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Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Beneath Rocks & Sand

Thursday night at the Drake Underground, two bands with “City” in their name and yet neither sounding particularly urban. And there was a third band on the bill but they didn’t fit with the “City” meme so I didn’t stick around. It was also late.

Entire Cities’ name may refer to the band’s roster, which if not large enough to constitute an official city should at least qualify as a village or at the very least, a hamlet. Eight of the ten members credited on their MySpace were in attendance this evening, previewing songs from their upcoming debut album Centralia (out May 1). It was obvious that for their boisterous brand of country-rock to work, a degree of gleeful chaos was as essential as the singing saw, glockenspiel, flute and at one point dual accordians they utilized in addition to standard guitars, bass and drums. You can hear it on their recordings and you could see it in their live show – but the funny thing about chaos is that it’s chaotic and on this occasion, at least, it didn’t seem like the band was able to control it as well as they’d like and it was at the expense of staying in tune and in key. These kinds of nights are inevitable, though, and despite that they gave it their all and had a good time of it, as did the audience. I found them a little too Jon-Rae & The River-ish for me to really get into, but considering that I’m in the tiny minority in the city who’s not into that sound, I think they’ll do fine. Their next gig is on Thursday at Sneaky Dee’s with Rock Plaza Central.

Forest City Lovers was originally the pseudonym for Toronto singer-songwriter Kat Burns but since the release of her debut album The Sun And The Wind last year, it has expanded to include violinist/vocalist/co-conspirator Mika Posen as well as a full-time rhythm section. The effect this has had on the band, at least from comparing the album to their live show, is significant. In performance, it’s like they’ve taken the very best facets of the record – Burns’ cool, crystalline voice and spidery electric guitar playing to match, the slightly baroque and unpredictable song arrangements and most importantly the dark and mysterious mood that lingered around the edges of everything – and spun them out into the defining characteristics of the band. While their set was far too short, it was long enough to be something of a revelation – this is a band that can and almost certainly will create some great music. Can’t wait until they head back into the studio to capture some of this to tape.

If your interest is piqued, they’re playing the NOW Lounge this afternoon as part of Shameless magazine’s launch party for their latest issue. Things get underway at 1PM, admission $5.

Photos: Forest City Lovers, Entire Cities @ The Drake Underground – April 19, 2007
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Oh Humility” (live at CJLO)
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Doorsteps” (live at CJLO)
MP3: Entire Cities – “Waiting (2000 Years)”
MP3: Entire Cities – “Coffee”
MySpace: Forest City Lovers

Wilco are currently in the land down under, if the deluge of Australian press this week and this interview with The Australian wasn’t any indication, and they’re looking to share the experience with you. Their show in Sydney tonight was webcast at around 7AM EDT this morning, meaning that I was able to tune in about an hour and a bit into the performance – sounds great. I assume they’ll be streaming an archived version of it before long, and if not surely some resourceful person had the foresight to record the thing and will be all over the internets before long. No, you don’t get the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing you’re listening to “Hummingbird” at the same time as thousands of people in Australia, but life’s just not fair sometimes. Update: The “Kingpin” monologue is great. Jeff is in fine form.

Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes tells Harp that he’s a very funny guy. Really. He is. To prove it, when Bright Eyes is in town on May 22, instead of playing songs from Cassadaga, he’ll be erecting a fake brick wall across the back of the Massey Hall stage and telling jokes.

And Oberst’s “Monsters Of Folk” compadre M Ward will be on that same stage opening for Norah Jones on May 11. Ward talks to Go Triad about growing up a 4AD fan.

By : Frank Yang at 8:27 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Scott says:

    Hey Frank,
    Some of the Hillside lineup is posted on the Hillside website, thought you may like to know. Have a great weekend.

  2. Chris says:

    Woe, the link to Entire Cities – Coffee isn’t working…

  3. Frank says:

    whoopsie – link fixed.

  4. wayne says:

    I was at the Wilco show in Sydney. One of the best shows I have been to. Played for over 2 hours. Sound was great, band very tight, Jeff was in a great mood. Poor Places>Spiders to end was just perfect. Just a great night and the new songs were wonderful especially Hate it Here.