Archive for the ‘Julien Chang’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 2, 2022] Let’s Eat Grandma

I first heard about Let’s Eat Grandma back in 2016 from NPR music.  They had put out an album, I, Gemini that was weird and quirky, the creation of two weird and quirky girls–Rosa Walton (r, on the poster) and Jenny Hollingworth.  The album was really bizarre–strange music and spoken/shouted lyrics in thick Norwich accents.

I really wanted to see this concoction live, but they were quite young at the time and didn’t come over to the States until 2018.  Their 2018 album, I’m All Ears had a very different sound (more synthy and dancey, but still quirky).  The song “Hot Pink” from that album is about as weird as a catchy pop song can be.

Then in 2022 they put out Two Ribbons.  They had a series of personal crises in this time and it feels like a lot of the quirkiness was bashed out of them.  This makes the new album poppier and a lot mre accessible but to me a bit less interesting.

I read a review of their live show to make sure I still want to go, and it did make me want to go.  But I couldn’t help feel that there was something a little flat about the whole thing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 2, 2022] Julien Chang

I hadn’t heard of Julien Chang (pronounced “Chong” according to him) before this show.  He has an album out and a new one out on November 4.

I had listened to a couple of songs beforehand and found them to be nice enough.  I was in no way prepared for the band that he brought with him.

His lead guitarist Utah Miller was really fantastic.  They looked really young, but there was some serious shredding going on.  Julien’s bassist (whose name I didn’t catch played some great riffs and a few sliding bass-like sounds.  He also played guitar on a couple of songs (for a three guitar attack!).  But his most impressive bandmate was drummer Maya Stepansky.  She was all over the kit but in a very controlled manner.  With a small drum kit, she played some really impressive and timely fills.  She had a lot of subtle moments of the cymbals and was just a stellar accompanist.

Then there was Chang himself.  He wrote and played all of the songs on the record (with a couple of exceptions) and his songwriting skills is really quite accomplished.  I found some of his arrangements to be really complex and wonderful.  He has a jazz composer’s technique, with time changes and major rhythmic shifts in the songs.  And obviously allowing Miller to shred and Stepansky to riff shows a complex song structure.

I’m not even sure how to best describe his music.  It felt jazzy and poppy.  There were some prog rock elements (in the time shifts) and musically I really enjoyed what I heard.

I haven’t heard any of the studio recording of these songs, but I feel like they will simply be a lot better live.

  1. Heart Holiday
  2. Snakebit
  3. Butterflies in Morocco
  4. Marmalade

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