MusicSpin returns from hiatus to bring you three bands you should listen to. My primary advice is to use your ears to listen to this music. You can use your other senses to experience music, too. For example you can use CDs as a delivery method for cheese to your mouth. You can wear speaker cones as hats. Sometimes I sniff my headphones and they don’t smell good and yet I can’t stop doing it and doing it, but that’s my cross to bear. You should just listen to the music. It’s easy. Here are good bands for doing that.
I saw Purple open for the second band on this list, July Talk, in what was easily one of the most surprising and enjoyable nights of live music I’ve experienced in the last five years. Purple is a three-piece that plays goddamt rock and roll. Taylor Busby, guitar, and Hanna Brewer, drums, share vocal responsibilities and boy do they take their job—rocking your fucking face off—seriously. While the genre and gender composition of Purple will invite comparisons to other bands with women drummers, those comparisons fall flat once Brewer lets loose with her voice and her sticks. Brewer is hilarious, pretty, funny, and furious, owning the drums and her sexuality with a rocket fuel fierceness that won me and everybody else in the crowd over in an instant. She and bassist Joe Cannariato are a rhythm section unafraid of quickly shifting time sigs, jumping from speed metal to dirty Texas blues, sometimes in the same song. Busby’s countertenor screams are exactly what great hard rock ought to be, scruffy dudes trying to sound like James Brown and Ozzy Ozbourne at the same damn time. His voice is exceedingly versatile, as witnessed in “Beach Buddy,” a sloshy boy-girl, love tune that swings and swigs like a day at the, well, beach. Purple is as good at straight-ahead, blues-inflected hard rock as any band I’ve heard in forever. Go see them, just make sure your neck is ready to get a serious fucking workout. Hey look, I got through this whole thing with out mentioning the White Str—DAMMIT.
July Talk -
To tell you the truth, I’m still processing the July Talk show, and it’s been over a month since I saw them, that’s how bursting with theatricality, sexual tension, and gender role tweaking the show was. The broad conceit of July Talk, if crudely distilled, is “What if Tom Waits actually had Kathleen Brennan sing with him on record and perform on stage and they did post-punk and rhythm heavy rock?” Pete Dreimanis and Leah Faye play the lead characters in this love-ridden cabaret, with Dreimanis’s primordial growl suggesting Waits on a day when he was especially pissed off and spoiling for a tussle.
My own notes after the show are the best I can do as far as drawing an appropriate snapshot of this absolutely riveting performance:
Hairy Armpits and braless titties seducing a mouth so large it threatens to consume itself. A pixie with rusty knives in her words and a voice so raw it should be served on seasoned rice. Shakespearean relationships between man and woman, fucking and killing each other with the same glance, pretending to swallow each others fluids onstage. No, wait...actually swallowing each others fluids onstage.
The eroticism nearly overtook the room but never did, keeping the audience in thrall without ever making us feel completely perverted for watching it. In a slightly larger venue, the amorous might’ve been compelled to dance off into a shadowy corner and do stuff to each other. In every song, July Talk made the sexual overtones feel fun and dangerous, consensual and fraught, and fashioned the themes of the songs with near complete equality of gender voice. That’s really hard to do and they hit it right out of the damn park. I advise you to listen to them. They’re really fucking good, and probably really good at fucking, but that’s none of my business.
Ike Reilly -
You faithful readers have heard from me about Ike Reilly and The IRA before, but I’m going to shill for him again because he is an American treasure. We don’t have many singer-songwriters who are loud and proud about their progressive politics anymore; ones who are good at doing so in song are even more rare. Ike spits liberal blood in the face of the establishment so well that his buddy Tom Morello decided he wanted to sign Ike to his record label, Firebrand Records. In fact, Ike’s new album, Born on Fire, is Firebrand’s first official release. BoF fits right into the lane that Ike has always been adeptly swerving across for the last fifteen years. Street-level folk songs mashed-up with equal servings of blues, r&b, and hip-hop, Ike wears his influences and musical debts on his sleeve like old union badges. His live shows are equal parts tent meetings and sloppy Chicago electric blues bar romps. If you like fellers who throw up their middle-fingers at the bullshit and the bullshitters, Ike is your dude.
And for everybody who stayed this long...
BONUS VIDEOS!!!! -