Category Archives: Folk

Weekly Dig 3/17 – 3/23

ДахаБраха (DakhaBrakha)- Ягудки

Ягудки

DakhaBrakha is a folk group from Ukraine. I discovered them courtesy of LaBlogtheque and one of their take away shows. They contemporary Ukrainian folk music, and if that gives you as much of an idea of their sound as me, just picture a drum circle with one of the ladies playing the cello. Then on top of the drums and the cello add the occasional chant, some hollering, a yelp here and there and that’s about it. I’m pretty sure they sing in Ukrainian although I really don’t know how to tell, it could just as easily be Russian, or some other Eastern-European language. It kind of reminds me of Native American music. It’s definitely got a bit of a tribal feel to it, and I find it just to be a lot of fun. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it wouldn’t hurt you to expand your horizons a bit. If you are interested in checking them out. The only place outside of youtube I’ve been able to score a listen is on last.fm where they have quite a few songs you can download for free.

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Weekly Dig 3/3 – 3/9

Buke & Gase – General Dome

General DomeYou might think this band bears a strange name, well you’re right, but when you learn that this group treats your ears to a couple of hand made instruments, the baritone ukulele (buke) and the guitar-bass hybrid (gase) the name makes some sense. Buke & Gase uses those instruments to create an experimental, folky-indie kind of sound with a very syncopated style fueled by a very prominent kick drum. “Houdini Crush” opens the album up perfectly giving you a taste of what to expect and then “Hiccup” follows that up marching to a steady beat. That one, two punch is some great fun and General Dome keeps the fun times rolling. It’s not always pretty, especially when this duo comes dangerously close to a post-punk/grunge kind of sound. They quickly show you they are not afraid of experimenting, and why should they be? They created their own instruments, and then they didn’t rely on their homemade instruments as a gimmick, but backed them up with  some really well crafted and interesting songs. Go give them a listen.


Weekly Dig 2/24-3/2

The Lumineers – The Lumineers
The Lumineers The Lumineers seem to have been really blowing up recently so they might not be all that new to some of you, but if you haven’t heard of them, this indie folk group is worth a few listens. Back a couple years ago when Mumford and Sons boomed into super stardom and showed the world that folk music could be super popular, it gave some room for bands like this. And while The Lumineers are lacking a finger-plucking banjo, they do have a few tracks that rock out with a mandolin. They also have a cello and occasionally sport the accordion which allows them to avoid their songs blurring together and make their debut an easy listen. If your still not convinced to give these guys a shot give The Lumineers a chance to convince you themselves and watch them play the two strongest tracks from their album “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love.”


Weekly Dig 2/17 – 2/23

Local Natives – Hummingbird

HummingbirdHummingbird  is Local Natives long awaited follow-up impressive debut, Gorilla Manor. The band has taken the time between albums to refine their sound and they have shown that they have some staying power. Their second album seems a little more somber or subdued. There aren’t any tracks on this album as charged as ‘Sun Hands’ was from Gorilla Manor, but that doesn’t mean that Hummingbird lacks potency. In fact I would say that Hummingbird just edges out their debut as a better album, it seems more consistent and more relevant. It’s not that their sound has changed much, you’ll still find the great vocal harmonies, and instrumentation (I especially enjoy their drumming.) The lead single ‘Breakers’ hooks you in with some gorgeous Oo’s, and along with some brightly toned guitar work, gives a great taste of what to expect from the rest of the album. “You & I” and “Heavy Feet” are some other tracks I would strongly recommend.


Weekly Dig 9/16 – 9/22

Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?

Here is a video you should watch. It features, up and coming singer songwriter, Lianne la Havas strolling through the streets of Paris belting out her soulful, folky music. That was all I needed to see to get hooked. Is Your Love Big Enough? continues to showcase Leanne’s talent for songwriting with slow jazzy songs like “Lost & Found,” and upbeat funky songs like the title track “Is Your Love Big Enough?,” and everything in between. Clearly this girl is a very talented guitar player and a great singer and I think this album is a fantastic collection of songs that could lead to some big things in the future for Lianne La Havas.


The Dodos 6/1/2011 @ The Urban Lounge

It was another great show at The Urban Lounge on Wednesday. This night featured White Denim and The Dodos. White Denim was our opening band and they were fun.  They are a quartet from Austin Texas, and they play rock. Sure it might have a bit of a southern country tinge at times, and there was a  lot of jam rock in their sound, but at their very core they were just a group of rockers from Texas. They had some interesting guitar riffs and creative drumming, and played a good show overall. I got a little worn out by them after a while. Almost all the songs they played were up tempo, I remember one slow song they played toward the beginning which was good, it gave us a chance to actually hear the singers voice, the rest of the night he was drowned out by everything else. On that slower song they reminded me a bit of Portugal. The Man, which is a pretty good thing to remind me of. Another thing that probably led me to getting worn out a bit was the song lengths. I hadn’t listened to them before this night so I can’t say for sure, but I doubt that all their songs were the 8… 9… 10 minute epics that they played for us. Their songs would change themes a couple times, and you couldn’t be sure that it was a new song or the same song because they never stopped playing. Then when you add a few solos I inevitably would lose interest. Despite all that they put on an enjoyable performance.

I was really excited for the dodos to come on. I saw them last summer at the Twilight Concert Series and it was a great show, and they treated us to another great show this summer. In the space of that year a lot has changed for The Dodos. Last year they had a vibraphonist playing with them and now we have a second guitarist. I don’t think the vibraphonist was ever an official band member, and I don’t know if this second guitarist made band member status either, but as long as we have that dynamic duo of Long and Kroeber it’s not too big of a deal. That second guitarist didn’t seem to do much anyway, he stood there on the far side of the stage and played his stuff and stayed pretty quite. The Dodos also released their new album No Color back in March so they got to add a few new songs to their répetoire. This time around Long just played on electric guitars as opposed to last year were I seem to remember him playing mostly on an acoustic. Last year long also around a bit on a trombone as a buildup to a song, and I was a little disapointed when I didn’t see the trombone this time around.

But, like I said earlier, as long as our dynamic duo remains the same there shouldn’t be any problems. Luckily for us Kroeber set up the same unique drum set, with no kick drum, and that tambourine on his shoe. Long played in that same syncopated finger-picking style, and I couldn’t help but move to the music. They opened with “Good,” and then played “Black Night.” I love the odd rhythms these guys have, it might make it difficult to tap your foot to, but it is incredibly interesting and entertaining to me. I really enjoyed watching these two. They ended up playing a good majority of the songs of f of their new record. “Don’t try and Hide It,” “Sleep,” and “Companions” are the ones I can remember for sure that they played. They also played a few songs each from Time to Die and Visiter. Long had a great intro into “The Season,” which just might be my favorite song of theirs, using his peddle to layer his guitar recording and looping little riffs to just add to the big buildup that that song is. It was probably the highlight of the show for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything these guys have put out and hope they keep coming up with fresh new things to release, and keep touring, because I’m always ready to take in some more Dodo Bird.


William Fitzsimmons 5/18 2011 @ The Urban Lounge

The night was a night to celebrate facial hair. Not only did we have William Fitzsimmon, also known as king beard, the opening band Slow Runner also displayed some great facial hair that probably isn’t acceptable in normal society, but works really well in the music scene. Michael Flynn sported a great bushy mustache, and Johnathan Grey was reminiscent of Mario with a slightly curled mustache, Josh Kaler was the only one without anything growing on his face. I’m convinced that any more cool decorations of the face would have been too cool so he took the hit for the team and kept his face clean.

Slow Runner was the only band opening up for Fitzy, and later we came to find out that they are also his backing band. Because of that they had plenty of time to play and showed us how diverse their sound could be. They are a trio from Charleston South Carolina with a fairly unique set up. Michael Flynn play’s the keyboard and sings, Johnathan Grey played the bass, the banjo, and the mandolin, and Josh Kaler added the drums, guitar and steel guitar to the mix. Their opening song was a fairly slow song, slow but epic, and reminded me a lot of Low stylistically. With the next few songs they played they really picked up the pace and showed us their fun rockin’ indie side. Michael had some fantastic melodies on his piano and also with his voice. Josh was also very fun to watch. He threw down some interesting rythms on his drum kit while simultaneously playing a xylophone. Each song they played was a little different and brought something new to the table. They were a great opener.

William Fitzsimmons had a great interaction with the crowd, and a great self awareness. He was always making light of how he’s written “400 albums on divorce” and how sad all of his music is, he made jokes about his beard, and it just added a lot to the night. Outside of him being a funny guy he played fantastic, his singing was spot on, his guitar playing was great, and it was fun to have Slow Runner come on for a lot of the songs and add their pizaz. He played a good mix from all of his albums, and the only song I wished he would have played that he didn’t was “Shattered.” The songs he did play that I really enjoyed were “Passion Play,” “Beautiful Girl,” “The Tide Pulls From The

Moon,” “Find it in Me,” and, well, most of the songs played. For his last song of his encore all four guys unplugged and came down into the crowd and played among us. It was kind of hard to hear since he sings in such hushed tones, but overall it was very cool and was a great way to end the night. Here’s a picture of his setlist if you’re curious as to the other songs he played. For his encore he played “Mend Your Heart,” and two or three other songs that I couldn’t recognize or have forgotten. One was a song from Until When We Were Ghosts and one was from Gold in the Shadow.

This was definitely one of the more somber concerts that I have been to. There was a sadness that settled over the crowd and at times it seemed almost palpable. I think that is a testament to how emotionally charged William Fitzsimmons’ music is. It is very close and personal to Fitzimmons himself and he explained that’s why he tried to present more of  a reconciliation in Gold in the Shadow. In his own words he didn’t want to end up one of those guys jumping off of a bridge in a couple of years. I’m kind of excited for the swing in moods for his music. No, I don’t think Gold in the Shadow lives up to some of his previous works, but I think that there is a lot of potential with him moving in that direction, and I look forward to seeing what else he can come up with.