For anyone still under the impression that Nashville’s music scene is a boys-only club, then Monday night’s show at The End would be the cue for a collective, “like hell it is.” By the time the members of the neo-pop trio Nite Nite took the stage, the all-female group Hot Cha Cha and female fronted Yumi and the System proved that chicks can rock (and not in the Taylor Swift, teardrops-on-a-guitar way).
After an extended sound check, it was a little before midnight when Nite Nite actually began. Blame it on the fact that it was Monday, or that the weather was becoming increasingly appropriate for the season, but the crowd was sparse. However, in the grand tradition of Southern musician hospitality, all of the opening bands were front and center cheering on the headliner.
Looking like a less homeless Mary-Kate Olsen and a more attractive Lady Gaga, lead vocalist Davis started the set with a gothic-inspired dreamy pop sound that was evident throughout the show. Her voice is completely unexpected, yet impressive in its Debbie Harry-esque tone. Bassist Matthew Brown and keyboardist/vocalist Sarah-Brooks Levine were not to be outshined by the charismatic Davis as they too looked like they could be extras on the set of “Gossip Girl” (albeit ones who are damn good at playing their instruments). Just by watching them perform, one can tell that there’s nothing accidental about Nite Nite. From the tailored rock chic to the Euro-pop-infused sound, they’ve found the formula for attracting a cult following.
There’s a theatric and campy quality to a Nite Nite show that makes Blondie and The Cure references seem completely fitting. However, they are unique enough to establish their own sound - one that will either alienate or convert fans of the genre. The whole uber-hipster thing may be off-putting to some, but it’s refreshing to see something not yielding an acoustic guitar get some attention in this town. Whether you love them, hate them or just want to throw your iPhone at them, Nite Nite’s eerie blend of gothic-pop is the perfect excuse to try acid. You know, hypothetically. – Krystal Wallace
While a plethora of music journalism in Nashville revolves around well documented and overly attended events that seem to occur repeatedly throughout the year to an almost detrimental extent, most of the mainstays emerged quickly from a period of either non existence or relative obscurity. Deep under the radar of Nashville's utility musicians-turned-journalists and/or bloggers community lies an assortment of abrasive musical acts whose shows are attended by a crowd who, while sporadic in number, are most assuredly devoted to the challenging nature of these musicians.
Grandmother's "Invade/Sublet" release, the first on experimental music label Destined For Increase, is a shining example of said abrasion. Functioning as a sort of earmark for any individual's field of musical tolerance, this three piece conducts a sonic assault of whirrs, clicks, feedback, and guttural bursts via specifically manipulated electronics and carefully orchestrated chains of every effect imaginable. Anyone looking for standard structure to bop your head to will no doubt experience the losing side of a violent altercation in their ears. The subtlety of musical application throughout this release should, however, appeal greatly to those open to experimentation, progression, and new interpretations of theory. It's quite rewarding to discern the extreme use of dynamic herein through the harsh and amoebic flow of "Invade/Sublet" while also picking out the use of these seemingly improvised noises as pseudo-sources of rhythm and melody. Repeated occurrences of particular relationships between the distorted vocals, over-active drum loops, and feedback inducing squelches make these tracks function better on the whole than individually. Traits such as these render the workings of Grandmother quite similar to traditional orchestral releases.
While the release can be a challenging listen to unwilling ears, a little imagination can lead to some severe moments of joy from an unexpected place. Grandmother's live shows are also exemplary of this statement, and are somewhat like watching a group of men battle their instruments to an epic soundtrack while clamoring for victory over something they have themselves created. In short, a must-see and a must-listen. The "Invade/Sublet" cassette (which is limited to only 100 copies) is available to order now, and to get yourself a copy and more information on Grandmother and experimental label Destined For Increase, visit destinedforincrease.blogspot.com. - Jesse Baker
I was first introduced to Alvin Love’s live show in early September at an 8 off 8th – and I was blown away. Being in Nashville for several years, I’ve seen a lot of mediocrity in showmanship – but Alvin’s set was fresh and interesting, and I wanted to know more. Sitting at Portland Brew with Alvin was more than an interview. We talked about everything from a Detroit music scene comeback to his travels to Australia…and finally his just-released EP, The Strawberry Project.
Co-produced by Love and friend Dwan Hill, the five-song EP (technically seven with intros and outtros) is his “first everything.” “I’m excited about it…Given that you can’t fully express yourself on a five-song record, I’m happy with it,” he says. The record showcases his talents, and presents a new face of pop-influenced, upbeat music – one with depth and creativity.
Love’s fusion of rock’n’roll and old school, feel-good soul is nothing short of revolutionary – his surprises on stage and on The Strawberry Project are new to the Nashville music scene. But Love doesn’t want to be limited to one genre: “I want my music to open up people’s horizons, to the idea of being creative and eclectic. People listen to different kinds of music, but mainstream music doesn’t reflect that. I’m just really in support of being out-of-the-box; there should be no boundaries on creativity.” His words come from experience – after feeling pressure to limit his sound to one niche, Love decided that hindering his creativity “wasn’t worth it” to cater to the mainstream world, and that now, “what you’re hearing is exactly what I want to do.” And people respond to it – attend any one of Love’s live shows, watch him tear up the stage and watch the reactions in the crowd. I will be the first to admit that it’s nearly impossible to stand still while Love is performing.
Although his entertainment ability is winning, Love’s songs are more than just a show and dance. Writing is “something that just happens,” according to Love. “Strawberries,” the title song on The Strawberry Project and winner of a songwriting contest, was written in the car (on Hillsboro Pike, specifically). Others, he says, have been written in the shower, in class…and even church. “I’m lucky to have such a gift,” he says, “but I feel kind of guilty- like I can’t even take credit most of the time.”
Not having an EP until now has “put some limits on what I want to do,” says Alvin. His current plans include touring and getting back in the studio. And while he realizes “[he’s] very green right now,” his outlook is positive: “I’m writing songs that I like, and I’m crazy enough to think that other people will like them, too.”
Catch Alvin Love live this Wednesday, November 3 at Imogene + Willie and at the Basement on December 3.--Lindsay Hayes
Just in case you don’t already have enough shows and parties lined up to attend this Halloween weekend, you might want to consider making your way to 7th Avenue to see The Black Belles play their first gig at Third Man Records. This Nashville quartet of sleek, raven-haired ladies was discovered by Jack White and, like the White Stripes, The Black Belles belt their lyrics in the style of ’60s soul, while the crash of the snare and the bluesy guitar-squealing add some grit. Be sure to listen for the song “What Can I Do,” which is noisy garage rock at its finest and one of their first recordings. And don’t forget to catch The Greenhornes set and pick up a copy of their new LP, “★ ★ ★ ★,” since this is their release show, after all. Doors are at 8 p.m. – Deli Editor
If I wasn't going to be traipsing around New Orleans this weekend for VOODOO Music Fest, I'd be at this show. Great lineup of local and national bands, and will be hosted by Dean "Tex Rambunctious" Shortland, and--god forbid this is actually true--the one and only, Basil Marceaux. Wha...?! But you definitely don't want to miss Chancellor Warhol, or Space Capone. And do I even need to tell you to not miss the Ying Yang Twins? Now that's a timeless act right there. Check here for more details. --Deli Editor
Looks like some pretty "colorful" entertainment will be happening in Nashville this weekend, especially at 12th and Porter. It also looks like it might be a good idea to try and snag advance tickets for a lot of the shows going on, because they're probably gonna be pretty packed. Go here for more information and tickets.--Deli Editor
The South African hip-hop group, Die Antwoord--known most notably for their recent ViRaL video, "Enter the Ninja,"--will be playing at Cannery Ballroom on November 3rd. This is very strange, especially considering that local favs JEFF the Brotherhood will be opening, along with Rye Rye (which makes a little more sense). Despite how varied the influences are that are detectable in Die Antwoord, I wouldn't call their music very comparable to Jeff. But they're awesome and we love to support, so let's just say that they add a little flavor to an already tasty lineup. If anything, this show has to be one of the more curious, interest-peaking shows that has come through Nashville this year. Go here for more information, and to hear a nice story--(I think this might be their press release?)--about how Ninja (the lead singer) accidentally got the other half of the Die duo--VI$$ER--pregnant. And do yourself a favor and watch some of the kooky music videos when you've got some spare minutes.--Deli Editor
Try and figure out how they're all related. Well--not really. Just go to Foobar tonight at 9 pm to catch Zoe's set, as well as local artists Holmes & Presley and Erin Manning--one of our co-editors! Show is only $5 AND there'll be some great drink specials. Think "shot'o tequila and a PBR for $5..." Who can resist that? AmiRight?! Go here for additional show details. See you tonight!--Deli Staff
If you mashed up the alternative genres skirting the mainstream during the’70s and ’90s and churned it out with one guitar and drum set in a snarling, sexy, dirty mess, you’d have “Mountain,” the second full-length by Murfreesboro-based band Turtle Bangs. I could draw countless comparisons to the in-your-face energy of Patti Smith, the raw minimalism of the White Stripes, the psycho killer weirdness of Tom Waits, the slow seduction of The Stooges and more, but you’d do better to hear it yourself.
Turtle Bangs are best known for tearing up house shows around Murfreesboro, and there’s something to be said for cramming into a tight living room to hear the music resonating so loudly, you feel like you’re taking a beating from the kick drum and a stabbing from the guitar. But after hearing “Mountain,” it’s pretty clear the band is ready for more venue gigs.
A strange, tribal riff (very Neil Young) oozes slowly out on first track “Desert Stone,” with guitarist/vocalist Greg Stephen’s cracking howl: “You are what I want/you are the desert stone/you are the serpent’s tongue.” The rhythm may be slow, but it’s white-hot. Then Casey Carter’s drum beats stumble one after another over Stephen’s fits and stops of crunchy riffs in “There Is No Time.” Bare-bones as the album may be, each song is profoundly multi-faceted with tracks that can go from jam-band slow to warped speed over the course of two minutes. They can perpetuate meandering riffs until they’ve caught you in a trance as well as pound you over the head with short, angry chords, as found in “Wipe.”
The last half of the album grows somewhat softer with songs like “Oh My Brother,” which has a different melodic quality than the others that swaps sordid and hectic thrashing for something that borders on pretty. And though “Mountain” is riddled with blues influence, Turtle Bangs mainly explore the different outfits of punk from frenzied, hyper-tempo lust songs (like “Shake”) to slow, spiraling striptease songs like “Molly” in which Stephen implores in a ghostly moan so much like Iggy Pop, “I wish that you could find me and put me back together again.”
“Mountain” possesses a perfected sloppiness that’s difficult to achieve, especially with only two instruments, but Turtle Bangs pulls it off, and is one of the only bands that can sing about shaking it (listen to “Shake”) and convince me to actually do that. For those who need a serious dose of grungy garage rock paired with punk, “Mountain” is the cure. Let the healing begin. – Jessica Pace