This past Friday was my first time at the cool new gallery performance space in Old City, Philadelphia, Skylight 307. Here’s a few photos from the excellent show with Shrinking Islands, Heirloom and Ray Morin. [Photos courtesy of SInABox Camera]
Old Canes is the side project of Appleseed Cast singer/guitarist Chris Crisci. Breaking away from soaring shoegazey sound of Appleseed Cast, Old Canes sophomore release Feral Harmonic is an organic mix of driving, rhythmic, drums and percussion layered with an assortment of frantic acoustic guitars, banjo and even some toy piano and trumpet amongst other sounds. Not surprising that the rhythm is a focal point as the album was recorded over a three and half year period starting with the drum tracks and using a wide cast of musical friends gradually building the textures of other instrumentation over top. It all coalesces into a folky roots based sound that is simultaneously soft and acoustic and percussive and loud at the same time. Check out Little Bird Courage, a great starting point from which the rest of the album takes off and expands on, the shuffling The Last Collapse, the percussive Sweet, one of my personal faves which breaks into a hypnotic coda that’s an indie rock equivalent to the outro of I Am The Walrus , the lilting Under, to the strummy, melodic, Flower Faces ,every song is an addictive listen.
Old Canes Supporting Cast for Feral Harmonic
John Anderson (White Whale, Boys Life), drums
Kelly Hangauer (4th Of July), trumpet
Jeff Stoltz (Drakkar Sauna), harmophone
Joey Henry (Calamity Cubes), backing vocals
Jordan Geiger (Minus Story, Hospital Ships)backing vocals
Lucas Oswald (Minus Story, Hospital Ships) backing vocals, cello, hammer dulcimer
John Momberg (The Dactyls, Appleseed Cast), drums
Tyler French (original Old Canes drummer turned union organizer) drums
Oct 13 2009 Jackpot Lawrence, KS
Oct 15 2009 Vaudville Mews Des Moines IA
Oct 16 2009 Bottom Lounge Chicago, IL
Oct 17 2009 TBA Davenport, IA
Oct 18 2009 TBA Bloomington, IN
Oct 19 2009 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OH
Oct 22 2009 Saddle Creek Showcase @ CMJ NYC
Oct 23 2009 Garfield Artworks Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 24 2009 Southgate House Cincinnati, Ohio
Oct 25 2009 TBA Columbia, Missouri
Nov 12 2009 Slowdown Omaha, Nebraska
Nov 13 2009 Hi-Dive Denver, Colorado
Nov 15 2009 Kilby Court Salt Lake City, Utah
[Photo By Janice Lee]
The jangly, intelligent sound of Cambridge, Massachusett’s The Shrinking Islands has been a favorite here at Bag Of Songs ever since their excellent first album In The Black Carpet was released way back in 2006. This Friday marks their long awaited Philadelphia debut performance so be sure to get up off the sofa and out to see them. They’ll be playing at Skylight 307 which is the cool new 2nd floor gallery space of Artist and Craftman Supplies, at 307 Market Street in Old City. If you’re not familiar with them yet, here’s a couple tunes to get you started. Fans of bands like REM, The Feelies,or The Velvet Underground you’ll love this.
While I was out last night at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia watching some of Philadelphia’s finest musicians pay tribute to Bruce Springsteen‘s 60th Birthday, (more here at WXPN) U2 was at Giant’s Stadium in New Jersey paying their own tribute. Here’s U2 doing a version of She’s The One.
Want to be in the picture above ?, next time you could be, A Sunny Day in Glasgow has announced an open call for a new female touring vocalist.
From the band:
As you may know we have a new album coming out this month. We are planning to go on tour for a short while later this Autumn and then for a LONG while next year, all over the world. But before we do, we need another singer to fill things out and make us sound awesome. Specifically, we are looking for a female soprano who is up for an adventure (if you are not sure what a soprano is, just listen to our songs– these are predominantly within a soprano range).
There are no geographic limits to this search– you could live anywhere in the world (seriously)– but special preference may be given to folks living in or around Philadelphia, USA or Sydney, Australia, cuz these are the cities where members of this band currently live. But really, don’t let geography stop you or your friends from getting in touch if interested.
And if you are interested, please write us asap at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can fill you in on more specifics and answer questions and whatnot.
Here’s some tunes to get you in the mood, including a couple from the brand new Ashes Grammar released this past Tuesday, plus a few announced Fall tour dates. Good luck to anyone who tries out. Let us know if you make it.
Announced Fall Tour Dates
11/14 – New Haven, CT ArtSpace
12/3 – Atlanta, GA 529
12/4 – Athens, GA Secret Squirrel
12/10 – Washtingon, DC The Red & The Black
12/11 – Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
12/15 – Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s
Back in July, Joe Michelini of River City Extension played and amazing solo set at our Bag Of Songs night at The M Room. This week I caught up with Joe via email to ask a few questions in advance of River City Extension heading to Philadlephia next Monday night September 7th for what’s sure to be an outstanding show at The Fire.
BOS: What inspired you to start the band?
JM: Funny story actually. I was always writing songs, and was playing out for a while before it got serious; I had a River City Extenstion before this one, and it consisted of just me and two female singers. One of them was my girlfriend at the time, so that was my first mistake. The other singer Desiree kept singing with us for a while, even in the reincarnations of the band that have happened since, but we eventually had a very amicable parting with her. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, for a long time I had two minds about it. Late summer 2007, my dad had somehow received free tickets to go to any show he wanted at PNC Bank Arts Center (which is about 40 minutes north of me, not even). He had 4 of them, and he wanted to pick something that I would be into. He ended up picking the Projekt Revolution tour that Linkin Park was headlining that year, and even though I’m not a huge fan of them I was secretly dying to see Taking Back Sunday live (as my freshman-year-of-high school dreams had still not yet been fulfilled). So we go and there’s a smaller stage set up outside the arts center in the parking lot, where a couple of better known-lesser known bands are playing (MSI, Saosin, etc). The first band that was on and I’ll never forget this was this band called Madina Lake. They were a pretty generic hardcore/emo band, except that the lead singer looked a little like Barry Manilow. Regardless of style or sound when I saw the stage and hear the music I almost froze. I’d never been to a concert this big, and I really thought right there some Madina Lake tears were about to be comin’ down. I knew right then that was what I wanted to do with my life, forever.
BOS: Who are your biggest musical influences ?
JM: That depends. I’m not influenced really by guitarists or pianists so much as I am by different writers and really original voices. To keep it simple I’d say Isaac Brock is probably my biggest influence vocally, while people like Yoni Wolf (Why?), John Denver, Jim Croce and Ian Metzger (Dear and the Headlights) inspire a lot of my writing.
BOS: How does the songwriting process work with River City Extension, do you write the songs and bring them to the band or do you write together as a group ?
JM: Generally I write the songs and bring them to the band, and then it’s just a matter of arranging a part that fits for each instrument.. which has really become a group thing recently.
BOS: You guys have been playing a lot of shows recently what’s been your favorite moment among them ?
JM: Haha that’s a hard question! Hm.. I’d say probably Hartford, CT. That’s always the best show. There’s a house we play in Hartford every now and then; the sound is terrible, it’s tiny, and the beer is cheap, but it is honestly the best time we’ve all ever had playing a show. We’re starting to develop a following, and that’s really one of those “punk houses” so it’s kind of cool. There’s a part of me that wants this band to just get a solid nod from the punk community, and then keep moving on to do whatever we do with our sound. I won’t lie I really want to be in a punk band though.
BOS: What’s been the hardest part of being in a band? Easiest part ?
JM: The hardest part of being in a band is probably money. You need a lot of it, and no one ever has it. It’s a real shame that it works that way, but it’s not like the 70’s- you just don’t get this big record contract dropped on you of 100 grand to do whatever you want with it. Everyone gets paid back, and then some. It’s kind of sick actually, and I know it’s inspiring bands to start their own label. The only problem with that is.. well you guessed it. The easiest part of being in a band is drinking and smoking weed for free. I will not lie to you. That’s all, the rest of it is hard.
BOS: Any relatively unknown bands you’ve shared a bill with that impressed you ?
JM: Oh sure, all the time. The market is oversaturated because it’s so hard to determine how “good” someone actually is over their myspace page. This is causing a lot of talented writers and musicians to go unnoticed. I think number one for me would be Brook Pridemore. Brook writes music like no other person around, and his lyrics flow beautifully and allow so much room for thought. A part of me thinks that Brook might also, secretly want to be in a punk band. I’ll have to talk to him about that.
BOS: Where’s your favorite place to play and why ?
JM: Oh man.. feel like I might have already answered this. Venue kind? The Stone Pony, or The Fire in Philly. Everyone in the band loves those venues with a passion. They’re probably our overall favorites.
BOS: What music are you listening to lately ?
JM: Frank Sinatra, I just started getting into Frank Sinatra. The Pixies, U2, Why?, The Magnetic Fields, Frightened Rabbit, The Gaslight Anthem, Dear and the Headlights, Cake.
BOS: How would you define the ultimate success for a band in the era of internet/collapsing old school record industry ?
JM: I think ultimate success, for a band like us, is a cult following. Think about it, if Kelly Clarkson had a cult following, it wouldn’t work. But take for example Amanda Palmer, who has seen little to no money over the enormous sales of the Dresden Dolls records. Is she successful? Yea! She’s also broke, but she’s successful in the way that there are people who will still buy her hand made t-shirts online and spend hundreds of dollars to travel and see her and listen to her songs everyday. That’s success, that’s connecting with people and that’s the important part.
BOS: Do you think radio is still an important outlet for music ?
JM: Yea, but if we weren’t getting airplay, like 3 months ago, I probably would have been bitter and said no.
BOS: What one thing do you never get asked about the band that you would like people to know?
JM: I think one really interesting thing that people never ask is if we get along. The long and short of it is, no, but yes, but no. There are 7 people in this band, we’re bound to fight. We’re a misfit collective, everyone is coming from a different musical background and we each have something really different going on in our lives. Danny and Nick have established careers, James has a kitten, it’s not always easy arguing over who’s commitment is bigger than the next persons. Who is going to take off work for practice so someone else doesn’t have to? We’ve come to accept that though, and we like it that way. I’d rather know things are messy than have things be perfect and just be waiting for something to go wrong. The songs on our new album are an awkward collective of different genres, feelings, place and people, just like us. It’s one of those things where we bicker all the time, but if anyone ever tried to attack us from the outside we’d form a strict, tight group pretty quickly. Deep down we all respect and love each other very much, that’s something everyone should know.
A huge Bag Of Songs thanks to Joe Michelini for taking the time to answer our questions. River City Extension heads into the studio in a couple of weeks to start work on a full length record, due out in early 2010 on Criminal Records Limited. I’ll be anxiously awaiting it for sure.
Head on out and catch them at one of their upcoming shows.
Sep 4 2009 8:00P The Whitney House Hartford, CT
Sep 5 2009 3:00P Safe To Swim Weekend 2 Danbury, CT
Sep 6 2009 8:00P 4 & 3 Music Fest (The Dragonfly) Harrisburg, PA
Sep 7 2009 7:00P The Fire w/Ice Palace Philadelphia, PA
Sep 8 2009 8:00P Wonder Bar w/Ice Palace Asbury Park, NJ
Sep 25 2009 8:00P Northstar Bar 21+ Philadelphia, PA
Sep 26 2009 7:00P Java Joint w/Grand Alto, Secret Mountains and more! FREE! Toms River, NJ
Oct 2 2009 9:00P Dewey Beach Music Conference @ Bottle & Cork Dewey Beach, DE
Oct 17 2009 6:00P Private Party Annapolis, MD