Last month, Brett and I made a Sunday voyage to Bloomington to see Montreal’s Mac Demarco. His 2012 LP II was one of our favorite releases of the year. I had caught Demarco a couple of times earlier this spring at SXSW, so I was aware of his ability to transcend his brand of mellow, melodic pop into a dynamic live set. This knowledge coupled with the promise of Russian Recording‘s intimate performance space made this Sunday retreat mandatory.
Earlier that day, Demarco had played an afternoon set in the sweltering heat of Bonnaroo, only to pack up his gear and travel directly into the welcoming arms of Indiana’s lone bastion of liberalism. Due to the tight turnaround, Demarco’s set kept getting pushed back. Eight o’clock turned to nine, turned to 10, which turned to 11. Though we remained hopeful that Demarco would show, it was a toss-up as to his energy level for the set. Would he be wiped from the festival and break-neck drive? Or, would he muster his strength and deliver a set on par with buoyant, charismatic performances that I caught in Austin?
Fortunately, for the several dozen bodies sandwiched into an over-sold Russian Recording, Demarco delivered. Fortunately, for those unable to attend, Jurassic Pop Records announced it will release the recordings as a limited edition (200 copies) live cassette. Those interested should act fast, as these are likely to fly off the shelves. Demarco delivered a set that featured highlights from his studio releases II and Rock and Roll Nightclub. He also stretched his standard pair of cover songs into an otherworldly, 10-minute medley that culminated in a rockin’ rendition of Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” and made up for any lost time on the road. It was a sweat-drenched set that I will remember for a long time, and now I have the recordings to crystallize it. Listen to Demarco’s live version of “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans” below, and discover one of the best live acts going. Purchase Live at Russian Recording while you still can. All of you cheapskates can stream the recordings in their entirety over at Ad Hoc.
Written by Rob Peoni
Bloomington’s The Broderick released their debut, self-titled LP last week. Along with the new album, the band released a stunning video for the single “Battle with the Baker.” The video was produced by Addie Snider, Andy Beargie and Kevin Winkler. Watch and listen to the track below. The album is available for purchase on CD and digital download via The Broderick’s Bandcamp page.
Written by Rob Peoni
Today marks the arrival of one of my most anticipated local releases of the year: She Does Is Magic’s debut LP My Height in Heels. The project is led by Bloomington’s Chad Serhal. The album is Serhal’s second release of 2012, following his solo effort Golden. Listening to My Height in Heels, you get the sense that what Serhal enjoys most about She Does Is Magic are those moments when it really feels like a band. Those opportunities to get lost within and expound upon a solitary guitar riff that simply are not possible as a solo artist.
Every other of the eight songs found on My Height in Heels is an instrumental. But these tangents never distract or bog the release down. Serving instead to propel the work forward, the tracks function as the sonic equivalent of transition sentences – closing one thought and introducing another seamlessly.
Songs about girls are staggered between the instrumental interludes. Which, at the end of the day is what most good rock bands should be writing about. The opposite sex is a subject that fascinates Serhal. A subject, if we may read into the band’s name, he finds magical. It’s a healthy obsession. One that allows him to lucidly recall subtle details of lovers past, and recognize the shadow a relationship can cast upon a former favorite record.
I initially found myself irked by SDIM’s decision to recycle three of the tracks from the band’s self-titled EP, released digitally last year, but soon realized those emotions were selfish. All of the tracks on the EP were worthy of wax and shine brilliantly here – polished, remastered and in the case of opening track “Means Nothing,” stripped down and revamped.
My Height in Heels is a straightforward rock release that should give Hoosiers a sense of pride. Listen to the album in its entirety below. A release party will be held this Thursday at The Melody Inn where SDIM will be joined by Hotfox and The Broderick. Grab your copy of My Height in Heels in person or order it on CD or vinyl today from Flannelgraph Records.
Written by Rob Peoni