Absinthe Junk at The Rutledge, Nashville, TN
Absinthe Junk at The Rutledge, Nashville, TN
Photos by: Reji B. Photography
By Reji B. | Philadelphia Photo Ambassador | @RejiBPhoto | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC
Caleb Hawley with Jonny P and Josh Harrison Live at The Basement in Nashville, TN
Photography by Chris Moy
Post by Steve Harpine | Digital Content Manager | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
Lime Cordiale may sound like a strange name to American ears, but across the sea in Australia, they are 5 piece indie rock group feverishly gaining a following through extensive touring and the release of their 2nd EP released earlier this year. Their tours, some of which with big Aussie names such as The Rubens and Icehouse, have finally allowed them to land on North American shores for a run through Canada and the US, which included a stint at SXSW.
Their sound has evolved from the music scene of Sydney’s northern beaches. Brassy, surf eclectic and with a touch of teenage angst, the band has a repertoire of songs that dips its toes in a variety of different genres, from ska to funk, and jazz to pop. The variety of sounds don’t take away from the band’s personal style, but rather distinguish them apart from the rest. Lime Cordiale’s 2nd album, Falling Up The Stairs, brushes off the sophomore slump curse, and really allows the band to shine. Soulful and groove-oriented, the utilization of trombone and other brass instruments is a fantastic touch to give the pop a bit of soul.
Though the Soda Bar marked the band’s first ever gig in San Diego, the band had a pretty solid crowd there to see them. Brothers Oliver and Louis Leimbach (guitar and bass guitar, respectively) front the band, sharing vocals duties fairly evenly. They’re joined by James Jennings (drums), and US touring members Willow Robinson (guitar) and Sean Shackelford (trombone). The set included songs from both of their albums, including “Pretty Girl” from their first EP, Faceless Cat, and “Sleeping at Your Door,” one of their newer singles.
The talent of all the members is something that really exemplifies why Lime Cordiale stands out amongst the indie rock scene. Robinson and Shackelford, the two touring members for the US tour, both had to learn their parts quickly and yet, seemed like they had been playing with the band for years. Surprises came when Oli and Louis traded their bass and guitar for a trumpet and clarinet in a couple songs, proving that they are far from a one trick pony show.
From Sydney to Austin, and now California and onto the rest of the country, Lime Cordiale are quickly coming up as a band to keep an eye on. If they make it to a venue near you, check them out. And while your at it, check out their newest EP. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the upcoming summer.
Ume (pronounced OOO-may) may not be a popular name thrown about, but what they lack in fame, they make up for in dirty, gritty, live shows. But in the best way.
Formed in Austin, Texas in 2006, Ume is constantly being hailed as the next big thing, gaining support from rock icons such as Joan Jett and Bryan Poole (Of Montreal). Fusing the psychedelics of PJ Harvey and hard hitting indie rock, the band are a virtuoso of their craft. Their reputation as one of indie rock’s heaviest live band precedes them. Drummer Rachel Fuhrer provides a heavy bass and tom beat, and combines an almost animalistic approach in combination with her formal training. Bassist Eric Larson provides a rumbling bass line while he stands firmly up front, raising his bass guitar to the crowd.
But it’s powerhouse singer/guitarist who really steals the show. Pint-sized Lauren Larson took the stage with a quiet demeanor, but it wasn’t until they started did everyone get to recognize that she packs quite the punch. Like Jekyll and Hyde, Lauren can sing with delicacy and seduction, then turn it around into a blaze of ferocity and aggression. When she can take a break from the microphone, the seemingly dainty Lauren becomes a blur of blonde hair, jumping up and down and claiming the stage as her own.
Their third album, Monuments, launched in early March and has gained rave reviews. Being dubbed “hard rock for smart people,” it’s a step in the right direction for this band to gain the momentum to help them finally show why they should, in fact, be the next big thing.
Last night Milkboy Philly played host to some blue-eyed soul from Caleb Hawley, whose alumni status at both Berklee College of Music and American Idol is a rare combination uniquely suiting him to the sort of indie soul/pop he’s purveying these days. Before he and his band took the stage, however, the crowd warmed up to the impassioned crooning of Harrisburg singer-songwriter Trey Overholt, whose pared-down set of originals accompanied only by his own electric guitar sounded even better on stage than in his recent pack of free downloads. Album standout “West Virginia” was certainly a highlight, getting the few people there so early on to sing and sway along to its soulful groove. It was a good thing they were at least swaying by the time local saxophonist Max Swan and his band took the stage, because their propulsive rhythms and wailing solos virtually commanded hips to shake throughout the room.
I had previously heard Max as a session player on Bey & CodeNine’s Infatuation EP, but had no idea what to expect from a saxophonist band leader. I was thoroughly impressed. Moving seamlessly back and forth between singing, playing his sax, and pounding out beats on a Maschine as his talented backing musicians traded solos, it was as if a new hybrid genre was being invented before my eyes. Local rapper Aime joined them on stage for “Inner Urge” off the OGEP after several new songs from an upcoming project. The inclusion of an MC with a full band in Philadelphia was bound to draw comparisons to The Roots, a fact Swan was quick to make light of when thanking Aime for joining them, but the whole set called the legendary group to mind, as well as EDM saxophonist Big Gigantic and electronic/R&B experimentalist James Blake. Not satisfied with just the range of sounds possible by running his saxophone through effects pedals, he even played several songs on a MIDI sax, playing both a bass synth and what sounded like a flute run through an overdrive pedal simultaneously. The whole album, including a Tupac remix or two and a guest spot from local rap phenom Mic Stew, is up for free download on Max’s Soundcloud:
Headliner Caleb Hawley recently changed his sound from a more folk-oriented indie sound to full-blown neo-soul with help from producer Dan Molad of Lucius. He really went for it, too, the first song reminiscent of early Maroon 5, guitar-driven soul with a glossy pop sheen. Once he added a small horn section, with a sax player, trombonist, and trumpeter cramming themselves onstage behind the keyboardist, the throwback nature of his influences was more readily apparent, calling to mind Steely Dan or more recently Mayer Hawthorne. Excellent guitar playing and an effortless demeanor quickly demonstrated his TV-honed and road-worn showmanship, as he cracked jokes and even waded out into the crowd on occasion, as well as weaving in well-known songs like Biggie Smalls’ “Mo Money Mo Problems” into his own compositions. Powerful vocals allowed the singer-songwriter to cover local legends Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” with enthusiastic audience participation, as well as using Carl Carlton’s classic “She’s A Bad Mama Jama” to close with aplomb. After the full horn section left the stage, he called Max Swan back to the stage for one song, and then both Swan and the trombonist joined him for that final jam. It was a fantastic show, full of danceable riffs and singalong choruses all held together by Hawley’s tremendous charisma. It was the inaugural night of what is sure to be an excellent spring tour, the dates of which can be found by clicking on the photo below.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC