Music Tonight: The free MidPoint Indie Summer Series continues tonight with one of its most eclectic bills of the summer. Kicking things off at 7 p.m. is impressive Northern Kentucky group Belle Histoire, whose debut EP Spirits is a stunningly sophisticated and accomplished introduction, especially for such a young group. The band’s acoustic-based Indie Folk Pop has depth and soul and, thanks partly to singer Jane Smith’s goosebump-worthy vocals, you’ll be reminded of the music of haunted-voiced vocalists like Over the Rhine, Cat Power and Beth Orton. But in terms of arrangements, songwriting and approach, the band’s sound is more like a more grown-up Arcade Fire crossed with Mumford and Sons’ grounded rootsiness. Listen to the title track from Spirits below.—-
Headlining is Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, the super-charged, super-melodic, super-smart Rock & Roll crew from DC that operates like a modern day cross between The Clash, The Jam and Superchunk. Leo’s music might most accurately be called Pop Punk, but unlike most contemporary bands saddled with that label, the melodies are iron-fisted, the fervor is palpable and the lyrics are more intelligent poetry than junior high schooler diary entry. Brush up on your pogo-ing skills if you’re going and click below for some inspiration, courtesy of the Parmacists’ video for “The Mighty Sparrow” off last year’s The Brutalist Bricks.
In the middle slot of tonight’s MPIS concert is Tweak Bird, an L.A.-by-way-of-Illinois duo featuring brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird. Tweak Bird makes a big, heavy wall of noise, mixing in laser riffs, thunderous drums, weirdly catch hooks and unexpected tools like Theremin, flute and skronky sax. They’ve been dubbed “psych/garage/jazz/rock” and “Sabbath goes jazz,” and are often lumped into the modern, open-ended Stoner Rock category. But, while Tweak Bird’s music certainly encompasses a wide range of influence, the results aren't quite as crazy as those pigeonholes suggest. They remind me a little of Death From Above 1979 … with sax and Theremin. Below is the official clip for the twosome’s song, “Lights in Lines.”
If you’re up for more musical treats after hanging on the Fountain all evening, you can head to the Southgate House after the Indie Summer show to catch The Band of Heathens, a rootsy, jammy Modern Americana ensemble from Austin, Tex. The band is supporting its latest, Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son. Our own Brian Baker has this to say about the album: “The group moves from the swampy Rock gumbo of Tony Joe White, the inclusively freewheeling embrace of the Band to the funky Blues swing of Leon Russell, the heartland Rock ethic of Tom Petty, the Folk/Blues/Jam jump-and-run of the Grateful Dead and the bayou translation of CSNY’s harmonic brilliance.” Read the rest of Brian’s preview here. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $13.
Here’s a clip of the Heathens performing on Austin City Limits (from the 2009-2001 season).
(Leave your suggestions/promote yourself or your favorites by telling everyone about your favorite music event recommendations for the day in the comments below.)
On Sale Now: Tickets for several upcoming concerts went on sale this morning at 10 a.m., including Brett Dennen at Madison Theater, John Hiatt and Big Head Todd and the Monsters at Taft Theatre, Judas Priest at U.S. Bank Arena and Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio at Taft Theatre. Visit Ticketmaster online to get yours.
Momentous Happenings in Music History for July 29
The legacy of modern musical icon Prince (whose name, oddly enough, also used to be an icon) began in earnest on this day in 1978, as his first single ever, the Funk Disco jam “Soft and Wet,” entered the U.S. singles charts, the first of many chart appearances by His Majesty. The song is from Prince’s debut album For You, released when he was only 19 years old.
Born This Day: Rush bassist and girly-voiced singer Geddy Lee (1953); E Street Band member and The Boss’ wife Patti Sciafa (1953), Pop group Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris (1973); and Simon Jones, bassist for one of the “Brit Pop” era’s best bands, The Verve (1972).
R.I.P. On this day in 1974, the Mamas And The Papas’ Cass Elliot died after the group performed a sold out gig in London. Mama Cass’ death is the source of one of Rock lore’s most enduring urban legends — that the full-figured singer died from choking on a ham sandwich. According to Snopes, the rumor took flight because a doctor who examined her speculated to the press that she had choked to death because she was laying flat in her bed and appeared to be drinking a Coke and eating a sandwich. The official cause of death was actually “fatty myocardial degeneration due to obesity” — basically, she died from a heart attack because of her weight.