You will find underground audio delight (in bed)
Where’s the show? I know nothing. Nothing!:
Apart from trying to asphyxiate the audience with their dry-ice fogger, Seattle’s Diminished Men did everything a band stopping by Sacramento to promote their new EP should. They played a unique sound—surf music and Egyptian guitar solos sprinkled over a heap of spaghetti Western freakout—and they played it with gusto. Drummer Dave Abramson danced on the precipice of the groove like Gene Krupa, and saxophonist Sam Wambach, wearing an ill-fitting three-piece suit, occasionally stepped onstage to blow. (Jeff McCrory)
Got insomnia? Try San Jose:
This weekend marked the last of the annual spring/summer series of shows put on by Mr. Cool as Folk himself, Michael Leahy, at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen in Davis.
A beginning to an end, the Mumlers, from San Jose, performed last Thursday night to a packed and particularly plastered balcony of Davisites. They were well received; Sophia’s normally annoyingly talkative crowd seemed to “can it” for this performance—and even went so far as to plead for an encore. The band’s style of music and performance is akin to their name: “mumbly” (or a humorous mispronunciation of it, at least). They looked as though each of them took an Ambien, washed it down with some Tylenol PM and set about playing some loose-jawed folky soul.
This is not to say their music was boring or indecipherable. Theirs is just a bizarre style, consisting of relatively energetic foot tappers played by a band that appears to be on the verge of passing out. This approach definitely adds to their smooth soulful vibe, and once I got past this auditory and visual disparity, the performance was more than enjoyable.
Their hit “Shake That Medication” (a seriously good one) is a perfect example of this exciting combination—and its title also may speak to the band’s methodology, though it’s more likely this lethargy is simply a side effect of being from San Jose—the most efficient sleep aid on the market. (Lindsey Walker)
It was a bummer when Silver Darling bassist Jesse Phillips amicably split from the band earlier this year, because he’s such an inventive, impassioned songwriter, and I really dug the band’s ever-gelling sound.
But apparently, even bummers have a credit cookie, so to speak: Phillips’ then-side project, now-main squeeze Ellie Fortune just finished its debut record, Matriarch. The album features 13 wispy country tracks that come at you with originality to spare, both lyrically and compositionally.
Right now, I’m addicted to “Summer Fable,” the album’s sixth song, which is a recognizable staple from Fortune’s live set, what with its audience-friendly onomatopoeia and soothing acoustic-guitar arpeggio. On the album, there’s a deep, moaning cello to compliment Phillips’ aching tenor. It’s lovely.
And it was recorded here in Sacramento, engineered by one Andy Morin, who’s also worked with the Ganglians.
Ellie Fortune will perform on Friday, October 23, at Luigi’s Fun Garden with Sister Crayon and Sea of Bees (8 p.m., $5, all ages). (Nick Miller).