For many people, the “goth” label conjures up images of dour, maudlin musicians in fishnets singing humorless, wanky tales of woe. And though there were plenty of pairs of fishnets on display at the Birch North Park Theater on Friday night, there was also plenty of fun to be had. Continue reading…
Pop debutante Tristen will play the Soda Bar this Sunday, January 30, and all of us at Owl and Bear are very, very excited. The Nashville resident’s debut album, Charlatans at the Garden Gate, has been in constant rotation at the O&B offices lately, and all that listening has only increased our admiration for her silky vocals and whip-smart songwriting.
As if creating a terrific album like Charlatans at the Garden Gate wasn’t enough, Tristen was also kind enough to share her Poetic Memory with us. Check out her list of “favorite albums released in the 1980’s” below, then head down to the Soda Bar on Sunday for what promises to be an incredible show. We’ll see you there. Continue reading…
There’s a fine line between postmodern pastiche and corporatized pop rehash, but Lady Gaga — who just released the epic-length music video for her latest single, “Alejandro” — has heretofore stylishly and successfully danced on that tightrope wearing a myriad of medical fetish gear, latex bodysuits, and Alexander McQueen heels. Yet “Alejandro,” with its didactic investments in Madonna-esque blasphemy and fascist military imagery, fails to provide Lady Gaga’s brilliant, trademark pop derivations or her meta-corporate critiques. Continue reading…
Sam Brooker is from Wisconsin. Ruby Amanfu is from Ghana. When Ruby first heard Sam perform, she says, “I saw Sam before Sam saw me…It took me about 2.2 seconds before I thought, I want some of that.” When Sam finally got to see Ruby perform, he says she “blew [him] away.” Despite the immediate attraction, Sam and Ruby was a long time coming.
Although Ruby moved to Nashville from Ghana at age three, she remembers the change as something that awakened “this thing I had in me all along”—her musical sensibility—even though her devoutly Christian parents sheltered her from secular music. Her parents wouldn’t even let her listen to jazz, but did eventually branch out, “At age ten, my best friend gave me Madonna’s Like a Prayer, and it really opened up my world.”
Meanwhile, Sam was finding new music in a wholly American way—by raiding his brother’s record collection. Soon, he had taken a liking to James Taylor, Parliament, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and Prince. He formed a band in high school, played shows in college, and never looked back. Eventually, he made a contact in Nashville: “The guy from the company called me and said, ‘Your CD sucks but we like your voice. Would you like to come down and record in our studio and get a little better demo?'”
It would still be several years before Sam and Ruby officially became a duo, but their partnership has now come to fruition. On August 11, they’ll release their debut album, The Here and The Now, which adheres to their mantra: “We want people to feel it like we feel it,” says Ruby.
For a taste of The Here and The Now, check out this MP3 of “Sarah“. Below are Sam and Ruby’s Poetic Memories.
Poetic Memory is a regular Owl and Bear feature in which musicians disclose their influences—whether it’s albums, songs, artists, or something random. If you’re interested in being featured here, send us an email. Continue reading