Joseph in the Well debuts: Sometimes, Joe Kye feels really American, like when he’s discussing democracy or social justice issues. He majored in American Studies at Yale University as an international student, an immigrant from Korea who settled in Seattle years earlier. Kye hopes to cast his first-ever votes in the 2016 election, and he’s very excited.
Other times, Kye doesn’t feel American at all, like when he plays a show in a country bar and someone walks up to him after and says, “You play real good fiddle for an Asian fella.”
This duality—the immigrant experience—is explored in Kye’s self-titled debut EP Joseph in the Well, which will be released Saturday, May 9, at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub (2708 J Street).
Other themes: universality, empowerment, questioning yourself, questioning the world. “And feeling ostracized,” Kye goes on, “but also how shared that sentiment is. I think at one point or another, everyone feels like an outsider.”
It’s a little difficult to envision Kye as an outsider given his recent tidal wave of success in Sacramento’s music scene. He won this year’s Artist of the Year and New Artist awards at the Sammies. A couple of weeks later, he won Access Sacramento’s Sac Has Talent competition at the Crest Theatre. And he’s constantly collaborating with other artists: James Cavern, Musical Charis, Lindsey Pavao and even the Sacramento Ballet.
The collaborations keep coming with the EP, which not only features Joseph in the Well’s drummer Andres Salazar and bassist Casey Lipka (Cave Women), but also rapper Rasar, trumpeter Anthony Coleman II, taiko drummer Jason Jong, Cory Overton of the U.S. Geological Survey, a string quartet and a children’s choir.
On just six tracks, it sounds like a lot to take in—but Kye’s lush violin loops are still the clear star. It’s indie string pop—with jazz, rock, classical and world influences—and the new elements bring in such richness, texture and orchestral grandeur that you immediately must listen again and again.
Even the subtle addition of Overton’s recordings for work— he keeps track of endangered birds—create an atmospheric backdrop throughout the album. Kye loops samples for a sparse, peaceful intro as well.
Sadly, no birds will be present at the EP release show, but you will see the string quartet, children’s choir and Rasar.
After that, Kye embarks on filming his first professional music video for “Happy Song” with local photographer Nicholas Wray. “It’s taking the mundane aspects of Sacramento, the mundane environments, and then adding a whimsical, extraordinary touch to them through animation,” Kye says. The ambition continues with a national tour this summer, including a stop in Nashville with local fingerstyle guitarist Adrian Bellue.
Happy anniversary: Whoa, Lipstick turns 15 years old Saturday, May 2. Shaun Slaughter’s indie and Britpop dance party still rages hard every month at Old Ironsides (1901 10th Street), and this edition should be even more delightful, with drink specials, new lighting, ticket giveaways and a live debut performance from singer-songwriter-producer Mr. Erik James (the Bell Boys) with Ira Skinner on drums. The fun starts at 9 p.m. and it’s $8 all night.
Bring on the bevy of overhyped hard rock dudes: Faith No More’s new album Sol Invictus isn’t released until May 19, but that hasn’t stopped the band from debuting songs on its set lists.
The band’s rabid fanbase and reputation for a strange, yet equally great live show earned an early sell-out for a recent stop at the Warfield in San Francisco. Sadly, the tour skipped Sacramento, but Faith No More was worth the drive.
Dressed in all-white on a stage heavily adorned with flowers and white drapery, the band’s look certainly juxtaposed its sound on hard rockers like “Caffeine” and “Cuckoo For Caca.” Impressively, singer Mike Patton could still hit the high notes on more difficult songs like “Evidence,” and he also delivered a stellar performance of the Commodores classic “Easy.”
It seemed like every second someone was getting tossed from the lower general admission section wearing either a tight muscle shirt or a backwards baseball cap. But of course, no Faith No More show would be complete without a bevy of goofy, overhyped dudes.