Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dead Leaf Echo, Ringo Deathstarr, Cool Serbia-live and on Record

The final night of 2012's CMJ Music Marathon (Saturday, October 20) presented a show on Manhattans upper west side at The Ding Dong Lounge.  Located in what many Brooklynites and Lower Eastsiders might consider a northern outpost of 104th Street and Columbus Avenue, the venue itself bore a familiar vibe to its southern counterparts.

Dead Leaf Echo were the first featured attraction on the itinerary.

Having spent the better part of this past year covering many of this bands shows, a keen awareness has been developed regarding their impressive sound quality and songcraft.

The familiar front three of LG, Ana and Christo continue to handle all vocals, guitar and keyboards - creating a lush sound that is simultaneously powerful and dreamy.

With the recent release of their single "Kingmaker" (from the forthcoming full length album "Thought and Language") the b-side features another quality track "I Belong"

Both the song and accompanying video create a dreamlike atmosphere that encourges your mind to slow down for a few minutes, and perceive the world from an alternate perspective.


A noticable shift in the live show dynamic could be felt as James played the drums more freely (though still very much controlled) - no longer playing to a headset delivered click track, as well as a live bass player now covering those traditional low end sonics.

Ana and LG's tandem vocals continue to give the band its distinctive signature sound.


A ghostly dancer engaged in ritualistic movements
With their seemingly floating hand levitating, while LG and the band played on.
For additional Dead Leaf Echo live show and record reviews by Dave Cromwell, see here:

Two live shows on Friday at SXSW:
 IATP showcase on Thursday at SXSW:
Expanded Deli Mag feature on the Kingmaker release:
Deli Mag features:
Published on September 29, 2010
Published on May 16, 2011
Published on June 29, 2011
Published on March 02, 2012
Returning to play New York for the first time since their July 2011 shows (and fresh off a supporting tour with The Smashing Pumpkins) Austin, Texas' Ringo Deathstarr took the stage with expected audience anticipation.

 The multitude of shows played via their extensive worldwide touring over the last year is readily apparent in the relaxed, confident way they present their songs.
Bassist/vocalist Alex Gehring fingers appear to fly even quicker across her three stringed instrument - a testament to the evolving skill level achieved from playing so many shows.
Daniel Coborn's ferocious drumming perfectly compliments the ongoing vision that Elliott Frazier (guitar, vocals, songwriting) continues to evolve.
After the success of the previously released longplayer "Colour Trip," the band has now released the highly anticipated follow up "Mauve."
Check out this amusing video and wonderful song from it:

Pitch bends and deep voices.

The model rocker (or is that rocker model?)

Whammy barred notes and thunderous strokes.

The inspired dancer returned to unleash a series of moves that beguiled and bedazzled the band!

Serious business

Brightest Star - metal pole percussion and impressionist painter guitar.
Playing a set of music that drew equally from all of their recordings, it was of most interest to hear a number of Mauve tracks live.

Burn and Drain are fast and brutal.  Quick driving guitar progressions with speedy drum rolls all over the place.  Thurston Moore frequently stated in interviews that Sonic Youth was really a punk band that merely chose to elongate passages and stretch the songs out.  A similar case could be made for Ringo Deathstarr now embedding a punk attitude and songwriting style within their signature pitch-bended, distortion pedal dreamgaze format.

"Girls We Know" - trance enducing.

"Fifteen" - rip my heart out (with your pitch bends).
Girls Croms Knows

The night ended on a particularly memorable note, as Elliott invited members of the audience to come up on stage, take the bands instruments and play one of their songs.  Being a former tub-thumper, I quickly volunteered to take the drums, while the bass and guitar were handed off to two other adventurous individuals.  We first lumbered, then ulitimately thundered through a version of the bands "Some Kind Of Sad" (my selection) with Elliott singing away with amusement.  Unexpected, and almost way too much fun!


Two nights later it would be back out once more - this time to The Cake Shop to catch Ringo Deathstarr again - as well as the former Austin, now Brooklyn based Cool Serbia.

Formed by former Ringo Deathstarr guitarist Renan McFarland, the overall sound this band produces has evolved considerably since first hearing them this past March out in Austin for the SouthBySouthWest festival.

Second guitar and lead vocalist Raz is now more controlled in his delivery of these songs, which have taken on a poppier vibe overall.

Listen in to one such performance from this show:

The backbeat is now more pronounced, as the joys of sawing between two guitar chords is highlighted by Beatle-esque vocal whooo's.

Once again it was time for Ringo Deathstarr to grace the reflectively tinseled opulence that is the Cake Shop stage.
Playing their third show in three days here in New York, the band sounded particularly focused as they stretched out during a number of songs.
For instance, here is "Swirly" from this show:

It is a batteringly  grinding and jam-tastic version played this evening.  While Daniel and Alex hold down the rhythm with sludge-bottom power - Elliot takes off on some particularly tasty guitar adventures.

Another fave track from Mauve is the Alex sung dream-trip song "Drag" - where the repeated vocal line of "don't make me say the things I don't want to say" rings so universally true.  A loop around celestial chime, softly pulsed guitar layers and additional repeated lyrics like "everybody knows" suggest the internal mindset of a psychedelic experience.

Additionally, "Nap Time" masterfully molds Sonic Youth-like tension with Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles drum patterns.  While "Waste" brings it back fast and hard.  Tandem vocals from Elliott and Alex take the lyrical put down and make it  applicable for either (presumed wronged) sex.
One of Alex's many admirers, gazing on
Post show at the merch table - Elliott and Croms
(who bought that t-shirt, and that's how much it may have cost me)
 - cash money, yo!
For further research on the above two bands, please dive into the DaveCromwellWrites research library:


The Midnite Rambler said...

Dave thanks for another interesting article. I like your multi-media presentation style. I've been listening to Dead Leaf Echo for a while now but really didn't know a thing about them until now. The other 2 bands seemed interesting and I will be checking them out further soon.

DaveCromwell said...

Glad I could enlighten you further on DLE, Midnite Rambler. Please do look into Ringo Deathstarr and Cool Serbia as well. I think you will enjoy each of their respective sound.

Patricia Mena said...

Really great Dave, i like te song "I Belong" feels like you are in a spiritual place, very nice vid too. Cool photos, Alex Gehring looks sweet, and Rip song is really nice.

deadmandeadman said...

Somewhere along the line someone somewhere sent me some tracks by Dead Leaf Echo, and I must say, I like the sound. Ringo Deathstar has also blipped on the Radar screen once or twice...
...I like the write-up.

Mr Smork said...

those gigs sounds like fun.

and i see some faces that i remember from some other your features.

DaveCromwell said...

I love songs and videos that encourage you to slow down for a few minutes like "I Belong" does, Paty. DLE is certainly worth your while, deadsy - and the latest Ringo Deathstarr album is as good as anything they've ever done (which, of course is excellence). My goal is to always have fun at these gigs, Mr. Smork.

Ivanka said...

awesome review Dave!

Help A Sister Out said...

This article should of been titled, "Ringo Deathstarr coins new nickname for Croms, "Dave Drumwell"

Davey said...

Great article Dave. I know you've mentioned Ringo Deathstarr and Dead Leaf Echo before and I'll admit I haven't had much time to check them thanks for the video clips. Liking what I hear so far!

DaveCromwell said...

Ha, ha - thanks for the acknowledgement, "Help a sister."

Davey - you got to get into these bands. It some of the best music being put out there right now.

William said...

ive been aware of these bands for a while thanks to your bloggery, it is wonderful to see them doing so well- and hey... wheres the video of your tubthumping????? having experienced it in person it seems the gift needs to be shared with the world?

DaveCromwell said...

Unfortunately, there is no video of that particular glorious moment of 'tub-thumpery,' William. Besides, you've already experienced all that by way of live jam yourself (summertimes memorable "Triple Play"). Anyway, the focus of this blog posting here should be on the great music these bands are making right now.

NYCDreamin said...

Good stuff Dave, looks a great, fun busy week! I'll definately be checking out more of the Ringo Deathstarr stuff - sounds great, thanks for the introduction as I'm unfamiliar with them until now. And I second William's comment - would love to see video of that end-of-show jam session featuring you on the skins.