Background Music


Look locally for the music that becomes your personal soundtrack.

by John D

Rob Delaney

It has been a while since I discussed the album I am listening to as I write this column. Considering the album I have in constant rotation is almost as much as my morning ritual right now as a large coffee (as big a cup as they make), I guess I should talk about it. Indie rocker, and I use that term not because it is apt but because I have no other way to categorize him, Kurt Vile (formerly of War on Drugs) started doing the solo thing a few years ago and is already four albums in. The newest album Wakin On A Pretty Daze is his best work so far. Vile has a a good mix of quick solid rock songs, some more hazy tracks and three tracks that are over eight minutes. As my fellow Birmingham Mountain Radio DJ Reg says, “It is has songs that when I am listening I hope never end (that comment sparked by the albums opening track “Wakin On A Pretty Day”). The best way to describe this album? Wakin On A Pretty Daze could play in the background of your life and it would fit seamlessly. The even better news: Kurt and his band, the Violators, will be stopping by The Bottletree on July 15th (buy your tickets now as this show will sell out, and if it does not? Well, shame on us.)

Now on to what to do in Birmingham in the month of June. Last month I discussed all of the festivals in the Southeast and more importantly the dreaded exclusionary clause (as an artist you can’t play within the region for a certain amount of time) which can make it seem like we are in a live music dead zone (Birmingham is pretty much halfway between The Hangout and Bonnaroo). That might be the case if you are looking for big name bands or indie darlings that are using the festival circuit as their chance to get some wider recognition but not true if you just want some great music.

John Fullbright (6/6 at Moonlight on the Mountain): Fullbright is a young singer songwriter out of Oklahoma who, as a high school student, performed at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. For those of you not familiar with the folk music world that is impressive. Fullbright already has a Best Americana Album Grammy nomination under his belt for his 2012 debut From The Ground Up and he is touted as one of the up and comers in the folk/Americana genre. If you are looking for something different check him out when he performs in an interesting little venue that can’t be anything but intimate (it probably holds around 100 people) and see what all of the hype is about.

The Black Jacket Symphony will be performing The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls over the course of two nights (6/14 and 6/15 at WorkPlay). Some say Some Girls is the best album by The Stones. That is open to debate (in some circles), but what isn’t in debate is just how cool it is to hear some of the best musicians in the region perform an album in its entirety and do so very faithfully. It seems if you close your eyes and concentrate you can hear the nicks and scratches in the album you used to listen to (if you are old enough to have had a turntable).

Rob Delaney (6/28 @ Bottletree). The folks at Bottletree book just about anything. They realize that good music can come in any genre so they don’t pigeonhole themselves. They also realize that they can do more than music and this is why they booked comedian Rob Delaney. Delaney had been known to “go blue” and was also voted the funniest man on Twitter (not sure what body votes on that) so there is definitely something there.

Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band (6/29 at The Alys Stephens Center) with special guest The Milk Carton Kids. Ritter has been recognized as one of the 100 Best Living Songwriters by Paste magazine and will be in town supporting his 6th studio album The Beast In Its Tracks. A great show and with the Royal City Band backing him Ritter won’t disappoint. You can consider indie folk openers The Milk Carton Kids as an added bonus as they perform songs from their new album The Ash and Clay.

Upcoming Shows

Prog rockers YES, known for Owner of A Lonely Heart, bring their big sound and lively stage show to the BJCC on 7/19.

The elder statesman of jam bands (after the Grateful Dead) Widespread Panic play two nights at the Oak Mountain Amphitheater (7/19-7/20). Panic has sold out the Amphitheater 18 times and will surely do so again so buy your tickets now.

English new wave rockers The Psychedelic Furs are still at it and make a stop at WorkPlay (7/22). Who doesn’t want to hear “Pretty In Pink” performed by the band that wrote it?

Birmingham native (now living in Atlanta) Lee Bains III & The Gloryfires come back home for a show at Bottletree (7/27). Music often describeas “barn barning Alabama rock and roll” and the description is pretty much dead on.

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