Jim Nelson https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/rss Turn Me On: Catfish & The Bottlemen https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-catfish/ <p>Somewhere in Sydney, Australia, there’s a busker who directly impacted the name of a rock band from a small Welsh seaside resort town. Years after the fact. This busker from Down Under, dubbed Catfish the Bottleman for the liquid-filled bottles that he used as an instrument, was pretty much the first musical memory of a very young Ryan Evan “Van” McCann, whose family had briefly travelled to Australia.</p> <p>Back home in Llandudno, Wales, in 2007, a teenage McCann started playing guitar with Billy Bibby, his friend’s older brother, and when their duo became a band in need of a name, McCann remembered this long ago busker and named the quartet <strong>Catfish and the Bottlemen</strong>.</p> <p>That answers everybody’s first question.</p> <p>For six years the lads played wherever, including “closing” bigger bands’ shows by setting up in the parking lot post-gig, and it paid off with a 2013 Communion Records deal that netted them four singles. One of those singles, "Kathleen", hit #1 on MTV’s hottest tracks in April 2014 and within a year Catfish and the Bottlemen had seen their debut album, <em>The Balcony</em>, go to #10 on the UK Albums Chart, they had their first BBC Music Award.</p> <p>Catfish and the Bottlemen hit US shores with <em>The Balcony</em> in January 2015, and the very next day the Welshmen performed the energetic pop rock confection "Kathleen" on <em>The Late Show with David Letterman</em>. As the song was climbing steadfastly into the Top 20 on the US Alternative rock charts, the band was diligently collecting comparisons from Yankee scribes to Johnny Marr, The Kooks, and, notes McCann, “Oasis, but with better manners.” You could add that their crunchy, guitar-driven tunes spew bits of British Invasion-inspired Ramones affability and everything that made hits of those early three-minute punk pop burners by Elvis Costello.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xrrcVxnjJO8?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>With "Kathleen" leading the way, Catfish and the Bottlemen toured in the UK, Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia, and they played a number of festivals including New York’s Governors Ball, and Bonnaroo.</p> <p>Early in 2016 the guys (now McCann, original member and bassist Benjamin “Benji” Blakeway, and later arrivals drummer Bob Hall and guitarist Johnny “Bondy” Bond) won their first Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act. When their second album, <em>The Ride</em>, was issued it hit #1 on the UK Charts and, so far, Top 30 here.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9mLD8FL28Nk?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>Just as The Ride was coming out in the spring of 2016, and with the delightful new garagey single Soundcheck already on the airwaves to herald the show, Catfish and the Bottlemen played to a standing-room-only crowd at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a crowd that exuberantly and confidently sang every song—even the brand-new ones.</p> <p>And somewhere in Sydney, Australia, there’s a busker who’s proud.</p> <p><a href="http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/category/turn-me-on/" target="_blank">See more Turn Me On at Rock Cellar Magazine</a></p> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 14:25:09 -0700 https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-catfish/ Turn Me On: The Saint Johns https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-the-saint-johns/ <p>At last, even vegetarians have a reason to celebrate Taco Tuesdays. Or at least one particular Taco Tuesday.</p> <p>If you were at this particular Taco Tuesday Party in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2008 you would have been in one of the rooms hooking up so you would not have noticed the moment when Jordan Meredith of St. Augustine and Louis Johnson from 250 miles away in West Palm Beach found themselves the last two at the party not partnered up, the moment when they began to share Jordan’s guitar, by turns playing each other song after song, that elusive moment when—if the stars align and the wind is blowing just right—two voices can find each other near the taco fixings and become one voice. In that moment, Jordan and Louis laid the foundation for The Saint Johns.</p> <p>And since this is the point in the story where everyone assumes the rest of the story, maybe now is a good time to clear that up: They don’t date. Never have.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V9QOylF41uk?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>Jordan and Louis named their duo after the nearby Saint Johns River, and soon their blended voices were blowing minds in original Americana songs that rate comparison with fellow vocal bands Fleetwood Mac, The Civil Wars, The Lumineers, Delta Rae, and The Lone Bellow (with whom they’ve toured). After a yearlong hiccup in New York City they headed west for Nashville, where they’ve been a part of the scene since 2012; that same year, their free introductory EP/videos, Live Sessions, and their song Your Head and Your Heart on the Nashville Indie Spotlight compilation began to spread The Saint Johns beyond their neck of the woods.</p> <p>A year after landing in Nashville The Saint Johns officially went national with an indie EP, Open Water, followed by a record deal with Sony imprint Kemosabe Records and a shot on David “Normally My Policy Is No Beginners, But These Kids Are So Good We Had To Have Them On The Show” Letterman.</p> <p>A debut full-length CD, Dead of Night, complemented the EPs in 2016. Produced by Grammy-winner David Kahne, Dead of Night has the songs—Lost The Feeling, Coming Home, Falling, and Little Bit could all be hits—the expert performances, and the honest vulnerability—What Are You Doing Now, Shadowplay, and The Way You Did are all drowning in universal ache—to make Jordan Meredith and Louis Johnson two of this year’s more noteworthy singers and songwriters, and certain first-ballot Got Their Start on Taco Tuesday Hall of Famers.</p> <p><a href="http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/category/turn-me-on/" target="_blank">See more Turn Me On at Rock Cellar Magazine</a></p> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:15:02 -0700 https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-the-saint-johns/ Turn Me On: Darlingside https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-darlingside/ <p><strong>Darlingside</strong> used to have a drummer. But he sort of got in the way. Not in the spatial sense of “got in the way”; rather, in the aural sense. Basically you had these crisp, air-tight, laser-locked voices—four of them, pretending to be one—struggling to appropriately comingle with the drums. No need for a caucus to tabulate that four voices beat a lone drummer every time, so after a 2012 self-released CD the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based band reduced its number by one.</p> <p> </p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MZo-xK4Dens?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>Now, whenever these Williams College grads sing together onstage or in the studio you’ll find multi-instrumentalists Dave Senft, Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner huddled in a semi-circle ’round a shared microphone; every song is written by all four of them, so singing in unison is an extension of the way they write. With hues of ’60s folk, chamber pop, bluegrass, and even classical, organically played on rootsy instruments led by acoustic and 12-string electric guitars, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, cello, and bass, and colored with Wurlitzer, auto-chord organ, piano, and harmonium, Darlingside’s music resides not in the here and now, but smack dab in ’60s and ’70s Laurel Canyon.</p> <p> </p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WCLkOAQxumI?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>For their sophomore release, Birds Say, Darlingside holed up in a Boston studio and together with engineer/co-producer Dan Cardinal created a 13-song treasure that boasts oodles of grace and style, and a maturity rare in a recording career so young. Written, Mitchell says, as they reflected on their “childhoods, our transition into adulthood together, and the complexities of life that we all have to grapple with now,” Birds Say mostly belies the clever and witty personalities these guys effortlessly present onstage; for a peek into that cleverness, look at their name, Darlingside. What is that? It’ll hit you when you blend the suffix cide, meaning killer or the act of killing in words like pesticide and insecticide, with the “kill your darlings” advice given to fledgling writers—i.e., if you fall in love with a word or line that you’ve written, kill it to prevent overuse. Darlingside, then, is shrewdly a softer spelling of Darlingcide.</p> <p><a href="http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/category/turn-me-on/" target="_blank">See more Turn Me On at Rock Cellar Magazine</a></p> Fri, 27 May 2016 11:43:37 -0700 https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-darlingside/ Turn Me On: Kaleo https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-kaleo/ <p>We was fooled by <strong>Kaleo</strong>. Set up the way a pool shark tones it down before mercilessly blindsiding you with mad skills. When the four-piece Icelandic band snuck into the U.S. consciousness late in 2014 with “All the Pretty Girls,” a gentle acoustic lament on romantic loneliness, the set-up was under way.</p> <p>In 2015, “Way down We Go” took the moodiness and intensity up a notch from “All the Pretty Girls” so we probably should have seen the surprise coming. And then Kaleo relocated to the musical hotbed of Austin and started playing concerts in America, and Bam! That’s when we knew we’d been had. This unknown from a faraway land, this Kaleo, was a force so much more epic than anticipated. We were slapped upside the head by this masterfully performed explosion of blues and rock and twin guitar attacks and sheer mass of sound, the heavy dark side balanced with occasional whimsy and whispery softness.</p> <p>So yeah, we was fooled by Kaleo. Snookered. Lured right into their trap. And it was transcendent.</p> <p> </p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9WIU5NN1Q0g?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>Kaleo—it’s Hawaiian for the voice or the sound—was started by three friends from grade school in Mosfellsbaer, a small town in southwest Iceland commonly known as “the green town.” Singer/guitarist JJ Juliusson, drummer David Antonsson Crivello, and bassist Danny Jones were 17 at the time, and after a few years of gigging in nearby Reykjavik they added guitarist Rubin Pollock in 2012.</p> <p>By early 2013 they were getting a little love from radio and the press back home, and by the end of that year they’d had a #1 single and signed to the nation’s largest record label. Before you could say Bob is Bob spelled backwards, they’d soared to phenomenon status in their homeland, propelled by five #1 singles. It was time for America.</p> <p> </p> <div align="center"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FNwgOkl5nRY?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>Kaleo expects to have their still-in-progress first US full-length release out later in 2016, to join the All the Pretty Girls EP and a pair of singles already available in the states. On it, Kaleo will exhibit the depth and chops on display in the disparate styles of songs like the probably-recorded-at-the-crossroads guitar workout “No Good” (from the HBO series Vinyl) and the frolicking, California-centric “Automobile,” which would just kill as an otherworldly singalong with Kaleo, Louis Armstrong, Roger Miller, and Lou Rawls.</p> <p>Let the anticipation begin.</p> <p><a href="http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/category/turn-me-on/" target="_blank">See more Turn Me On at Rock Cellar Magazine</a></p> Mon, 23 May 2016 11:51:29 -0700 https://www.kcsn.org/blog/jim-nelson/turn-me-on-kaleo/