For a few days in October, a fistful of musicians, dancers, and visual artists are scattered at venues around the city in a dense blanket, with talented folks everywhere and a seemingly endless array of events happening simultaneously. Why? Because City Arts magazine has magical powers (and fatty wallets thanks to excellent sponsors) and not only do they love to give out their magazine for free, they also love to put on a fun festival. This year, Inside Right Wrist is one of the fine sponsors for that festival and will be covering as much awesomeness as is (super)humanly possible. I’ve had the lineup in my hot little hand for over a week and have gotten to know the artists by playing through their music, videos and histories. Below are some of the musicians I am most excited to see.
Just an update for you guys: We’ve been informed that all Music, Arts, and VIP wristbands are SOLD OUT but that you can still find individual show tickets for lots of the music and arts events, as well as the Culture Club passes.
Jesse Lortz used to be in the band The Dutchess & the Duke, which was awesome. They broke up and people cried about it. Sometimes a lot. But this new thing he’s doing was worth the tears it took to get there. For the last little while, Jesse and his friends have been collaborating on songs—often with amazing videos to go along with them—and Jesse has been making art: posters, jewelry, “non-musical creative writing,” to name a few. My love for this group (“this project is not a ‘band,’ the focus has shifted so that I can play shows alone or with other people,” Jesse says) is as much about their thoughtful songs as it is about the willful inaccessibility of them. They do not have a website. Their Facebook page is sparse. They have a blogspot with pictures of arts and crafts and an etsy shop with no products for sale. They nearly always play in different personnel configurations. When they play, they often play under other names ( from their Facebook: Nov 12 Mensonges at Rendezvous w/ SEX CHURCH and changing the band name to “MAGIC AT THE DAWN OF MANKIND”). They also make great videos. Here’s one:
DeVotchKa falls into the category of bands I kind of missed the boat on back in the day. They’ve been around for over a decade and make music that is at once entertaining and somewhat distracting, particularly when you watch their videos. The band describes their newest record, 100 Lovers, as “a compendium of short stories inspired by the varied moments the band experienced since the release of [their last record] A Mad & Faithful Telling,” five years ago. I’m excited to see what they have in store for their live show. If it’s half of the psych-folk-80s-throwback as the video is for their new track “The Man from San Sebastian,” it will certainly be entertaining.
Kevin sings sometimes-disturbing lyrics in such a beautiful way, that people may think he’s just another singer-songwriter. The talented musician has a long and storied past and has received praise from fellow musicians for his excellent skill at sharing those stories. My excitement for his set stems from the knowledge that Kevin may finally get a slice of the recognition he deserves for his beautiful music.
In further strange, somewhat inaccessible delights, Jennifer Herrema is a fun, sharp-edged little puzzle. She (and her boyfriend at the time, Neil Hagerty) used to be in a band called Royal Trux. She sang and thrashed with a bunch of rocking bands (including The Kills) after Royal Trux dissolved and then started a band called RTX which was pretty hard core and had lots of fans. On the day the LP art was due for their fourth record, she decided that the band had become too familiar to people and renamed it “Black Bananas,” after lyrics in an RTX song. She called the album Rad Times Xpress IV (RTX 4? As in RTX’s 4th album?)… and kept the same personnel lineup. You still with me? Cool. Anyway, the music I’ve heard sounds like a distorted mess of possible brilliance and the video for their song “My House” looks like a commercial for a brand of being too cool for school. I’ll bite.
Omar Rodriguez Lopez
Fans of The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In and people who have mad multi-instrumental skills know who this guy is. I don’t know a lot about playing the guitar, but I have been told by guitar-playing friends that he’s one of the best in the world. Sounds like it’s worth an hour or two of your time and mine to check out the solo version of his music.
I came across this sometimes-duo, sometimes-full band whilst puttering away on the CAF site. The interwebs describes them as some sort of mishmash of adora-core-queer-punk-folk-bluegrass. They play all sorts of instruments including guitar, harmonica, banjo, drums, trumpet, accordion, trombone, mandolin and upright bass, as well as more experimental noise-makers like saws and such (which a friend assures me is never gimmicky). The last time they came to town, they opened for The Mountain Goats. Check out a video which sums up my love for them (possibly NSFW, if you work in a convent).
David Byrne & St. Vincent
This one is kind of obvious, yes. They’re the headlining duo of all headlining duos this year. But, unlike a few other festivals which seem to lack a big-time headliner, these two standout as a show that will be both BIG and HEADLINE-y. David Byrne is kind of a genius/weirdo and I have always been a fan of Talking Heads. He’s releasing an album with St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) this fall. St. Vincent is strange enough to be adored by music-loving snobs, yet mainstream enough to appear on Gossip Girl. Which is pretty freaking mainstream. It will be interesting to see them together. You can get their first track, “Who,” from their soon-to-be-released album, Love This Giant, here.
-D. Black and the whole Sportn’ Life Records crew, including Fatal Lucciauno, Spac3man and Fly Moon Royalty (the latter two I missed at CHBP). D. Black is coming out of retirement for this one-off.
-Los Rakas who, even though I’m not really into reggae and the harder core version they seem to be, are pretty rad.
-Joshua Radin: I’m interested to find out if he is AMAZING as one friend said or super boring, as another reports.
-Throw Me the Statue. I know they’re from Seattle, as are tons of other bands playing all the festivals that happen in this state (time to get over it, guys), and that you could thus see them whenever you want. But I haven’t seen TMTS play because every time they’ve had a show, I’ve somehow been at one of those shows of bands you can’t see all the time. So there’s that. There’s also this: I’m a little obsessed with Blogatheque and TMTS recorded a takeaway show on a ferry with them. Which I think is cool.
“The Rolling Stones”
A Fine Frenzy
Brother Ali with Blank Tape Beloved
Cody Beebe & the Crooks
David Byrne & St. Vincent
Davidson Hart Kingsbery
DJ Nima Fadavi
Fly Moon Royalty
Fox and the Law
Homeboy Sandman with DJ Sosa
Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground
Land of Pines
Larry Hawkins (formerly SK)
Lost in the Trees
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
Omar Rodriguez Lopez
The Grizzled Mighty
The New Law
Throw Me The Statue
Two Door Cinema Club