Archive for the ‘Seratones’ Category

[ATTENDED: February 4, 2020] Seratones

I first heard of Seratones on a Tiny Desk Concert back in 2016.  I was really impressed at how great they were.

When they announced a show at Johnny Brenda’s I knew I’d want to see them.  And they did not disappoint.

Their new album Power is a bit more soul and a little less rocking than their debut, but when they played it live, it totally rocked.

I watched the band set up their gear.  Singer A.J. Hayes was not wearing the big red skirt as she did so.  After they were all set up, they stepped away and then came back right at 9.

They opened with a wave of synths from Tyran Coker as Hayes showed off her amazing voice.  It was like the coolest warm up a vocalist could do as she sang “like a heart attack” slowly and in different pitches until she signaled to drummer Jesse Gabriel that the song was ready to start.  And with those clicks, “Heart Attack” rocked out.  I loved that they allowed for some serious jamming in this song.

On the record the song is 3 minutes, but this version included a little drum solo and a lengthy keyboard solo while Hayes yelped and rocked out up front.   It got everyone moving. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 4, 2020] The Dull Blue Lights

The Dull Blue Lights are yet another Philly band that I’d never heard of.

I’m always curious about the logistics of touring.  Like, when does a band wind up using local bands as opening acts instead of having someone tour around with them?  And how do they pick a local band in each town?

Well, whoever did their research did it very well because The Dull Blue Lights were an absolutely perfect opening act for Seratones and they were absolutely fantastic.

The Lights describe their music as “Basement Soul” which is a perfect summary of the kind of music they play.  It has a Soul feel (with a fantastic organ sound) but a nice gritty guitar and vocal component that makes it different from pure soul.

Generally, their songs had great riffs from singer/guitarist Todd Fausnacht.  But there were also multiple sections of the songs that made the more than one-dimensional.   Fausnacht also had a cool yelping falsetto that he could employ whenever he needed.

But what really sold me right away was the way the first song, “A Faint Whisper,” seemed like it was one thing (kind of an old-school rocker) and then the chorus turned into something much smoother before rocking out again. (more…)

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41116 SOUNDTRACK: SERATONES-Tiny Desk Concert #522 (April 15, 2016).

seraThis Seratones show totally rocked!  And it was a nice change of pace from the slower bands who have been on the Tiny Desk lately.

The lead singer and guitarist is A.J. Haynes.  She plays guitar with a pick on her thumb and has a very clean guitar sound.  Her voice is really lovely—powerful and strong and covering multiple styles from Grace Slick to PJ Harvey.  The blurb says

Haynes grew up singing in the Brownsville Baptist Church, learning to sing out to and hit that back wall without a microphone.

And that’s apparent from the ease she has at singing.  The rest of her band is really great too.  Continuing the blurb:

bassist Adam Davis heard a lot of American rock’s greatest guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, as well as the amazing voice of Janis Joplin. The rest of the band is rounded out by the drumming of Jesse Gabriel, who is spare but there with a sharp backbeat, while guitarist Connor Davis rocks with lyrical grit.

Although I had to laugh because Haynes seems to be having so much fun while her bandmates are rather stonefaced.

They play three songs and they are all great.  “Don’t Need It” rocks out like nobody’s business.  Haynes is a charismatic (and adorable) lead singer with a big afro and a great smile.  “Get Gone” has a much more bluesy sound.  I like the way she delivers the line: “Suns coming out like you knew it would.”  After each verse she gives a big high-pitched “ooh oooh.” And then comes back with a growly low voice.  I love that she’s alternately belting out notes and then singing falsetto.

“Chandelier” has a great funky groove.  When the song sorta stops and just the drums kick in she gives a delightful giggle.

I was really delighted with this band whom I’d never heard of before and I definitely want to check out their recently released debut album.

[READ: April 11, 2016] “The Burglar”

I enjoyed the way that this story was structured.  One paragraph at a time with a dot in between them.  This allowed for a strange juxtaposition of time, with some things happening simultaneously and others possibly out of sequence.

There are several characters in the story.  There is a the burglar (known primarily as “he”); there is the wife who is waiting for exterminators to come to the house–she’s out and hopes to get home before they do).  There is the husband, who is off at work.  His job is fascinating, he’s writing his first script for a TV pilot.  The producers of the show want it to be edgy and different.  The character he is working on (the only person named in the story) is Emmet Byron Diggs, who is falsely accused of killing his wife.  Emmet is black, but the producers don’t want him to think about that as he develops the character.

The story rotates through these characters.  We see the scriptwriter and the producers talking about the show: a time travel show in which Emmet is going to start killing people.

The burglar encounters a dog in the house and tries to figure out how to deal with it.

The wife is racing to get home.

And Emmett is also walking down a street checking out the twenty-first century world he’s in.

Okay so the burglar is in the woman’s house.  But she hears him upstairs and assumes he is the exterminator.

And then the burglar hears her and tries to figure out what he’s going to do.  He calls out, “Just the cleaning crew.”  he berates himself for saying such a weird thing and she thinks its weird that the exterminator would call himself the cleaning crew.

And that’s when the phone rings and it’s the exterminators calling to say they’ll be late.

How does this real-life scenario play out at home while her husband is trying to create a similarly fictionalized setting on the page?

The stories even began to overlap somewhat with action in both stories taking place in a kitchen.  By the end of the story it’s not entirely clear what’s even happening, at least to me.  And yet despite or because of this confusion, I really loved the story.  It was intense and strangely funny at the same time.

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