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Archive for the ‘Girlpool’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 10, 2019] Shannen Moser

It’s funny how some artists wind up as opening acts quite often.  In fact, there’s a number of bands that I could have seen many times because they opened for bands that I wanted to see.  I guess I haven’t wound up seeing all that many of these bands for whatever reason, but I do see the same opening bands popping up from time to time–especially if they are local.

A few weeks ago, Shannen Moser was scheduled to open for Girlpool, but I had to miss that show. And now a couple of weeks later, here she is opening for John K. Samson and Kevin Devine.

Shannen is from Berks County, PA.  She plays a simple kind of open-tuned guitar (such that a capo is all you need to make a chord sound good).  Some of her songs have a finger-picking section as well.

Her lyrics are personal and often pointed.

She told some amusing stories in between song–amusing stories that often led to rather dark songs.  She sings in a powerful style–with countryish inflections.

There were a few times when she sang so loud that I had to put earplugs in–which I did not need for the other two.  She had a song where she seemed to growl some of the lyrics as well.

It was a treat to hear her really let loose.

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lostdogsSOUNDTRACK: GIRLPOOL-Tiny Desk Concert #454 (July 10, 2015).

girlpoolGirlpool is a duo consisting of Cleo Tucker (guitar) and Harmony Tividad (bass).  Both women sing and what’s interesting about their singing is that they don’t sing harmony–they sing in unison, which gives them an really interesting resonance.  And when they do hit the occasional harmony it sounds magical.

As for the guitar and bass, they are playing largely the same thing there as well–with occasional guitar soloing.

The band has a new album out.  It’s pretty short (10 songs in about 25 minutes), and it is as direct and unsettling as it is catchy.  The riffs are unexpected and the pair sound so honest and exposed.  It’s really quite something.  It has the air of a novelty (two people, no drums), but aside from a few lyrics that are thoughtful/funny, there’s no joking from these two.  You can see from this photo that Cleo is really into it.

They play three songs: “Before The World Was Big” (the title track of the new album) which has an unusually paced riff and Cleo & Harmony’s stark vocals.  The harmonies when they get to “One hundred, one million, billion, trillion times” is really great.  I also like how they start singing in a round to end the song.  “Ideal World” has an even simpler riff (with a very cool dissonant guitar notes every few lines) and some cool harmonies.  And Tucker’s wailing guitar solo at the end is pretty shocking.  “Cherry Picking” opens as a far slower song, but it picks up after the first verse and has one of the few times when Cleo and Harmony are playing different things on their instruments.  Their singing at the end is really intense.

I like their album a lot and this is a great Tiny Desk Concert.

[READ: May 18, 2015] Lost Dogs

I picked up Lemire’s Essex County at the library and while there I also saw Lost Dogs.  I didn’t know anything about Lemire, but Essex County looked really cool, so why not grab his other book while it’s there?

Well, this was Lemire’s first proper book. He started it while trying to finish the 24 hour challenge–a 24 page comic in 24 hours.  He failed the challenge but he loved what he was doing so much that he decided to finish up what he started and he made this first book.

I’m glad I read Essex County first because Lost Dogs is so rough, so sketchy, that I wouldn’t have realized how talented Lemire was from this book alone.  This book is definitely an “early days” kind of project–a way to see where he came from.  Not that the story isn’t good, but that it is very rough (intentionally so).  It also notes that in the reproduction the lettering was made to look nicer because no one wants to read sloppy lettering.

If nothing else, I will enjoy this quote from Timothy Callahan who says that Steven Soderbergh said “audiences will put up with poor picture quality as long as the sound is clear, but a crisp picture and problematic audio will turn off even the most eager viewers.”  Callahan adds “the same is true for comics, where slick lettering can help even the most chaotic sequence of images seem readable.”  So remember, make sure your letters are good! (more…)

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