Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soundchecks: Water Liars, Fairy God Muthas, Sea Wolf Mutiny, Black Taxi

Live music to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 4:00 AM

w/ Mechanical River, Elim Bolt
Thurs. Nov. 29
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Instead of heading to New York, L.A., or Nashville to record their debut album, Phantom Limb, indie rock duo Water Liars — singer/guitarist Justin Kinkel-Schuster and drummer Andrew Bryant — traveled to the tiny mill town of Pittsboro, Miss. Not surprisingly, the region ended up being a major influence on the album, which alternates between slow, moody garage rock and softer acoustic folk, with one solid rock tune, “Short Hair,” thrown in. “The rural South and Mississippi in particular are unlike any other place to me,” Kinkel-Schuster says. “I feel more at home there than I have anywhere else in my life, and I think that came into really sharp focus for me when we got together to record the songs that became that first record. I grew up in Arkansas but lived in St. Louis for several years, so it was really like coming home in a primal unconscious way.” The record deals with dark themes — death, bad love, and a doubt in God. “Just the idea of being able to feel real pain as a result of what’s no longer there resonates with me,” Kinkel-Schuster says. He admits he doesn’t have all the answers yet, so he’ll be dealing with these topics with Water Liars for some time to come. Water Liars’ Tin Roof show will feature a quieter set, since Bryant is handling some family responsibilities, leaving Kinkel-Schuster to take on this leg of the tour on his own. Two stellar Charleston bands Mechanical River and Elim Bolt open. —Susan Cohen THURSDAY

Indie Rock | Sea Wolf Mutiny
w/ The Late Nights, Youngster
Fri. Nov. 30
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Sea Wolf Mutiny sings sea shanties. There’s the name for one thing, and of the eight tracks on their debut album, The Last Season, one is named “Watery Grave” while another “Fear and Trembling” sounds like something Jack Sparrow might pen. But in fact, Sea Wolf Mutiny is more inspired by Celtic music than by Davy Jones ditties. “It’s really that six-eight rhythm, the Celtic rhythm, that gives [“Fear and Trembling”] a sea shanty feel,” says guitarist Danny Oakes. “Six-eight creates a kind of rolling, tumbling sound, and also our music tends to be kind of dramatic, so that’s another thing that comes from the Celtic influence.” Speaking of drama, the stories of Flannery O’Connor are another source of inspiration for the band. “There’s this sense of allowing for the Gothic nature of reality, alongside the ecstatic joy of reality,” Oakes says. And though we probably wouldn’t put it in exactly those words, you can hear what he means on The Last Season. There are lots of minor keys and thin, tinny sounds that evoke a dark and stormy night. Check out for more. —Elizabeth Pandolfi FRIDAY

Garage Rock | Fairy God Muthas
Wed. Nov. 28
9 p.m.
The Royal American

The hard-rocking, fun-loving duo the Fairy God Muthas have finally released their debut long-player, We Are the Fairy God Muthas, a collection of rippers, heartbreakers, backslappers, and one pretty badass Stooges cover. According to Street D (a.k.a. Doug Walters, who also delivers papers for the City Paper), the Stooges are one of the bands where he and Ballard Lesemann, CP’s one-time music editor and current main man at Charleston Metronome, come together, and so laying down a cover of Iggy and Co’s “Raw Power” made sense. “We cut our teeth on different things growing up, but there is some common ground, this being one of them,” Walters says. The disc also features the band’s theme song (“We Are the Fairy God Muthas”), a funny swamp rocker (“Awendaw”), and a tearjerker about the late, great Chesnutt (“Suicide Blues). Singer-guitarist Walters credits his timekeeping bandmate for keeping him out of the muck. “He’s good for me because I can get pretty dark and dour, but nobody wants to hear a bunch of doom and gloom,” Walters, who also fronts Torture Town, says. “Rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to be fun and not too serious so I try to remember that.” —Chris Haire WEDNESDAY

  • Michael Fiske

Dance Punk | Black Taxi
w/ Magic Camp
Wed. Nov. 28
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

The sophomore disc by Brooklyn’s Black Taxi, We Don’t Know Any Better, is a surprisingly eclectic collection of disco punk, indie rawkers, and new wave weirdness that comes across like the Pitchfork-friendly rave-night love child of the Strokes, MGMT, and Franz Ferdinand. And this eclecticism has brought a fair share of bouquets and brickbats. “We’ve got criticism for that, and we’ve got praised for that,” says Ezra Huleatt, who handles vocals and keyboard for Black Taxi. “It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around.” Huleatt says that diversity is driven by the band’s vastly differing inspirations. For guitarist Bill Mayo, it’s R&B and soul, while bassist Krisana Soponpong is a big electro fan and drummer Jason Holmes has a theater background and a love of African music. As for Huleatt, he grew up on a Christian commune, but sowed his musical oats on punk and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll. While the band likes to make up new genre names for their elusive sound — they’ve tossed around “grit pop” and “big wave” — Huleatt says Black Taxi’s next disc will be more fluid, cohesive, and employ ample amounts of harmonizing. “It’s definitely more dense,” the singer says. “We’re adding a lot more toys.” Hmm. Dense? More toys? It sounds like the next Black Taxi album just might be as oddball as their last. —Chris Haire WEDNESDAY

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