West By Swan CD Release Show

Friday, June 6th, 2014, 1078 Gallery


Each song had the feeling of a really awesome jam session, sometimes extending one chord progression through entire songs. The front-woman acted not so much as a focal point as much as one more layer in a colorful indie-rock landscape. Her lines and melodies could’ve been made up on the spot, or carefully rehearsed—that was the effect, at least.

It all made for some awesome music, but I wanted more action, more hooks, and more of the singer taking the lead instead of always following along.

SisterhoodsTM is at their best when they go beyond their indie-rock comfort zone and use the awesome bank of sounds, loops, and textures hiding in their musical closet.

One example of their understated greatness is “Extra Life,” which you can find pretty easily on YouTube. A really nice, harmonized synthesizer loop builds the groove, setting the stage for beautiful double vocals from the singer and guitarist Cobby Weber. It sounds like you’re eating rainbow candy and playing jump-rope with Mother Mary.

Shadow Limb

I can’t clearly remember La Fin Du Monde’s line-up, but I’m pretty sure Shadow Limb is La Fin minus one band member. One of La Fin’s two bassists is now a guitarist for the new group, and has added occasional metal-growls to his sound repertoire. It’s a good thing.

Seeing and hearing their long, atmospheric, very heavy rock songs for the first time left me with little to recall of their actual music, but I do remember the lead guitarist’s guitar tone, because it was the most delicious distortion I’ve experienced in awhile. Drummer Dan Elsen was getting fantastic, resonant tones out of his drum kit as well, which made one wonder why he never takes more of the spotlight within the music.

West By Swan

Very loud, and pretty catchy too. I remember drummer Daniel Taylor playing drums onstage for the first time years ago, one of those early sets being for The Abominable Iron Sloth. Daniel’s improved exponentially since then, rocking the kit with passion and grace.

The two guitarists were sporting glorious beards; one of them was almost completely white! A testament to how long this band had been bringing sweet tunes to our little town.

West By Swan plays way too loud. The nature of their songwriting is gentle, touching, and authentic, but the impact was lost upon an audience too deaf to appreciate it. My older, 30 year old sister was at this show too, and she liked it. All the bands in her day played that loud; now she’s accustomed to it. Shrug. I’ve heard enough of West By Swan’s new LP Drought to know I can recommend it to you, and THAT can be enjoyed at whatever volume you please.

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Howl was born in the wastes north of Hithlum, where only beasts and witches dare roam. He was raised by two old hags, Tabby and Wiles, who had an unhealthy fascination towards the literary arts. Howl now resides in a well-furnished cave off South Rim Trail, complete with an old iBook and Wi-Fi.