I’ve got some serious catching up to do. After my “mini-festival-weekend” now two weeks ago (which included Boston’s Best Music Poll and the WBRU/McFadden’s block party in Providence), it took me all the following week to assemble my plethora of notes, photos and video clips into a few reviews. Since then I’ve been trying to catch up with a backlog of MySpace requests, emails and bands I’ve been meaning to check out.

What I’ve decided to do, rather than have to choose (from a wide variety of some great or at least interesting music) which bands to do profiles on, is to have periodic “band roundups”, where I’ll write shorter profiles, much like I did during the Coachella Festival. Since I’ve got over 20 bands to get to here, I’ll do this in bite-size chunks, rather than assault you with yet another of my massive tomes.

Part I – Avi Buffalo, Robert Francis, Colors In The Air, Martimor, Trading Voices, and The Twees.

Avi Buffalo

Avi Buffalo

I’ve only heard of these guys just recently but man, they’re awesome. LA-Underground wrote a nice piece on them back in February of last year. They cite influences as varied as Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Wilco, Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd. Their delightful and unique sound mixes some very pretty and highly sophisticated musical arrangements with wonderfully quirky vocals and literate, emotionally complex lyrics. Beautiful guitar playing and lead vocals from Avi Buffalo, with Rebecca Coleman on backing vocals and keyboards, Sheridan Riley on drums, and Arin Fazio, bass.

A guitarist and songwriter from Long Beach, California, Avi performed with Monogram, JoeyJoel and The Blues Crusaders, before writing and recording his own music. There’s a depth to his lyrics and a sophistication to the band’s sound that would be impressive for seasoned musicians who had been together for many years. They’d be exciting enough with their adept musicianship and insightful lyrics, but to learn that they’re all around 18 years old is astonishing. Add to that the surreal fact that they’re not old enough to be in the places where they’re currently performing (including a month-long residency at The Echo), and that by all accounts, they’re completely blowing away audiences accustomed to extraordinarily good bands.

The band’s debut album (produced by Aaron Embry at Hunter’s Hollow Studio in Los Angeles, CA) is due for a late 2009 release.

Upcoming Shows

Sep 5 2009 – FYF Fest Presents: Save Our State Parks at LA Historic Park – Los Angeles, California
Sep 12 2009 – Monolith Music Festival (their first festival!) – Red Rock, Colorado
Sep 19 2009 – Musicfest Northwest Berbati’s Pan with John Vanderslice and Beach House – Portland, Oregon
Sep 20 2009 – Neumos with BEACH HOUSE – Seattle, Washington
Sep 22 2009 – Department of Safety with BEACH HOUSE – Anacortes, Washington
Sep 23 2009 – The Nightlight with BEACH HOUSE – Bellingham, Washington

Avi Buffalo on MySpace


Robert Francis

robertfrancis

Born into a musical family (his father is a producer and classical pianist; his two older sisters were both in various rock bands), he released his debut album, “One By One” (Aeronaut Records) in 2007 when he was 19, and played drums, banjo, bass, piano and mandolin in addition to guitar on that album. His music and lyrics are introspective and personal (he’s compared to a young Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Neil Young; rightly so, I’d say, at first listen – especially those first two). Very nice. The storytelling in “All of my Trains” especially really drew me in.

Performing with Robert are Graham Lathrop (pedal steel, guitar), Alex Kweskin (bass), Richard Gowen (drums), and Benji Lysaght (guitar).

They’re currently on tour with Priscilla Ahn and have a few shows of their own lined up:

8/18 The Ark w/Priscilla Ahn – Ann Arbor, MI
8/19 The Drake Hotel Underground w/Priscilla Ahn – Toronto, Canada
8/21 NYC – Bowery Ballroom w/Priscilla Ahn – New York, NY
8/22 World Cafe Live w/Priscilla Ahn – WXPN Studios, Philadelphia, PA
8/23 IOTA Club & Cafe w/Priscilla Ahn – Arlington, VA
8/24 Pianos – New York, NY
8/26 Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, OH
8/27 Schuba’s – Chicago, IL
8/30 The Walnut Room – Denver, CO

Recently signed to Atlantic Records, his next release is due out this fall. The first two tracks, “Nightfall” and “Darkness”, can be heard on his MySpace or Facebook pages.

Official site | MySpace


Colors In The Air

colorsintheair

Based in the Buffalo, NY area, Colors In The Air have been performing together since summer 2005. The band features Brian Miller – vocals, piano, guitar, Ryan Cullinane – bass, Pat Williams – drums, Justin Walker – guitar. Walker and Miller had previously been in the Lockport-based band, Tears of Tomorrow. They went from performing around Buffalo to signing with indie label The Workshop Recording Group in 2006 and embarked on a regional tour to support their first EP, to releasing their second album, On The Inside and recently performing for a few weeks on the Warped Tour.

Pretty vocals, thoughtful songwriting.

Releases: Floating Vessels (Leakmob Records, 4/09), On The Inside (The Workshop Recording Group, 2007), A Toronto EP (2005).

Official video for “Phetamine” (from On The Inside, 2007)

They’re currently booking more local and regional shows. See their MySpace for tour dates. So far:

Sat 8/29 Block Party @ SUNY Fredonia – Fredonia, NY
Thur 9/10 The Hairy Lemon (Muldoons) – Fredonia, NY
Mon 9/21 Croc Bar – Buffalo, NY
Fri 9/25 Gonzo’s – Lockport, NY
Sat 10/10 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
Fri 10/30 Gonzo’s – Lockport, NY
additional cities mentioned: Rochester, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Long Island, NYC, and possibly Chicago.

Review of Colors In The Air – Emotional Punk


Martimor

martimor

This is Oscar Martimor, from Valencia, Spain. Very nice jazz/progressive guitar over unobtrusive, complimentary electronics and percussion (“Fase Terminal (Terminal Illness)” and “Nido De Culebras (Snakes Nest)”) and also solo guitar, quite lovely (as in “Expansion”, which also includes a really nice string section at the end).

Not sure if he has any releases available, but his Quartet will be performing at a venue called Acoustic Lives on October 1 – if you happen to be in Valencia, Spain at that time.


Trading Voices

Taylour Chanel & Dylan Fant of Trading Voices

Taylour Chanel & Dylan Fant of Trading Voices. Photo by Brandon Waterman.

Based in Woodinville (Seattle), Washington, Trading Voices is the musical project of Dylan Fant (who is also involved with J Minus (acoustic) and J Minus (rock). He’s a multi-instrumentalist inspired by various genres. For Trading Voices, Dylan plays various instruments with guest female vocalists. In the banjo-driven “Take Me With You”, the focus is on Taylour Chanel’s lovely singing, with a smattering of piano coming in as a nice complement. Other tracks like “I Will Erase You” and “Just Walk Away” are more rocking. Bee Simonds is another of Dylan’s guest vocalists, different from Taylour’s style, but also quite good.

As if all that weren’t enough to keep the guy busy, he also runs 1 Shot Studio. Trading Voices’ debut album is available as an mp3 download on amazon.com. J Minus has the following releases: Sun & Moon Double Album (2006) and Mr. Robotron on the Byway (2009), which are both available here.

As for live performances, his band J Minus has the following shows scheduled:

9/7 (2:00PM) – Alzheimers Benefit – WSU Chi Delta Sigma – Pullman, Washington
9/9 – Great Northern Bar & Grill (21+) – Whitefish, Montana
9/11 – Crusty’s Pizza (all ages) – McCall, Idaho
9/15 – The Black Nugget – Carbondale, Colorado
9/18 – Diablo’s Downtown Lounge – Eugene, Oregon


The Twees

twees_color

Hailing from Long Island, New York, The Twees are Jason Abrishami, guitar and vocals; Will Mazzoli, bass; and Logan Sorrentino, drums. They’ve only been around since January of this year, and seem to be off to a good start. Citing influences such as The Strokes, Bloc Party and The Wombats, their sound is bouncy and pop-quirky on their newer songs; more punkish on earlier tracks (especially “I’m Not Saying” and “It’s Been So Long”).

Their new 4-song EP, Lessons To Connect, can be heard on gimmesound.com, along with four older tracks. If you sign up for a (free) membership, you can download the EP free of charge.

As of now, just two shows listed: 9/12 at The Wave w/ The Royal Chains in PATCHOGUE, New York (that’s on Long Island), and 9/27 at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC, New York.

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