Sunday, January 24, 2010

Recent News and Things

It's been quite a month so far, and it isn't even over yet. All the news from Haiti, the wild winter weather everywhere (the rain kept me in much of last week), and the bizarre politics of the Supreme Court threatening to undermine democracy. I'm ever more grateful we have music to sink into and to rearrange your priorities.

A perfect case in point was provided to me last night (Saturday, January 23, 2010) when I walked into Mr. T's Bowl a little after 9:30 and was instantly swept into another world of relentless rhythm with a wall of guitars washing over me. It was Torches in Trees (photo by Keith Skelton) and this was involuntary hypnosis they practiced on me. Anchored by solid melodies with a poignant melancholy edge, the band plays unhurried, hazy psychedelia that lured me right into the middle of the atmosphere they set out to create. It's a heady, intoxicating mix, and I think in fairly short order this band could have a large following.

The smooth, insinuating vocals are treated as another of the instruments and as such, perfect pitch is required and this band does that with a remarkable concentration that appears easy for them. It would be so easy for this music to ride off the rails into off-pitch droning, but they never, ever fall into that trap. The songs have a laid-back, experimental quality that disguises the fact that they require delicate and precise playing. Kudos to Azad Cheikosman, who guides his musicians through, what could be, murky musical waters, but always emerges with compositions of clear, solid beauty. They are well represented on their first EP, released last January, New Blood, New Sight, and I look forward to a full length from them.

The evening was an ISGOODMUSIC event, which is launching the new updated website today, and it was great to see host, Jon Hirshfield again, but I could only stay for a couple of bands. Next up was Tommy Santee Klaws, who played as a five piece, so it was fun to hear slightly stripped down versions of some of my favorite songs and a bunch of remarkable new material that makes me drool for their next recording.

Sam and Tommy handled most of the vocals, with assist from Donna, so I could enjoy the opportunity to observe the two and three part harmonies that that are so powerful they seem to emanate, simultaneously, from the sky above and the ground below. Below are the band in 3-D.

Two bands with very different sounds and it made the evening seem like a banquet of great music. I was completely satisfied.


1 comment:

gospodean said...

Nice words on the Torches. I've been watching them for a few years now and they just keep getting more and more mature as artists every time I see them. Their transformation is amazing to witness. They have the world at their feet.