Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Church, Long Island, NY, April 23, 2010

Normally I save the efforts of this music blog to give less-well-known artists some exposure, but last night I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of The Church's 30th anniversary tour of the USA. Not only did they come to New York, but they came quite close to my home on Long Island, NY, to a small performing arts center in Bay Shore, a lovely little town on the south shore of the island. Steve, Pete, Tim, and Marty gave a spellbinding performance of a song each from every one of their main albums over the past 30 years, plus 3 songs in an encore that we, the small but adoring crowd, cheered and hollered for, earnestly. I'm sure The Church felt the love. Each band member changed up instruments many times throughout, and one was no less perfect and commanding than another, at any time. It was also more than just their music: they talked to each other and to the audience, and entertained us in so many charming ways. The music of The Church, be it ever-changing over the years, is always complex, superbly-composed, dreamy, far-reaching, beautifully atmospheric and captivating. I was ecstatic, and honored, to be a part of this very special event.

The set list from that performance:
Space Needle
Reptile (jazzy)
Ionian Blues
The Unguarded Moment
Come Down
My Little Problem
Metropolis (Spanish-style)
Under The Milky Way
Already Yesterday
10,000 Miles
Almost With You
Tear It All Away
Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Space Saviour

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Praise The Twilight Sparrow

Praise The Twilight Sparrow caught my ear some time ago, when I discovered the self-titled EP, consisting of four of the most hauntingly beautiful acoustic songs I ever heard. This EP was released in 2007, and now, three years later, Praise The Twilight Sparrow has released a full-length album, Color Map of the Southern Sky: 13 songs, all stunning in their stark, soft, style of woodlands folk. Mostly acoustic, accented with banjo and harmonica, and all sung by Pascal Hallibert in his gorgeous signature vocal style (it's as if the wind is delivering the words through the trees in the dark), these songs are quietly comforting with their uncomplicated beauty. A few of Color Map of the Southern Sky's songs retain the mildly dark and haunting sound of the earlier EP, like the song H.Wood. And one song straddles both releases, the song South of No North. Songs like Mist on the River, Tales From the Dark Seas, Lady of the Snow, and the album's closer, Enter the Cold, conjure up images of a long, deep chill, foggy twilight, and an overall hushed landscape. Although I listen to this music any time of year, it definitely does lend itself to certain times (autumn and winter), certain places (misty lake houses, a forest of ancient trees reaching to the gray sky), certain feelings (lost love, found faith). Praise The Twilight Sparrow's music is quite certainly mood music, but when you are in the mood for dark, yet beautifully dreamy folk songs, there are none better to lead your way, than these lovely compositions.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sky Picnic at Lit Lounge, April 9, 2010

Sky Picnic live, a wonderfully psychedelic experience........this band has it all: the looks, the style, the vibe......the music is out of this world, pulled in from the atmosphere, warped all around you, such a phenomenal live experience. The songs translate fantastically to the stage. Although I must say, the stage at Lit is a bit TOO SMALL for the huge sound that is Sky Picnic's, a credit to this band's amazing talent.
Set list:
Tea Break
Lost and Found (new song debuted)
Going Mad In Cambridge
Farther In This Fairy Tale
Hide and Seek
Unknown Regions (new song debuted)
Astronomy Dominé (Pink Floyd cover)
Universal Mind Decoder

photos by me.