Friday, February 27, 2015

Gasparilla Music Fest, BBDDM, The Jaguar Club, Leslie Paris Viking

It’s always great to see true indie acts getting a shot at performing on a bigger stage from time to time. More than a few will get that opportunity at the Gasparilla Music Fest, which takes place March 7-8 in Tampa, Florida at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Garden.

Among some of the bigger name acts like Modest Mouse, The Gaslight Anthem and Mutemath, indie road veterans Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. will be afforded the opportunity to showcase their sound in a location other than the usual haunts they seemingly are always at (at least here in New York). Just namecheck every currently popular venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and/or the lower east side of Manhattan. In other words – all the places I usually find myself at.

Headliner Modest Mouse will release their new studio album, Strangers to Ourselves, via Epic Records on March 3 just prior to their appearance at GMF making this their first studio album since 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Modest Mouse gained mainstream attention when their 2004 single, ‘Float On’ became the band’s first #1 song on Billboard’s Modern Rock Chart and was nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

The festival is an actual Florida 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to nurture and promote the cultural life of the Tampa Bay Area by presenting a spectacular range of inspiring musicians and performers across all genres that leads to music awareness, education and the continuance of the urban renewal of Tampa. It was founded in 2011 with financial support from several Tampa Bay area based businesses and the organization’s founding members, The Ring of Fire.

New Orleans favorite Mutemath, whose sound fuses elements from psychedelia to traditional gospel to modern electronica yet still firmly rooted in New Orleans rhythm and blues, will also be releasing a new recording later this year. While Jamaican roots reggae trio, The Abyssinians, are famous for their close harmonies and promotion of the Rastafari movement within their lyrics. Formed in 1968, the band has gone through a number of lineup changes with the current trio touring since 1997 including dates at Reggae on the River, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and The Bob Marley Day Festival in 1998. The group was also nominated for a 1999 Tamika Award.

I first wrote about and began promoting this wonderful fest over here on the great Dingus site

Full Artists lineups and participating Vendors can be found here

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It is an interesting genre of music where vocals are employed and yet the actual lyrics are completely unintelligible. The two most popular that immediately come to mind are black metal (where vocals are screamed) and the dreampop/shoegaze first popularized by The Cocteau Twins.

Brooklyn’s preposterously named Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk are firmly embedded in the latter category. Their sound however is a truly beautiful one. “Saturday” moves with the minor key melancholia and descending progression of prime mid-90’s dreamgaze practitioners like Slowdive.

 Additional tracks like “Burt” pops and crackles with the feel of a late night jam session. The melody is strong, but any semblance of literal meaning is merely suggested. The musical equivalent of an impressionists water color painting. A surprisingly soulful element emerges however, with the romanticism of early 1970’s R and B act The Chi-Lites discovered under a layer of Kevin Shields’ My Bloody Valentine filters. The band is currently in the studio recording new material.

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Reuniting this past summer after a four year break to work on other projects, Brooklyn’s The Jaguar Club prepare to release their latest EP “Close” on March 3rd. Having recently hosted a weekly Wednesday night residency at Pianos, the band continues to expand on its signature sound.

“Heat Of The Sun” pairs crooner vocals with distinct guitar lines, echoing The Smiths Morrissey/Marr relationship. The lyrical mood is more positive, however as heartache goes “bouncing off the ceiling,” giving way to the light (and heat) the sun produces. Spacious instrumental interludes emphasize ambient keyboards, jingly tambourine and brightly strummed guitar chords.

“Sleepwalking” builds around a dominant bass guitar progression, with loose jammy guitar and reverberated percussion. The overall feel leans closer to early Cure tracks like “10:15 Saturday Night.” Other tracks like “The Sirens” benefit from some inspired, aggressively soulful guitar work near the end of that song.

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Brooklyn based folk-pop artist Leslie Paris Viking showcases an ironic wit via a series of recently released tracks. With a vocal tone reminiscent of late 70’s/early 80’s troubadour Steve Forbert, the folk genre may be “alive on arrival” once more.

“This Machine” presents the sort of thoughtful wordplay any poetry fan can appreciate. Couplets describing the title subject as “A positive action machine” with “no regretting from now on” and being “hellbent on heaven and whatever else you do for fun,” point to the author using metaphor in describing his own feelings. Alternately, “The Greatest Singer In The World” morphs from over-the-top braggadocio to self-doubt. “No one approaches me” eventually becomes “that’s lonely.” Of “all the people on this train, I can’t be the only one who’s unsure of the bargain.” It’s basic two chord guitar progression with understated keyboard, guitar and drums accompaniment present what Forbert fronting The Velvet Underground might have sounded like.

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Mirror said...

Michelle G-H wrote:

One mo'week to go till the Gasparilla spring break musical getaway!

The Midnite Rambler said...

I can't say I love the band name Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk buy as they say, don't judge a book from the cover. The song featured in the blog left me wanting more.
Tampa Bay is a really beautiful area. You should see it while it's still above water.

DaveCromwell said...

Totally agree about the BBDDM moniker, Rambler. But, as you so correctly point out - what the songs sound like matter way more than any band name. As for beautiful Tampa Bay - I certainly hope it does not drop under the ocean any time soon!

ViewFromSpookysDoghouse said...

Sounds like music overload! Good stuff, Dave!

DaveCromwell said...

"Music overload" remains a core pillar of my existence, VFSD. It has been the driving force behind this blog since its inception.

Mirror said...

Jim Hamilton wrote:

Just been listening to a lot of this, Dave...Thanks for the tip...enjoying it mate...Saturday by BBDDM is a cool tune.

When I have more time I'll spend a morning on them!

Anonymous said...

Nice review Dave, the music is quite interesting.

DaveCromwell said...

Nice to hear these bands being given a proper listen. In this day and age of virtual information and entertainment choices, getting others to focus on what *you've* done can be the most challenging aspect of all.

The Grim Reefer said...

Baby Birds don't drink Milk has a nice Yo La Tengo-y thing going on, quite nice.

The Grim Reefer said...

Gotta get ye to

DaveCromwell said...

Thanks for the feedback, 'Reefer. And - I actually did sign up on Ello. As I'm sure you are well aware of - it can be difficult keeping up with all of these social networks (FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc, etc.). I do what I can in space I'm allotted. Or, to quote the great band Rush - "Today's Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the space he invades
He gets by on you"

Mirror said...

The Jaguar Club retweeted:

Current #davecromwellwrites music blog featuring (among others) @thejaguarclubny (new release today!) Read it here:
04:41 PM - 03 Mar 15

and also wrote:

Give us a shout if you want to come out to one of our shows!

DaveCromwell said...

Will surely do, Jaguar Club. And good to know you enjoyed my writing about and analysis of your music!

Mirror said...

Bruna Brisquiliari De Almeida Simões wrote:

the first band, seems like ENYA, its good of course, but its something that i listen when i try sleep.

The second band reminds me U2, its cool, but im afraid its a band of only one single, but have much potencial. i liked, but they have to take care, to not stay stuck on this same thing.

But both the bands are pretty good, and have a lot of potencial.

you always shine gold when u write!

DaveCromwell said...

Interesting take on the two bands you mention, Bru. I'm always fascinated by listeners points-of-reference to the music presented here.

As for your kind remarks about my writing - the lyrics from William Reid's "Almost Gold" comes to mind:

"And if I ever fell from grace
With every living human state
Well, I throw the whole thing down
And I take to higher ground
Cast a spell on my surround
Time to think on what I found
This is almost gold"

Misty said...

that Gaspo fest looks like it's a real blast! i love sunny all day events. totally dig the BBDDM and Jaguar Club tracks.

excellent music!

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, Gasparilla looks like a total fun two-day event. I like that it's family friendly, and not just your typical industry-courting-hipsters event (like what SXSW has evolved into). As for BBDDM and The Jaguar Club - they certainly have cobbled together some quality sounds there.

Mirror said...

Drew here from BBDDM, wanted to say thank you for the kind words!

I've reposted on my personal Facebook along with the bands Twitter and FB accounts. Thanks again, this is a nice surprise to come home to. I also sent it over to our label Fire Talk to help spread around when they get a moment.

Thanks again!

William said...

Great blog croms - lots of wonderful tunes - i like BBDDM! Funny you write for Dingus cos I always said you were a bit of a dingus ;) - Love Ya Buddy - Guillermo

DaveCromwell said...

Thanks, Drew @BBDDM

I'm always pleased when something I write gets a lot of social media attention. There are an abundance of "Likes" on the piece, so your facebook imprint is a solid one.

Keep making that great "impressionist" music!

As for *you* Will (a/k/a "Guillermo") - snarky comments notwithstanding - I'm glad to hear you picked up on that sound.

benilhalk said...

It’s really nice that you invited all famous band groups for your event. Out of all these bands, I have seen Modest Mouse group band in music events in New York. But, I would love to see other brand performances too.