Please welcome guitarist Griffin Kay to A to Z, here talking about his current favorite music. In addition, he discusses the schedule for the Billiken Club for the fall semester so far -- beating me to the punch of posting it! Awesome.
Meneguar, I Was Born at Night (Troubleman Unlimited, 2006) I can't seem to keep this seven-song LP out of my stereo for very long. This Brooklyn four piece takes a D.I.Y./Our Band Could Be Your Life approach to guitar-driven indie rock. With great guitars lines, group vocals, incredible hooks, and anthematic choruses, they create honest and intimate music without sounding like a shitty emo band that usually gets described as "honest" and "intimate."
It only took one listen to this record to have me sold.
The only thing likely to replace this in my daily rotation is their new record coming out at the end of September (also on Troubleman Unlimited).
Due to scheduling conflicts, they won't be stopping by St. Louis on their upcoming tour, but not for a lack of trying by Billiken Club.
Speaking of the Bilken Club, they recently announced their fall lineup. So many killer shows, it's hard to believe they are all FREE! All shows start at 8 p.m.
Sep 8: Headlights with The Foundry Field Recordings and Stella Mora Sep 11: David Bazan with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone Sep 13: The Besnard Lakes with Starvin Hungry Sep 15: Berlin Whale with Ecstatic Sunshine Oct 1: Peter and The Wolf Oct 2: Do Make Say Think Oct 5: The Twilight Sad Oct 11: Dan Deacon with Pattern is Movement Oct 16: That One Guy Oct 30: Menomena
The shows are in the food court area of the campus, which can be an unusual show environment, but they also have an on campus bar in there. For only three or four bucks you can get a pretty sweet raspberry margarita. Awesome free shows and reasonably priced drinks -- how can you argue with that?
Maps & Atlases, tree, swallows, houses (self released (CD)/Friction Records (LP)) We've gotten to play a few shows with these guys this year. One of them we had to play after them and it was almost embarrassing (they're a tough act to follow). This Chicago quartet might be the most talented band I've seen live that isn't Yes. Watching them bust out their sweet finger taps has (on more than one occasion) caused me to gape with my mouth wide open in amazement.
Usually bands this technically inclined tend to lean far more towards the wankery side of things, letting melody fall to the wayside, but not these dudes.They have hummable hooks that get stuck in your head that flow right into remarkably fast guitar lines. It's a wonder that front man Dave Davison can sing and play his guitar parts at the same time.
Their record was recently released on twelve-inch vinyl. One side contains all but one track with the one remaining song on the other side along with an intricate screen print that functions as the album art. It's hard to adequately explain and it's really not like any other piece of vinyl I've ever seen before. You kind of just have to see it for yourself how sweet it is. See it here.
Russian Circles, Enter (Flameshovel (CD)/ Friction Records (LP))
Another band from Chicago, they recently went on tour opening for Pelican. Unlike Pelican, their drummer totally slays. His name is Dave and he used to play in Riddle of Steel. They've got a few shows in England lined up opening for TOOL. Before you even think about not checking them out you seriously NEED to hear "Death Rides A Pale Horse."
Explosions in the Sky, All of a Sudden I miss everyone (Temporary Residency, 2007) I recently asked a guy I know if he had heard the newest Explosions in the Sky record and his response was "Does it sound like all their other records?" It's got beautiful and dramatic guitar lines with no shortage of delay that grow and build into epic climatic crescendos. That's kind of their “thing.” Granted this was the first record of theirs I've heard, but having gone back and spent some time with their back catalog, I can say that their new record does sound like their others, but they have only improved upon and refined their style. The vinyl also has a really sweet etching on the second side of disc two that ties in with the rest of the album artwork.
This band is definitely on my list of bands that I MUST see live. However I think I'll wait until they are done opening for Smashing Pumpkins to get around to it.