Sunday, November 9, 2014

In Dreams: Orenda Fink At Origami Vinyl

07 NOVEMBER, 2014
In town for an appearance on Last Call With Carson Daly, Orenda Fink made time for an instore up in the loft at Origami Vinyl. Formerly half of Azure Ray, she is now three albums deep into her solo journey, and Blue Dream is her most focused and intense work to date, an interesting dichotomy of both the most straightforward music and the most imposing subject matter she's delved into, and, not unlike Peter Gabriel's So, it works on any number of levels.
With Blue Dream, (out on Saddle Creek), as an obvious focus point, she led off with the meditative "Holy Holy", then unfolded a set including "You Are A Mystery To Me", "This Is A Part Of Something Greater", and a haunting "Ace Of Cups". The simplicity of the setup led to the best sound I've ever heard at Origami, full and rich, and with none of the usual Mexican Radio transmissions bleeding into amps from the surrounding Echo Park neighborhood. Reaching back into her catalog, she parlayed a stunning duo of "That Certain-Something Spring" and "Why Is The Night Sad" from Ask The Night, and later in the set, broke out a show-stopping "Easter Island" from Invisible Ones. As the last show on the domestic Blue Dream tour, it was an enthusiastic and intimate set that hopefully sets the tone for January's European Tour adventure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chastity Belt: Greetings From I-5

18 OCTOBER, 2014
Chastity Belt (Seattle)
Tulips (Los Angeles)
This weekend brought an embarrassment of musical riches to California, leaving one to regretfully pick from SF's Treasure Island Music Festival, the Moon Block Party in Pomona, my town's own New Noise Music Conference, or Filter's Culture Collide party in LA. So how did I find myself tracking the back roads across the state and up highway 14 en route to the high desert? Seattle's Chastity Belt holds the answer to that question. In the midst of a west coast swing, they hit up Lancaster, CA to do an all ages show with Tülips, from Los Angeles. Spearheaded by Acerogami in Pomona, the foray into bringing curated shows to Lancaster drew a modest crowd in numbers, but they more than made up for it with enthusiasm, and stellar dance moves, to burn. The venue was the Memorial Hall at the newly renovated Cedar Center For The Arts, and it was breathtaking. While makeshift venues have their own special charm, every now and again it's nice to go upscale, and the bright sounding room would hold both bands in good stead. Tülips was a fine discovery, an LA quartet that holds down the garage punk end of the spectrum with verve, alternating between two songwriters, Taleen Kali and Angie Bloom. "Spring" was a highlight, appearing late in their set. Their sole release to date is a cassette single: "Hotspur/Wait" on Love You Just Records.
Formed in Walla Walla, and relocated across the state to Seattle, Chastity Belt have spun out a pair of EP's, Fuck Chastity Belt and Dude, and one full-length: No Regerts, on Help Yourself Records, with the album making the cut for our Top 25 last year, Their second LP is in the can and being readied for next spring. The set found Chastity Belt in an interesting place, with what would have been easy crowd pleasers such as "James Dean" or "Pussy, Weed, Beer" cast aside for more emotive tracks. Leading off with "Seattle Party", they didn't wait long to take a left turn, dropping in a new song before moving on to "Black Sail". With the tone established, they kept to it, turning in a set more melodic than raucous, including a moving version of "Full". The real eye-opener was the band interplay, with the quartet showing an impressive growth over the last few years. Guitarist and lead vocalist Julia Shapiro was an entrancing focal point, but attention to the rest of the band: guitarist Lydia Lund, and the rhythm section of Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm rewarded attention time and again, particularly Truscott's bass lines, which brought out the underlying melancholy. Shapiro's side project Childbirth remains a worthy repository for the more vehement songs in her output, and we had the pleasure of crossing paths with Childbirth not too long ago. Based on the evidence of this evening, the next Chastity Belt record should be one well worth keeping an eye on.


Julia Shapiro
Gretchen Grimm
Lydia Lund
Annie Truscott


Becky (Acerogami) and the evening's DJ plot world domination...