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sound experience House Party with Garrison Starr

‘CD’s’ continued from page 14

The fuzz tone overdubs of “Jackson Nightz” howl and moan before Berman screams “That’s IT!” and abruptly switches off the mike: It’s those types of nuances that keep things loose as a goose. The quality being as shoddy as it is, usually one element in a song prevails over the rest; it’s hard to ignore the lazy, rusty guitar on “SVM F.T. TROOPS” that takes a ‘70s pre-punk attitude and meanders for five minutes over a muffled, simplistic drumbeat. In other places “Welcome to the House of the Bats” might well be the stand out track, as Berman repeats the strangely humorous greeting again and again. But for all its virtues Early Times is still the most primitive of demos. It will certainly please the hardcore Pavement devotees but outside of that ever dwindling circle it’s hard to imagine who else might want to pick this up. But as one of those who loved the band I found this scrap of a record to be equal parts evocative and bittersweet. ***

Family Band Grace & Lies NOQ Music Take equal parts visual artist and metal guitar, mix them together in ways that compliment the other while expanding upon each, and what you might get is the glorious concoction that is Family Band. The Brooklyn based husband/wife duo of Kim Krans and Johnny Ollsin merge dreamy folk tales with gothic nuanced pop and what they create sounds unlike anything else out there. Grace & Lies, their debut album, wraps ever shifting loops of crunch with silhouettes of bleak, icy vocals. Bassist/lap steel guitarist Scott Hirsch fleshes out the pair’s haunted unease, but the power of Family Band lies in the empty spaces that occupy the album’s nine tunes.

One of the most satisfying and unexpected delights of the summer season. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in “Night Song,” a seemingly straightforward excursion that opens with the whirring sound of film snaking through a projector but quickly explodes into a clattering of percussion, plucky guitar, and tinkering piano that rumbles with simmering authority. It all sounds like the soundtrack to an existential film festival, and when Krans’ downcast monotone begins reciting “This house is dark/ nothing moves inside,”

BY JAMES

CASSARA

Singer/songwriter Garrison Starr proudly proclaims that she’s “an individualist with a streak of passion.”

I

t’s an assessment few would argue with. Having spent her life growing up in the South, her music mixes up Nashville country twang with a solid dose of Tom Petty-like rock appeal. While her friends were making life plans after high school, Starr’s determined ambition was to become a singer on her own terms, a goal she has pursued with relentless zeal. Within weeks after her graduation she issued the homemade cassette Pinwheels and began keeping a steady routine of coffeehouse gigs. Before leaving for the University of Mississippi in the fall of 1993, she had already played more than 100 shows. But Starr’s college stint was short-lived. After three semesters she packed her bags and began playing music full time. Her 1996 EP, Stupid Girl, reflected upon her time spent in school. A year later, Starr issued her proper mainstream debut, Eighteen Over Me, a full throttle collection that exuded a new confidence and fresh musical direction. The songs were sultry, yet abrasive as she came into her own as an artist and an individual. Such a change didn’t last long, though, for Starr was a bit disenchanted with her life choices and faced self-doubts in her early twenties. After a move from Nashville to Los Angeles, Starr and her longtime friend Clay Jones – who had supported her

you’re suddenly confronted with one of the most unsettling tracks in recent memory. Wisely, the pair knows when to pull back. Such inky black sentiments are balanced by the illuminative ballad “Moonbeams” in which Krans goes for raw emotion over sonic tremble. Her voice is stark and strong, but the uncertainty of her sentiment is cast in solemn yearning. The distance between the guitar lines at the opening of “Ride” further let Krans’ voice shine, as if we can see the frost escaping along with her rich, well-deep vocals. The empirically loose bass rumbles are masterfully tense, and the splashes of cymbals as the song grows in intensity fill the early spaces. Nothing is as it seems but neither does Grace & Lies ever become the unhinged assemblage it might have been. As it is what remains is a record that resonates long after the experience is over, and one of the most satisfying and unexpected delights of the summer season. ****1/2

album. She’s instead focused on performing, maintaining a during an extended steady schedule period of self doubt both here and – began writing overseas. songs together. Starr Part of took her time with that schedule the new material, includes house creating a post-alterconcerts, a grownative and country ing market that twist collections of allows the artist tunes that eventually to take creative became 2002’s Songs chances in front From Take-Off to of smaller and Landing. more appreciaStarr made her tive audiences. Vanguard debut in Such a show 2004 with Airbrings her to streams & Satellite. Asheville for a The record received September 30 glowing reviews but performance. Starr had become Joined by her disenchanted with Garrison Starr friend Maia Los Angeles and soon Sharp, Garrison will likely play both old decided to return to Nashville. She and her favorites and new offerings. longtime collaborator, guitarist Neilson Hubbard, joined bassist/engineer Brad Jones for the production of Starr’s fifth album. IF The Sound of You and Me, released in YOU House Party with Garrison GO Starr and Maia Sharp on Sunday, March 2006, was the most honest and emoSeptember 30. The Creekside tional album of her career to date, though it House Concert starts at 6 p.m. with was her next record, 2007’s The Girl That tickets priced at $20. Killed September, that the singer still considers her own favorite. She’s yet to record Email lynmcfarland@gmail.com for its follow up, even though she has accumureservations and directions to this all ages performance. lated more than enough material for a new

HERE WE GO MAGIC

T

here are lots of reasons to pay attention to Here We Go Magic. They befriended and enlisted Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) to produce their critically acclaimed and fantastic new album A Different Ship. They picked up director John Waters hitchhiking across country while on tour this spring. They’ve spent most of the summer touring and playing major festivals including Bonnaroo, and they recorded one of the most charming music videos of the year with “How Do I Know.” “One of America’s most unique rock bands.” ~ Time Out Chicago “The band knowingly and creatively extends the systematic art-rock heritage of New York bands like Talking Heads

and the Velvet Underground and their European cousins in Stereolab, Can, and Radiohead.” ~ New York Times “Onstage, each song by Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic is a genuine journey.” ~ Spin Magazine

IF YOU GO: Here We Go Magic, with

Andrew Bird. October 1 at the Orange Peel, 8 p.m. $28-30, ages 18+.

Vol. 16, No. 1 — RAPID RIVER ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE — September 2012 17

September 2012 issue  

Magnetic Theatre-MILF..p3; NC Stage-R. Buckminster Fuller..p6; Asheville Lyric Opera-La Traviata..p4; Asheville Area Piano Forum..p6; Ashevi...

September 2012 issue  

Magnetic Theatre-MILF..p3; NC Stage-R. Buckminster Fuller..p6; Asheville Lyric Opera-La Traviata..p4; Asheville Area Piano Forum..p6; Ashevi...

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