CD Review: Noah and the Whale, “Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down”

 

Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down

 

Like a soundtrack to some hip indie film about the awkward wonder of growing up and discovering the world, Noah and the Whale’s debut album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down unfolds itself to reveal moments of sorrow, charm, confusion and hope, making for a pleasantly introspective and centering experience for the listener. Pitchfork be damned!

Right off the bat, set to springy, urgent Kimya Dawson-like acoustic guitar plucks, vocalist Charlie Fink ponders the big questions in “2 Atoms in a Molecule”:

And if love is just a game
Then how come it’s no fun?
If love is just a game
How come I’ve never won?
I guess maybe it’s possible I might be playing it wrong
And that’s why every time I roll the dice
I always come undone

Questions and conclusions–resignations, even–like these are scattered throughout Peaceful…, likely making it one of the most philosophical bodies of modern musical achievement that will sweep through your ears. Life, death and love are never far from the band’s consideration. Take an especially poignant verse from the closing track, “Hold My Hand As I’m Lowered” for instance:

O Death, do not feel like the victor
‘Cause my poor life makes you none the richer
Oh, your cold hands are clutching at cloth
I leave nothing on Earth that won’t rot

In “Give A Little Love,” the band updates the famous Golden Rule-inspired lines of giving what you get that The Beatles made famous in “The End”:

Well I know my death will not come
‘Til I breathe all the air out my lungs
‘Til my final tune is sung
That all is fleeting
Yeah, but all is good
And my love is my whole being
And I’ve shared what I could
But if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own
Don’t break his heart

Brutal Spartan ideas in “Jocasta” (“When the baby’s born / Oh, let’s turn it to the snow”) are juxtaposed with the comfort and reassurance found in “Do What You Do” (“So if you trust what’s in your heart / Oh, what better can you do / Than if you do what you do / Yeah, you’ll do fine”).

Though Noah and the Whale frequently take on heavy subject matter in their lyrical compositions, the soothing musical backdrop of acoustic guitars, violins and rousing horns makes the meditative journey a gentle, enjoyable one that listeners will want to frequently make.

Hints of influence from artists such as the Magnetic Fields, Belle and Sebastian, Devendra Banhart, Rogue Wave, Fleet Foxes, The Boy Least Likely To, and Damien Jurado color Noah and the Whale’s lush melodies and charming approach to their art.

However much the band evokes memories of these other critically acclaimed indie folk gods, their unique mixture of Americana and British twee make their final sound something entirely their own. Peaceful… is a gorgeous, intelligent debut from a band that is sure to make big waves in the near future.

–Shelley Peckham

Check out the band’s official site, and their myspace.

(To leave a comment, click on the title of the blog entry and scroll down.) 

This Week’s Shows: Downloads, Videos, Reviews, oh my

It’s a full week around these parts, you can enjoy your Pitchfork and get the good stuff at home too..Bottomless Pit, Immortal Technique, The Hold Steady, Colour Revolt, Bob Log III, and Scott Biram all grace our city in the coming days, check it out.

Friday July 18

BOTTOMLESS PIT (featuring former members of Silkworm)

Genre: Rock/ Dub/ Folk Rock

May Sound Like: Yeasayer, Frog Eyes, Times New Viking, Evangelicals, Phosphorescent

“..edgy post-punk hooks and understated vocals” -Three Imaginary Girls


bottomless pit

Free downlaod:

Bottomless Pit- The Cardinal Moments

with special guests THE KADANE BROTHERS (Bedhead, The New Year) and EL VALIENTE

9:30 pm High Noon Saloon 608.268.1122 $8 adv $10 dos

21+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Sunday July 20

WORT-FM welcomes The 3rd World Tour IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE

Genre: Hip-Hop

Similar to: Dead Prez, Non Phixion, Atmosphere, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Black Star

“..a Hip hop MC and political activist, he is of Afro-Peruvian descent and raised in Harlem, New York. The views expressed in his lyrics are largely a mixture of commentary on issues such as poverty, religion, and racism..” –immortal-technique.com

Immortal Technique- Dance with the Devil

with special guests DJ G.I. JOE, POISON PEN, THE CIRCLE, DJ ARCH

9pm doors 8pm High Noon Saloon 608.268.1122 $14 adv $16 dos

18+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Monday July 21

True Endeavors and ACG present

THE HOLD STEADY

Genre: Rock

Pairs well with: The National, TV on the Radio, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Sonic Youth

“The Hold Steady might just be the best bar band in America. With its riff-heavy mixture of classic rock and Craig Finn’s lyrically dense storytelling, the group crafts intricately detailed musical universes that have already made it a critical darling and fan favorite.” -NPR

The Hold Steady- 2005 Interview

with special guests THE LOVED ONES

8:00 pm Majestic Theatre 608.255.0901 $16.50 adv $18.50 dos

all ages BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Tuesday July 22

COLOUR REVOLT

Genre: Indie/ Rock

They might enjoy: Pedro the Lion, Minus the Bear, Sufjan Stevens, As Tall as Lions

Colour Revolt- Interview

Free Download:

Colour Revolt- Naked and Red, 2008 Plunder, Beg, and Curse

with special guests JAVELINS and THE FELIX CULPA

8pm The Annex 608.256.7750 $8 adv and dos

18+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Wednesday July 23

WORT-FM Hillgrass Bluebilly presents BOB LOG III + SCOTT H BIRAM

Genre: Blues/ Punk (Heads up: lyrics at the show will be of a “dirty blues” nature and may be offensive to some)

Also on this ipod: blues, blues, blues, and some Stray Cats

“..an American lo-fi punk blues musician, singer and songwriter who performs as a one man band. During performances, Log wears a blue full-body jumpsuit and a bubble-mask motorcycle helmet wired with a telephone microphone which allows him to devote his hands and feet to guitar and drums, respectively…” -Wikipedia

Bob Log III- Make You Say Wow

with special guest LEFT LANE CRUISER

9:00 pm High Noon Saloon 608.268.1122 $10

18+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

This Weeks Shows & Downloads

We’ve got lots of videos, interviews, and songs you can watch or download for your very own.

Enjoy!

Friday June 27

ROSE POLENZANI

Genre: Indie/Folk/Americana

+

MEG HUTCHINSON

Genre: Folk/Acoustic/Pop

The Boston Globe describes her sound as “elegant and free-floating melodies that feel both modern and rooted.

Song for Jeffrey Lucey- Meg Hutchinson

with special guest ROSE COUSINS

Friday, June 27, 6:30 pm early start time High Noon Saloon 608.268.1122 $10 – 18+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Sunday June 29

PETE FRANCIS (of Dispatch)

Genre: Rock/Folk Rock/Jam Band

In his songs a poetic tension exists between textured imagery and pure improvised rock and roll. The record expresses Francis’ soulful rock, folk and blues influences with layered instrumentation of B-3 organ, lap-steel guitar, mandolin, and a driving rhythm section.

Similar to: Slightly Stoopid, John Butler Trio, Matt Nathanson, & Matt Costa

Shooting Star and the Ambulance- Pete Francis

Pete Francis Interview

with COLOURMUSIC

Genre: Pop/Rock/Experimental

messily refined indie rock..and innovative, yet catchy, melodies that work their way into your head without you even knowing it..wildly inventive shows, and it’s while performing that the band’s vivid personalities come through.

Similar to: The Flaming Lips, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, & Kings of Leon

Circles- Colourmusic

Free Downloads:

Colourmusic- Yes Yes Yes

Colourmusic- Circles

Colourmusic- Calling Your Name

Sunday, June 29, 8pm High Noon Saloon 608.268.1122 $10 –

18+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Thursday July 3

DEAD CONFEDERATE

Genre: Rock/Psychedelic

Though the band is pinned as producing the same kind of indie rock aesthetic à la My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses, Dead Confederate dabbles in darker shades than their compared predecessors..Dead Confederate echo the Drive-By Truckers’ bittersweet southern rock angst with the smoke-heavy swagger of the Black Angels.

The Rat- Dead confederate

Dead Confederate Interview

Free Download:

Dead Confederate

with special guests ROCK PLAZA CENTRAL

Genre: Folk/Americana

After a pair of glowing reviews from the influential music website Pitchfork they have recently come to prominence as a major indie rock band.

..evocative lyrics and powerful instrumentation..an outstanding fusion of alt-country earnestness and indie rock absurdity. Without any trace of flaunt or deliberateness, this homespun epic proves as casual in tone as it is ambitious in scope… sure to have tears welling and fists aloft in raucous salute.”- Josh Berquist, PopMatters, April 2007

Similar to: Okkervil River, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, M. Ward, The Avett Brothers, & My Morning Jacket

My Children, Be Joyful- Rock Plaza Central

Rock Plaza Central Interview 2007

Free Downloads:

Rock Plaza Central- My Children, Be Joyful, 2006 Are We Not Horses

Rock Plaza Central- We’ve Got a Lot to be Glad For, 2006 Are We Not Horses

Thursday July 3, 9pm High Noon Saloon 608.268-1122 $8 adv $8 dos

18+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Friday July 4

WORT-FM welcomes

STARS AND STRIPES EXTRAVAGANZA featuring ROBBIE FULKS AND FRIENDS

Genre: Country/Indie/Bluegrass

While most current country music is calculated to form an inoffensive backdrop to the suburban shopping experience, Robbie Fulks writes songs that make you think and feel and quite often laugh out loud.

Similar to: Steve Earle, Neko Case, & Lyle Lovett

Cigarette State- Robbie Fullks

plus ROMANTICA

Genre: Americana/Folk/Pop

With an album on Paste Magazine’s Top 100 of 2007 and comparisons popping up all over the place between singer/songwriter Ben Kyle and both Jeff Tweedy and Ryan Adams, it probably won’t be too long before you’ll no longer be able to catch these guys in such a cozy venue.

Drink the Night Away- Romantica

Free Downloads:

Romantica- The Dark (with Ryan Adams)

9:30 pm High Noon Saloon 608.268.1122 $15 adv and dos . 21+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

A Week in Live Shows

Can you keep up after last weeks intense run? Oh yes you can! Summer is rolling around and that means tour schedules will slow down- so get it while it’s hot (or at least before you have to travel 4 hrs. for a touring band and a beer)!

Friday May 2

THE DIRTBOMBS with special guests DAN SARTAIN & TERRIBLE TWOS

Genre: Rock

“..rock and roll at its pure, shaggy best. If you’re tired of that, you’re tired of life…” -Splendid

Chains of Love- The Dirtbombs

10:00 pm @ High Noon Saloon 608-268-1122 $12 adv – 21+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Saturday May 3

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB with special guests THE DUKE SPIRIT

Genre: Rock

“..proclamations about life and the Devil growled over careful acoustic strums and tiny wisps of pedal steel…” -Pitchfork

Dane 101 Interview

Two Free BRMC Song Downloads

Saturday 9:30 pm @ High Noon Saloon 608- 268-1122 $16 adv / $18 dos – 18+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Sunday May 4

RA RA RIOT + THE LITTLE ONES with special guests HEY CHAMP

Genre: Indie/ Folk Rock

“Ra Ra Riot – a band of Syracuse University students past, present and on hiatus – find that balance — already in its short life, literally putting heartbeats and pacemakers into the stuffing of all of the songs that they’ve thus far put to their name – an explosive tag of cheerful and misleading aggression…” -Daytrotter

Dying is Fine- Ra Ra Riot

Four Free Ra Ra Riot Downloads from Daytrotter

The Little Ones..are here for you to feel better about yourself, once the cabin fever has lost its control and you’re free to go. They taunt everything from the waist down — on everyone within a 10-mile radius — to not go on and freak out all over the place with euphoric spasms becoming dancing and universally recognized getting down…” -Daytrotter

Lovers Who Uncover- The Little Ones

Four The Little Ones Free Song Downloads From Daytrotter Sessions

Three The Little Ones Free Song Downloads

8:00 pm @ The Annex 608- 256-7750 $10 adv – 18+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Monday May 5

HIGH NOON SALOON CELEBRATES FOUR YEARS featuring DEAD MEADOW with special guests DARK FOG & DROIDS ATTACK

Genre: Indie/ Psychadelic

“..the band can strum hypnotic, Eastern-tinged folk as it well as it pounds hypnotic, Sabbath-style riffs.” -Onion AV Club

What Needs Must Be- Dead Meadow

Five Free Dead Meadow Song Downloads

9:00 pm @ High Noon Saloon 608- 268-1122 $8 adv / $10 dos – 18+

BUY TICKETS NOW!

$1.50 PBR bottles all night & FREE Pizza from Glass Nickel!

Thanks to WORT FM and The Onion!

____________

Tuesday May 6

TEGAN AND SARA Out of Hibernation Tour with special guest AN HORSE

Genre: Indie/ Pop/ Alternative

“..defying conventional notions of rock rhythm, and featuring songs that seem to go through at least three melodic changes before recycling.” -Onion AV Club

Walking With A Ghost- Tegan and Sara

Free Tegan and Sara Song Download

7:30 pm @ Barrymore Theatre 608-241-8864 $25 adv – all ages

BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Thursday May 8

JIM WHITE with VID LIBERT

Genre: Americana/ Alternative/ Country

“With accompaniment as varied as vocals from Ollabelle and Brazilian percussion from Mauro Refosco, White still keeps us off balance with rich, unpredictable textures that convey lost-in-the-backwoods disorientation.” -Billboard

If Jesus Drove a Motor Home- Jim White

Listen to NPR World Cafe – March 5, 2008 Jim White in-studio performance/ interview

8:00pm @ Orpheum Stage Door 608.255.8755 $15 adv $17 dos – all ages

BUY TICKETS NOW !

___________

No giveaway on this post darlins’ but check back on Monday- that one’s a guarantee! Continue reading

This W(eek!) in Shows

Watch out Madison music fans, lots of shows to check out this week highlighting talent in smaller rooms. Catch them before they are too big to get cozy with!

Today Friday April 25

SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD

Genre: Bluegrass

“Slap your knee to these guys and you’ll be sore the next day.” – New York Press

Split Lip Rayfield- Truth and Lies

With THE JAVELINAS Friday 9:30 pm @ High Noon Saloon 268-1122 $12 adv – 21+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Sunday April 27

THE ACORN

Genre: Indie/ Folk Rock

“..a melodic hodgepodge of brass, rumbling drums, intricately plucked guitars, and Klausener’s plangent vocal melody do more than their parts to propel a charming, inspirational lyric. Elsewhere, the group avoids generic world-music traps, using dynamic shifts and evocative instrumentation to forward the narrative…” -Pitchfork

The Acorn- The Flood Pt.1

With special guests JOHN CRAIGIE + MARTY FINKEL Sunday 8:00 pm @ Café Montmartre 255-5900 $8 BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Monday April 28

LIONS

Genre: Rock

Lions create a blend of retro riffage, artful noise, melodic interludes, and revolutionary attitude with a live show that has been described as “furious” with “a full- frontal assault” that will leave you “half-deaf and disoriented.”

Lions- Metal Heavy Lady featured on the Guitar Hero 3 game

With DROIDS ATTACK and UNITED SONS OF TOIL Monday 8:30 pm @ The Annex 256-7750 $7 – 18+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

Tuesday April 29

FOALS

Genre: Pop

“The British band takes cues from recent dance-rock and post-punk revivalism as much as the early-’80s stuff that inspired the revival in the first place” -Onion AV Club

Foals- Balloons

2 Free Song Downloads Here

With WORRIER Tuesday – early show 7:00 pm @ High Noon Saloon 268-1122 $10 dos – 18+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

THE MEDIC DROID + A CURSIVE MEMORY

Genre: Techno/ Rock/ Power Pop/ Indie/ Alternative

The Medic Droid

Free Song Download From The Medic Droid

Genuine sound that dances with ACM’s overwhelming sense of raucous energy and refusal to take themselves too seriously.

A Cursive Memory- Everything

Learn More About Both of These Bands or Enter to Win Tickets Here

With special guests SINGLE FILE and THE WHITE TIE AFFAIR Tuesday 6:30 pm (doors open 6:00 pm) @ Orpheum Stage Door 255-8755 $8 / $10 dos – all ages BUY TICKETS NOW ! Tickets also available at Strictly Discs

____________

Thursday May 1

CHRIS PUREKA

Genre: Americana/ Indie/ Acoustic

One stark, solo acoustic guitar builds into layered swan songs and raspy serenades that resonate with unassuming depth and candor.

Chris Pureka- Interview and Song Momentary Thief

Plus MARTHA BERNER special early start time Thursday 6:30 pm @ High Noon Saloon 268-1122 $10- 18+ BUY TICKETS NOW!

____________

PETE FRANCIS (of DISPATCH) + MATT POND PA

SORRY EVERYBODY- THIS SHOW HAS BEEN CANCELED BY THE ARTISTS. WE WILL FILL YOU IN IF WE LEARN MORE- REFUNDS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE POINT OF PURCHASE!

Genre: Folk Rock/ Indie/ Pop

“Pete Francis (of Dispatch) presents a style combination of Funk, jazz, reggae, folk with musical influences of Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd and Miles Davis, which culminates into a sound that takes you on an amazing ride.” -CD Baby

Pete Francis- Shooting Star and the Ambulance

“Employing handclaps, sing-along choruses, and guitar solos with equal measure, the more intricate musical arrangements punctuate and add layers to Pond’s slow-burning guitar melodies.” -The Boston Globe

Matt Pond PA- Sunlight

With special guest DICK PRALL Thursday 9:00 pm @ High Noon Saloon 268-1122 $15 adv and dos – 18+ BUY TICKETS NOW !