song share: the head and the heart – shake

the head & the heart @ lincoln theatre

After several listens, I think I’m pretty into the new Head and the Heart song. I am definitely into the bass line. But Adam and I are still talking about it, so I will probably have more feelings later. That’s why you should have good friends who are also music nerds: you can talk out your feelings about new songs from bands you love.

worth getting up for in september

magnolia collective @ local 506

Worth getting up for in September: Hopscotch Music Festival and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion; the Orioles making the playoffs; Beasley’s Chicken & Honey, and the mac and cheese at the Busy Bee; visiting with old friends; Jesse Thorn’s deeply serious correction-slash-apology on the 9/10 episode of Jordan Jesse Go!, regarding believing that Jim Thome was retired; Will Johnson and Anders Parker in an intimate acoustic show at the Haw River Ballroom; Frontier Ruckus, Ha Ha Tonka, and the Deep Dark Woods; pink fishnets; the cover of ‘Dancing Barefoot’ in First Aid Kit’s iTunes session; Corin Tucker at the 506; meeting kindred souls; burritos with Clea; fall weather; wearing blazers over dresses; the return of the BBC podcasts; Garth Hudson-curated albums of covers of the Band; windows open football naps.

these united states @ local 506

these united states @ local 506

these united states @ local 506

Gorgeous set from These United States; Jesse Elliott has an amazing voice and the songwriting on the new record is stellar, even more heartwrenching live. And a wild amp-standing-solo-filled set from the Henry Clay People, who were a joy to shoot under the new light in the 506.

More here, in the full set.

the henry clay people @ local 506

the henry clay people @ local 506

these united states @ local 506

the henry clay people @ local 506

the lumineers @ local 506

the lumineers @ local 506

the lumineers @ local 506

I wrote about this show for Speakers in Code, so you can read about my feelings there and look at more photos of the Lumineers and excellent openers Kopecky Family Band here. (Or here, where the full set is.)

the lumineers @ local 506

the lumineers @ local 506

kopecky family band @ local 506

kopecky family band @ local 506

kopecky family band @ local 506

caveman @ local 506

caveman @ local 506

Caveman’s debut album, CoCo Beware, took at least the segment of the music blogging world that I read by storm at the end of 2011; their pounding, dreamy indie rock was the kind that you can dance to while still taking off on fairly amazing flights of fancy and guitar work. I wasn’t certain, however, how that sound — grounded but otherworldly, really — would translate live, because it’s the kind of music that can lose the magic of it when you take it off your headphones into the real world.

caveman @ local 506

Luckily, the guys in Caveman love what they do so much that the joy of the album does carry over — and more so. They take up a huge amount of space with their sound and their happiness onstage, and they made me want to groove. The crowd was, again, small — and now that I think about it, Carolina’s spring break is almost always the week of/before SXSW, which is crappy for all the touring bands who stop here on their way down to Austin — but a lot more engaged in the set than Gemma Ray’s audience had been the night before. The hipsters didn’t dance — but they looked like they were thinking about it, and that’s an accomplishment in Chapel Hill.

caveman @ local 506

If you haven’t checked out CoCo Beware, it’s highly recommended. Grooving and funny, it seemed out of place to me with a fall release last year. This is a spring record, all sunshine and drums and lilting harmonies, and last night’s set was a great promise of our spring to come here in the NC. I’m just sorry more people didn’t see it.

Full set here.

blitzen trapper @ cat’s cradle

blitzen trapper @ cat's cradle

blitzen trapper @ cat's cradle

I declare Blitzen Trapper to be the modern band most likely to cover a deep cut by the Band and absolutely slay it.

There’s no one else I can make a comparison to, and that’s a big one, I know; but something about the vocals, and the organ swells, and the loose bass lines and the metronomic drumming and all the guitars just makes my heart ache in exactly the same way that Music From Big Pink does. Not all of it, of course — Blitzen Trapper gets wild and experimental in so many places that they can and the Band couldn’t, but it’s so close. Live, it’s so much even more close, and that’s one of the reasons they’re among my favorite live bands today.

It helps that their songwriting is amazing, of course, and they’re all absolutely captivating in stage presence, but part of it will always be that I hear them, with my eyes closed and my heart thumping against my rib cage, and I can almost imagine that it’s Danko and Manuel on stage. Then I open my eyes and it’s not, and it’s just as good. I can’t think of a better or more talented band to take on that mantle, really. They were phenomenal at the Cradle last night — a healthy mix of songs from the new album and Destroyer of the Void and a couple of great cuts from Furr, including a shivery audience sing-along to the title track, and even the title track off “Wild Mountain Nation” which was close to religious in its power to pull you out of a moment into the music.

I felt transported and lifted up all show, and that is all I want from music.

Smoke Fairies opened, and they play what can only be called a fusion of the traditional English ballad with indie rock. They were great; both women are phenomenal guitarists and have the kind of haunting, accent-tinged voices that makes your spine shiver. I really dug on them.

I missed Dawes to scoot across the street to shoot a release show, and I’m a little bummed about that, but Sinful Savage Tigers are too good to be missed.

Full set here.