BTR Monthly Adds Update: Featuring La Strada, Oy, and Mr. Gnome

La Strada
New Home

The first time I heard about La Strada was in 2007. I was reading an article  in a New York City publication  that likened them to Beirut. I didn’t buy it, no one could sound as amazing as Zach Condon, but I had to check out this new group. I love anything that recalls an old European sound, especially bands that use accordions and whose sound mixes roma, klezmer and eastern European styles.

La Strada got their start playing on subway platforms. The five piece outfit consisting of James Craft  (Accordion, Guitar, Lead Vocals), Devon Press (Bass, Guitar, Accordion and Vocals ), Ted Lattis ( Guitar, Vocals), Brady Miller  (Drums, Vocals), and Daniel Baer (Violin, Vocals ), released a six song, self titled EP in 2009. Their latest work, New Home, is set to be released on April 10, 2010.

New Home
will be released on Ernest Jenning Record Co., a Brooklyn based record label that was founded in 2002. The thirteen song album boasts a vast array of styles. The band carefully moves through the first four songs on the album keeping pace with a folk aesthetic. It very much reminds me of old Barenaked Ladies combined with the quirkiness of Bishop Allen.

It is not until the fifth song, “Baptism”, that they play their  eastern european-meets-gypsy folk  style music they are know for. The following track, “My New Home” is a great mixture of old world style meets new hipster Americana. This track really displays their maturity and growth as musicians. There are times when I hear Arcade Fire and of course, Beirut, but they have done a good job, in the past three years, of finding their own sound.

Check the band out live:

Mar 16 2010   Cafe Prytania -New Orleans, LA
Mar 17 2010  Ernest Jenning Showcase (SXSW)-Austin, TX
Mar 18 2010  Spider House (SXSW) -Austin, TX
Mar 18 2010  Dominican Joe (SXSW)-Austin, TX
Mar 23 2010  Cosmic Charles -Lexington, KY

Oy

First Box Then Walk

Oy is the project of Ghana born musician, Joy Frempong. First Box Then Walk is the debut effort by this artist. She has played with many other bands, but this is her first solo album. All 26 songs on this work of art are both amazing and odd. Oy uses a mixture of sounds and squeaks, frog ribbits and human voices. Her style is a mixture of soul, hip hop, spoken word, improv, electronic, jazz, classical and rock.

Track to track she goes, leaving the listener unsure of what will come next. I particularly like her ability to connect songs even though musically they may not make sense when lined up against one another. To talk about each tsong would take a very long time, for each track boasts many different parts and sounds. What I can do is talk about my favorite tracks.

They all look amazing, with names like “Trolls”, “Sex” and “World Whale”. “Aeh” is one in particular that stands out to me. The opening sounds very tribal, with Oy singing in the style of a chant. A funky beat kicks in, which she sings along to, going between singing, rapping and spoken word. “World Whale” is a fifty-five second instrumental piano piece. It’s eerie, sounding as if it belongs in a horror film.

This album would need thousands of listens before one could hear every nuance, but it’s definitely worth your time! Her musical ability to span over many genres without seeming sloppy or naive is mind-blowing. She is one to watch out for!

See Oy live!

Feb 25 2010   Stall-Zurich,Switzerland

Feb 28 2010  Hbc-Berlin,Germany

Mar 6 2010  Bourbaki – filewile-Luzern,Switzerland

Mar 7 2010  Progr-Bern,Switzerland

Mr. Gnome
Heave Yer Skeleton

The first time I heard about the Cleveland duo, Mr. Gnome was the summer of 2008. I was featuring Cleveland, Ohio on my monthly show, Spotlight on The City, and I asked them to be part of it. They sent me their album, Deliver This Creature, and I was hooked. The Ohio based two piece consists of Nicole Barille on guitar and vocals and Sam Mesiter on drums.

Mr. Gnome has 2 EPs, Echoes on the Ground released in October 2005, and Mr. Gnome {self-titled} released in December 2006. The group also has two full-lengths, Deliver This Creature released in May of 2008 and of course, their latest, Heave Yer Skeleton out now on El Marko Records.

I was first drawn to Barille’s voice. Her powerful vocals have the ability to float around her guitar and weave a mystical sound. They can be gentle, soft, powerful and in your face all at the same time. Although the band has been compared to Portishead and PJ Harvey, they have a sound all their own. Their latest album is a part psychedelic, part experimental. and very beautiful. Stand out tracks are “Plastic Shadow”, “Vampiers” and “Today Brings a Bomb”.

The suo will begin their US tour in Brooklyn, New York at Union Pool on March 27. They will be traveling in their van, Silver Bullet.

Check them our live!!

Mar 27 2010   Union Pool -Brooklyn, NY

Apr 4 2010  Backbooth -Orlando, FL

Apr 5 2010  The Handle Bar -Pensacola, FL

Apr 9 2010  Stubb’s Jr. -Austin, TX

Apr 10 2010  The Cavern -Dallas, TX

Apr 15 2010  The Bouquet -Boise, ID

– Lottie Leymarie

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