Showing posts with label "o'death". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "o'death". Show all posts


CMJ Day One

                                          Blood Warrior at Piano’s, Edgy Twist to Folk

Blood Warrior's brand of Folk is weighty with thump-stomping percussion, great choral harmonies, and the vocal awesomeness of Greg Jamie. The music can soothe like a lullaby but don’t get too comfortable because these gentle warriors can bring up the volume. Their voices swell; electric guitar leads and acoustic strumming intertwine with shakers and emphasized bass drum, giving traditional Folk an edgy twist.

                             Max Vernon @ Kenny's Castaways, Master of Design

Max Vernon CMJ 09

Making a fashion statement at CMJ is an anomaly, but Max Vernon intends to please both visually and sonically. He walked onto the stage wearing an asymmetrical googly eye ensemble of his design.

He started the set by saying, "please excuse my unnecessary banter, I have to fill this forty-minute set," and fill he did. Max Vernon's verbal acuity does wonders for in-between songs, but that gift translates well to songwriting.

Standing confidently at 6’4 behind his keyboard and almost strutting, he played complex pop/jazz arrangements. His vocals dared go from low to falsetto, adding unexpected touches to his recorded material. What I found the most fascinating was his ability to seamlessly create the backup vocals. In between, he played three songs on the guitar.

A highlight was "Around Your Finger," with friend Emily singing the chorus / I hate to tell you / that I had more fun / When you were hooked on drugs /. "Psycho Bitch" a new one, is a song in the same vein. His second new offering had a haunting juxtaposition between an irregular chord repetition and a beautiful vocal. He ended with a Liz Phair cover, "Canary."

Flickr Set

Download a slew of songs here


O'death & Titus Andronicus Making Noise That Moves

I usually go to shows alone, but not this time. I ended up distracted and needed to pay more attention. Seeing three bands, knowing how exhausting o'death is, would be too much. I came to the incorrect conclusion that Wye Oak would be second on the bill, not first. I hadn’t heard of Titus Andronicus and now realize I’ll have to expand my regular reading list.  Titus Andronicus was a welcome pleasure. Not knowing anything about their music was a plus. It is such a great opportunity to hear a group for the first time without any preconceived notions. I like that. Beyond the noise and punk, there was an incredible nuance to their sound that rose above the revved-up amplification. It had order and structure with beautiful scales of lead guitars that could be heard above all the noise with wave-like variations.

While they sound raw and similar to the punk originators The Sex Pistols, they are more musically inclined. They manipulate instruments with the raging distortion sound, amplified at full tilt. This was witnessed throughout the set as all three guitarists had access to stationed platforms. There were also two keyboards, bass, and drums. Some songs have a balladry-type feel of The Pogues but are electrified. They also add beat-driven punk sing-along chants to the mix. Patrick Stickles's voice was unadorned, real, rough, and awesomely off-key. I just loved watching him. Lots of drama and strange moments, especially when he picks up a cold pizza and takes a few bites between verses.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what he would do with it. Some fans in the audience, thinking they were at an all-age show, started moshing to the chagrin of the rest of the crowd. The lights went on briefly to look for someone’s glasses. Don’t get me wrong, the crowd was engaged, including me! 

o'death ruled this night. I am always enamored by their ability to work up an audience but headlining at the Bowery Ballroom makes a difference. The sound system is just great, and the band was delighted and thrilled to be there. The audience at an o'death show is just awesome. There is unity and love that generates even among o'death virgins. And there were many. They immediately succumbed to the robust energy of the songs. The dancing is fascinating to watch and to take part in. Because the song structures are unusual, fans could dance to a waltz-like tempo and instantly break out into an uncontrollable frenzy of jumping, pumping, and head-banging. The smiles and nods among the crowd acknowledging a shared experience were a highlight for me. An artifact of the evening was a bra relinquished from an adoring fan that Jesse Newman gladly draped over the microphone. The hour-and-a-half set ended with a chant. David Rogers Berry jumped away from his drum set to the center of the stage, all instruments were abandoned, and the band member’s voices rose in unison. Suddenly Bob Pycior dove into the crowd of outstretched arms, willingly propping his sweaty body above the throngs of appreciative fans. That night music was experienced as a community, as it should be.


o'death: Broken Hymns Limbs and Skin review!

If music was a hard-on, then o'death's new release, Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skin, is it. This is not a casual listen but a hard one. Listener Profile: Risk Taker The exhilaration and exhaustion that succumbs to experiencing o'death live is well known. The instruments, vocals, and power penetrate straight away. Their mix of punk, metal, and roots with Americana corner originality. Influences that morph, not mimic. On Broken Hymns, Limbs & Skin production tricks are not apparent. With the help of Alex Newport, they have captured the gestalt of their live sound and more. 

This recording highlights the robust sound of muscular instrumentation, stellar song structure, and composition, evoking a rollicking acoustic symphony. Every track is constructed with contrasting movements: mock speed, measured nuance, and scaffolding volume. I’ve always had an affinity for string instruments. Bob Pycior plays the fiddle like a lead guitar creating riffs that jolt and intone. The characteristic sappy sound of the fiddle can’t be found here, and good riddance. Greg Jamie’s vocals evoke a subtle swell, rise to a nasal pitch, and segue into guttural channeling that inspires his voice of distinction. Gabe Darling’s awesome vocal accompaniment, ukulele, and banjo playing are staples of the music. The foundational force of o'death's masculine sound is fueled by Jessie Newman’s beefy bass accents and David Rogers Berry’s psycho-punk drum auxiliary of chains, cymbals, and gas tanks. He rears them in with unbridled force. 
It is difficult not to highlight all the songs on this release because the penned words and striking music is alive with death. The intensity of “Fire on Peshitgo” about a historical lake fire where many died, sets the context for the remaining songs dedicated to an individual, Eliza. Her short life ended abruptly but is celebrated and mourned. / and robbing life of dignity / to every desperate end / alone / breathless air / lake on fire / land too /. The lamenting slow tribute “Angeline” is breathtaking in its beauty and honesty / the leaves have turned / your ways have burned / your naked flesh against the sun /. The concluding full-bodied chorus / Angeline / Angeline / all your friends on their hands and knees / tired of your tragedies / is like a joyous funeral music procession. The first track “Lowtide” starts with the ukulele plucking and continues to build in volume with the fiddle strong-arm enunciation. As the drums crash and burn, the vocals rise in pitch, and pathos ends on a pluck. / I plant the face in water / I held her broken feet / I taught the wave that caught her / now she is yours to keep / hang the hardship baby / we go to sleep and then we die/ is the choral interlude of “Grey Sun” and cries out like a folk epic with words that kill, literally. Greg Jamie’s Neil Young-like vocal and Darling’s harmonies are highlighted in “Home,” which slowly begins with the chorus of / home / home / the air I breath / and is broken up by a fiddle interlude scaffolds to a full orchestration emphasizing the urgent chorus. Greg Jamie’s vocal flurry is in nasal overdrive on “Legs to Sin” and catapults into a screaming metal-head. “Mountain Shifts” polka beat lends to the muscular masculine all-band chant that increases with a breathless pace in this experimental song arrangement. / Her hair lays violent / dead in the stream / I hope that she’s peaceful / wherever her body may be /. Bridging the fast to slow sounds of contrast that are brutal “Vacant Moan” combines slow fiddle interludes and chains-hitting cymbals. / I plant my feet / I left the ground / I sought the wind too / I fought this out /. Then adds the most intense fast rant chorus gone haywire. All my / all my / all my own / could have grasped a vacant moan / then the lush of violence / crushed the pride of naked wind / dance the dance of broken veins / by the hand of all attained / left before you all the same / broken from the start /. “Crawl Through Snow” has a rock opera structure, then it softly enters into a divine passage / and on that foggy night / the trees fired up / and grew endless / I held the beast at bay / grew tired / from the light fading /.... ending with an impressive finale of the full orchestration. With Broken Hymns, Limbs & Skin, o'death has moved the music culture forward, displaying their capacity to experiment with what is and evolve into what isn’t. In contrast to death, o'death's music is alive. It breathes and celebrates the importance of living and feeling everything fully. 

Side Note: Jimmy Joe Roche's Packaging design is top-notch. Collage and handwritten lyrics are placed on pages in the likeness of an authentic artist's journal with pasted artifacts, scribbling, and photographs. Starting off organized and evolving into a living document. o'death website and blog!! Myspace


o'death MHOW CD Realease Show

Nothing can compare to the exhilaration and exhaustion during an o’death show. Seriously, I had blisters on my feet from jumping up and down and at one point was thankful that the guard was trained in CPR. The sound was loud and eruptive. o'death played most of their new release Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin, along with some old favorites like “Only Daughter” From Head Home. The familiar drew an insane bump in the pleasure factor, but the new material weighed in heavily, less rhythmic but more muscular. o’death’s original mix of roots / punk / metal transmits energy with a velocity that can rival any strong-armed metal band, but they do it acoustically. Fans of o’death are there for the music exclusively. They are listening and responding with kinetic movements to every bold crash of a cymbal or electric slashing of the fiddle.
Nothing drew more interestingly erratic movement than the polka-like eccentric time changes in the song “Mountain Shifts.” “Vacant Moon” drove the crowd to new heights with an uncontainable burst of acceleration, the slow moments lending to a needed recovery. There were tender and solemn moments when they sang the beautiful but beefy “Grey Sun” and the lovely harmonic “Angeline.” By the night close, the crowd broke out in a wave of frenzy. Each person claimed a wider and more open space, not holding back another minute, while others less risky had to accommodate. I’m always up front next to the stage. So it was fun sharing that time with o’death’s slew of friends. Meagan of the “Yeah Bob” contingent was on my right, and the affable Jessica was on my left. GPphoto passed me his card as I willingly gave up my spot for art. He got a great shot. 

Openers Hoots and Hellmouth did a short set. I enjoyed their set more at the Mercury Lounge, where the sound system showed off their acoustic instrumentation and soulful gospelesque vocals coordinated with a foot-stomp wooden platform. I was told that they really let go on their home turf in Philly by one of their most beautiful and adoring fans Kim.

Below is a video by Krolick Production of the following night at Johnny Brenda’s with o’death.

PitchFork TV, "Low Tide"

Flickr Set o'death Flickr Set Hoots and Hellmouth


Novice Theory Getting UK Love

Novice Theory accordian center stage

I met Geo Wyeth (Novice Theory) at a party and was impressed by his intelligence and articulate description of his music that I made it a point to go to the Trash Bar in Brooklyn to see him. I was overwhelmed and moved and wrote a review entitled "Novice Theory Extraordinary Emerging Talent." I believe that was his first review. A few months later, he did a headlining sold-out show at Joe’s Pub, and I wrote this review, "Novice Theory, The Magic of Delivery." Here in the states, we don’t have DJs on the radio with their fingers on the pulse of the music. We have barometers of taste at Public Radio, emerging Internet sites like Daytrotter, and many dedicated Bloggers giving great music exposure regardless of label status. No nationally televised outlets like Later With Jools Holland are devoted to creating a well-produced segment for the newcomer. I’ll never forget Willy Mason's debut. And now, this incredible debut of Novice Theory. All the musicians I have featured have been very well-received in the UK. The most ravenous example is Willy Mason. Langhorne Slim and o’death have been well received as well. I am grateful to those fans and say thank you.

At Obsession Collection Music, we have written about many under-the-radar artists. What has been satisfying is witnessing their exposure spread around. Novice Theory’s talent is ready for exposure. Here are a few of Obsession Collection Music's most recent UK connections. Drink Up Buttercup 7" Single coming 11.10.08 on Make Mine. Another cool connection is Peasant, whose song “Raise Today” was featured in the TV show “Bones" (premier UK episode). I'm proud of this association with UK native Alex Newport, engineer extraordinaire. read.


o'death "Home" Crackerfarm Video

Another acoustic beach entry from o'death. O’death and Crackerfarm do it again. Straight forward in Black and White on the beach. An acoustic version of the glorious “Home” from Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin to be released in the US October 28th on Kemado Records. Doing this Blog has given me the opportunity to bring great people together and sometimes move the music culture forward. Greg Jamie of o'death did an interview where I was mentioned. I am proud of this! Read interview at Static Multimedia.


o'death Acoustic Crackerfarm style

Crackerfarm's noted videos have their own unique sensibilities. This new video of o'death on a beach in Bermuda playing "Adelita" from their first release Head Home is true to form. Bob Pycior's ravenous fiddle playing is exchanged for a ukulele while David Rogers-Berry squats and beats a washed box ashore with broken branches. A comedy that seriously sounds so good.

                                            The Crackerfarm Aesthetic article and interview


o'death "Lowtide" MP3 Rules

WOW!!!! OK, I knew that o'deaths new recordings from their soon-to-be-released Broken Hymns, Limbs & Skin would be phenomenal, and they are!! With the help of producer Alex Newport, o'deaths amazing live feel is transported with precision and urgency. The authentic quality and robust muscular instrumentation are not lost here. The subtleties on this featured song, "Lowtide" only emphasize the level of intensity that ensues. Proof. Here Recently signed to Kemado Records (North America) City Slang (Europe)


o'death New Song "Home"

During the month of February o’death recorded with Alex Newport (Two Gallants, At The Drive-In, The Locust) behind the boards. They are sharing the song “Home” from Broken Hymns, Limb & Skin to be released sometime this year on their MySpace site.

“Home”, starts off slowly. The chorus of / home, home the air I breath / scaffolds and rises to break through, and breakthrough it does! Listen here.


CMJ Rants and observations

Many criteria for judging performances at CMJ are not authentic if you are a music listener. The controversy about the application process is equally troubling.

1. To be fair to the bands, the sound checks are almost non-existent, and the amount of time to play is very short. There is little time to get into the groove.

2. Seeing a band with an audience of fifteen or less is not the greatest way to judge their ability, musicians often feed off the energy of an audience and play off that dynamic.

3. Some groups are road veterans and are always relaxed and no big deal, another show of many.

4. Some are locals, so just hopping in a cab and meeting bandmates with their instruments is not too stressful. While others travel to perform at these events, hoping to catapult them into a new category of exposure.

5. Then there are different performers, like bands with local fans. Seeing them in this setting is great but an unfair advantage in judgment.

6. Solo and acoustic performers need an exclusive venue for listening.

7. Finally, some bands have been hyped beyond their current capabilities and are bound to disappoint.

I have read much of the coverage of the anticipated main events and lesser-known acts, only to realize that writers are fast to judge and tear down what they have spent so much time hyping. For instance, an act like Dan Deacon has received a slew of press and many new opportunities. I’m sure he is aware of some of the problems created by his insistence on performing on the venue's floor rather than the stage. It is difficult to change midstream, especially when riding on the success that has been a long effort. Changing what has been working is difficult and takes time and thought. He also has a philosophical bent being both a performance artist and composer.

The band Cut off Your Hands traveled from New Zealand and booked many shows to gain exposure and distribute their recordings in the states. They went for it and took a risk; they certainly got their name out there.

I truly understand the reasoning behind un C. Em. J. Music Fest, 07 alternative events catering to the under-21 crowd with good music taste, who are basically shut out from attending many of the shows offered by CMJ. The curated Blogger shows present another alternative. Many of the Bloggers staged events to give exposure to bands they have seen and enjoyed so that others from across the country have the same opportunity.

I wish I lived in closer proximity to Manhattan. Within the year, that will all change but for now, driving for over an hour and parking present obstacles.
I made my outing to two venues The Gothamist House and The Indaba Loft. Both are low-key free events.

Gothamist House
People might find it strange, but I love the band o’death and I love Peasant. It was nice to see Peasant perform before a small attentive crowd and just hear his beautiful voice without any distractions. He followed o’death and most of the crowd walked out before his set. I think that is too bad. It is difficult for acoustic solo performers without a band because people expect instant gratification and theatrics over substance. His voice and song arrangements are beautiful, sincere, and tender and might seem foreign to an older, cynical listener.

To see o’death while s
itting on a couch sipping sparkling water with a twist of lime presented a predicament. I didn’t sit for long. I loved seeing them play in such an intimate and cozy setting. Instantly their style of Appalachian punk with elements of diverse composition altered the surroundings. They played two new songs that sounded wonderful. It was a nice treat to see a tuba player in the mix adding additional flavor to their original and invigorating sound.

Cut Off Your Hands played very loud power pop punk, with emotive vocals that sounded like a mixture of the Cure and Cursive. Seeing them just felt out of place in a small venue during the day. It was as if they were performing for a stadium. Watching the lead singer posturing and
going through MTV video antics made me chuckle. I still enjoyed their lively 4 song set.

Indaba Loft

Indaba was very friendly and relaxing, it really felt like a party. The crowd was getting too comfortable talking, so when Natalie Prass finally arrived for her set after being delayed in traffic, the audience couldn’t stop. That was unfortunate because I liked what I heard, even with a backing band, it was an acoustic sound, so the outside noise couldn’t be drowned out. She has an interesting vocal range and reminds me of Fiest and alt. country great Patty Griffin. Her song arrangements were also quite nice.
I Look forward to hearing more.

I came to Indaba to see Beat Radio, I like Brian Sendrowitz's songwriting and have seen him solo acoustic once before. I’ve been meaning to see the band for a while. I’m happy I did. The sound is very powerful and rich live. There are no rough edges. The music is not slick, it is real, and the musicianship and collaborative spirit of the group are a pleasure to witness. The smart and memorable lyrics are melded into a sonic mix of finger-picking, electronic echoes with an upbeat pulse. My notes read....................
Powerhouse Phil
Jimenez on keys and Guitar. They’ve got chops!

In both venue
s, I found the CMJ networking annoying, like reading while someone is performing a few feet away or talking really loud and not stopping even when there is a quiet moment on set. I think most of the networking can be done between acts. Maybe my networking is more limited, but I accomplished a lot and received an awesome EP from Jukebox The Ghost. I will see them soon!

I ended the evening at the Pink Pony. They have the best reasonably priced home
cooking, a great atmosphere, and a jukebox. I drove home listening to Peasant’s Three songs promotional recording looped all the way. Ahhhh …….Work the next day. Wake up at 6:00.


O'DEATH re-release show at Luna Lounge

The Luna Lounge is a nice square venue with high ceilings and a wide stage. It was the perfect venue for the celebration of o’death’s album “Head Home,” re-released on Ernest Jenning Records, a NY label. Joining them for the festivities was the opener Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band from Indiana. This was the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s first venture to New York, and they said they were a little apprehensive. Well, they were welcomed with open arms, cheers, laughter, and a very heartfelt and enthusiastic encore. The band performed a rip-roaring set of Mississippi Delta blues, catapulting that genre to exemplary levels.

The Reverend Peyton bought three beautiful vintage acoustics for the stage. He fingerpicks and slides simultaneously and uses unusual strumming patterns to create melody and bass drive while singing joyously. He is a guitar virtuoso. It was a joy to watch him smile as he played the guitar as close to his face and ears as possible to hear the beauty of his favorite friend.

Reverend Peyton is a big burly, bearded man with a broad voice. Joining him on the stage was his wife, Washboard Breezy Peyton. Wearing special gloves to hold her metal picks to strum. The washboard provided wonderful zing to the percussion. She is buxom, and her stage presence is refreshingly different. Let's just say her formidable chest size moves with each strum of the washboard, and her facial expressions are animated. Jayme Peyton, the Reverend’s brother, kept the forceful high tin beat with just a snare drum.

The stories in-between song selection was a hoot. Introducing the song “My Cousin’s On Cops” was a great story and a true one. The song got the attention of the Jerry Springer show, and the Big Damn Band was asked to perform it on the show. They, unfortunately, couldn't play that song on air because “Cops” was on a competing network in that time slot. But we heard it in all its glory. Taking out a new guitar, he stated, “I got to warm up the guitar,” which he did immediately. We were also treated to a song about his drunken father, “My Old Man Boogie,” the awesome “Train Song,” a gospel number, and ending, “We Shall Not Be Moved,” a cover protest song Fantastic.

O’death took the stage and the band played through an exhilarating, dynamic sixteen-song set. Leaving the audience in a state of euphoria and then exhaustion. During the set, the audience became enthralled in a ritualistic dance, their bodies limber and letting go completely to the rollicking, kick-ass, and thunderous bluegrass and velocity-driven Appalachian mountain music.

This band is not genre specific. To expand their music, they explore various distinct genres, then edit to synthesize. It has familiar qualities. There are distinct connections to folk roots from eastern European cultures and classic connections like The Band and Neil Young. The recognizable sounds, mixed with the unexpected, create a discourse between the music, past to present. They combine the guitar, bass, banjo, drum, fiddle, and French horn by Dan Sagar, along with the unique vocal styling of Gregory Jamie.

The sound was not deafening and not overbearing like punk or rock that, sometimes sacrifices the voices and instruments for effect. o'death’s sound was loud, but I could still hear the subtlety of the instruments. The drummer David Rogers-Berry is beyond animated. Driving the rhythms to levels of velocity that ebb and flow unexpectedly. The fiddle player Bob Pycior is also the driving force of sound and percussion. His playing is uniquely varied from classical sweeping vignettes to countrified fiddling, with fast and furious bowing that breaks mock speed.
The set started with “Down To Rest,” with a banjo intro by Gabe Darling. The entire audience participated in singing / OH BABY / down to rest /. During the song “O Lee O” Gregory Jamie rose from his seat to speak in tongues, making strange garbled sounds. “Only Daughter” was spectacular live. “Adelita,” featuring fiddle, was aided by the audience singing /head home / head home /. Their voices rose like a chanting chorus. Jamie Gregory’s voice is always upfront, but the unison of all the voices added depth and intensity to the live performance.

I loved the unreleased song they played toward the middle of the set. It started with slow polka timing emphasizing the bass playing of Jessie Newman and highlighting the classical rendering of the fiddle. Without warning, the band played so fast. Beyond fast. It was at that point I lost it. When the song was over, I had to hold on to the edge of the stage to regain my equilibrium. By the thirteenth song, the audience negotiated a three-song encore ending with Rise UP, a big friendly finale. The band stood clapping, chanting, and basically thanking the audience and well-wishers for coming to their CD release show.

This is the kind of band that can go beyond the song. I feel the musicianship could be taken to a level of improvisation, o'death could handle this challenge successfully. I don’t mean a jam band experience, but more of an artistic expression. They could explore live their avant-garde wanderings, almost like an outsider artist whose vision has to be realized.
Ernest Jenning Records(US)

free daytrotter sessions of o'deat