Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Conversation With Brian Warren of Weatherbox

Weatherbox Live at the Tipsy Teapot in Greenville, NC
Photo by Terry McElhennon

Last week, I ventured to Greenville, NC to see a show I'd been excited about for quite some time; San Diegan (is that a real adjective?) hard rockers Weatherbox would be gracing the stage at one of my favorite Greenville spots, the Tipsy Teapot. Hot on the heels of the release of their newest EP Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar (check out Grant's review if you haven't already), the band have been touring relentlessly, bringing Long Island's Sainthood Reps along for the ride. Both bands brought plenty of energy to spare and their heavy, high-octane performance blew plenty of minds that night (and probably a few eardrums as well). Weatherbox played through an excellent blend of old and new material that kept every head in the room banging right until they closed with "Trippin' The Life Fantastic", one of my personal favorites. After the incredible performance, I had the esteemed pleasure of sitting down with frontman Brian Warren to talk about his music, touring, conflict in the Middle East, and R. Kelly.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Decemberists - Long Live The King

Long Live The King was released
Nov 1, 2011 on Capitol Records.
The Decemberists are one of the Northwest's indie-rock success stories, though not to the degree or with the expeditiousness of Death Cab for Cutie. Unlike their contemporary, The Decemberists have managed to make an entire career's worth of work that finds itself unflinchingly literate, overwhelmingly emotional, and, ultimately, infinitely re-listenable. That all combines to make the release of "Long Live The King" a somewhat bittersweet EP. Capping off the band's nine year career thusfar before a multi-year hiatus and coming on the heels of the band's most commercially successful album, "The King is Dead," the EP stands as a testament to the creative consciousness of the band.

Composed of castaways and cut-outs from "The King is Dead," the EP keeps with the Americana-tinged direction the band found itself heading in. While I will say it was somewhat disheartening at first, to see The Decemberists move from their Victorian dramatics to the traditional American sound of their previous album, I see it now less as a departure and more of an evolution. If they have actually evolved into a more perfect version of themselves, then the six tracks offered on "Long Live the King" are the bones of the ground sloths.