Monday, April 8th, 2013
Caitlin Rose and Andrew Combs at The Garrison in Toronto
Frank YangThough I’m probably a bit late to the Caitlin Rose party, her 2010 full-length debut Own Side Now having completely flown under my radar, I’m thankful that I was able to get it into my ears earlier this year before her follow-up The Stand-In came out because it gave me a reference point to appreciate just how good The Stand-In is. Which is not to say that there’s anything wrong with Own Side Now at all – it’s a charming slice of old school country that frames Rose as something of a wide-eyed ingenue, a character well-suited to her sweet, clear vocals – it just felt a touch more demure than it necessarily needed to be.
The Stand-In doesn’t trade in the back porch for a roadhouse, mind you, but it’s more electrified, dynamic, and bristling with bona fide pop hooks that don’t compromise Rose’s natural rootsiness, just gives it a swagger that looks and sounds great on her. Where Own Side politely asked to come in and sat genteelly, The Stand-In barges in and demanded attention – which I was happy to give it, as it currently stands as one of my favourite records of the year. So obviously I was going to be at The Garrison on Friday night to see her tour new record through town.
And an efficient tour it was, with Andrew Combs doing double-duty as both Rose’s rhythm guitarist and opening act. Also hailing from Nashville – if the cowboy hat, denim shirt, and boots didn’t make that clear – Combs started out solo and then slowly enlisted the rest of Rose’s band to back up his voice, possessing the right balance of twang and rasp without sounding affected, and fill out a set of satisfying country-rock drawing from his debut Worried Man. If Combs can make the sort of leap that Rose did between his this album and his next, he could be one to watch.
Warmed up from their opening set, all the band needed to kick off the main set was for Caitlin Rose step out from behind the merch table and take centre stage. A six-piece band might have seemed like a lot of musical overhead for a still-emerging artist playing small rooms, but there was no arguing with the results. Even though the songs on The Stand-In are strong enough to have been able to impress with a simpler presentation, it was wonderful to be able to hear all the lines and textures of the recordings rendered live and enhanced in parts – the four-part backing harmonies on “I Was Cruel” were unexpected and beautiful.
And with such a high performance bar set by her band, Rose actually had trouble keeping up for the first portion of the show. Not in voice – she sounded great – but despite some warm and friendly banter she seemed somewhat detached onstage, often staring up at the ceiling when she stepped back from the mic; less leading her band than fading back into it. It didn’t feel like disinterest as much as a sort of shyness, which was surprising considering how brassily she comes across on record.
Happily, this improved as the set progressed – helped out with a few drinks – and while she charming throughout the show, she was visibly more at ease by the end of the main set, comprised of a lot of The Stand-In, a healthy dollop of Own Side, and ceding the spotlight back to Andrew Combs for one of his own songs on which they duetted. “Everywhere I Go” would have been wonderful to hear, but probably didn’t fit the flow of the show. Following a solo reading of “Sinful Wishing Well”, she called the band back out for a raucous interpretation of Buck Owens’ “Tiger By The Tail” and Own Side highlight “Shanghai Cigarettes”. According to the set list, this should have been the end of the encore but Rose was called back by the audience and obliged with a real encore of an a capella ode to a Dave Edmunds t-shirt. A winning finale to a show that didn’t necessarily start slow, but certainly ended on all cylinders.
Photos: Caitlin Rose, Andrew Combs @ The Garrison – April 5, 2013
MP3: Caitlin Rose – “I Was Cruel”
Video: Caitlin Rose – “Only A Clown”
Video: Caitlin Rose – “Piledriver Waltz”
Video: Caitlin Rose – “Own Side”
Video: Caitlin Rose – “Shanghai Cigarettes”
With the 10th anniversary edition of Give Up out this week, Jimmy Tamborello of The Postal Service gives CBC Music the inside story on some of their most beloved songs and confesses to Exclaim that the new songs on the anniversary edition of the album aren’t Give Up outtakes but remnants of an aborted second album; he also talks about the record with The Irish Independent. The Postal Service are at The Air Canada Centre on June 11.
Stream: Iron & Wine / Ghost On Ghost
Noisey has got last week’s listening party/Q&A of the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record Mosquito archived on their site; it’s presently the only place to hear the whole of the new record before its out April 16.
The Sun and Spinner asked questions of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, who also hosted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” last week. Their new album The Terror is out next week on April 16 and streaming in whole at NPR.
Stream: The Flaming Lips / The Terror
Video: The National – “Demons”
Though the existence of Centro-Matic/New Year/Pedro The Lion supergroup Overseas was announced way back last Spring, the fruits of the Will Johnson-David Bazan-Kadane Brothers alchemy will finally be available to hear via their self-titled debut on June 13. Two songs are available to stream on their site, and it sounds exactly as you’d think a combination of those talents would – wonderful.
Video: Cat Power – “Manhattan”