Asheville Concert Forecast: What's Ahead in Electronic, Roots and Urban Music
No BS Brass Band at the Mothlight
No BS! Brass, based in Richmond, VA, takes the New Orleans brass band into uncharted territory; fearlessly combining elements of James Brown, John Coltrane, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin into their fiercely original sound. Trained in the conservatory and hardened in the garage, No BS! Brass has performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Festival of New Trumpet Music, Lockn festival, and on National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert. Equally at home in the club or on the parade route, in the concert hall or on a festival stage, No BS! Brass creates new believers wherever it goes.
Who: No BS Brass Band
Where: The Mothlight
When: Saturday, October 24
Lady Lamb @ Grey Eagle
To many, Lady Lamb is an enigma. Her songs are at once intimate and unbridled– both deeply personal and existentially contemplative. Aly Spaltro is a fearless performer who can command a pitch black stage with nothing more than her voice. Yet, when the band bursts in and the lights come up, what began as a demonstration of restraint shifts seamlessly into an emphatic snarl. On her newest work, After, Spaltro explores dualities further – giving equal attention to both the internal and external, the before and after. Her most palpable fears and memories are on display here, with a familiar vulnerability even more direct than her last effort. After boasts driving rhythms, bold melodies, candid lyricism, and a growling sonic stamp that is all her own.
Spaltro’s formative years were full of change – moving houses, cities, and countries every three years until she landed in her family’s home state of Maine. It was here that Spaltro found her voice among thousands of films at Bart & Greg’s DVD Explosion, an independent rental store in the small coastal town of Brunswick. During the day Spaltro would rent movies to the locals. At night she would lock up, pull out her 8-track recorder, and create songs completely uninhibited by musical conventions, learning to play and sing as she hit record. These creations brought forth nearly one hundred recordings, twelve of which were carefully curated and fully realized on her 2013 full-length studio debut Ripely Pine (released on Ba Da Bing! Records). Ripely Pine garnered praise for its lyrical intricacies, emotive vocals, and often unpredictable musicality, introducing Spaltro as a formidable new artist.
In between tours, Spaltro returned home, focusing with laser-like intent on writing, arranging, and demoing the songs on After. These new works – which found Spaltro co-producing with her Ripely Pine partner Nadim Issa at his Brooklyn studio, Let ‘Em In – are sonically vibrant, with an assertive use of grit and brightness. Thematically, they provide direct insight into Spaltro’s rumination on mortality, family, friendships, and leaving home.
There are many songs on After that explore themes of a much larger scale. In “Heretic” Spaltro sings of a childhood UFO sighting in Arizona. In “Batter” she dies in a plane crash, while in “Spat Out Spit” she questions whether she was even born at all. Alternatively, in “Billions of Eyes” Spaltro can “only see into her suitcase,” her mind simultaneously present and wandering as she “gnaws [her] way back home.” The tender and sparse “Ten” delves into her mother’s childhood diary, giving the listener a clear view throughout into some of Spaltro’s warmest memories of her loved ones. Ripely Pine was marked by an undeniable passion and confidence, but where it sometimes lacked in personal narrative and directness is where After shines. The last line on After encompasses the self-assurance of the work as a whole, stating “I know where I come from.” This theme is a constant throughout After, as Spaltro seeks to allow the listener to move in closer than ever before, to reflect on the past with grace, and envision the future with fervor. Spaltro invites us to contemplate the dualities that make us human, encouraging the celebration of both fear and love: internally and externally, before and after.
Who: Lady Lamb
Where: Grey Eagle
When: Wednesday, October 28
@ Orange Peel
Giraffage is San Francisco-based producer and beat guru, Charlie Yin. His signature sound of electronic pop has won him praise from musical tastemakers Pitchfork, FADER and XLR8R. He burst onto the music scene with his debut Pretty Things EP. It was immediately followed by his dreamy synth-pop debut album, Comfort, which XLR8R called “[an] ebullient slice of electronic pop … [with] pleasantly ambient and sample-laden instrumentals.” In February 2013, he released his lush Needs mixtape via Alpha Pup Records, showing his versatility as a producer and “omnivorous music lover,” as noted by Pitchfork. Giraffage’s staying power was fully cemented when he remixed one the sexiest albums of the decade, The-Dream’s Love/Hate, and turned it on its head.FADER backed the project saying, “Trying to remember a moment of anticipation right before hitting the play button as happy as the one I just experienced.” He most recently dropped his No Reason EP via Fool’s Gold, the first release to ever feature Charlie’s original work. He has toured with Phantogram, Flume, XXYYXX and served as the main support on Porter Robinson’s massive “Worlds Tour.” He has performed at staple music festivals such as Treasure Island, HARD Day of The Dead, Splash House, Lightning in a Bottle and Roskilde in Europe.
A DIY project with worldwide scope, Slow Magic is universal and inclusive. It’s cosmic electronic music culled from the ether, yet crafted with human hands. It’s joyous, escapist, multi-disciplinary art that mixes transcendent performance with the nostalgic intimacy of two teenagers staying up too late on the phone.
After the release of 2012’s beloved and critically-acclaimed Triangle, Slow Magic became an international movement after touring with artists like Gold Panda and XXYYXX. Crowds found a masked man in their midst, bathed in fantastic light, with electronic triggers and a drum. The future-primitive combination infused the project’s electronic compositions with new life.
How To Run Away, Slow Magic’s debut with Downtown Records, reflects this growth, oozing both otherworldly beauty and a mastery of production. Lead single “Girls” is deconstructionist house with an organic pulse and collaged, handcrafted samples. “Hold Still” sculpts elastic organs and jazz piano into an emotionally-pummeling finale, while the melancholy “Let U Go” merges watery dub with spectral piano and “Closer” plays like a ’90s R&B fever dream.
Slow Magic is music by your imaginary friend.
Who: Slow Magic, Giraffage, Daktyl
Where: The Orange Peel
When: Wednesday, November 18
Tickets: $15 advance