Playing Cornerstone in Berkeley on July 29, this is a fun one. Happy Monday!
I’ve had my eye on Marty O’Reilly for a few years now, and am so happy to see him gaining ground…inch by inch. When he performed on an Outside Lands side stage a few years back, I thought that would be it: goodbye, Mr. O’Reilly–never to perform a small juke joint again. Sadly, my premonition didn’t come to bear, but last year he released his best work yet, Pray for Rain. The album is full-bodied and made with intention; is well engineered, mixed and mastered; and captures the soul (so uniquely American, and innately Californian) hidden in those Santa Cruz mountains. While I wish him many a sold-out Old Mississippi opera house in his future, I’ll selfishly revel in his local intimacy a little while longer.
It’s a long holiday weekend. Many people are heading out of town to camp, attend weddings, or maybe they’ve already been raptured to the Playa. For those of us happy to stay in The City, might I suggest kicking off the Labor Day weekend by listening to the labors of THICK RED WINE at DNA Lounge tomorrow night?
The brainchild of San Francisco’s Mike Wojciechowski, THICK RED WINE pairs the intensity of adolescence with the reflection of grown-ass adulthood. Taken at face value, the music is utterly enjoyable with its simple, repetitious chords and middle school nostalgia pushed through gritty, rambling vocals. As with most things in life, however, you get what you put into it and investing in the THICK RED WINE catalog unearths a depth that can be glossed over if you’re impatient. Some of my favorite moments from Wojciechowski’s last album, Never Wanted To Be Cool, come back to back with “If I Had a Shotgun” and “Never Find the Time” which speak to our generation’s paralysis in the face of seemingly limitless options that are tempered by fewer opportunities. We are eager, we are earnest and we just can’t seem to get over.
I feel this intimately, and Thomas Wolfe’s words “you can’t go home again” often rattle around my brain. Thankfully, THICK RED WINE provides an antidote to the depression Wolfe can trigger. No, we can’t go home again…but we can sure as hell remember it fondly, and we’ll always have our friends. In the last song on Never Wanted To Be Cool, Wojciechowski drops an impressive Marquis de Sade reference (brilliant) and provides a fantastic summary of his music: “I guess the moral to the story is you can’t hope to explain just what it means to be human or grow up or be sane…So I steal pennies from the dirty fountains of my checkered youth, hopin’ someday all these words I write will mean something to you.”
If this last album is any indication, I expect his forthcoming EP–Homesick–will mean much to me (this is, after all, a blog based on nostalgia), and I’m excited to announce Wojciechowski has agreed to be part of the Nostos Algos oral history project, Soundbyte. Tomorrow’s official release of “Marathon”, his first Homesick song, is hosted by Mutiny Radio and is a Bourgeois Productions joint. I will be there, and I will be in it to win it.
Place your paw on the heartbeat of American music at this week’s featured show at Bottom of the Hill tomorrow (that’s Tuesday, 7/30/2013). First up we have Shakey Graves, a visitor from Texas, who makes journeyman bluegrass rocking with southern afternoon rhythms and toe-tapping, tumbling refrains. I tried to pick a single track to give you a taste, but loved the entirety of his album Roll The Bones so much I featured it whole.
Second on tap is The Sam Chase, a former Nostos Nic Pick of the Week. Don’t let the dusty, high-noon-in-the-wild-west aesthetic fool you: this feller serves flawless folk punk centered on his guitar, which “runs on diesel and leaks like the morning after too much Whiskey,” and his vocals, which bring a raw immediacy to his musical mischief.
Finally we have The Creak, a feel-good extenuation of the American musical tradition; this is modern bluegrass at it’s best, true to its roots yet proud of the present as showcased in the band’s epic cover art and clever lyrics. The Creak’s album Here, Hold This is sweet, subtle and instantly addictive in a way that will have you humming and air-strumming in the unawares.
Playing Brick & Mortar Music Hall: Monday, 7/15/2013.
Playing The Independent: Thursday, 7/18/2013.
Playing Bottom of the Hill: Friday, 7/19/2013.
Playing The Independent: Friday, 7/19/2013.
Playing Cafe Du Nord: Saturday, 7/20/2013.
Playing Bottom of the Hill: Saturday, 7/20/2013.
Playing Bottom of the Hill with Papa: Saturday, 7/20/2013.
Playing Bottom of the Hill: Sunday, 7/21/2013.
Playing Bottom of the Hill, Tuesday, 5/28/2013.
Playing Bottom of the Hill with Suuns, Tuesday, 5/28/2013.
Playing Rickshaw Stop, Tuesday, 5/28/2013.
Playing The Fox Theater in Oakland, Wednesday, 5/29/2013.
Playing Great American Music Hall, Wednesday, 5/29/2013.
Playing The Independent, Wednesday, 5/29/2013.
Playing The Independent, Friday, 5/31/2013.
Playing The Independent with The Sam Chase, Friday, 5/31/2013.
Playing Hemlock Tavern, Saturday, 6/1/2013.
Playing Cafe du Nord, Monday, 5/20/2013.
Playing Cafe du Nord with Jeremy Messersmith, Monday, 5/20/2013.
Playing Great American Music Hall, Tuesday, 5/21/2013.
Playing the Elbo Room, Wednesday, 5/22/2013.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall, Thursday, 5/23/2013.
Playing Great American Music Hall, Thursday, 5/23/2013.
Playing Slim’s, Thursday, 5/23/2013.
Playing Slim’s with The Detroit Cobras, Thursday, 5/23/2013.
Playing Cafe du Nord, Friday, 5/24/2013.