When we talk about singer/songwriter music, the word “intimate” pops up frequently. It makes sense, of course, since they tend to talk about things that are private or closely personal, but after a while, the word starts to feel redundant. With that being said, though, I can’t think of any other way to describe Leif Vollebekk’s set this afternoon. He’s using the same ingredients as many of his peers, but it still comes out feeling fresh, genuine, and yes, very intimate. Continue reading →
Singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet’s music is steeped in history. Whether it be the San Francisco-centric Temple Beautiful or the personal tales on 2014’s Night Surfer, there’s a palpable reverence for the past that can’t be ignored. The rock & roll tradition is constantly being reimagined and reinterpreted, and Chuck is just one of many reshaping it in his image. His latest, Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins, is sure to continue on that trajectory. On record, he’s usually joined by a full band, but one man and his guitar were more than enough to satisfy the Free At Noon audience this Friday afternoon. Continue reading →
Things got loud at the final Free at Noon concert of 2016. Philadelphia power trio Purling Hiss, fronted by dynamic guitarist Mike Polizze, tore through a 45-minute set centered around its eighth studio LP High Bias but drew from all corners of its career. The set opened with a burst of feedback and then “Learning Slowly,” an infectious song from its 2014 record Weirdon. The song is built around a racing motorcycle riff and is a testament to the band’s sense of heritage — behind the squeals and squalor, Polizze and the Hiss write songs strongly informed by classic 70s rock riffs and structures.
As the set proceeded, that contrast was underscored — howling noise of cuts like “3000 AD” and the cranky “Teddy’s Servo Motors” sat alongside poppy burners like “Fever” and the sing-along-able “Follow You Around.” There’s a bit of a Sex Pistols sneer in High Bias, and a touch of 80s college rock — evidenced by the band’s cover of “Green Eyes” by Hüsker Dü. Continue reading →
Matt Pond PA‘s music was made for the long drive home, for the precious little time spent with family. The music off his new record Winter Lives evokes images of snow-capped pines and valleys dusted in white. His lyricism evokes imagery of a world that, while rife with problems, is still beautiful. His music, especially from this latest record, instills a belief that there is somehow still love out there, a belief, foremost, in people.
That belief shone throughout his Free at Noon set; starting with “In Winter” he made the room warm up with lyrics like “the cold will bring us close”, a welcome sentiment in a time where, frighteningly, everyone feels slightly more distant than usual. “The Glow,” a song written for Pond’s mother, was rife with vibrant guitar, and painted a beautiful picture of a family and all its messy dynamics in the dead of winter. Songs like “So Much Trouble”, “Love To Get Used” and “Halloween” showed Pond’s take on all the vicissitudes of life; humans, as it turns out, are still complicated. Continue reading →
One powerful, acrobatic voice is great. Two, however, is a lot better; that’s just simple math. Muddy Magnolias, the singer/songwriter project of Nashvillians Jessy Wilson and Kallie North, is a prime example of this, and their debut album Broken People is the proof. It’s a soulful eleven track set, and it sounds just as good, if not better, live.
After kicking things off with the somber, intense spiritual “Down By The Riverside”, they launched into the album’s fiery title track with its rousing hook of “Do you go to bed hungry?”. Wilson and North began their relationship as drinking buddies, and that chemistry translates onstage, especially on playful, feel-good tracks like conscious single “Brother What Happened?” and lively Doobie Brothers cover “Alright”. Continue reading →
With 2016 coming to its hotly anticipated close, it’s about time we got a little sentimental. The eve of yearly self-reflection is upon us, and with that in mind, maybe some sad, slow country songs from The Secret Sisters were just what the doctor ordered. Laura and Lydia Rogers were self-deprecating throughout, calling their music “depressing,” but they backed it up with a passionate, arresting performance that I’ll be thinking about into the new year. Continue reading →
The Pretenders made the Free at Noon stage their second home, blazing through a set filled with some old and new tunes, all in the name of the band’s comeback release Alone. After keeping quiet for a good couple years (last releasing a record in 2008), these English/American legends blessed the world with the recent release of their new full-length and announcement of an extensive tour with the one and only Stevie Nicks. Lucky for us, World Cafe Live got a sneak preview of what’s to come for the legendary group.
Every week has a weekend. And after all the yelling, accusing, and all-out Facebook warfare of last week, maybe a psychedelic dance band from Australia is exactly what the doctor ordered. It was for me, at least, and Friday afternoon at World Cafe Live, Jagwar Ma filled that prescription to a T. Continue reading →
Two of Indie-Rock’s finest will put out their ten-track LP I Had A Dream That You Were Mine on September 23rd under Glassnote Records. Hamilton Leithauser formerly of The Walkmen and Rostam Batmanglij who left Vampire Weekend this past January have collaborated before, but this will be the first time they release work under the name Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam.
Fittingly, the album as a whole invites listeners into the neo-blues/rock dreamscape born of the collaboration between these established musicians. The introductory track of the album, “A 1000 Times,” eases listeners into the hazy world created by I Had A Dream That You Were Mine with Leithauser’s nostalgic vocals worthy of any lullaby accompanied by twinkling piano notes played by Batmanglij. As the narration continues, the mood of each track grows increasingly more persistent in regards to the love interest that Leithauser seems to have been pursuing for some time now. Continue reading →
Based on their super casual demeanor and lead singer Andrew Davie’s repeatedly thanking the crowd for attending- you would never know that UK-based duo Bear’s Den accumulates an impressive 1 million listeners per month on Spotify.
The duo, consisting of Andrew Davie as the lead vocalist/guitarist and the multi-instrumental Kev Jones, was backed by an impressive four man band at today’s Free at Noon concert. The band was promoting their sophomore album Red Earth and Pouring Rain which was released on July 22. With the rise in popularity of folk-rock, it is easy for Americana inspired bands to get overlooked because of the influx of other groups also falling into this genre. Not Bear’s Den, Davies put a truly poetic spin on the typical themes of lost love and navigating adulthood. Lyrics like “There will still be a trace of our love left behind in the dew upon the vine” from Dew on the Vine and “I was too young to understand the flowers slipping from your hands” from their international hit Above the Clouds of Pompeii were enough to catch the ear of any prose enthusiasts in the crowd. Onlookers was mesmerized for the entirety of the thirty-minute set. Not a sound was made anywhere in the room except in between songs at which time the crowd enthusiastically whistled and cheered for the bashful men on stage. Continue reading →