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Manchester Orchestra, Balance and Composure and Kevin Devine leave The TLA speechless

Manchester Orchestra | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com
Manchester Orchestra | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

Last month Atlanta-based indie rock band Manchester Orchestra released their fourth studio album, Cope, via Favorite Gentlemen, the band’s own independent label. To support their new record, the band has been on an extensive spring tour of the US and Canada with Doylestown’s Balance and Composure as well as Kevin Devine (who’s also in Bad Books, band with Manchester’s frontman Andy Hull).

The tour sold out two nights at the Theater of the Living Arts well in advance, and as soon as the doors opened on night two, the crowd rushed inside and two the front. Devine appeared on stage first, dancing and clapping his hands, getting the crowd pumped to songs such as “Cotton Crush” and “I Could Be With Anyone”. Throughout his set, Devine jumped up, down and across the stage, always rushing back to the microphone to make sure he didn’t miss a lyric. He closed his set with “Brother’s Blood,” performed full band, leaving the crowd in awe.

Next to take the stage was melodic indie-rock band Balance and Composure, on tour in support of their second LP The Things We Think We’re Missing, which was released last year via No Sleep Records. Opening their set with “Quake” off of their first LP, Separation, Balance made a perfect entrance. A majority of the set drew from their newest record including singles “Reflection” and “Tiny Raindrop.”  On stage, the band used fog machines which might have made it difficult to see the band members, but it did enhance their set aesthetically. Closing with two new songs, Balance and Composure played a powerful set championing their latest material.

Manchester Orchestra opening their headlining set with the acoustic track “Deer”, the first song off of their LP, Simple Math, and the crowd was instantly covered with goose bumps. Playing a different set than the night before, the band played an interesting array of songs, including a Bad Books song with Kevin Devine. Promoting their new record, Cope, Manchester Orchestra performed “Top Notch,” as well as album title track, which the crowd enjoyed (based off of the crowd surfing and the mosh pit). The set closed with slower songs “Virgin” and the title track from Simple Math (which they did not play the night before). After their set, the crowd cheering “one more song” for several minutes chanting for an encore that never came – the sound engineer announced after fifteen minutes that the show was over and asked the crowd to leave. Even so, Manchester Orchestra played a tremendous set that left me and the audience speechless.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust at Boot & Saddle, Kevin Devine at Musikfest Cafe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band at World Cafe Live and more

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust | photo via www.facebook.com/leeranaldoandthedust
Lee Ranaldo and the Dust | photo via www.facebook.com/leeranaldoandthedust

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust headline Boot & Saddle tonight.  The founding member Sonic Youth has created an impressive solo career over the last couple of decades, most recently releasing Between the Times and the Tides in 2012 (ahead of an XPoNential Music Festival appearance) and Last Night on Earth in 2013.  In-between, Ranaldo has performed the works of John Cage in intriguing and experimental ways (check out an interview about it here).  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Steve Gunn can be found here.  Watch Ranaldo and his band perform “Lecce, Leaving” on Conan below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kevin Devine at Union Transfer, Rosu Lup at Milkboy, Devin Tuel at Tin Angel and more

Photo credit: Sean O'Kane Photography
Photo by Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

Indie rock singer-songwriter Kevin Devine plays Union Transfer tonight. Devine put out two new records last month on his own label, showing two distinct sides to himself - Bubblegum is an amped-up rock and roll collection, while Bulldozer comes from a singer-songwriter direction.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Watch the video for “Bubblegum” below.

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Stream two new songs by Kevin Devine (playing Union Transfer on November 21st)

Photo credit: Sean O'Kane Photography
Photo credit: Sean O’Kane Photography

Singer-songwriter, guitarist, and indie rock and roller Kevin Devine has been one busy fellow. He’s got two new collections of music on the way with his group, The Goddamn Band. Both albums – Bulldozer, and Bubblegum – are being released on his own label Devinyl Records.

Bubblegum, produced by Jesse Lacey of Brand New, is a full on rock and roll record. Bulldozer was produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliot Smith, Beck) and reveals the more singer-songwriter side of Devine’s talents. There’s quite a difference between the two records; what threads them together however is Devine’s excellent songwriting talents. With his latest records, not only does Devine continue his streak of making excellent music, he’s become quite the business person as well, starting his own label and raising over $100,000 on Kickstarter to make his records. There’s an excellent interview with Kevin that you can read here on Purevolume. however when asked what drove him to self-release the two album, he said:

I wasn’t super satisfied with the experience I had with the most recent record label I worked with and I also have enough self-awareness to see that they were the sixth record label i’ve worked with over six albums in ten years so the fault doesn’t lie exclusively with them. There’s either something about what I do or the way I do it where it doesn’t seem to connect in the best way with the traditional structure. I think that also has something to do with the fact that these places are financially struggling and I’m not the kind of person who would make a label a lot of money at this point in my career.

I kind of thought the crowd-funding thing was interesting but I had a whole mess of fear based somewhat ethical concerns. Most of which I addressed pretty explicitly in the essay that accompanies the Kickstarter campaign but I ultimately decided to do it because I wanted to do something different and see if either A, I was super misguided in thinking I had the kind of connection with the audience that I thought I had or B, I was correct in assuming that they’re not concerned where the records come out label-wise as long as I keep making them and playing shows and thankfully the latter was what ended up happening.

Devine and The Goddamn Band play Union Transfer on Thursday, November 21st. Go here for tickets. Below, listen to “Fiscal Cliff,” and “Bloodhound.”

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Collaboration and camaraderie with Bad Books and The Front Bottoms at World Cafe Live (photos, review, video)

For three bands some critics might consider to have a cult following, Bad Books, The Front Bottoms and Weatherbox certainly seemed like superstars as they played to a sold-out crowd last night at World Café Live.

Fans got to the venue ere there and stayed late. California rockers Weatherbox opened the show, followed by eclectic indie group The Front Bottoms. Formerly a two-piece, they stormed the stage with their new full-band line-up, and had most of the crowd screaming along to hits like “The Beers,” “Flashlight” and “Swimming Pool” word for word.

The full-band approach freed explosive drummer Mat Uychich from vocal responsibilities, allowing him to wow locals with what he does best. The Jersey band also played a new song “Twin-sized Mattress,” which started out eerily but showed off the band’s new dynamic with prominent electric guitar licks and solos. Continue reading →