hissing lawns | a music blog in Savannah, Ga.

Sometimes I turn to Murder By Death for the dense, dark lyrics that could stand alone as poetry. Sometimes I’m listening because of the pacing — for the songs that build and build and build until the tension is forced to resolve itself. Sometimes I really just want to hear Sarah Balliet play the cello. Sometimes I want to lose myself in Adam Turla’s voice.

Murder By Death puts on one of the strongest live shows I’ve seen in recent years, and I’m thrilled to see them again at The Jinx here in Savannah on 10/23, with the southern rock of Devil at My Side opening. Online ticket sales have ended, but there might be some available at the door — well worth the $20.

Murder By Death has recorded a new album — it’s sure going to be tough to follow up to 2012’s Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, but I’ve come to expect some great things from such uncompromising artists.

Murder By Death also puts on a powerful live show. They are super fun to photograph — here a few shots from this summer’s gig at Headliners in Louisville:

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Hi guys,
I was out of town last week and it looks like I am coming back to Savannah on a very busy week. This is just another typical Savannah weekend of plenty of shows going on. No reason to ramble on, there are too many shows to talk about this weekend (and more).

Thursday 10/23/14 – There has been plenty of coverage of the big Murder By Death show this week, you can read it about it on this site (and Connect and DO) from people who can really write. I hope you got/get your tickets, they go up to $20 at the door.
Murder By Death/ Devil At My SideJinx ($15/20)

Friday 10/24/14 – I hope to get a break from work around lunchtime and catch the Theremin Show at the Trinity Methodist Church on Telfair Square, it looks like it could be fun. And it is an incredible venue to watch a show. I hate to admit it, but I wish someone would play the Star Trek theme. Heading into later in the evening, there are several good party shows going on. It looks like you better wear your dancing shoes, every one of these shows are sure to get you moving.
Theremin Concert (Ricardo Ochoa, Richard Leo Johnson)Trinity Methodist Church (12:15-12:45)
Hypnotics (Savannah garage rock) – Molly MacPherson’s
Same As It Ever Was (Talking Heads Tribute Band)Jinx ($10, 2 full sets)
Those Cats (Statesboro soul/funk with 2 sax players) – Congress Street Social Club

Saturday 10/25/14 – It looks like most of this night will be spent at Hang Fire. This is a very diverse line-up, with everything from country blues to electronica to hard rock. There are several other good shows going on that night, I have listed several of them.
No Control Fall Festival [AM Rodriguez (6p), Sunglow, Beneath Trees (7:15), Electricpark, Whaleboat, Culture Vulture (9:30), Grown Up Avengers Stuff, Madre Padre, CUSSES (11:55)]Hang Fire (6pm, $8)
Missionary Blues (Savannah blues) – BubBaQ (7p, all ages)
Velvet Caravan (Savannah gypsy-jazz) – Jazz’d (9p)
City Hotel (Savannah bluegrass) – Rocks On The Roof (9p)
Savannah Sweet Tease (burlesque), Crazy Bag Lady (Savannah punk) – Jinx
Gravy (funk/soul from New Orleans) – Congress Street Social Club
Dirk Quinn Band (Philadelphia funk-jazz improv) – Barrelhouse South

Sunday 10/26/14 - I will probably make the drive to Tybee for a few shows on this day. Paving Gravy at the Tybee Social Club is always a laid-back way to start the day off. I plan to head over to the North Beach Grill later in the day for a festival they are having. If I am still ready to listen to some tunes, I will head over to the Whitley Deputy show at Barrelhouse or Voodoo Soup at Congress Social Club to end the evening.
Paving Gravy (Savannah bluegrass supergroup) – Tybee Social Club (12-3p)
North Beach Grill 5th Anniversary [Jimmy Wolling Band, Train Wrecks, Accomplices, Velvet Caravan (7p), Nickel Bag Of Funk]North Beach Bar & Grill (1p-10p)
Whitley Deputy BandBarrelhouse South (9:30)
Voodoo Soup (Sav’h classic rock) – Congress Street Social Club

Monday 10/27/14 – You may as well continue the weekend with this Monday night show.
Bright Light Social Hour (Austin psychedelic southern rock) – Hang Fire

Tuesday 10/28/14 – Another night with a few good shows. The big show is at the Jinx, with a tasty looking line-up.  The show is scheduled to start at 8:30, so maybe it won’t run real late.  If you lean more toward the heavy end of the music, you may want to head down to Hang Fire for a loud show. I hope I get to make it at least to the end of the show for a bit of Toxic Shock, if it is not too late.
Hooray For The Riff Raff (New Orleans honky-tonk blues), Alanna Royale (Nashville dirty pop/raunchy soul), City Hotel (Savannah bluegrass) – Jinx ($18-20)
Jealousy Mountain Duo (German noise abstract), Don Vito (German noise rock), Mannequin Pussy (Philly punk), Toxic Shock (Sav’h punk, members of Crazy Bag Lady) – Hang Fire ($5)

Savannah-based surf-soul-rockers Triathalon have released their first album — Lo-Tide — on Broken Circles Records.

You can stream the record here and obviously click on through to Triathalon’s Bandcamp page:

I especially like the laconic retro longing of “Downtown” and the subtle surprises of “Swells”, which has been a staple of Triathalon’s live shows for a while now. We’ll have more soon about the band’s upcoming tour.

I spent both Friday night and Saturday night at The Jinx, here’s my attempt at speed reviewing the 6 bands that I saw.

Friday night:
Jeff Two Names and the Born Agains: Savannah’s best pop punk band (running unopposed). New bass player is good looking.

Canopy, or 2/3 of Canopy: Bass player was, ummm, detained, so huge, thick, syrupy, instrumental Sabbath grooves were born of guitar and drums only. Hell yeah. Out of Atlanta.

Sins of Godless Men: Heavy rock trio who changed drummers mid set. New drummer (John from Coastlines) hits hard. General rock goodness, with enough sense to provide some light of their own on stage.

Saturday night:

Rotten Blush: Really didn’t know much going in, but I heard a Queens of the Stone Age vibe, which sounded pretty damn good.

The Powder Room: Noise rock out of Atlanta. Totally my speed and as such, one of the best bands I’ve seen out of Atlanta recently and my favorite set of the weekend. I’ll go see them every time.

Bear Fight!: I love Bear Fight! and they always draw a good crowd. Set was great, but for the love of God, could someone please put some light on the stage? Looking forward to hearing new songs soon.

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Retro Futurist‘s most recent signing, Caustic Casanova, rolled through town a couple weeks ago and delivered a scorching set of proggy, heavy, post punk at Hang Fire. Sex Jams, from Austria, was a welcome and surprising last minute add to the bill. Sunglow and Taze Daze, Hunter Jayne’s new solo project also provided support. How many bands is that boy in now anyway? Come to think of it, Sunglow’s Daniel is in several, too.

I was running a bit late, but caught the last two songs from Taze Daze. It was hard to quickly comprehend what all Hunter (from Wet Socks) was doing on stage, but it at least involved singing and playing guitar over some (I think) prerecorded beats. It will be interesting to see if he starts looping and building everything on stage. Anyway, the songs were there and the energy was good, so I’m looking forward to seeing where Taze Daze goes.

Next up was Caustic Casanova, a hard to pigeonhole rock trio out of the nation’s capital. They play a complex blend of post punk, almost metal, progressive, stoner rock, powerful psyche, I don’t know, let’s just call it heavy rock. Great set with interesting time changes and heavy grooves that I really dug. I was so impressed that I left with a double album in hand (recorded by J. Robbins and mastered by Bob Weston, how’s that for some indie rock mega credit?). With any luck the Retro Futurist ties will pay off with Savannah becoming a regular tour stop.

A few hours before the show the Facebook event page was updated to include Sex Jams, apparently their Athens show had been cancelled. It was getting late on a “school” night, but I decided to stick around to check out a song or two, I ended up staying for the whole set. As the band took the stage, I expected shoe gaze or maybe some female fronted new wave out of the five piece and the first minute or so seemed to confirm my suspicions, and then…….ROCK, glorious, sloppy, party punk rock with a European edge, whatever that means. Pretty damn fun stuff.

The info on my last pictures taken says it was almost 1:30 a.m. before the band even started breaking down, so I bailed out before Sunglow to catch a few hours of sleep before work. Totally worth a short night of shut eye.

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More photos after the jump.

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Devotees of Savannah’s hip hop scene will recognize this bearded emcee as Miggs Son, staple of rap collective Dope Sandwich, former member of musical jamboree Word Of Mouth, SCAD grad and accomplished visual artist. After releasing his first solo album, “Son Of A Gun,” this past summer, Miggs and Dope Sandwich founder Knife embarked on an epic tour of the eastern USA, and are planning another extensive road run for November.

If that weren’t enough, Miggs has just released a new EP with F.E.B (Four Elements & Beyond), a 3-member NYC-based tribute to classic hip hop. Miggs and I sat down to discuss the new music.

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Garrett – So, Miggs, I’ve seen you performing around town with all kinds of groups – rock bands, psychedelic groups, hip hop acts, visual arts – but this is the first I’m hearing about F.E.B.

MIGGS – F.E.B. stands for Four Elements & Beyond. The 3 main members are my brother, Freak Tha Monsta, Werd Life and myself. My brother makes the beats and we all rhyme. We grew up in NY and have a deep respect for the art of rapping and producing. You’ll notice in F.E.B. music that there’s a lot of attention to detail.

Garrett – For sure. The production has a very vintage sound to it, that organic feel that is missing in so much hip hop today. I think the same could be said about the production and style of your latest solo album “Son Of A Gun.”

MIGGS – I feel our sound truly captures the essence of NY hip-hop. The only difference between F.E.B. and myself as a solo artist is just that you get a lot more of a personal scope in my solo work. But it’s still very much a part of the whole. We enjoy that classic hip-hop group energy and all feed off each other’s skills.

Garrett – That group energy definitely comes across on the recordings. It sounds like y’all have been doing this forever.

MIGGS – We’ve been making music together for about 10 years. We were freestyling at age 10 or 11 and by the time we were 16 we began recording a bit. We’ve got TONS of material over the years, and projects include a few solo mixtapes from each of us, a Freak Tha Monsta EP, a Miggs LP, and a Freak Tha Monsta/Werd Life LP. This project, ‘Beyond The Elements’ is a 6 track EP and it’s the first full group project to be released.

Garrett – I really dig “Cold Blooded,” the EP’s lead single. You can smell the subway soot, very New York hip hop.

MIGGS – It’s featured on the free Dope Sandwich mixtape ‘Behind Bars’ that’s available at the Dope Sandwich website. We also just dropped the music video alongside the release of the album.

Garrett – So can we expect any F.E.B. performances in the near future?

MIGGS – There’s a good chance we’ll all do a show sometime. Over the years I’ve had either Freak or Life come through separately and we always rock shows. The whole group did one show last year at the Summer Solstice Festival but we’re lookin’ forward to having the whole crew down here again!

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We also discussed the upcoming Dope Sandwich “Naked Lunch Tour” which kicks off next month. Until then, you can download the new F.E.B. EP here, and stay tuned in the next week for a full interview, on rye with mayo.

 

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Bear Fight! is headlining the Jinx on Saturday for their first show since opening for local sludge metal legends Black Tusk back in June. It might also be their last show of 2014.

According to guitarist Jeff Hinely, the band is taking a brief hiatus to work on some new material. Hinely said they will probably return to the stage for the Savannah Stopover Festival next year.

Since I first saw these guys, their 2012 album Gnarmageddon (below) has been a staple of my “Hammer of Thor” playlist. (Which by the name you might guess doesn’t have any John Mayer on it.)

Gnar is a blaring mix of soaring riffs and some of the best metal breakdowns you’ve ever heard, in a conglomerate of neck-breaking progressive metal.

From the opening title track, to the love song “No Body” a third of the way through, to the closing instrumental “Night Of The Living Shred,” this album, while two years old, still packs a punch, and is some refreshing metallurgy yielded by some very skilled musicians.

And if you’re afraid, be assured that their live shows justify their recorded selves.

Bear Fight! has yet to release music since new guitarist Dave Andergg joined up. While there might be some new material on Saturday (one can hope), it’s going to be exciting to see what these guys have in store for the future.

As was noted in bill’s Unplugged column this week (here), these guys typically open for bigger acts. Saturday is an exception as Athen’s The Powder Room and Savannah’s Rotten Blush will be opening. Which means, by Jinx time standards (JST – time zone), Bear Fight! will probably hit the stage after midnight.

But, that is no excuse to miss the opening acts, yo.

Powder Room is a gripping sludge metal trio out of Athens. Their latest 9-track assault “Curtains” dropped in April of this year. (check it out below)

Sludge metal is a good moniker for these gents, but there is so much more to their own brand of hardcore punk/shoegaze/noise/melodic metal. Yeah, lots of genres in there. I typically love bands that are hard to define. It means they’re doing something different. Powder Room is different in all the right ways.

The enigmatic Rotten Blush will probably not disappoint. Here are some photos and words about Rotten Blush from fellow HL contributor/photo man Petee Worrell (here)

I am bringing my ear protection to this one.

Cheers. Continue reading →

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Rarely do we see a gathering of local talent like the Electric Moonlight Festival, a two-day event happening from this Friday and Saturday (Oct. 17-18) at Brainiacs in Statesboro, GA. The festival features local musical talent (including psych rockers Omingnome, sound guru Matt Duplessie and prog jazz 3-piece Culture Vulture,) live artists (Lauren Schwind, Jessica McMillan, Alexandra Huntoon, Mariah Howington and Maria DeCerce,) yoga and sound healing by Anahata Healing Arts, local vendors, glass blowers, swimming, camping and lots more.

Brainiacs is a new venue on a 40 acre lake, complete with outdoors stages, indoor VIP areas and swimming galore. Admission is free to the outdoor area, $5 for indoor access and $20 gets you full access and a camping slot. Check out the event page here for more details.

It became painfully apparent on Sunday that I had been at a loud ass rock ‘n’ roll show Saturday night. I had all the usual symptoms; ringing in the ears, crick in the neck, and that hint of PBR delivered dehydration. However, it was – as it most often is – completely worth it.

A CUSSES show is always a good time. Saturday night’s romp at The Jinx with Atlanta’s Baby Baby was no exception.

I accidentally slipped to stage left, mere inches from guitarist Bryan Harder for this show. Typically, I stay further back, as I am resisting the compulsion to wear ear protection at rock ‘n’ roll shows. (I am beginning to think it might be a good idea, though. I am pretty sure my 50 year old self would be thankful.)

At my first CUSSES show a while ago, I was immediately drawn to the charismatic stage presence of singer Angel Bond and drummer Brian Lackey. However, having positioned myself differently this time, I stood witness to the greatness of Mr. Harder. I’ve heard the majority of Saturday’s playlist before, but there were little nuances in Harder’s guitar work that I’d never noticed before. I suppose being inches away helped.

At the outset, his blaring rock riffs are most noticeable in CUSSES’ music, but the subtle composition he takes with the versus is brimming and rich without being overstated, leaving plenty of room for Bond’s vocals. Helping to arrange his configuration is a custom two-pickup setup on his Fender Stratocaster, and a vast pedal board that he works like a wizard fine tuning a concoction of tonal witchcraft.

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What seemed to escape me in previous listens is Harder’s bass work. In several of the bands tunes, Harder ditches the traditional distorted rock anthem sound in favor of a rich bass sound and bass-guitar riffs, successfully adding another layer to the band’s musical texture.

CUSSES’ hard-rock is as good live as it is recorded. The elements that make any rock band, and especially a trio, exceptional are sometimes hard to pinpoint. The biggest and most obvious marker I’ve come to realize – as is the case with legendary rock trio Rush – is every musician in the band is exceptional at what they do.

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Since first hearing CUSSES, I’ve never felt like they were lacking any instrumentation. As some might criticize a trio for the lack of a bass player, or keys, or a second guitar, CUSSES is full of sound and little B.S. I think this is due to the talent of each person in the wielding of their own instrument. Continue reading →