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About Jonathan Langer

making a little birdhouse in his soul

Who The Hell Are… The Beggar Folk?

Folk bands are slowly going the way of the emo bands -- cookie-cutter, predictable, uninspired, and inevitably becoming a parody of themselves because music is a business and the market dictates that consumers will always want more of what's popular. The Beggar Folk fall nicely into the afore-mentioned folk music genre, however their music doesn't seem to follow suit with the folk status quo. These are ballads and hymns, carved from trees and molded from soil. This music demands your attention and effortlessly passes any authenticity tests. It conjures up what real Americana and country music should conjure.

By | 2018-06-18T04:13:34+00:00 October 24th, 2011|Categories: Features, Who the Hell Are|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Lydia Loveless – Columbus – 30 September 2011

A couple of songs into Lydia Loveless’s evening set, and it’s difficult to tell where Lydia the singer ends and Lydia the person begins. It’s simply hard to imagine a woman like this, barely in her twenties, and standing a little over five foot tall in her boots, could be so worldly and explosive. And yet, there she is, muttering a string of f-bombs during a song break because she can’t get her guitar tuned quite right. The attitude, the weathered, sarcastic smile. The edge. That’s pretty damn tough to fake.

By | 2015-08-10T05:07:20+00:00 October 7th, 2011|Categories: Live Reviews|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Who The Hell Are… The Rassle?

When it comes to the mythical it-factor, New York's The Rassle by their own admission are “just rock and roll”. They understand that thousands of people have been there, done that. They're here to enjoy whatever the moment is right now, and it feels pretty damn great. Listen to The Rassle's first single, “Wild Ones” and you'll hear what they're talking about. It's a sound that's been done before. A little synthy, a little danceable. But by the time that kick drum chorus comes bellowing forward, it doesn't matter. You're bobbing your head like this is the first time you've heard indie rock before. It's fantastic.

By | 2018-06-18T04:13:42+00:00 September 28th, 2011|Categories: Features, Who the Hell Are|Tags: , , |0 Comments

They Might Be Giants – Cleveland – 16 September 2011

On the surface, it’s a normal, sold-out show on a Friday night just north of downtown Cleveland. The fans stretch around the corner from the front door; ticket holders excited for the They Might Be Giants concert they’re about to see, and those without tickets hoping to catch a break when they get to the box office. But this is not a normal show, and this is not a normal audience. These are the geeks. The nerds. Die hard rock fans of a different shade of crazy, waiting for their musical heroes to serenade them with catchy pop songs tinged with dark humor and insightful counter-culture references.

By | 2015-08-10T05:07:29+00:00 September 24th, 2011|Categories: Live Reviews|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

A Half-Time Look At Webcuts Top 11 Of 2011

It hasn’t been an amazing year for music, but surely an entertaining one. Lots of new acts jockeying for position amongst the wily veterans, and plenty of debate even as early as June over love ‘em-or hate ‘em titles such as King of Limbs and James Blake’s eponymous debut and where they belong in the year’s final canonization of greats. Honestly, I can’t remember a year in recent memory when I’ve found so many hyped records I’ve disliked or been entirely disinterested in. Cults? Pass. Tyler, The Creator? Garbage. The saviors from musical banality have consistently been experienced groups who know what they’re doing and get praised for their music and not being arrested in LA and starting riots.

Who The Hell Are… The Volcano Diary?

Sometimes a mood, feeling or memory can be condensed into a single album or song. It can be due to overexposure to that certain piece of music at the time of a memory being made, like, let's say, Christmas, or it can be the result of new music that already sounds familiar hitting on certain emotional chords, no pun intended. And new music that feels old, strange tunes that feel like a lifelong pal, is not necessarily an indictment of inherent quality, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. So goes with The Volcano Diary, a very new band that feels like they've been making music for decades.

By | 2018-06-18T04:14:57+00:00 January 14th, 2011|Categories: Features, Who the Hell Are|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Who The Hell Are… Zoo Animal?

Picture the scene... in a dark Minneapolis jazz club, three anonymous musicians take the stage. The usual rituals of tuning and testing, smiling and carrying on, and then the lead singer steps up to the microphone. It only takes a few songs to appreciate the underestimated prowess of the band; the churning bass, the precision in the drumming, and a fiesty singer whose melancholy adroitness shines through her toned-down Joplin-esque voice and ferocious, half-prostrated guitar solos. This is Holly Newsom and Zoo Animal, a band marked by a soulful yet minimal electrofolk sound and introspective, sometimes spiritual lyrics.

By | 2018-06-18T04:15:09+00:00 December 21st, 2010|Categories: Features, Who the Hell Are|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Who The Hell Are… The Capitalist Youth?

Consider The Capitalist Youth, a trio of former high school classmates who play “acoustic indie rock combining a living room full of misfit instruments with lyrically driven songs about summer camp, existential crises and gubernatorial indiscretions”. They don’t write and play the kind of music that will leave listeners dumbstruck over their redefinition of a genre, but they’re able to adeptly inject something into their music that only a handful of others have done well: humanity, with a laid back sense of humor, and without any of the awkward pauses that come from other bands who get lucky on a song or two and can’t maintain things the rest of the way.

By | 2018-06-18T04:15:33+00:00 October 12th, 2010|Categories: Features, Who the Hell Are|Tags: , , , |0 Comments