On Friday night, Magnolia Summer is celebrating the release of its third album, Lines from the Frame, with a CD release shindig at Off Broadway. The show starts at 9 p.m., and Jon Hardy and the Public and Theodore are also on the bill.
(Photo by Tuan Lee; Magnolia Summer is (l-r) John Horton, Greg Lamb, Joe Thebeau, Chris Grabau, John Baldus, Kevin Buckley, Dave Anderson)
Sonically, Frame is crystal-clear and dynamic. Grabau's keening, wistful vocals mesh well with mournful violin from Kevin Buckley and the occasional curl of pedal steel. The music ranges from slow-burning alt-country (the Whiskeytown-esque "Like Setting Suns") to pensive ballads ("Birds Without a Wire," a gossamer duet with Glossary's Kelly Kneiser) and gnarled, loud rockers (the wiry "Wrong Chords"). "By Your Side" is a Wilco-like track on which strings explode like a sunrise by the end. The jaunty jangle and springy cowbell of "Pulling Phase to Ground" recall the rowdiest moments of R.E.M.'s Life's Rich Pageant.
Judge for yourself at the show and below, with some music.MP3: Magnolia Summer, "Bird Without a Wire" MP3: Magnolia Summer, "To Better Days"
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