Last night I had the pleasure of seeing a couple great rock bands, and missed a third that I’m sure was also great. Bloods Band opened the show with the kind of charm that can win over an audience after only a couple songs. They play a mix of bubblegum pop and garage rock reminiscent of Dum Dum Girls Only In Dreams album, with the same use of harmonies and driving rhythm riffs. The 45 minute set seemed to take them by surprise, and they struggled a bit to fill the time. They kept it light and breezy, smiling throughout and the crowd stuck with them, applauding wildly after every “last song,” of which there were four. If you’d like to hear their music for yourself, you’re in luck-Minty Fresh is releasing their full-length on April 21st! Click here for more info.
I came to the show specifically for The Bots set, which was between Bloods Band and The Preatures. The Lei brothers took the stage with the kind of boisterous fun you’d expect from two teens making the music they love. Anaiah Lei laid down the opening beat on the drums while Mikaiah danced across the stage before blasting into a great instrumental jam that introduced the spectators to their sound.
Drawing comparisons to The White Stripes and The Black Keys, for obvious reasons, The Bots make the music their own by adding some synth and dance elements to their songs. Mikaiah takes on triple duty as singer, guitarist and keyboard player, as well as hype man. His tall, lanky body moved across the stage with the ferocity of a lion. His guitar crushing powerful blues chords to the Anaiah’s vibrant beat.
If you’re wondering whether The Bots live up to the buzz that’s surrounded them over the past few months, the answer is an emphatic yes. They deliver a fun, loud performance leaving everything out on the stage. Don’t miss them if you get a chance.
Head over to iTunes to pick up a copy of their album Pink Palms.
Forget the fact that it’s a cover of a cover and enjoy, for a moment, the majestic beauty that is the Amen Dunes version of “Song To The Siren.” The song has been done by a lot of great artists (Bryan Ferry, Robert Plant, and This Mortal Coil), but it’s best known as the Tim Buckley tune from the album Starsailor. Damon McMahon’s version gives it a kind of quiet urgency that others overlook.
The track is haunting, with the guitar making an almost middle eastern sound and the vocals echoing out for what seems like forever. You can hear more songs like this on Cowboy Worship, the band’s 2014 release. You can also come see them in Chicago on April 1st at Schubas.
Please keep in mind, in the three years I’ve done this, I have not had one correct prediction.
I’ll sort them by venue rather than day, so maybe it will be easier to read.
Lincoln Hall: Friday-Tallest Man On Earth & Delta Spirit. Saturday-Father John Misty and Børns. Sunday-Shakey Graves and Halsey.
Schubas: Friday-Toro Y Moi. Saturday-Strand of Oaks. Sunday-Lord Huron and Angus & Julia Stone.
Metro: Friday-Tyler, The Creator and Travi$ Scott Saturday-The War On Drugs and Jamestown Revival Sunday-Brand New and Gogol Bordello.
Empty Bottle: Friday-Sturgill Simpson Saturday-Sylvan Esso and Night Terrors Of 1927 Sunday-Skylar Spence and Galantis.
Double Door: Friday-Catfish And The Bottlemen and Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas Saturday-BADBADNOTGOOD with Ghostface Killah and Raekwon Sunday-Twin Peaks and Circa Waves.
The Vic: Friday-Walk The Moon and HONEYCHILD Saturday-First Aid Kit and Wild Belle Sunday-George Ezra and Vèrité.
SubT: Friday-Django Django and Hippo Campus Saturday-MisterWives and The Wombats Sunday-Moon Taxi and The Lonely Biscuits
Concord Music Hall: Friday-G-Eazy and Charli XCX Saturday-Odesza Sunday-The Chainsmokers and Black Tiger Sex Machine
House Of Blues: Friday-Death From Above 1979 Saturday-Hot Chip and Coasts Sunday-Marina & The Diamonds and COIN
Again, I’ve never had a hit on any of these. There’s also some shows the day before Lolla starts featuring bands playing the fest and not so it’s impossible to predict. For now I’m just gonna say D’Angelo at Metro and hope for the best.
Soon there will be a new weekly column called “On a personal note…” appearing here on Music.Defined. Every Wednesday I’ll be featuring a different guest writer who will talk a little bit about a song they have a deep personal connection with. I’ve given no guidance as to length or choice of song, so it’s up to them to write as much or as little as they see fit. I’ve always been curious as to what songs influence my favorite artists, and I’m hoping we’ll all get some insight into the minds of our featured guests.
For my own personal choice, there are literally millions of tunes to choose from. I could go easy and pick a Wilco song, which would make a lot of sense because I could talk about Wilco all day and all night. But that wouldn’t be terribly interesting. And I’d rather inform you about a song that maybe you haven’t heard yet, but you definitely should. To that end, let me tell you about “We Will Do Great Things” by Sons Of An Illustrious Father.
One Body, SOAIF’s second record, was recorded with Oliver Ignatius for Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen. I became friends with Oliver through this site, and every once in a while he’ll let me hear some stuff that’s being recorded. He couldn’t wait to share Sons music, and after hearing it I could understand why. It’s the kind of noise that you need only hear once to fall in love with. And you grow deeper in love every time you hear it after that.
I was on a bus to work the first time I listened to the album, and I barely got past the opening track that day. “We Will Do Great Things” begins with a bone-chilling wail from Sofia Ablam that will haunt your dreams for the rest of your days. Hers is a voice of unforgettable power and beauty (you can also find it on albums by Squinch Owl and Thorn & Shout).
It took me five or six times pushing play before I got beyond the opening 30 seconds. I just wanted to hear that voice over and over. I was on the train north to the ‘burbs before I finally heard the whole thing. What a marvelous piece of music. More than anything I wanted to share it with everyone, the way Oliver shared it with me. If nothing else, that is what I hope to accomplish through this site-making people aware of music they may have missed otherwise. In this case I felt it would be criminal to keep it to myself.
The lyrics to the song could have very well been inconsequential, with the primal howling and unusual, accordion-led arrangement enough to get it by. But Sons are too good to let a half-good song slip through the cracks. Instead they deliver elegant poetry using easy-to-understand language that anyone can relate with.
“And it is important to get drunk,Fuck everything upAnd it is important to let everyone downSometimes so that you can realizeJust how much they mean to you,And it is important to know
That we will do great things, together or apart”
I can’t give all the credit to Ablam here. Sons is, above all else, an ensemble. Whether a quintet as they were here, or their current state as a trio; no one member is more important than any other. Lilah Larson provides backing vocals and plays the guitar. Josh Aubin, Ezra Miller, and Jake Generalli also support with their voices. Miller also provides a thunderous set of drums that slam and crash all over the place, adding to the heightened drama of the piece.
I still listen to “We Will Do Great Things” with pretty high regularity. I feel like it stands out as a great example of the work in trying to do, as well as just being an amazing piece of music. If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen. Be prepared to fall head over heels.
Brothers Mikaiha and Anaiah Lei have been making music together since they were little kids. Now The Bots, as they’re known, are making waves across the nation with their surfrock-infused jams. The drums and guitar duo is certainly beyond the point of being new or novel, but when it’s done well it still provides some wonderful noise. These guys certainly make the most of it. Last year they played the summer festival circuit, hitting Outside Lands, Bonnaroo, Coachella, and RiotFest and the New York Times said that they were “on the cusp of stardom.”
Now they’re touring with The Preatures and stopping here in Chicago on Thursday March 26th for a sold out show at Schubas. While they’re still considered an “opening band,” expect headliner-level energy and quality from The Bots.
Check out their Tiny Desk Concerts appearance below, and grab a copy of their record Pink Palms.
Shoeshine Boy Productions has put together another great bill of Chicago bands to play at Metro this Saturday night. Rearden Roark headlines, with Buckman Page, Joe Renardo and One More Moon playing early. Immediately ahead of Roark will be a band I like caled My My My. I saw them last year at Abbey Pub and they put on a fun show. The chemistry between co-lead singers Sarah Snow and Russell Baylin is obvious as they sing to and at one another.
Late last year My My My put out a new record called Tigers On The Dance Floor, their fifth album in seven years. It’s a fun, dance-y spin that I listened to a few times but never wrote about. Snow made a video for the song “Bleeding,” which is one of my favorites from the record (and my favorite song that they played live when I saw them).
The show Saturday is only $11. It should be a great way to let loose after your busy week of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day TWICE. Grab tickets here.