Sound Advice: : Rachel Z, The Redwalls and Our After

Upcoming concert previews of note

Jun 27, 2007 at 2:06 pm
The Redwalls

The Redwalls with Robbers on High Street

Wednesday · Southgate House

It might have been the most delicious irony that The Redwalls were briefly a part of the Capitol Records stable, given the Deerfield, Ill., quartet's uncanny sonic resemblance to a certain Fab Foursome. The Redwalls began with a pair of BritPop-obsessed Chicago brothers, Logan and Justin Baren, who united with friend Andrew Langer to play Beatles-era songs. That initial set up was known as The Pages and the band gained a fast reputation for their incredible interpretations of British invasion material, but they soon grew weary of merely replicating the work of giants and began writing their own songs.

The band had just completed work on their debut album, Universal Blues, for Chicago indie Undertow, when former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer sent the band's demo to Capitol, and the label rushed in to sign them.

Capitol asked them to change their name and suggested The Redwalls; Universal Blues came out on Undertow with the new name. In 2005, Capitol released The Redwalls' label debut, De Nova, which earned the band appearances on the late night talk shows and an opening slot for Oasis.

The Redwalls' major label run came to an end earlier this year when Capitol merged with Virgin and dropped them. But the label allowed them to retain ownership of their next album. While The Redwalls continue to shop for a label, they've just self-released an EP, The Wall to Wall Sessions. Dust off your Beatle boots and prepare for the Chicago invasion ... yeah, yeah, hell yeah.

(Brian Baker)

Our After

Thursday · Poison Room

Growing up with a professional musician for a father (Jerry Hludzik of Dakota), Eli Hludzik indubitably grew up heavy on music with a very cool flux of musicians around. Eli remembers Freddie Mercury and Brian May from Queen being in the house, as Dakota played with Queen on The Game tour. He started gigging with his dad at age 14 and continues drumming in Dakota today.

Eli downed a few years here in Cincinnati, graduating from CCM in 2001. He made the rounds with numerous local talent including Steve Schmidt, Phil DeGreg and Ray's Music Exchange.

With Jazz chops aside and Dakota on the peripheral for now, Eli finds himself running solid with 1-year-old Rock band Our After, who released their debut album, Perfect Day, in 2006. Our After is stepping out of the Northeast for the first time and looks to gain exposure and broaden their Midwest market. Under the influence of Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Sevendust and Depeche Mode, this AltPopRock quintet brings popped-out reverb-Rock.

"Karma" kicks off with Satriani-laced guitar licks and puts out Pop-intensive lyrics and overtones. It was enough to catch Sony's ear for the Lou Diamond Phillips flick Bloodlines. Perfect Day is obviously dressed to impress but the live show is where it's at. Why should you go, you ask? "Because we need the gas money," Hludzik jokes. "I think it's a really cool vibe, it's not something you're really hearing too much of. The concept is synth-driven, also very drum-driven. The live show is an experience, there's a little bit more attitude and it hits a little bit harder than the album." (Sara Beiting)

Rachel Z

Friday · Hyatt Regency (Downtown)

For years, Rachel Z has been bridging Rock and Jazz by providing her talents and sensual presence to leaders in both genres, from Peter Gabriel and Sting to Wayne Shorter and Stanley Clarke. With her new trio, Dept. of Good and Evil, Z has taken that process one step further by displaying her pure Jazz chops (via piano) in the service of Rock/Pop tracks reimagined in a unique musical setting.

Z's melodic methodology raises DOGE to a fresh level of achievement, as evidenced by selections featured on the trio's debut, released earlier this year. The Police's "King of Pain" may not seem too drastic a choice to arrange for a Jazz trio, but when Z, bassist Maeve Royce and drummer Bobbie Rae peel off stunning versions of Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body," Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and Alice in Chains' "Angry Chair," it becomes apparent that DOGE's genius consists of more than mere interpretation.

Z's musical history is equally impressive. As a teenager, Z heard Miles Davis and shifted her passion from Classical structure to Jazz improvisation. At 17, she entered the Berklee College of Music; five years later she graduated from the renowned New England Conservatory while maintaining a professional profile in Boston.

Z has released a number of solo albums since the early '90s, including tributes to Shorter and Joni Mitchell, she gigged for two years on Peter Gabriel's "Growing Up" tours, founded a Rock group called Peacebox and with her new work with Dept. of Good and Evil, Rachel Z is widely considered to be one of contemporary Jazz's most acclaimed, talented and exciting female musicians. (BB)