Thursday 17 Apr
 
 
CD reviews

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
 

SXSW: Crooks/Mother Falcon


Straight-up country and an orchestral phenomenon

By Stephen Carradini March 14th, 2012

Crooks
Credits: Stephen Carradini

Sixth Street has an absurd number of bars and venues, which is why it's become the center of SXSW. Friends, which is host to Buffalo Lounge, is in the middle of the action on Sixth. As I was walking up Sixth to Friends, a sign at The Parish caught my eye: Mother Falcon, 12:30.  As Typhoon's 13-piece orchestra was one of my favorite performances of SXSW last year, I jumped at the chance to see Austin's contribution to the indie-folk orchestra genre.

But before the set was Crooks, a straight-up country band. They had a bit of speed to their tunes, and I think that comes from their background: The stand-up bassist wore a Jawbreaker t-shirt. But these tunes weren't folk-punk or any amalgam of genres. The country songs they performed had good melodies and kept people toe-tapping.

The four-piece quickly broke down their set and allowed Mother Falcon as much time as possible to set up their 17/18-person orchestra. The sheer number of people and intensity of organization were impressive before they even played a note. But once they did start performing, they were impressive on the strength of their compositions.

Mother Falcon, with bassoon.
Credits: Stephen Carradini

I was absolutely floored by the dynamic nature of their compositions. Many bands in the quickly-growing genre of indie-orchestral use the orchestral instruments in the same way as guitars would be used; to play riffs or build textures to a giant swell. Mother Falcon has an approach much more dictated by classical composition: the strings, bassoon, trumpets and more were woven into the mix. The strengths of the instruments were played to: trumpets got the blaring intros, violins the pensive outro, and all the strings got in the action to create a rhythm by tapping strings with their bows.

Built on this foundation, the tunes exploded into joyful melodies, booming vocal bursts, and humongous swells. Seeing Mother Falcon now must be like what seeing Arcade Fire pre-Pitchfork hype must have been like: It's an absolutely flooring experience. It's sensory overload: it transports the listener. Highly, highly recommend for fans of Beirut, Arcade Fire, Typhoon or the like.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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