Cool evening temperatures remind us that fall has arrived, but this past weekend, Nashville caught the fever… Fever Fever that is. As my first article for Cause A Scene, I had the privilege of choosing any band to write about for one of their Daily Discovery pieces. Since I had been listening to Ohio-based Fever Fever for awhile, I knew that they were the group I wanted to showcase. This past weekend, I was given another amazing opportunity to see this band perform at Exit/In as a part of a Slospeak Records show. If that wasn’t enough by itself, I was also invited to a secret house show.
In my earlier article, I compared Fever Fever to bands like Young the Giant and Local Natives. After seeing them perform, I feel the need to throw all of my previously made comparisons out the window, simply because they aren’t like anyone else I’ve seen. The guys in Fever Fever played a really phenomenal set, complete with a harmonium, a flute, and a sweet lights show. The downloads I’ve been listening to for so long don’t do this band justice by themselves.
If you’re looking for a new favorite, you should definitely give this band a listen. You will seriously not be disappointed.
Super-group alert! If you have never heard of Salvador Dali Parton, I’ll cut you some slack considering the band only came together a week ago, but they’re one group you’re going to want to know about. Made up of Mumford and Sons’ Winston Marshall, Old Crow Medicine Show’s Gil Landry, Jake Orrall of Jeff the Brotherhood, Mike Harris of Apache Relay, and fronted by Justin Hayward-Young of The Vaccines, Salvador Dali Parton’s existence in the music world was short-lived but oh so sweet. After a 20-minute songwriting session, one day of practice, a fair amount of whiskey, and a night of six shows, Salvador Dali Parton disbanded early Sunday morning.
Considering the collection of artists who made up this group, no one could have predicted that they’d deliver a mix of emo punk and doom metal, made even better by Marshall’s appearance in a dress, fishnet stockings, a fur coat, and a platinum blonde wig to complete the bizarre look. As soon as the show began, a robed Hayward-Young turned into a man on a mission: to deliver as many death stares and theatrically foreboding hand gestures as possible. Their set-list consisted of mostly impromptu instrumentals but with only one practice session together, they managed to pull off a very entertaining show. Much to my and the rest of the audience’s enjoyment, Marshall and Hayward-Young were both very involved with the audience throughout the show I attended at the Exit/In. At one point, a slightly inebriated Marshall invited an audience member on stage for a slow dance.
Despite having lasted just a little over half an hour, I can easily say that Salvador Dali Parton delivered one of the most entertaining and memorable shows I’ve seen. Even after seeing them perform, I’m not entirely sure what their sound is; I only know that it’s a good one.
If you listen to The CO’s second and most recent full-length album, Keep It Together, you may feel yourself being rapidly sucked into your car stereo by the pulsing beat that jump starts the opening track, “Frequency.” Don’t worry. This is a good thing, because The CO is nothing short of awesome! The dramatic thumping beat is quickly accompanied by the soft, yet powerful and distinctive vocals of front man Colin Brace and the song swiftly culminates to an anthemic chorus that is driven by drummer Nate Fleming’s rhythm section and Troy Akers’ melodic keys. Together they produce a sound that resonates with the soul and remains consistent throughout the entire album without any sense of wear or tire. With an expertly polished sound that lies somewhere in the vast musical galaxy between catchy pop and edgy indie, The CO create a sound that sticks with you.
“Frequency” is perfect sample of what Keep It Together is as a whole bodied piece of work. Throughout the compellation, Brace’s vocals are soulful and tender and helm a sound that consistently tows the line between emotive ballad and catchy, head nod inducing choruses, often blending the two seamlessly from one song to the next creating a fluidity and cohesiveness that is seldom found even in some of the most seasoned artist’s work.
The collaborative approach that the band takes to songwriting is a large contributing factor to The CO’s diverse sound and also yields each songs lyrical depth and emotional variance. Each song is product of an exposed vulnerability, from the hopeful and inspiring title track “Keep It Together,” to the deep and introspective “How To Say Goodbye.” It is quickly evident to anyone who may choose to listen, that this is what The CO is all about. It’s not just the fantastic production on the album, but the soul of each song that sets them apart.
I was fortunate enough to experience this first hand a couple of weeks ago at one of Cause A Scene’s most recent house shows. It was my first time seeing the band live, and it also happened to be my first time hearing the band at all, and that was what stuck with me. Sure, I was struck by Brace’s vocals and Akers’ soaring harmonies, as well as every other aspect that makes them a pleasure to listen to. However, there was something else that couldn’t be put into words, something that resonated on a personal level. At first, I thought it was due to the stripped down semi-unplugged set and the intimate atmosphere of a living room house show, but it wasn’t. That personal connection was just as apparent plugged-in on the album. That is what makes a band great. The ability to connect with listeners, no matter the medium. And that is exactly what The CO does.
In front of every good band is a good frontman. In the case of Luella and the Sun, it’s an excellent frontwoman.
From the moment Luella sings her first note into the mic, it’s a voice so different and unique that you can’t possibly be anything other than smitten. And if her voice doesn’t immediately pull you all the way in, her sweet dance moves certainly will. There’s nothing more fun than watching a performer who’s having fun and that’s something Luella absolutely brings to the stage.
But it’s definitely the guys—Adam, Jon and Joe—that set the overall sound of the band, with their smooth guitar licks and solid drum beats. And while the fast upbeat songs will have your head noddin’ and your feet tappin’, it’s the slower songs that really showcase what the band is capable of and just how magical their sound is.
And speaking of the band’s sound, like most bands these days Luella and the Sun are hesitant to put a label on just exactly what their “sound” is. I guess it is a bit tricky trying to describe songs that seem to weld together soul, funk and rock. But just take a listen to their single “Fly so Free” and you can define their sound for yourself.
It’s really amazing just how cohesive their sound is, considering they haven’t been playing together for very long. Although a couple of the bandmates have known each other for a while and some have even played together before on other projects, the four of them have only been playing together as Luella and the Sun since sometime in mid-to-late last year.
As a recently formed band in Nashville, they describe their newness as a positive aspect, comparing their musical purity similar to that of a child. Their sound is new and fresh and un-tampered with by outside sources. For a band that’s already experiencing the success that Luella and the Sun is enjoying so far, that’s a pretty significant accomplishment.
If you’re in the Nashville area, I highly recommend you get out to a Luella and the Sun show…and quickly. Through the fueling of upcoming shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas this March and the Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama this May, these cats are gonna blow up fast. Something tells me you will be able to catch them in cities far and wide outside of Nashville very, very soon as the buzz around this band stretches shore to shore.
For now, though, you can catch Luella and the Sun in their home city of Nashville at Music City Roots from the Loveless Cafe on February 27th and the Mercy Lounge on March 2nd.
I met Chris Semmelbeck in Midland, TX at a mutual friend’s wedding. Our conversation quickly turned to music and I found out that he was in a band. Later on in the trip, Chris showed me and a group of friends one of the songs that his band had just finished recording. The band was Seryn. The song (if I remember correctly) was “Our Love”. About 6 months after this encounter, Paste Magazine included Seryn in their Best of What’s Next.
If you’ve never seen Seryn live, you need to. It’s a surreal experience. Each member is a multi-instrumentalist, even shuffling instruments between songs. And my guess is that you’ve never heard this combination of traditional folk/bluegrass blended with anthems that could fill Madison Square Garden. The music is beautifully crafted, with sweeping landscapes of violin, banjo, and guitar over heavy percussion. When you experience Seryn, you realize quickly that you’re experiencing far more than well-crafted lyrics and melodies you can sing with. You’re experiencing an orchestra. It’s not about one voice, or one lyric, or one instrument. It’s music as a whole. It’s a comprehensive sound. With just 6 people. And each person is completely lost in the music that they are creating
It’s truly a beautiful thing.
If you haven’t seen Seryn, then you have your chance on November 17th at 12th and Porter.