Yuengling and Brooklyn Brewery Present
Mercy Lounge 10-Year Anniversary Party feat. JEFF the Brotherhood, Tristen, Wild Cub, Richie & morePop/Rock
JEFF the Brotherhood
Jake and Jamin Orrall, aka JEFF The Brotherhood, are seen by many to be latter-day pioneers of the Nashville rock scene, but they see themselves as brothers who can't remember not playing music together for fun. Their family-owned, vinyl-centered record label, Infinity Cat Recordings, has been a pillar of support for Nashville bands since 2002 (with 60 releases to date) and was named "Nashville's Best Record Label 2010" by the Nashville Scene. But their first love has always been the Brotherhood known as JEFF.
“If someone says, ’That’s a trite, pop chord progression that everybody uses and it always sounds cheesy, then I want to try and use that, and make it sound good,” Tristen says. It’s that kind of contrarian spirit and confident moxie that makes the Nashville-based singer-songwriter stand head and shoulders above her Music City peers.
Nashville-based? Singer-songwriter? … Goes by her first name? Do those terms fill your head with expectations of a precious, pint-sized female crooning middle-of-the-road pop with a precious tear-in-beer twang? Well, don’t let them. Because, beyond Tristen’s sharp-witted lyrical savvy and sophisticated song-craft, her innate ability to defy expectations will leave you hanging on her every note, even in Nashville.
“I’m not from here,” she says of the city she migrated to in 2007. “We didn’t wear so many dresses where I came from,” she goes on, explaining how she pulls much inspiration from the blue-collar suburb south of Chicago where she grew up. “When you have to struggle for everything that you have, when you actually start getting opportunities, you’re going to make sure to be completely prepared for them.”
How the singer immersed herself in Nashville, building up her chops and experimenting with ideas in a competitive incubator of exceptional musicians and songwriters, while waiting tables and living hand to mouth to tour on a shoestring budget shaped the songs and sounds on her earthy, acclaimed 2011 debut, Charlatans at the Garden Gate. But if Charlatans was the story of Tristen finding her voice in Nashville, the singer’s stunning new album CAVES is the sound of her defining that voice for the world, and setting it to some sleek, synth-pop-inspired tones, once again defying expectations.
In much the same way, “Forgiveness,” off the album, is hardly a song about forgiveness. “That’s my ’angry girl’ song,” she jokes, explaining that the song was actually inspired by an interview she heard with punk rocker/ writer/ pundit and pillar of male aggression, Henry Rollins, in which he says he forgives his dad by not finding him and beating him in the face with a hammer.
Not all of the songs on CAVES are as openly confrontational as “Forgiveness.” Relentlessly infectious opening track “No One’s Gonna Know” — which sounds like Kim Carnes taking on latter-day Leonard Cohen — is about gangsters. “Monster” is a menacing, minor-tinged stomper about having multiple personalities. By contrast, the gorgeous, lulling “Island Dream” plays like a spacey, sonic mini movie about existential dread and “searching for answers and not getting any.”
There are break-up songs on the album, too, like “Easy Out” and “Catalyst.” While songs like “House of War” and “Dark Matter” are sociological critiques about “being a terrible American,” she says. “Winter Night” — the album’s moody, resplendent centerpiece — was inspired by the Boris Pasternak poem of the same name.
Although, lyrically, CAVES covers a wide breadth of thematic territory, the album is unified by an aesthetic concept: She wanted to make a synth-pop record that combined Charlatans’ rootsy foundation by casting objects of obsessive Reagan-era influences like Kate Bush, Eurythmics and Echo and the Bunnymen in her own singular image.
“At first I wanted to make a dance record,” she says. “That’s where my headspace was. … I wanted to challenge the acoustic reverence of the Americana music world and I wanted to piss off the old folkies. Is there something wrong with that?”
Looking into Tristen’s backstory, it’s a musical Frankenstein that makes sense. “[Growing up] I had a Dolly Parton greatest hits album that I listened to on repeat,” she recalls. “That and Madonna’s Immaculate Collection, I always loved Madonna. And that’s actually why I wanted to be just ’Tristen,’ because I picked that up when I was 14 — [that’s when] I started writing songs.”
Later, much in the same away, she says a childhood obsession with ’60s girl-group pop and the Beatles would blossom into an adult obsession with classic singer-songwriter troubadours and legendary art-rock pioneers. “I would want to be an amalgam of Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Dolly Parton,” she says.
With a stellar set of songs locked and loaded for CAVES, the singer tapped luminaries from both ends of that musical spectrum to achieve a very specific goal. “I wanted to mix synthesizers with string arrangements and electronic drums with live drums so that you couldn’t tell which was which — I wanted people that were anti-digital to listen to it and not be able judge its authenticity by its acoustics,” she explains.
So, after tracking the record in Nashville with guitarist/husband Buddy Hughen and a hand-picked host of A-list Nashville indie-rock session vets, like Ben Folds drummer Sam Smith, she took the tracks to Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis, who recorded Tristen’s own lush string arrangements at his ARC Recording Studios in Omaha, Nebraska. And to achieve an authentic synth-pop sheen, she enlisted famed New Order, Pet Shop Boys and OMD producer Stephen Hague, a pioneer in the field of digital recording to mix. “That was a game-changer,” she says. “Stephen gave the recordings dimension.”
“Tristen is a rare combination,” says Hague. “The lyrics of a real artist, the voice of a pop star, and the focus of someone who will always bring her A-game. It was a real pleasure for me working with someone who always has her eye on the bigger picture, and is always willing to try different approaches to the work.”
Tristen is releasing CAVES on October 15 on her own PUPsnake records via ThirtyTigers.
A little over a year and a half ago, songwriter/composer Keegan DeWitt and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock stripped down a small Nashville row house to build a custom studio. In this space, and together with friend and drummer/producer Dabney Morris, they would record and eventually form a five-piece band around their debut album Youth. Initially shared digitally a little over a year ago, the album will now see a wide release through Mom+Pop on December 10th, 2013 as infectious debut single "Thunder Clatter" sits in rotation on SiriusXM's AltNation.
Their vision was simple: to share songs akin to fleeting, auditory memories. A collection of 13 captured moments, much like a found box of letters and photographs, Youth serves as a loose examination of how life refines us as we move through it, how the choices made along the way shape us in potentially unexpected ways. Mixing programmed sounds and live performances – and recorded in less than two months – each song was run through a TASCAM 4-track cassette tape recorder to maintain an intimate, diary-like feel. The lyrics scatter and focus, abstract and refine, encapsulating the elusive feelings of small moments cast aside, such as late night drives, the limitlessness of falling in love, and the freedom of finding a true friend or co-conspirator in an immense and sometimes empty world. The album transitions seamlessly between infectious electro-pop, tropical rhythms, and quiet washes of cinematic new wave reflection. It's this evocative, cinematic quality that characterizes Wild Cub's songs, influenced heavily by DeWitt's extensive work in composing film scores (including 2013's Academy Award-winning short documentary Inocente; 2013's Sundance Audience Award for Best of NEXT winner This Is Martin Bonner; and 2010's Cold Weather).
Since its initial small release, press and touring around Youth has mounted steadily and surely. Paste, Consequence Of Sound, MTV Hive, and The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog ('12 Acts to Watch at the 2012 CMJ Music Marathon') all shortly took notice. Things began to take on a break-neck pace of their own in early 2013, with Wild Cub performing at designer Rebecca Minkoff's Fall '13 NY Fashion Week show, snagging NylonMag.com's 'Band Crush' stamp and major support from influential station KEXP ("…[Wild Cub's] brand of darkly-tinged new wave recalls elements of the youthful abandon of John Hughes soundtracks, the baleful allure of Greg Dulli, and the clockwork electronics of New Order's middle period"), while "Thunder Clatter" was highlighted in Entertainment Weekly's 'Singles Swap' feature. Youth gained notable UK press attention at this time from Clash Music, The Guardian, The Line Of Best Fit, and Top Shop, as Wild Cub's tracks, remixes, and visually arresting videos continued to premiere in the States on sites including InterviewMagazine.com, RollingStone.com, Noisey, and SPIN.com, among others. The band completed its first two US tours and hit festivals like SXSW (playing eight shows), Hangout Fest, and Lollapalooza (including a sold-out afterparty with UK stand-outs Palma Violets), while Alt Nation began championing Wild Cub as DJ Jeff Regan independently added "Thunder Clatter" to heavy rotation. Roughly 18 months since recording the first rough sketches of Youth in that row house in Nashville, Wild Cub headlined a brimming crowd at New York's Bowery Ballroom after selling out both the Mercury Lounge and Glasslands a few months prior.
In addition to fall festival dates that include a stop at Austin City Limits, Wild Cub will travel to the UK for two debut London shows in November, where "Thunder Clatter" has made waves on the Spotify Viral and iTunes Top Singles charts after soundtracking a Bose ad. Youth's wide release through Mom+Pop will also include two bonus tracks, "Blacktide" and "Lies."
Wild Cub is: Keegan DeWitt (vocals/guitar), Jeremy Bullock (guitar/synths), Dabney Morris (drums), Harry West (bass), and Eric Wilson (keys/synths).
“Dave, tell ’em about your wrestling record”
“Three wins, sixteen defeats. Beat the same kid twice. Lost to the state champion in six seconds”
Clearly, the Turbo Fruits are not athletes. They are, however, a rock n roll band and one that could likely take your state rock & roll champion to the mat in less time than it takes to cue up a record. What the Nashville, Tennessee quartet lack in physical adeptness they make up for in wild abandon and unfettered debauchery; in buzzsaw guitars and pummeling, primal rhythms. And they STILL look good in a unitard and head gear. Okay, that might not be true – we haven’t tested that theory yet, there wasn’t quite enough beer, there may never be enough beer – but they are definitely one of the most visceral rock groups in America, as is evidenced on their new album Butter.
Recorded in eight days in Austin, Texas with Spoon’s Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio, Butter is the follow up to their 2009 Fat Possum album Echo Kid and the 2007 Ecstatic Peace debut. It’s a spastic, slab of fun-filled fury, a double-live-gonzo Athena busting out of The Flaming Groovies’ Teenage Head, thrashing it’s way through punk, surf, and power-pop and leaving a wake of blown minds and melted faces. Y’know, like a rock record is supposed to do.
Butter is the product of 200 days a year in the van, sleeping on floors, accumulating the kind of stories you would never, ever tell your grandkids. Butter is the product of two years spent cranking out singles for their own Turbo Time Records, the product of organizing their annual ocean-bound rock & roll party The Bruise Cruise. Butter is the product of busting their asses the way most bands pull bong rips. Butter is a wild, raw record for the kind of folks that aren’t ashamed to get loose, get sweaty and get down.
Now let’s see if the state wrestling champion can beat that.
Clear Plastic Masks
Brooklyn NY | Rock
Clear Plastic Masks formed in August of 2011 in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. Long time friends, gigging and recording proceeded naturally leading to three tours in a year through the rust belt down to New Orleans. In December of 2011 and April of 2012 the band stopped to record a 7 inch and later a full album with Andrija Tokic at The Bomb Shelter in Nashville, TN.
Rooted in the blue collar analog tradition of work a day rock n roll, the band strives always to be cracking the proverbial whip.
Andrew Katz -Vocals/Guitars/Keys
Eduardo DuQuesne - Bass/keys
Matt Menold - Guitars/Keys
Charles Garmendia - Drums
Magnolia Sons is a nostalgic rock and soul group based out of Nashville, Tennessee. They are a 12-piece supergroup composed of artists and musicians from all over the United States. Their music is a tribute to the vintage sound of classic rock and soul from the 1960's and 1970's created by writers Austin Aguirre and Benjamin A. Harper. In the time of the resurgence of record collections, Magnolia Sons is both a throwback and a breath of fresh air. Inspired by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops and the Temptations, Magnolia Sons have a sound that harkens back to the sound of 60's soulsters and American Band Stand, and as a 12 piece, they definitely fit the retro profile. While many older fans will recognize the sound from their own record collections, it is new for many of their younger fans who can be found dancing along to the catchy tunes at many of Nashville's venues.
Black Sea Royalty
Raw, unfiltered truth. That’s the best way to describe Black Sea Royalty. They aren’t just another rock and roll band. Yes, they like to play loud, but that’s only to make sure that you get the message. And you don’t want to miss what they have to say. Their cinematic outlook and songwriting mixed with their raw skill and emotion that builds from the ground up is what drives their debut self-titled EP. Full of heavy hitting drums, energetic guitar riffs and melodies and lyrics that tap into your emotions and make you feel more alive than ever before, this debut album is only the beginning of a long adventure for this Nashville quartet. Made up of Nashville implants Jon Marc Winchester (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Sammy Mitchell (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Jordan Williamson (Drums) and Matt Green (Bass, Vocals) their music is captivating because they didn’t write for any specific genre. Instead, they focused on what they loved and the rest came naturally. Riding the release of their debut EP, 2013 is going to be a busy year for the group. Black Sea Royalty is passionate about expanding their reach by touring regionally and nationally, consistently releasing new material, and focusing on forming relationships with new listeners.
His penchant for dark and clever wordplay above eerily-cheery melodies, begs there may be a few twisted stories from his past that we've yet to hear.
Similar to what has often been said of Belle and Sebastian's earlier works, More Strange News From Another Star captures a distinct vintage quality channeled from some non-existent folk music period of decades past. Often referenced to Paul Simon in vocal range and use of textured percussion, Wallace's writing showcases a similar love of African music and Gospel harmonies. But more often than not, his band heads into the more ramshackle, go-for-broke qualities of the early Kinks. A kind of Rock and Roll bred with cacaphony that balances eerily well beneath Wallace's falsetto.
Evan P. Donohue
Nashville TN | Pop
"The most immediate comparison one is likely to make in describing fresh-faced local power-popper Evan P. Donohue is to Elvis Costello. And the reason isn’t just the glasses. Like the early material of the bespectacled king of brainy geek-rock, Donohue’s songs are literate hyper-pop anthems for the brokenhearted. The biggest difference is that where Costello espoused a palpable anger and bravado in his songwriting, Donohue has a carefree air of romanticism to his lovelorn pining. Fans of nervy awk-rock from favorites of the Stiff Records catalog to pre-Y2K Weezer should take notice."
- Nashville Scene