).

I was intrigued to see that Spaldo was not with them this time but bassist Andy Cush was.  Cush played with them when I first saw them.  This means that there are two guys who know the bass parts to their songs. Pretty cool. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 7, 2020] Suffacox [Mach 2]

When I entered Boot & Saddle, I saw that the opening band was named Suffacox.   I had never heard of Suffacox and was rather puzzled by the name.

I was even more surprised when I saw the band setting up because I was standing a few feet from the stage and a guy kind of squeezed in front of me (which I thought was kind of rude as there was so much empty space).  He then proceeded to remove his coat and soon enough I realized he was the guitarist for Suffacox.  Whoops.

When the band started, the guitarist, John Terlesky, told us that they were Suffacox… Mach 2.  He said that they had been a band in the mid 90s and now they were back together again.

In their first incarnation they were led by Wayne Hamilton (whom they spoke of as if I’d know who he was, which I don’t).  Hamilton has passed on and now the rest of the original band is back with an extra guitarist and a manager/backing vocalist. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 31, 2019] Ryley Walker

I saw Ryley Walker open for Calexico in May of 2018.  He played with a trio–second guitar and bass.

Even though I was at the show, I clearly didn’t remember it very well, because I was puzzled why he was on this jam band bill.  The confusion is because I mostly remembered him singing the song “Telluride Speed,” a mellow folky song.

But re-watching some of the videos from that show I realize that much of the show was instrumental jams between he and his co-guitarist Bill McKay.  So I should have realized it made sense.

But I was so puzzled when he came out and started playing that I genuinely wasn’t sure if it was the same guy.

In part because the music he was playing was abstract and noisy and utterly experimental.  (It makes sense that his jamming for Calexico would be a bit more folky).  Plus, he looked completely different. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 31, 2019] Chris Forsyth + Garcia Peoples

I was blown away the first time I heard Chris Forsyth’s album Dreaming in the Non-Dream.  When I saw his Tiny Desk Concert I was convinced that he was someone I wanted to see live.

Forsyth is based in Philly which means I should be able to see him a lot.  And, in fact, he does seem to play in the area quite a lot. But always when I’m unavailable!  So, if it meant travelling to NYC to see him so be it.

Garcia Peoples’ set ended at around 1:15 and, since they were backing up Forsyth, there was no take down/set up to deal with.  At around 1:30, Forsyth came up on stage and made sure his stuff was in order. Then he called back Garcia Peoples to the stage and off they went.

Like the GP set, Forsyth only played three songs.  And like the GP set, it lasted 45 minutes of awesomeness.

They started with Forsyth’s new song “Tomorrow Might as Well Be Today.”  It’s got a great opening riff and the song just takes off from there.  The song is only 4 minutes on the record (his latest record Mystic Mountain), but they jammed it out for a few minutes more.  Forsyth’s soloing was just fantastic. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 31, 2019] Garcia Peoples

I saw Garcia Peoples about a year ago when they opened for Heron Oblivion.  I really liked them and knew I’d want to see them again.  The fact that this year they were on a bill with Chris Forsyth, who I also really wanted to see, and it was an after-party show after the final Phish show I’d be seeing of the year made it even more cool.

I was even willing to stay in NYC until 3 AM to see it!

I arrived at Le Poissin Rouge early enough to get a slice of pizza in the Village (yum) and even get a drink at LPR (the bartender assumed my change was a tip, apparently).

I parked myself on the right side of the stage (I usually prefer the left side, but it was a little crowded there).  I wound up being right in front of GP’s guitarist Tom Malach (who looked different since last time he wore a toque the whole night).

The big difference between these shows was that last time Andy Cush was on bass, but this time it was Derek Spaldo, who also sang lead vocals much of the time.  I understand Andy is still in the band–do they alternate venues?  Well, whatever the case, I thought Cush was great last time and I thought Spaldo was great this time.

This band is so much fun to watch.  Spaldo is often playing a great grooving bassline while Malach and other guitarist Danny Arakaki trade amazing licks. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 6, 2018] Heron Oblivion

I had tickets to a different show this evening, but when I saw that Heron Oblivion, whom I’d assumed was no more, were playing a show in Jersey City, I gave up on the other show and headed to JC.

I liked the Heron Oblivion album a lot–screaming guitars, catchy melodies–although I realized I didn’t know what any of the band looked like.  So during the opening bands, when a guy excused himself as he snuck by me to put some devices on the stage (Recording? I assume.  He took them away for his set), I had no idea he was the bassist for Heron Oblivion.

Heron Oblivion is considered a supergroup, although I didn’t know any of the bands that the musicians came from. I just knew that I loved the record–the washes of feedback and guitars, the great basswork and the way the band scaled down to let the vocals shine through.  I also hadn’t heard the term psychrock specifically before, but the band perfectly encapsulates it. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 6, 2018] Garcia Peoples

I had never heard of Garcia Peoples either and they may have blown me away more than Mountain Movers (who were amazing).

Garcia Peoples are from Rutherford, NJ and they played a kind of jam rock but with an awesome prog rock edge to it–time changes upon time changes, two singers and solos upon solos.  In fact, they also had a funky edge and a classic rock vibe,  Heck they could do it all.  I’m not sure if they played four songs or fifteen songs.

They are apparently friends with Mountain Movers and it’s always great to have bands who like each other on the bill.

Garcia Peoples are led by the twin lead guitars of Danny Arakaki and Tom Malach who both switch off lead vocals as well.  What I loved so much about these two guitarists was that they played at the same time.  Their soloing would often be slightly at odds with each other–not cacophony but two guys playing different solos that fit perfectly with the music…at the same time.

Their soloing styles were quite different, with I’d say Malach’s a little looser (except when he tightened things up).  And then every once in a while they would sync up and play the same concluding riff at the same time–usually in harmony.  It was magical the way the songs came together. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 6, 2018] Mountain Movers

I was pretty excited to see Heron Oblivion, although I had never heard of either of the two opening bands.

Turns out all three bands on the bill were awesome.  Mountain Movers absolutely blew me way with their excellent psychedelic stoner rock.  (I believe the term is now psychrock).  The soloing was outstanding.

Mountain Movers are from New Haven, CT and are the brain child of guitarist Dan Greene.  After four albums sometime in 2011 or so, they were joined by lead guitarist Kryssi Battalene and drummer Ross Menze to form the cohesive unit that I saw.  And they were amazing. (more…)

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