Okay, maybe not strictly alt-country in every sense. Yer ace sweetheart promoters Gathered In Song normally prove champs at bringing top drawer Americana, folk and country acts to South Wales; Laura Stevenson and band have elements of all these but also stir in sparkling indie and sprawling, multi-headed pop moves. There’s a crispness and refined classiness to proceedings that threatens but doesn’t quite teeter into tweeness, something possibly helped by the band’s time in previous punk and rawk bands (Bomb The Music Industry, Latterman, Get Bent). They’ll win you over, you unclassy fucks. Intriguing and worth-getting-there-early-for support too from Personal Best, aka Katie Gatt of unassuming local winners Bedford Falls.
Rivers of whisky over at the Pot Cafe, courtesy of a grizzly bearded middle-aged man (someone should totally invent a name for that style of facial hair that tapers to two or more seperate points – ‘the garden fork’?). Otis Gibbs plays socially aware acoustic laments that come complete with cracked-rocks vocals and heaped kudos from Billy Bragg. A pretty fine wit on the Twitter too. Support here is the comprehensively great hushed folk of Gareth Bonello, soothing ears as the Gentle Good.
And also, grrr, on the same night is the first cinematic choice of Music Geek Monthly, who huddle into Cardiff’s Arts Institute every four weeks to evaluate new releases and dig on classic albums (they also run full length LP listening events at Chapter). Hopefully something that will begin a sequence of film treats, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart is the 2002 documentary covering Wilco’s travails (label problems, bands squabbling, migraines, other fun stuff) around their ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ record. A grumpy grump Jeff Tweedy may be, but I will punch anyone who dismisses ‘Being There’. That is all.
Why are these events all on the same day? Blame… someone.
LAURA STEVENSON AND THE CANS plus support at 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff
Monday 12th September 2011 – 20:00
Gathered In Song in association with 10 Feet Tall present…
LAURA STEVENSON AND THE CANS
The playful indie pop jangle of Laura Stevenson and The Cans should appeal equally to fans of Rilo Kiley and Laura Veirs, sitting somewhere between the two but bringing in a host of other elements to tap into a sound of their own. Laura Stevenson was schooled in the traditional music of her grandfather and grandmother (composer of “The Little Drummer Boy” and vocalist for the Benny Goodman Orchestra respectively) from an early age. It wasn’t until she started performing with Bomb The Music Industry in her teens, that she began writing on her own. Privately crafting songs on the softer side of indie rock and traditional folk, Stevenson was soon tapped as the band’s opener and, with the addition of Mike Campbell (ex-Latterman) and Alex Billig in 2007, Laura Stevenson and the Cans solidified. Their live band grew into a quintet, often times swelling to eight members, and the following debut LP, A Record, won them fans far and wide having been downloaded over 25,000 time since it’s 2008 release.
Sit Resist, an album centered around never sitting stagnant, sees a matured band that has been continuously at work writing, arranging and touring for the past three years. Lyrically, Stevenson’s pen has a sharp, poetic tone, making it impossible not to be taken in by her stories. Where A Record crackled with Stevenson’s intimate voice alongside gentle acoustics, begging the listener nearer, Sit Resist commands the attention of all within earshot with its rich instrumentation and textured melodies.
Over the course of the album’s thirteen songs, you’ll hear the band weld a variety of musical styles that dreamily caress and nurture one another into a wholly unique rendering of Americana. “Master of Art” with its Phil Spector-esque, girl-group tease of an intro, explodes with the energy of Stevenson’s voice – an instrument that is as strong as it is lovely. “Caretaker” conjures up ghosts and memories of homes inevitably / regrettably left behind. You’ll find major-key resolution in the juxtaposed tale that is “The Healthy One,” and “I See Dark” waltzes you, dear listener, into the lonely night, hand-in-hand.
“Laura Stevenson and The Cans prove it’s possible to fuse melody, thoughtful acoustic music and punk without compromising their sound. The resultant material is as phenomenal as it is undone. They’ve created a new genre for a new generation; an important development given the music industry’s tendency to rely on previous successes. Though The Cans’ style has not been covered before, their lyrics draw influence from the macabre, tongue-in-cheek lick of The Decemberists, and Stevenson’s vocal is not dissimilar to a matured Lisa Mitchell. Bound with ferocious and urgent intent, The Cans are an essential addition to your record collection” The Line Of Best Fit
“Brooklyn’s Laura Stevenson & The Cans make the good kind of indie rock: the beaming, soaring, cloud-gazing, theatrical kind; the nu-sensitivo version of ‘all killer no filler’.” The Village Voice
“On Sit Resist, there’s simply too much talent to not take notice.” Alternative Press
Support from alt country combo JAMES NEILL AND THE AUTUMN WALTZ and one girl indie rock offshoot from Bedford Falls, PERSONAL BEST.
Tickets only £5.00 advance from www.wegottickets.com
Doors open 8.00pm
Tickets are available for £5 from http://www.wegottickets.co
To celebrate Cardiff’s autumn re-awakening, we’re delighted to welcome the wonderful singer-songwriter talent of Otis Gibbs. With a gravelly voice conjuring images of his Indiana home, some people refer to him as a folk artist, but that is a simplistic way to describe a man who has planted over 7,000 trees, slept in hobo jungles, walked with nomadic shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains, been strip-searched by dirty cops in Detroit, and has an FBI file. Having toured the UK extensively both as a support to Billy Bragg, and on his own, we’re very lucky to have him!
Check him out at his website:
Kicking off proceedings will be an act with a distinctly local flavour, The Gentle Good. Riding the crest of a wave, and after a summer of festival gigs including Green Man, local favourite The Gentle good will surely be glad of a gig back in Cardiff. An absolute must see, one of the finest talents either side of the river Severn.
Hear more on his myspace page:
Here it is, the first Music Geek Monthly music film night. The idea came up at a recent event about watching music related films and here is the first one. We have decided on ‘I am trying to break your heart’, a film about Wilco as this was the film that started the discussion. Depending on how this one goes, the plan is to have more of these events in the future. There are a list of films that have been compiled by Angharad and Laura on the tumblr page. Feel free to add more if you have any preferences, but it is likely that we will use this list as a means of selecting the film each time. Thank you both for doing the list (it’s pretty extensive!). The film will start at 8pm at Gwdihw and it is totally free. So come along if it sounds like something you would like to do!
Here is a link to some information about the film:
And here is the tumblr page that includes the list of films compiled by Angharad and Laura: