New Live Release from Arbouretum – Couldn’t Hit It Sideways

It was a happy surprise for me this week to find out that Arbouretum released a new recording! Part of the burgeoning Baltimore Indie scene which seems to favor sludgy guitar tone, Arbouretum is singer/songwriter/guitarist David Heumann with a rotating cast of supporting characters. Arbouretum has been on Thrill Jockey for the last three releases (2007’s Rites of Uncovering, 2008’s split with Pontiak Kale, and 2009’s Song of the Pearl).

On April 10th Arbouretum and another Baltimore duo The Expotentials played a gig at a secret venue known only as The Granfaloon. For this show, Arbouretum trotted out the over-51-minute composition that makes up the new CD/download and second release from Aural Slate— the house label for the Baltimore/D.C.-scenester blog Aural States, which I discovered about the same time I found out about Arbouretum. Aural States is worth following and it is a dream of mine to run a boutique label, so I’m watching Greg Szeto’s progress in this space closely– he’s off to a good start with his second release Couldn’t Hit It Sideways by Arbouretum. Couldn’t Hit It Sideways is 51-minutes of churning, chugging improvisation and exploration of a simple and familiar chord progression. To many the concept of this recording might seem tedious and repetitive– and certainly I wouldn’t recommend this as a first exposure to Arbouretum as it doesn’t showcase the strong vocals and lyrics from Heumann. However, even with the 5-minute sample that is provided one can see how Heumann creates and tears down guitar lines– subtle changes that roll over the constant rhythm anchored by the bass and drums laid down by Corey Allender and JV Brian Carey.

The physical CDR will be available at the live shows Arbouretum is doing this Spring (some with Pontiak!), but you can get either 320Kbps mp3 or FLAC (yay!) for $5 from Aural Slate.

Click Here to getcha some Arbouretum!

In other Arbouretum news, the blog Bmore Musically Informed has an mp3 download of Arbouretum’s show from the G Spot on 1/29/10. The show features a great selection of Arbouretum tracks and closes with an astounding version of Neil Young’s “When You Dance I Can Really Love” joined by Wye Oak!

Click Here to see pix and the link to download that show!

Upcoming Show: Wye Oak at The Mill in Iowa City 9/20/09

You’d think that as many times as I’ve reported that Wye Oak was going to play in Iowa somewhere, I’d have seen them at least once! They even played here before the release of their new album The Knot at some performance space in Iowa City some months back, which I also missed.

And so it is that Wye Oak will be back playing the Mill in Iowa City just over a year from the last time they played there! As it turns out, they will be taping another Daytrotter session, too!

Wye Oak will be playing The Mill on Sunday September 20th. Doors are at 8PM, $6 cover. Opening will be Chicago band Netherfriends, and Iowa City singer Alexis Stevens.

Click Here for Wye Oak’s website

Click Here for Wye Oak’s MySpace page

Click Here for Wye Oak – The Knot at Merge Records where you can stream their new album.

Click Here for their amazing Daytrotter session.

Free Download: Pontiak at Daytrotter

Last week was a good week for show postings at– our Internet-music fan-buddy to the Southeast of here. We got the 2008 recording of Nelly McKay, and we got the Pontiak session! Pontiak and Wye Oak were touring together last year on a shared bill and were scheduled to stop at the Mill in Iowa City on June 15th. However, the Floods of 2008 prevented them from performing their show. However, they managed to stop in at Daytrotter on the 16th and record four songs.

Pontiak’s sludgy psychedelia translated well to Daytrotter’s retro facility and in four songs provided a good snapshot of the ride that is Pontiak.

They recorded a song apiece from their previous efforts, “How Tall Are You?” from their debut Valley of Cats, and the waltzing title track from Sun on Sun. They also recorded the title track to their upcoming Thrill Jockey release Maker, due to drop on April 7th. They also dropped a campfire rendition of a recently-learned Warren Zevon cover “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.”

Have a helping of Pontiak at Daytrotter.

Treat yourself to some Wye Oak from the same sessions.

Upcoming Shows: Wye Oak in Iowa City and… Dubuque?

Wye Oak is back with another attempt to play Iowa City’s Mill. You may recall that they were scheduled to play the Mill back on June 15th in a bill that had Thrill Jockey new signings Pontiak. Your’s truly was to go and cover this, but the Floods of 2008 (as it will become known) prevented both the bands and me from getting to Iowa City. The route that the Iowa DOT was recommending to get to town took you over 200 miles out-of-the-way!

So, true to their word, Wye Oak is coming back to Iowa City– again at the Mill— on Wednesday 9/17 in a lineup that has Rock Plaza Central headlining and The Lonelyhearts opening.

More interesting than the Mill show (at least to me) is the fact that Wye Oak will be playing at Isabella’s in Dubuque, IA (my other hometown) on Saturday 9/10. Isabellas is a COZY little bar in the basement of the posh-ish Ryan House Restaurant. Since Wye Oak is a two-piece, they would fit on the little stage at the far end of the bar. But, the bar itself probably only holds 100 people or so– it would be a snug affair for certain!

Download four songs from If Children by Wye Oak

See a bunch of live videos of Wye Oak on YouTube

Free Downloads: Some Baltimore-related Live Downloads

As I mentioned earlier, Baltimore’s Arbouretum is releasing a split album with new Thrill Jockey signees Pontiak called Kale. The two bands played one show together in Baltimore on June 4th at The Talking Head. I knew about the show, but I didn’t know that the show was taped and available for download via Aural States which is a blog/site dedicated to happenings in the music scene of Baltimore.

Arbouretum headlined and played a set of mostly tracks from Rites, but also included one of the covers from Kale “Buffalo Ballet.” A great set, in my opinion.” Pontiak’s set was also very good and included “Dome Under Sky” from Kale.

The opening act was another side project of Dave Heumann from Arbouretum called Television Hill. Television Hill is more of a throwback folk/blues outfit, but still very good. This set is available from Beatbots which also covers the Baltimore scene.

Big thanks to Jeff the Taper who made these recordings available.

Click Here to stream or download Arbouretum’s set.

Click Here to stream or download Pontiak’s set.

Click Here to stream or download Television Hill’s set.

Aural States is also hosting a live set from Wye Oak from March along with an interview. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to catch the show next weekend with Pontiak and Wye Oak in Iowa City!

Upcoming Show: Wye Oak & Pontiak at The Mill 6/15/08

While I was out doing some research on the new Thrill Jockey signees Pontiak, I noticed that they are going to be playing at the Mill in Iowa City along with new Merge Records act Wye Oak. I wasn’t familiar with Wye Oak— they looked like a folk act which seemed puzzling to me considering the grungy distortion brought by Pontiak.

Well, a bit more research and listening to the album stream of If Children on Merge’s website revealed a band with its feet in a more shoegazer-y location. At times they sound like Low to me with the layered sounds and the dreamy delivery. Another band from Baltimore– what’s up with the insurgency of Baltimore bands all of a sudden?– Wye Oak is a two piece with Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack playing all instruments on the album and able to deliver this in a live setting.

Pontiak– although NOT from Baltimore– are getting a helpful boost from Baltimore band Arbouretum. Arbouretum and Pontiak are going to release a split LP on 7/22/08 on Thrill Jockey Kale which will be a tribute to John Cale. Vinyl only, thank you! TJ doesn’t have any streaming samples to listen to for Kale, yet, but they do have samples of Pontiak’s 2007 release Sun on Sun, which will be re-released on Thrill Jockey September 9th. You can purchase mp3’s and apparently the 2007 Fireproof Records vinyl before then, though!

Wye Oak and Pontiak will be joined by Ames, Iowa band Poison Control Center, and the surfy good vibrations of The Botticellis for a night of Indie goodness sponsored by Mission Creek— all for a measly $7! I’ve provided enough links below that you should be able to memorize the words to all of these band’s songs so you can sing along.

I’ve included links below to the Daytrotter sessions that both Poison Control Center and The Botticelli’s have done. Not to be upstaged, Wye Oak and Pontiak are scheduled to record a Daytrotter session before the Iowa City show.

Download four songs from If Children by Wye Oak

See a bunch of live videos of Wye Oak on YouTube

Listen to tracks from Sun on Sun and Valley of Cats from Pontiak’s website.

Poison Control Center’s Daytrotter Session

The Botticelli’s Daytrotter Session