Rather than specializing in any one narrow folk genre, the Eastern Watershed Quartet dances lightly across a range of repertoire that includes Eastern European tunes, Israeli dance music and of course klezmer -- or as the band calls it, "minor mode therapy music suitable for all ages." City Paper reviewer Manny Theiner found the long-running local group's diversity both musically and culturally praiseworthy; you can read his review of the Quartet's new CD, The Klez Dispensers, here.
Of the album's last song, he writes, "The ensemble displays Spike Jones-ish, whizz-bang humor with the closer 'Play It Again, Dave,' by legendary clarinetist Dave Tarras." And that's the track we've made available for a free mp3 download today -- enjoy!
If you planned to just roll up to the door tomorrow and catch Minus the Bear at Mr. Small's Theatre, be forewarned: According to the venue's Web site, the show is sold out. Also performing are As Tall As Lions and Twin Tigers; the show is presented by WPTS 92.1 FM.
Apart from a new tour-only 7-inch, "Into the Mirror," the band's ostensibly still touring on Planet of Ice, an album that's now over two years old. It's a pretty kickass record though -- I wrote about it and interviewed the band when it first came out:
"On Planet of Ice, Minus the Bear proves itself a rare species indeed: a five-piece rock band that gets into your head and your pants simultaneously. Capable of dizzying complexity and -- especially in the two tapping hands of guitar hero David Knudson -- virtuosic flights of instrumental fancy, the songs retain sing-along musicality and almost physically blissful grooves, instead of veering into dork kingdoms of prog, art rock and nerd-metal." (read more).
According to MtB's Web site, they do have a new album ready to roll out early next year, produced by Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, White Stripes), and you'll get to preview some of the material at the live shows.
A quick heads-up: Last January, I interviewed folk-rockers Scythian in advance of the band's performance at Harp and Fiddle; tonight, they play the Rex Theatre in the South Side. But what's a "scythian," anyway? Thought you'd never ask:
If you take the band's word for it, "scythian" means a "bunch of pre-Mesopotamian barbarians who did not use forks or phonics." While that might not jive with your Britannica or Herodotus, it does accurately convey the D.C. folk-rock band's fast-and-loose approach to musical genre and ethnic identity. Led by a pair of fiery fiddlers, Scythian draws from Celtic and Eastern European folk music, combining traditional tunes with more contemporary rock and world-music rhythms. (Read more.)
Tonight's show starts at 9 p.m., is all-ages and costs $12 at the door.
In September, locals City Dwelling Nature Seekers released their debut EP. As you might have gathered from its name, the band holds down the alt-country end of indie rock, citing (and revealing) The Band as a key influence. This week's MP3 Monday is from them: Will and a Way, a laid-back tune with smooth vocals, can be found on their EP. Download it here!
A couple of weeks back, we ran a column on the Pittsburgh acts playing at CMJ music fest in New York. Here's are two clips from YouTube featuring snippets of local musicians performing and talking about the experience.
Good Night, States talk about how they got on a showcase
Wiz Khalifa talks tats and getting his boxers yanked by NYC girls
Feel free to post additional footage of Pittsburgh acts at CMJ in the comments.
Last month marked the debut of local singer-songwriter Emily Rodgers on Misra Records, with Bright Day, an album recorded with her full band. Manny Theiner, reviewing it for City Paper, described the album's sound as "a shimmer similar to that of the Galaxie catalog or Mazzy Star." (See full article.)
At her subsequent CD release show at Brillobox, Rodgers' band maintained that shimmery, supportive role, only occasionally breaking loose on wild, Crazy Horsish guitar jams. The show, which also included punk vets ATS, drew a large, appreciative audience, even if those near the bar talked through much of the evening -- distracting even from the opposite end of the room.
No matter, as Rodgers is sure to mesmerize at her excellent follow-up gig: opening for Harper Simon at the Warhol Museum's Sound Series. The show, on Wed., Nov. 11, starts at 8 p.m. and costs $12. In the meantime, enjoy the free download of "This Town," from Rodgers' new album, and check out other samples at www.emilyrodgers.com.