Lush harmonies. Equal parts folk and rock. Nature, justice, and the fire and ice of relationships. Mirah melded these qualities into a glorious brew in a return to her hometown on Saturday at Boot & Saddle. The sold-out crowd was treated to a 16-song trip through her career. Mirah showcased many highs from her recorded and live existence, from the opening selection of the chilling “Bones & Skin” and the lovely cover of Old Time Relijun’s “Lion Tamer” to the South American sounds flowing through “The Dogs of B.A.”
Backed by the strings and keys of L. Alex Guy (aka Led to Sea) and percussionist Andrew Maguire, Mirah also unveiled some songs from her forthcoming record. With a few understandable hiccups that come with performing new work, the new pieces stand tall next to the rest of her oeuvre. The high point of the new is a song Mirah said was inspired by seeing Leonard Cohen in New Zealand. Co-written with her sister, Emily Ana Zeitlyn, the track, titled “L.C.” on the handwritten setlist, features dual harmonies and thematic elements similar to some of Cohen’s most well-known work.
The main set closed with the powerful “Mt. St. Helens” and Mirah and company followed it with the joyous encore of “Words Cannot Describe.” Dancing around the stage with Guy on drums and Maguire on vibraphone, Mirah left the stage after giving the crowd what they wanted: her in every desired musical form. Smiles and applause were bountiful, indicating another homecoming cannot come soon enough.
The show was billed as a “Too Many Zeitlyns Are Never Enough” showcase, since Divers – the raw Philly trio fronted by the aforementioned Emily – performed a phenomenal opening set of rock and roll. Check out photos from the night in the gallery below, and read Mirah’s setlist after the jump.
The vocal sweetness that is Portland indie rock icon Mirah (aka Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn) will be paired with the rocked-up trio Divers, the local rock band led by her sister Emily Ana. They’re calling it the “Too Many Zeitlyns are Never Enough” show, and it happens at Boot and Saddle February 1st.
The raw power and sultry vocals of Divers should contrast beautifully with Mirah’s more melodic and tempered sound; although Mirah’s work spans across a wide range of genres and really can’t be compartmentalized into any one particular style. Having collaborated with the likes of everyone from Thao Nguyen (of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down) to tUnE-yArDs to Tender Forever, Mirah has tapped into every facet of the indie music scene.
Meanwhile, Divers – featuring Zeitlyn, Ross Bellenoit, Tom Bendel (of Buried Beds) and Todd Erk – have become locale faves in their own right, combining jazz vocals, bluesy garage rock and folk to create a sound uniquely their own.
Get tickets and more info on the event here. Check out the event’s facebook page here. Watch Mirah’s video for “The Forest” and Divers’ On the Hill session performance of “Eggshells” below.
South Jersey-bred rocker, producer and XPN host Ben Vaughn takes to the stage of The Tin Angel tonight. The venue is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and XPN Welcomes Ben and his quintet to rattle the walls a bit with some timeless garage rock tunes. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and more information can be found here. Below, watch a video of the Ben Vaughn Quintet playing “My First Band” at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last year.
No one would accuse Mirah of making the same album twice. Since she first came out of K Records’ storied stable with 2000’s You Think It’s Like This But Really It’s Like This, the singer-songwriter born Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn has recorded four-track treatises on love and lust, sonic experimentations with studio whiz Phil Elverum, and a string of collaborations that cast her as everything from anti-war folkie to biology-lab sweetheart to disco siren.
But since 2009, Mirah hasn’t released an album at all — at least, not a solo album like the ones that charmed her earliest fans, filled with intimate observations and masterful melodies. Last year, she first made the funky, organic Thao & Mirah with Thao Nguyen and tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus, then the one-off dance single “Low Self Control” with Tender Forever. While her next project is gestating, expect fresh takes on older favorites on Tuesday when she plays Johnny Brenda’s with a band that includes Lori Goldston (cello), Alex Guy (viola/violin/loop pedals) and drummer/vibraphonist Andrew Maguire (drums/vibraphone).
It’s a homecoming of sorts for the native Philadelphian, who recently relocated to New York after spending 20 years on the West Coast. (Talk about bad timing.) We spoke on the phone on Election Day about surviving Sandy, flexing new musical muscles and returning to the city where she was born 38 years ago. Continue reading →