Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ten Beards, Five Horses, Three Sams, Four Remarkable Shows at the Iron Horse

Megafaun, Sam Quinn (the everybodyfields) this Friday, June 11th 10PM Iron Horse
Megafaun, comprised of brothers Brad and Phil Cook and Joe Westerlund- were previously in the band DeYarmond Edison with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. They celebrate the joys of shaky foundations, creating ingeniously ramshackle folk rock that combines acoustic instruments and mountain harmonies with obtuse sound collages, meandering song structures, and abstract passages featuring the most psychedelic banjo imaginable. Megafaun's songs change shape constantly-- a thrillingly mercurial quality that makes their latest album, Gather, Form & Fly a headily absorbing, occasionally unsettling listen. Despite their musical wanderlust, the trio remain firmly rooted in the Appalachian foothills, enamored with folk traditions and pastoral airs.

Opening the evening is Sam Quinn (above) of the everybodyfields, who is committed to lower case letters, and has a new solo album, the fake that sunk a thousand ships.

Josiah Wolf (of Why?), The Chocolate Horse- Thursday, June 17th 10PM Iron Horse

WHY? drummer Josiah Wolf (above) is the older brother of Yoni Wolf, WHY?'s frontman. This March Josiah stepped out from behind his younger brother's shadow with Anticon, his first solo album of twisted-up psych-pop. Josiah plays all the instruments on the album, but there's no sibling rivalry here; brother Yoni mixed the disc. The album pays close attention to an important element: drums. They double with the rhythm of a manic acoustic strum providing a jolt of nervous energy mixed with long, held vocal notes and languid guitar slides; a weightless, dreamlike trifle. But dreams aren't all fluffy clouds and good vibes; they can turn on a dime into something absurd or frightening. Really nailing that confused and drifting sensation is easier said than done, and few that try pay attention to the details the way Wolf does.

Begun by Jason Snell (guitar, vocals, banjo) as a “modest side project” in 2005, Midwestern six-piece The Chocolate Horse (above), is like a glass of whiskey that calmly sings its way through your veins. In an electrifying Tom Waits meets the Flaming Lips moment, the group’s most recent album “We Don’t Stand on Ceremony is more diversely painted with instruments like the banjo, French horn, flute, upright bass, drums, and piano, as well as some electronic weirdness courtesy of the group’s Fun Machine organ and bowed saw.

Samantha Crain, Truth and Salvage Co., Haunt (Matt Hebert)- Sunday, June 20th 7PM Iron Horse

Samantha Crain (above) is an Oklahoma born and bred singer-songwriter whose voice Rolling Stone magazine has quite accurately described as “gorgeously odd.” Her sound is a little country, a little folk and a little indie rock, all wonderfully dark and soulful. Samantha’s earned a reputation as a storyteller. Her debut release, The Confiscation EP, A Musical Novella, was a short collection of stories about redemption and betrayal, while the quality of the songwriting in the debut album that followed, Songs In The Night, earned her critical acclaim. Her new album, You (Understood), came out this Tuesday and is a gorgeous tour de force. She’s on the verge of reaching a much wider audience indluding a slot at Bonnaroo this weekend.

Truth & Salvage Co. (above) come from all over the U.S. but came together in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, both geographically and musically. The '60s canyon sounds of CSN, Joni, et. al. are baked into their DNA but with more soul and R&B than the golden years of Laurel Canyon, borrowing from the quiver of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding as much as from The Byrds or Lovin' Spoonful. Truth & Salvage Company was recently signed to The Black Crowes label, Silver Arrow Records and are scheduled to record their debut album with Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes slated as producer. They've opened for the Crowes and the Avett Brothers. Former beloved local musical muso Matt Hebert is back in town for the weekend and will start the evening.

Sam Amidon, David Wax Museum- Monday, June 21st 7PM Iron Horse

With a sound and a voice reminiscent of early 1970s singer-songwriter Nick Drake, Sam Amidon's (above) delicate, acoustic musings classify him as a member of what The Sunday Times calls the recent "folk revival." Hailing from Brattleboro, Vermont, Amidon was never short of musical influences or inspiration; his parents are traditional folk performers and his brother, Stefan Amidon, drums for The Sweetback Sisters. Amidon's own sound, as exemplified in his most recent release, "I See The Sign," displays his folky roots and indie-rock sensibilities, culminating in what the New York Times calls "a seriously intelligent record." Sam Amidon is currently embarking on a transcontinental tour, making stops at intimate venues in Europe and the United States including the Iron Horse of course of course.

David Wax's circuitous journey to and from the back roads of Mexico has inspired The David Wax Museum’s lively fusion of traditional Mexican and American folk music. With its heart-wrenching harmonies, poignant lyrics, and rooted Americana sound, this talented Boston-based band has quickly won over audiences across New England. The David Wax Museum’s exuberant Mexo-Americana songs bring audiences to their feet with Latin rhythms, call-and-response hollering, and donkey jawbone rattling. They’ve been invited on tour with the Old 97’s this summer.

Tickets available for all shows at NBO, 413-586-8686 and online at

No comments: