Tag Archives: Poly/Western

Tomorrow: Puddle, Poly/Western @ Sidebar

You probably know by now that this blog is a big fan of local band Poly/Western. We’ve posted about them before and go to see them every chance we get. Luckily, we get another chance tomorrow night at the Sidebar.

We’ve always said that they were a great band who were bound to get better and better, and since the last time we saw them that’s exactly what’s happened. They’ve gone professional. No more giving away 3 song demos for these guys. If you want the Rock now, you’ve gotta get it from a real, bona fide EP which you can download here for the low low price of $5. They’ve even got a genuine band page on Facebook now, where you can stream songs and such. Of course, if you like them “just as friends,” you can still do that here.

Poly/Western plays the Sidebar tomorrow. 9pm doors.

But wait! There’s more! Puddle is headlining tonight’s show. Do you know how long it’s been since we’ve seen Puddle? More than 10 years. Clinton was president. Yet they’re still riding the same groove they were back then: too much like a jam band for the cool kids, and too cool for the hippies. The bottom line is that they kind of sound like Landspeedrecord! if LSR had gone to Juliard and knew everything there was to know about composition and arrangement. Just when you think Puddle is starting to sound a little too much like Mededski Martin and Wood or some crap, they’ll play something that kind of reminds you of Jawbox. So you’re just going to have to go and make up your own mind.

While you’re at it, you can also make up your own mind about Muscle Twin, who play reggae for white people, and Goodbye New Plans who don’t.

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Sidebar is at 218 E. Lexington St. Downtown. 18+ 9pm doors.

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E. Joseph & the Phantom Heart, Poly/Western @ Windup Space Tonight

Back in January we had some pretty nice things to say about local trio Poly/Western. Now that it’s almost April, we’re gonna go ahead and double down on those statements.

At that time, we’d been vaguely aware of this band, but hadn’t had the chance to see them live yet. We expected them to be good, but we don’t mind saying that they were great. They reminded us right away of some crazy hybrid of the Twilight Singers, Sense Field, Tool and Big Black. While the rest of the country is just catching onto stuff like Beach House and Wye Oak, we’re here to tell you that Poly/Western is on the vanguard of local talent, and they’re what Baltimore needs to start paying close attention to right now.

E. Joseph and the Phantom Heart play the Windup Space tonight. 9 pm Doors.

Those are some pretty bold statements for a band that has yet to put out its first full-length. We believe they’re warranted though. At the January show we picked up a free copy of their 3-song Orange ep, and it’s been in heavy rotation at the Chophouse ever since. We’d definitely advise you to check out the Poly/Western Bandcamp Page, where you can download the Orange ep, as well as the 3 songs that make up the Down Home Blizzard Demos. Giving a spin to either one of these brief recordings will easily have you wanting to play it again by the time it’s over.

Sharing the stage tonight and equally deserving of your attention tonight is Baltimore’s own E. Joseph and the Phantom Heart. The Phantom Heart is no small pill for the listener to swallow. On the face of it, this band makes pop songs. These songs, however, are not to be taken at face value. The artist page on their label’s site throws around the term “power-pop” pretty liberally, but we don’t quite think this does E. Joseph justice. A listen to their 2008 album All The Medicine In The World… will certainly remind a listener of the best of the 80’s, Duran Duran, Simple Minds and the like, but it also begs the question “What would have happened if U2 and Sting hadn’t fucked it all up for everybody?”

This is definitely some sub-genre of pop. Not power-pop, but we call it that because no one ever got around to naming it properly. It went extinct before anyone could. Only the Cure made it out of the 80’s relatively intact playing something close to this sound. It’s as dead as doo-wop. Dead as Latin.

If they’d been around 30 years ago, E. Joseph and the Phantom Heart are the sort of band that would have signed a multi-record deal on a major, been all over Vh1, and fueled many a post-prom heavy petting session from sea to shining sea. After the complete and utter collapse of the music industry though, they find themselves a perfect fit on the homegrown and very modern Beechfields Label. It’s no stretch to say that this band is revitalizing and reinventing pop music the same way that the Beechfields is helping to reinvent the music industry, and we’d urge anyone reading this to come out to the Windup Space tonight and support them both.

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Windup Space is located at 12 W. North Avenue in Station North. Survival Society and Me & This Army also play. Ages 21+

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Tomorrow: Landspeedrecord!, Poly/Western @ Metro Gallery

Why is it that sometimes the best bands are also the laziest? We don’t mean to call anyone lazy, especially since we pretty much take the cake for sloth in this town, but we can’t help but notice that sometimes those with the most talent do relatively little with it. Consider the scant output by writers like JD Salinger and John Kennedy Toole, or the recent careers of local bands like Landspeedrecord! and Poly/Western.

Granted: LSR put out a shitload of records, and was no slouch back in the day, but since they got back together they’ve played out only occasionally, and seem to be doing things just for the fun of it (not that there’s a damn thing wrong with that). We already told you how cool they are back in May, so we won’t waste words here telling you again. They’re still cool, okay?

Landspeedrecord! plays the Metro Gallery tomorrow. 8 pm doors.

Poly/Western is also a sort of groundhog of local music. Every now and again they’ll pop up and play a show, see their shadow or not, and go back underground for as long as suits them. If they were to start playing and traveling regularly though, or maybe even release a record, we think they could really be a band to watch for 2011. They’ve got that slow, full, ambient feel while still staying true to pop/rock song structures that we’ve begun referring to as the Baltimore Sound, and they do it a lot better than many bands who seem to work a lot harder than they do. On this blog, we try to give you a heads up for what you can expect at local shows, but rarely can we do it with such precision so easily. Here’s a youtube video of Poly/Western playing at the Metro Gallery. In other words, it’s pretty much exactly what you can expect to see tomorrow.

Joining in on the fun are a couple of bands who play a lot more often around town, Thee Lexington Arrows and The Matrimonials. Both are worth watching, and for $8 at a bar that stocks cheap Löwenbräus, this is our idea of nightlife.

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Metro Gallery is located at 1700 N. Charles St. in Station North. Tonight’s show is 21+.

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