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Archive for the ‘Weaves’ Category

[ATTENDED: February 27, 2020] Sarah Harmer

I don’t remember when I first heard Sarah Harmer.

I think it was back in 2000 with her first album You Were Here.  (She has an album that she recorded before it but it wasn’t officially released until later).

You Were Here had the song “Basement Apt.” which was a reasonably big hit.  I also checked out her previous band Weeping Tile who are unjustly overlooked.

Harmer put out consistently great records, including I’m a Mountain, a bluegrass album that is totally awesome.  It took her five years to release the next album, Oh Little Fire, because she became an environmental activist and performed music mostly in guest roles.

Now it’s been ten years since Fire and she is back with a new album called Are You Gone.

She told us that this was the second night of her tour–a warm up for the big times in Canada.  Sarah had a four piece band with her.  She introduced them twice and I couldn’t make out a single name in the bunch.  But I was able to look them up. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 8, 2018] Palehound

I also first heard Palehound on Tiny Desk.  I was really impressed with the range of songs that Ellen Kempner played as well as her dynamic guitar work–from pretty melodies to seriously scorching solos.  But it was her other show (from (Le) Poisson Rouge in the fall of 2015) that NPR broadcast that really made me want to see her live.

So getting Palehound and Waeves in one show was pretty awesome.

I was pretty delighted that she said she was inspired by Weaves to make their setlist fast in the beginning–she was ready to rock out.  And so she started with some of her best full-on songs.

Kempner is fun to watch (she was wearing that cool dress and some big work boots) as she switched effortlessly from wailing guitar to singing and sometimes both. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 8, 2018] Weaves

I saw Weaves on a Tiny Desk concert and knew I had to see them live.  Their songs are poppy and definitely a little weird.

I was particularly excited that their show was a double bill with Palehound–two bands who I like a bunch on the same bill.  Normally I know that a double headline show like that means that both bands play fewer songs, but since both bands only have two albums each it’s not like they were each going to play for two hours anyhow.

Vocalist Jasmyn Burke sings in a fun and peculiar style–hitting interesting falsetto notes and growling and screaming.  On their first album, the guitars (with a fast vibrato effect) often followed her vocal line in a kind of manic way.

Their second album has less of that but the songs are no less energetic and are still rather manic.

I loved when guitarist Morgan Waters came out to warm up.  He played some great, unusual sounds (I guess his rig was plugged into a laptop?).  I was really psyched for the rest of the show imagined what was in store. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 8, 2018] Tall Friend

Tall Friend is a Philadelphia band which seems to be the creation of Charlie Pfaff, who writes the songs, sings and plays guitar.  She has a quiet, almost deadpan delivery and her guitar playing is nicely spare.  The band is rounded out by Cale Cuellar on bass and Jesse Paller on drums.  For this show they had just added a fourth member, whose name I forget.  All I remember is that he was barefoot (!) and his guitar wasn’t loud enough!!.

They were supposed to go on at 9.  But they didn’t go until like 9:25.  Of course, they played nine songs in 20 minutes, so it’s not like they were running late.  Turns out they have an album out but it, too, is only about 18 minutes (and an EP that’s about 11 minutes).

I was right up against the stage, but I gather the guitar was not in the main speakers, because it was much louder than the vocals.  I moved back a bit and that helped, but I probably should have moved to a different spot to fully appreciate the band (more…)

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zahraSOUNDTRACK: WEAVES-Tiny Desk Concert #539 (June 10, 2016).

weaves There’s been quite a few mellow bands on Tiny Desk as of late so this rocking quartet from Toronto are a fun change of pace

And boy do they stand out.  Lead singer Jasmyn Burke is wearing a psychedelic dress and has a pretty wild afro.  She sings in a way that seems like maybe she could be doing something else, but always with a wry smirk.  And her voice is unusual–almost talking, but sometimes hitting slightly off-sounding notes (and at times seeming almost childish) but it all works really well within the songs.  And then there’s the music.  A bass, guitar and drum, and Morgan Waters, the guitarist, playing as if he’s doing several different songs at once.

“Coo Coo” features some picked guitar parts, some distorted chord parts, a part that mirrors her vocals (during the delightful chorus of “You’re so coo coo / I’m so coo coo  / I’m so crazy.”  And then there’s the part during the final chorus which features him playing something different after each time she says “I’m so coo coo” –trash metal guitar, simple guitar lines, then squeaky fractured notes.   It’s hard to know who to watch more.  And the bassist is no slouch either, as he keeps up pretty nicely with the wild playing.

As they start the next song, “Shithole,” the drummer starts the wrong one but they correct him and say that they are gong to play “Shithole” in this nice building.  It opens with a delicate guitar riff and a pulsing bass line.  The song is surprisingly mellow until the middle section when a noisy solo kicks in, but this song is primarily bass and vocals with a really abrupt ending

“One More” is a fast punky song which is again mostly bass and drums until the loud distorted guitars check in to accompany the vocals. I get a kick out of the odd way she sings “One more” (accompanied by a suitably squeaky guitar).

Mostly Jasmyn doesn’t seem to be singing all that hard until portions so this song when all four are going a little crazy.

They are fun band that I need to explore some more–I’ll bet they are a lot of fun live.

[READ: March 1, 2016] Zahra’s Paradise

This book is a fierce indictment of the Iranian Islamic revolution and the questionable election that took place in 2009 which brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

It was written (by Amir) and drawn (by Khalil) pseudonymously so that they could avoid prosecution (or worse) in their home country of Iran.  In fact, while the story was amazing and really powerful, it was the afterword that I found so important.

But the story first.  And the part that will make no one want to read this book–a bag full of puppies is killed.  Yup, getting that out of the way right from the start.  And in fact, there doesn’t really seem to be a lot of justification for it.  It gets referenced a few times in the story, but nothing else is quite as graphic as the prologue (so you can skip that if you don’t want to see an image that you won’t be able to get out of your head). (more…)

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