Dan wrote, “The band arrived sporting their trademark racing uniforms. Before they played their first song, they removed their racing attire to reveal three piece business suits. It was business time as the giant J and R lights began to flash behind the stage. They busted into the soothing sounds of “Morning Thought” off of their first full-length album, It’s a Corporate World. … DEJJ brought some serious harmonies to the stage with songs such as “Simple Girl” and “Vocal Chords,” reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes. During their song “Almost Lost Detroit” it was easy to hear the similarities between the raw rock sound of DEJJ and that of The Black Keys. As DEJJ are on the verge of releasing their first full-length album, it was no surprise that they threw in a couple of covers with the Beach Boys “God Only Knows” and Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”. The show came to a close with DEJJ’s most well known song “Nothing But Our Love”, which required one final run for the bubble machine.”
Read the rest of Dan’s review here.
“For 12” - Other Lives
“Carousel” - Ravens & Chimes
Kelly Knapp caught these two acts at the Mercury Lounge on Tuesday.
Kelly wrote, “Ravens & Chimes had already gotten started when I arrived, and although I’m not sold on their name, I did immediately think they were a good match on a bill with Other Lives, as they have a lot of the same folksy, thematic concepts. … Their songs had heart. Watching them play was like watching your friend’s band practicing in their garage, and only every so often did they seem aware of the crowd of people watching them. The majority of the songs lean toward the piano-rock genre, with some traces of 90s emo. … What stands out with the piano is the atmospheric, and almost spooky at times, synth played by Avery Brooks. The spookiness had just the faintest hint of some of the same atmospheric qualities of Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief album.
“Other Lives mixed their instrumentation well between the vintage, the new, and the DIY. Besides all the standard rock band instruments, and the myriad of toys Hsu had to play with; they had a harmonium, an organ, another violin, a trumpet, vibraphone, several keyboards, and a couple laptops. Everyone in the band is a multi-instrumentalist. From what I could tell, every member of the band played at least 3 different instruments; sometimes more. Sometimes all in the same song. During one song, drummer Colby Owens pulled a clarinet out of nowhere to noodle on between drum rolls. Jonathon Mooney seemed to be the busiest, switching between guitar, trumpet, violin, vibes, and organ. He could adeptly set down his violin, swing his guitar to front, and slide his bow across the strings. I know that’s been done before, but it’s still cool.”
Read the rest of Kelly’s review here.
“Jesus Flag American Fish” - Cuckoo Chaos
Kelly Knapp interviewed some of the dudes from Cuckoo Chaos - here’s what they said:
Kelly Knapp: You guys have been getting a lot of buzz for your single “Jesus Flag American Fish.” Do you want to talk a little bit about the backstory behind that song?
Jackson Milgaten: Scott actually wrote it about a girl, kind of like when you’re into somebody but maybe they’re not into you, and then maybe after that opportunity passes you’re into them, you realize. It’s about general adolescent pining love.
KK: What made you choose that song as a single?
JM: I think we just felt like our friends, and the people at the label, and our management all collectively picked that as their favorite song, so we just went with that. I don’t think we really cared what the single was. Most of the songs on the record, I would have been fine with them being the single. It just seemed like it was a popular vote.
Dave Mead: That was a surprise to me.
KK: Really? Did you want something else?
DM: Maybe I’m a man of strange wants. I don’t know, I thought that another song that I love – which may actually reveal itself to be the second single – was going to be the first single. However, I am comfortable with the flow of the ocean.
JM: I think that song represents what we do.
Read the rest of Kelly’s interview here.
“A Ghost” - John LaMonica
Daniel Kohn spoke with John LaMonica about his 13-year career and more - here’s some of their conversation:
Daniel Kohn: Do you find living and working in Lawrence to be a refreshing break from the so-called music city hubs?
John LaMonica: Definitely, Lawrence has this great laid back feel where it's easy to get comfortable. It's a small place really, but whatever it doesn't have in space and size it trades with great creative people and a strong appreciation for art and music. I lived in Austin for a short time after growing up in Dallas and both cities have a lot to offer artists, so I'm not down on any big cities as places to pursue your craft but here it's just more fulfilling and I get to have a life and work on my music.
DK: Would you ever consider moving to NYC, Nashville or LA?
JL: Of course, if it felt right or worked out in a real chill way. I have been lucky enough to have spent a grip of time in LA and NYC over the years recording and performing. They're clearly different places with their own flow and feel.
I think if it felt right I would have to choose based on friends I have there and if I was feeling the musical climate. Nashville's never really attracted me in terms of wanting to live there, no disrespect to those that do.
DK: How would you describe your sound? Is it completely your own or a derivative from the work of your influences combined with your own spin?
JL: Hmmm, there's a sizeable chunk of what I make that feels to me like 'pop' for people who like electronic music. That said, at least 50% of what I do, especially right now, that is completely at odds with that description.
Read the rest of Daniel’s interview here.
“Such Great Heights” - Iron & Wine
“The Afterlife” - YACHT
Liz Livengood previewed Portland’s MFNW music festival in September, whose lineup was just announced.
Liz wrote, “Portlanders (and anyone who wants to come to Portland), clear your calendars! September 7-11 is Music Fest NorthWest, and it looks incredible this year. Aside from the amazing headliners like Band of Horses and Iron and Wine, MFNW has something for everyone from Portland's diverse assortment of amazing music. Read on to check out the lineup, with pictures, comments, videos and endorsements on who you should catch. I'm proud to say that BestNewBands.com has featured so many of these great artists!”
Check out the rest of Liz’s post here.