Hungary, Hungry Huskies – One Night in Paris with Sondre Lerche

Heilman’s set sits absent while Lerche performers (Photo by Eric Sandoval)

Jesse Marchant created soundscapes right off the bat – his looping pedal catching every articulation and reverberation of his electric guitar. Slowly and softly, he approached the mic and the room quieted to the tune of Marchant’s serious smirk. The tiny room echoed with Jesse’s voice, the quitter never ceasing beneath. While his left hand fluttered, his right played effortlessly. As he blatantly switched guitars, the roomed murmured – the lights breaking through Marchant’s mess of unkempt hair and tattered instrument. His lyrics swallowed and swayed between dynamic shifts of instrumentation. On his own, Jesse’s guitar supported him beautifully as the stage shook in tandem.

He spoke to us in French, telling us how magnificent of an experience it was to play for the first time at this bar in Paris. The Montreal native grabbed his electric guitar once again and led himself to the drum set on the right of the stage. He played the two instruments in a syncopated manner, driving the rhythm forward with the bass and cymbals – his guitar building as he sang. We bobbed our heads in response the pain and passion of Marchant’s lyricism pulling us forward. Take a listen to his new album below to get a feel for this man’s heart and soul:

http://jbm-music.com/music

Calmly and carefully, he moved through his set, allowing the voice of his various instruments to shine through the darkness of his lyrics and the stage itself. Employing various techniques to repeat and reverberate his guitar, Marchant’s lyrics flew magnificently above the bass and treble. Nothing could limit the ardent performer as he tuned his guitar to the hum of his harmonica. Jesse stared intently into the audience, listening to our reactions to his humble voice.

Marchant’s set built up charmingly, lifting our heads into the air with love and acceptance. At the end of his set, Jesse spoke to us – struggling with the word “grateful” and the crowd translated in a chorus of a language I didn’t understand. They cheered in response to his beautifully fluid French. His last song was a fury of fingerpicking, exposing the expertise of this magical musician. He smiled at us between moments of intense focus and we nodded to the resounding rhythm in response.

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Accented articulations flow from the opener’s instrumentations (Photo by ES)

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Marchant slams on an electronic bass pedal

With a thunderous boom, the drums hit so hard my beer moved swiftly across the stage. Sondre Lerche’s voice rung out over a distorted guitar. A visceral performer, Lerche touched his telecaster delicately – his body moving in violent spouts of celebration. He danced behind his guitar and looked up occasionally to take in the screams of the fan girls (and boys) in the audience. “You wanna dance?” he yelled to joyous acclaim, the floor shaking to the beat of the drums. As our bodies swayed to the newest single, “Bad Law”, his hands moved as if he was directing a choir. He truly did as we sang along with him, clapping in tandem and smiling as we mirrored his emotions.

Sondre flipped his hair back and forth, dancing to his tunes as if he was in the audience himself. His complex chords did everything but phase him, yet they rang beautifully through the little speakers that blasted within the venue of Divan du Monde – a bar in the heart of Paris’ club district. Bassist Chris Holm echoed the choruses, allowing us to be drawn to the lyrical trance that Lerche had undoubtedly put us under.

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Lerche and Holm create a syncopated symphony

With each solo, the guitar became more distorted until, after the first two songs, he took the time to introduce himself and the tour – reliving the past of his “pre-intercourse phase” to “see what the hell was going on” during that period of time. The old guitar resounded the classic Lerche, his playing in this concert building upon the past of his Faces Down and Dan in Real Life days. The riffs of his first albums rang out clearly from the classic cutaway Gibson – the drums amplifying their fever and juxtaposing today’s sound with the sound of the artist’s past. The stream below gives you a listen at the early Sondre Lerche:

His voice lower than before, Sondre’s vibratos remained powerful over the fluttering bass and flirtatious guitar. The crowd jumped in jubilation, our screams sometimes louder than the performer’s voice as we sang along to songs like “Say It All” and “No One’s Gonna Come”. He quieted us down to hear us sing with him, his voice and guitar escalating to empowering heights – rocking out with Dave Heilman on the drums until our ears had finally adjusted to the new interpretations of his oldest albums.

He spoke frequently of his past performances in Paris. At one point he referenced a bar that has since burned down – according to one audience member who seemed to know a lot about the current state of the city’s club scene. After apologizing for our loss, he entered into a reflection of those tours, his guitar fiercer than ever before. Jazzy yet incomprehensibly intense, the band played the old songs anew and the crowd relived their experiences of when they first heard Sondre’s voice – whether in the clubs of Paris’ past or in the comfort of their own homes.

Strobes blazed as blue notes blew from the speakers and the rest of the band left the stage. Sondre stepped away from the mic and he let the room carry his voice. As our singing finally faded away, he yelled over his electric guitar – the close-cut walls intensifying the performer’s unamplified melodies. “My Hands Our Shaking” came to a close, unaccompanied. Unexpectedly, Lerche began to sing “Like Lazenby” at the request of an audience member – apologizing to the sound crew in the back for not telling them he would play it before-hand.

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Sondre looks longingly into the audience (Photo by ES)

To the tune of our synchronous claps, the band returned to the stage – reviving the scene’s intensity. As the drums joined in, we all realized just how coordinated the whole performance really was. “Sleep On Needles” was played in sync, Sondre’s sweat dripping from his brow. The crowd began to shout more requests than they could handle and his only response remained, “So many hits!” he exclaimed.

As he introduced the merchandise, Lerche advertised his opener and the passion in his eyes burst forward with every word. During the entire performance, Sondre remained as thoughtful of a person as he was off the stage. After the show, I got a chance to speak with him, to ask what the difference was between the recent album, PLEASE, and the rest of his repertoire. “Time,” he responded, “It was 15 years – 32, actually, depending on how you count.” He smiled.

“My style changed gradually as time went on, but also I looked at other artists and was inspired by their music. The way they sounded, there was no way that the way I was writing could sound like that. So, for PLEASE, I decided to look at other ways to design a song – with a desire to shake things up.”

He went on to say how much respect he had for Jesse Marchant and other artists as they helped him find a new way to create. This inspired creativity showed strongly as the lights lit up the stage to “Sentimentalist” – one of the tracks off of the new album. As the guitar became ever-more complicated, Sondre’s movements became more and more terse and tense – until solo breaks and bass build released enough energy to allow for him to relax.

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Laughing and singing, the man dances behind the mic (Photo by ES)

As Lerche bathed in the almost-transparent light of the stage, the crowd went wild as the drums introduced songs like “Lucifer” and other hits from PLEASE. Heilman’s break beats – along with Holm’s funky rhythms – provided the powerful foundation to frontman’s lyrics, allowing us to dance to the sultry sounds that described the newfound Sondre Lerche.

He joked with his limited knowledge of French before introducing a track off of his self-titled record, “Private Caller.” To much acclaim from the audience, Lerche performed the music which he played on his last European tour – this time, Paris would be his first stop in a series of many more performances to come. As quickly as he put it down, the telecaster flew from Sondre’s shoulders – only to be replaced, once again, by the Gibson guitar.

A familiar riff rang out and “Two Way Monologue” had begun, one of the artist’s most successfully singles. Chris’ “ooh”s and “ahh”s only added to the amplifying intensity as Dave and Sondre riled us up throughout the song. At the end, Lerche taught us the chorus and made us sing a solo for him in response to the already brilliant performances that the band had just spent the last few minutes “showing off”.

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Lyrics flow from a man of many words

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Lerche’s old guitar marked the movements of his past (Photos by ES)

With a smile on his face, the sweat-drenched performer played one of his latest tracks, “Legends” – leading us in cheers of “Oh”s and “Whoa”s. After a brief remission to the back of the stage, Heilman returned to the stage with an overpowering “Merci Paris!” And, as the lights went up, the Bergen, Norway natives – Lerche and Holm – appeared in their rightful places.

After a track that packed us in and made the floor shift and shake, the band left Sondre on stage – standing alone and asking for one final request. We sang with him to the final song of the Dan in Real Life soundtrack (featuring Steve Carrell, Dane Cook, and guest-artist Regina Spektor), “Modern Nature”. The crowd swayed and swooned as the lights faded on the stage before us.

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DJ Desman

Rad Report: Modest Mouse isn’t being too modest!–reissuing of two albums

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Yo all you Rainy Dawgs out there! This is the Rad Report with blogger Rad Rebs, and before we get down and dirty with some awesome new details about Modest Mouse’s reissuing of their first two LPs, we’re about to get slightly philosophical so bare with me. Its been said that “bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands good news will work its way to all them plans” (Modest Mouse, “Float On”). This resonates with me as I float into a new world, full of changes and new experiences. On a broader and wider spectrum, it’s only human to wonder when our luck will take a turn for the better—into the utopian-esque world that we tend to imagine. No matter which point we are at in our lives, it seems to be inevitable that we will face a wave of challenges; at any given moment we may experience the “bad news” that Modest Mouse refers to, but just as often we find ourselves in a state of euphoria in the next instant.

We can relate to Modest Mouse in many ways as being their fellow Washingtonians—the lead singer (Isaac Brock) originally grew in Issaquah just east of the UW campus. Although growing up poor, Brock formed the band in the early nineties and received a lot of luck with their first two LPs released in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

We’ll all be considering ourselves pretty lucky starting on October 28th, when Modest Mouse’s This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About is reissued on vinyl—and AGAIN on November 4th when The Lonesome Crowded West is reissued. In a world where digital has become the norm, there still seems to be an agreement that listening to an album on vinyl has a charming sound unlike anything else. When we step back and take a moment to realize that this is the first time in over ten years that these albums have been available on vinyl, I’m predicting a pretty serious rush on these reissues. Can’t wait to get my Modest Mouse on vinyl–as Isaac Brock might sing, good news is definitely working its way to all them plans.

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Rad Rebs

More info below:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/modest-mouse/biography

http://impressionofsound.com/index.php/news/490-modest-mouse-to-reissue-first-two-albums

http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/09/modest-mouse-to-reissue-first-two-albums-with-unreleased-music/

Song Review: take a CHANCE on this song

Alright, now that i’ve gotten past that awful but necessary pun, let’s be real here. chance the rapper & the social experiment have been dropping some cool and unusual tracks, but this one is especially different. and, not to mention, a complete conceptual turnaround from the previous song they released, “Wonderful Everyday.”

“No Better Blues” is essentially chance ripping on the world, laundry-list style. but the stuff he says he “hates” are things like “artists,” “creatives,” and “bright people,” which, in my opinion, are all things chance is considered to be. and he repeats that “it don’t get no better,” despite that it already has for the rapper himself.

so, you can interpret this song any way you want. there have been two main competing opinions: it’s a satirical piece meant to be taken light-heartedly & to speak on how ridiculous pessimism and hate has become, or it’s our favorite 21 year old Chicagoan using the facade of sarcasm to expose some deep issues & unpopular opinions.

take it how you want, it’s a good song with a symphonic intro, SoX style, and a cool piano progression on the beat. i’d recommend a listen, or twenty (gnovs style). 

Peter Cottontale, noted as a member of Social Experiment, tweeted the track saying:

#SoX My friends and I made a funny song for you , here’s new music.”

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gnovs

Outlander in the Emerald City: Lync – These Are Not Fall Colors (Flashback Album Review)

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Formed in 1992, Lync was one of the pioneers of the indie rock scene that grew out of Olympia and Seattle in the early- to mid-1990s.  Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Sam Jayne, bassist/vocalist James Bertram, and drummer Dave Schneider, Lync’s strengths encompass discordant riffs, intertwining guitar and bass melodies and a heavy, driving beat to keep the ground solid underneath.  Jayne’s vocals are beautifully indistinct while maintaining a screechiness that is bound to make your head ache delightfully.  With only one full album under their belt, These Are Not Fall Colors showcases the band in a head-bang worthy package, drawing comparisons to hardcore favorites such as Fugazi and Unwound.

Where to listen: The full album can be found on YouTube (streaming after the jump)

Where to buy: Check out Lync’s bandcamp (http://lync1994.bandcamp.com/album/these-are-not-fall-colors) if you like what you hear!

The album opens with “B”, beginning with a bombardment of feedback extending into a melodically brooding riff and rolling drumbeat, wasting no time in showcasing Lync’s talents in the post-hardcore vein.  The song takes off into a soaring barrage of distortion and chunky rhythms, with Jayne double-tracking his screaming vocals over the chorus.  Although the lyrics maintain an ambiguous quality throughout the song (and most of the album for that matter), a few profound lines shine through, including the repeated “You only need your own air to breathe.”  Lync’s influences can be easily traced back to classics like Pixies and Sonic Youth with their use of the (now almost-clichéd) alt-rock loud/soft dynamic; however, they implement it differently, often giving breathing room in the chorus while still never losing intensity in the verses.  “Silverspoon Glasses” is no exception to this rule, featuring swelling walls of distortion that collapse into haunting yet beautiful melodies.  The album continues with the supremely catchy “Cue Cards”, featuring the classic off-kilter arpeggio and rolling drumbeat combination, with a bass-line to guide the major melodies, a trick peers Modest Mouse picked up (and perfected) in their first few records.  The last track, “Uberrima Fides,” allows the album to close out with a bang, climaxing to a kick-ass buildup before the reverb-drenched outro jam (which takes its guitar effects from space-rock gods Caustic Resin and Built to Spill).  The feedback at the end of the track allows the album to fade out as it began, ready to be replayed and re-appreciated by its fans.  Although twenty years have passed since its release, These Are Not Fall Colors remains a highly influential record in the indie rock scene that has grown to such great heights in our alt-loving society of today

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Katie Hanford

Rad Report: Up and coming artist – Caroline Rose at The Vera Project

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I don’t usually follow country artists, but when I listened to Caroline Rose on her Soundcloud I was drawn to a vibe that her voice seemed to carry. Saturday, October 11th Caroline Rose walked into The Vera Project and onto the stage with a bang, wearing her head-to-toe red outfit as she swung her guitar over her shoulder. She puts her lips up to the microphone and softly spoke in her comforting and sparkling voice, “Thanks for not being at the Beyoncé concert tonight. There’s not actually a Beyoncé concert so don’t be alarmed.” The crowd laughed and started tapping their feet to her music as it began to fill the room. Despite the modest crowd, she started off by singing with the kind of voice that opens up a room to positive energy and good vibrations in a way that is impossible to not enjoy.

The liveliness didn’t stop with her music—her sarcastic and naturally hilarious nature continued to come out as she joked throughout the night. Though as the show proceeded, each song seemed to tell a different story of her personal journey. She paused from her innately jokey demeanor as she brought up her debut album I Will Not Be Afraid, which came out in August. This album—a culmination of six years of her work—contains some older songs from when she was only eighteen years old, and some newer ones that currently relate to her life as she pushes twenty-five (a birthday that she admitted to having mixed feelings on). But regardless of the extended period of time that it took to release this album, Caroline Rose has clearly made it a long way since she started in Vermont years ago!

Caroline Rose in America Religious

This shift in her music from older to newer was even apparent throughout her set Saturday night, as the genre of her music seemed to shift a bit. Her original sound of “vintage country” (a term she coined herself) began to transition into a somewhat southern blues with clear folk and rock influences. Now this was more my kind of music to jam to! Just after she leaned into the microphone one more time and whispered “it’s going to get loud in here” the energy was turned up to a whole new level. The rest of the night was full of even more dancing and excitement than it had been before as the crowd danced to Caroline Rose’s unique mix of music and verve that filled the room.

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Rad Rebs

Hungary, Hungry Huskies: WHAT ON EARTH is this?!

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Power-punk has returned in the city of Budapest! Catchy riffs and anthem-like choruses fill the spaces in-between WHAT ON EARTH’s dominating drumline. While Tamás Dalmáci pumps through angst-filled pop lines, guitarists Viktor Mosolygó and Ákos Kocsány build off each other’s classic chordal structures.

Since forming in January, the band’s been writing and recording quite the collection of kick-ass tracks. I had the pleasure of hearing their first single in advance (embedded below), and even in its un-mastered form, a smile came across my face as Ádám Darida’s bass drum caused my legs to shake in raucous rhythm. Sum 41-esque guitar parts mix with alternating melodic tones that call back to the early 2000’s as our ears bled in our parents’ garages. I’m certain that the coming weeks will bring more broken bottles and hearts as philosophic lyrics mold with woes of ex-girlfriends past.

For all that and more, check out the ensemble’s first official song, How We Live (embedded below – after the jump)!

If you liked it, check out their Facebook, Bandcamp and SoundCloud to stay up to date in a country that’s just 9 hours away. And come back every week for more from Budapest and the surrounding area… I’ll be here until December to bring you another look at a world of music that I’ve never seen or heard before!

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DJ Desman