Tag Archives: NYC

Ian Fischer & The Present – S/T

Recorded in a better than biblical 5 days. 12 hours of recording per day, with pastime activities including everything from shooting beer cans with bb guns (a personal favorite activity of mine when I was still in NC) to eating the mythical ‘Oberle’ dogs. All taking place on a small red tin cabin owned and run by family. If this doesn’t at least get you intrigued, than I really do not see much hope in you anyways. However for those who see an appeal to this story of rural serenity and isolated contemplation, then the “globetrotting young folk/americana duo from the banks of the Mississippi” known as Ian Fischer & The Present (a Mr. Ryan Thomas Carpenter) should satisfy that thirst.

With a laundry list of former homes and memories in cities far and wide including St. Louis, Vienna, New York and Berlin, Ian Fischer has done more traveling in his short career than most individuals accomplish in their entire lifetime. Incorporating honest lyrics and an unabashed voice, in combination with The Present’s  harmonies and soul, Ian Fischer & The Present have made some waves within the international community purely based upon their live performances. Now with their self titled release, which was engineered, mixed, mastered and produced by a Mr. Ben Majchrzak, Ian Fischer & The Present hope to take this raw emotional connection onto a produced format, a task which proves particularly dangerous and risky when approaching folk and folk revival.

The release then, I am glad to say, can confidently assert that this objective has been achieved. From the ever quickening, like running through the woods, of “Change of Heart” to the more remorseful “Fear“, the self titled release is able to maintain an authenticity to folk without reproducing or beating a dead horse. Rather, it takes a global experience and incorporates into a hyper-localized format, aka folk, a format which has identified particular populations for generations. Thus taking a cultural identifiable art form and attempting to apply an international history into the mix is a welcome step forward. This release just goes to show a couple of guys with an open mind to the world as well as a Mississippi sense of modesty and humility, a welcomed experience to those seeking a refuge. Beer cans, bb guns, and ‘Oberle‘ dogs: sounds delightful. Grab a download and enjoy.

– Cliff

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Fang Island – Major

9 days ago, Brooklyn’s own Fang Island released their sophomore album, Major, to a gleeful audience excited for more after their debut, S/T full length and teaser Single, “Sisterly“. Admittedly, I was nervous after hearing the “Sisterly” single: it felt as though everything that made them fun to see live had been replaced with…well…FUN (the band). However, after listening to the album, Major, as a whole, I couldn’t be more wrong, a point to which others have taken quick notice of. There’s plenty of other, professional music reviews you can take a look at however my favorite quote is probably from the brilliant crew over at Vice, “As an album, if I had to give Major a rank, I would promote it to General.”

As the album artwork hints at, Major is one hefty, monolithic and just plain regal experience. Compared to their S/T, to which Fang Island described as, “everyone high-fiving everyone,” Major is a far more confident triumphant experience with just a dash of youthful exuberance. As guitarist/vocalist Jason Bartell explains, “One of our core ideas has always been that our songs would be all of your favorite parts of the song that other bands make you wait 8 minutes to get to… We wanted to be the band that’s nothing but your favorite hooks back to back.” I thought they had already achieved that with their S/T release but I guess Major has put any doubt to shame.

However, to give a quick run-down about why you should even care about this particular album, here’s an explanation by Chris Georges (guitarist) on some of the multitude of reasons why they named their sophomore album “Major“:
“- Major key dominant (though the first song is minor)
– Valley girl colloquialism
– Because we (Fang Island) are on an independent label
– Because the rank under Sargent (House) is major
– It sounds like a constellation
Steely Dan’sAny Major Dude” was in rotation a lot during the sessions
– The record is packaged to look like stone because it’s ROCK. I really wanted people to hold a piece of rock when they picked up the record.”

I really don’t know how to follow an explanation like that. Despite to say, if you want to truly experience the joy, don’t just stop with the one song streaming on this site, pick up a copy (MP3, CD, LP) or, better yet, catch them live as they go all across the US, pairing up with the likes of Adebisi Shank and Zechs Marquise, including Austin, TX with the “Fun Fun Fun Fest“. It’s great to see a sophomore album actually expand in the right direction from a freshmen album and Major certainly lives up to the description. Well done though last complaint… why not Philadelphia?!

FANG ISLAND Summer 2012 Tour:
08/02 Salt Lake City, UT @ Vertigo *
08/03 Boise, ID @ Neurolux *
08/04 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre *
08/05 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
08/07 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
08/10 Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour *!
08/11 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar !
08/12 Phoenix, AZ @ The Rhythm Room *!
08/13 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress *!
08/14 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad *!
08/16 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada !
08/17 Austin, TX @ Mohawk !
08/18 Volente, TX @ Beachfront Boat Studios
08/19 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live – Studio !
08/20 New Orleans, LA @ Parish at House of Blues !
08/21 Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree !
08/22 Gainesville, FL @ Double Down Live !
08/23 St. Petersburg, FL @ The Local 662 !
08/24 Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits !
08/25 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade !
08/26 Asheville, NC @ Asheville Music Hall !
08/28 Raleigh, NC @ Kings !
08/29 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter !
08/30 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg !
11/01 – 11/03 Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest (exact date TBA)

* w/ Zechs Marquise
! w/ Adebisi Shank

Track list:
01. Kindergarten
02. Sisterly
03. Seek it Out
04. Make Me
05. Never Understand
06. Asunder
07. Dooney Rock
08. Regalia
09. Chompers
10. Chime Out
11. Victorinian

On the Web:
http://www.fangisland.com/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/

– Cliff

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Food Will Win The War – “Chester Street”

It’s been a slow and dreary winter. True, there hasn’t been any major snow storms or the like around Philadelphia yet maybe that’s exactly what is so tenuous about this current moment: I feel anxious and excitable purely because there’s nothing going on when I know there should be. And perhaps it is this sensation that Food Will Win The War best captures. A Brooklyn based group with alternative-folk influences the like of Lost in the Trees meets Manchester Orchestra (which, personally, makes me ecstatic as they share so much similarities to good olde, North Carolina acts, aka, my home state.) For your enjoyment then, I present “Chester Street“.

A jingly number with clear dark undertones, the track provides a grand glimpse to their album as a whole, A False Sense of Warmth. First off, I can’t help stating that I love the duet combo of voices, with the elegant, country-esque raspyness matched by grumbling monotone along the lines of Beat Happening or the Halo Benders. What I am also amazed by is the pure size of the band. Now do not get me wrong, theres plenty of large band acts yet what fascinates me about this group, particularly with this track, is that no instrument is left mindlessly in the background. Each plays an important role, whether the xylophone’s light prances, the organ’s Clinic like ambience, to the violin quietly exploring all the intricacies imaginable with the current harmony.

I can get lost with my words, as you can imagine from my last paragraph. Despite to say that this is a truly promising act which seems to be taking a formula which has long been overdone and abused and provided a sense of practicalness to it. Sometimes the most anxious moments of our lives are those where we simply wait for the inevitable to occur and no one quite depicts this feeling with such elegance as Food Will Win The War. So take a listen and take a look through one of their other songs, “Closer to Water“, for some cheery, holiday goodness.

Chester Street – Food Will Win The War

– Cliff

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