Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Soundchecks: Megan Jean & The KFB, Stanzas & Synthesizers, Cusses, Mephiskapheles

The devil went down to the Tin Roof

Posted by Vincent Harris and Heath Ellison on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 4:00 AM

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INDIE SOUL-ROCK | Megan Jean & The KFB

w/ The Royal Tinfoil
Sat. Oct. 13
9 p.m.
$8
The Royal American

We already knew that Megan Jean could sing. She's got a gale-force hurricane of a voice that can take on just about any type of material. What we did not know was how far Jean and her husband, multi-instrumentalist Byrne Klay, could take their sound. On their previous records, they specialized in a sort of hybrid early-20th century ragtime and vaudeville style with horror movie-inspired lyrics, based on a foundation of bare-bones percussion and banjo. But on Tarantistas!, Megan Jean & the Klay Family Band's new album, the sky's the limit. The 11 songs are alive with layers of percussion, a warm and soulful rhythm section occasionally punctuated by horns, and one of the most stunning beginning-to-end vocal performances you're likely to hear this year. But as much of an artistic triumph as Tarantistas! was, the path to getting it released was not an easy one. "This was the album we thought would be our first industry release, but it ended up being DIY," Jean says. "The way I see it, the music industry is just like the dog track, and we ran around that track for five damn years hoping we'd win a little. But at the end of the day, we didn't know how many years we'd be asked to keep running around that track hoping that the music industry putting out our record and it being successful would work out for us. So we decided to put it out ourselves. Life is short. Fuck 'em." β€”Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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ELECTRONICA AND POETRY | Stanzas & Synthesizers
Marcus Amaker (tape loop), Kayla Sewell (Aviatrix), Andy Natush (Sole Symphony)
w/ Derek Berry, Matthew Foley, Bria the Poet
Wed. Oct. 17
7:30 p.m.
Free
Redux Contemporary Art Center

Marcus Amaker has a habit of being exclusively looked at as a man of written word. But, while his title as Charleston's poet laureate hints that he's a writer first, Amaker frequently creates and performs electronic music under the moniker "tape loop." He'll showcase that ability, alongside several of his favorite local poets, at Stanzas and Synthesizers. "I really love the collaboration of electronic music and spoken word," says Amaker. "I've put out a few albums in that genre, so I wanted to collaborate with some poets for them to do a similar night." Derek Berry, novelist and founder of literary nonprofit The Unspoken Word, author Matthew Foley, and R&B stanza-maker Bria the Poet will perform their poetry, while Amaker, trip-hop artist Aviatrix (Kayla Sewell), and electronic musician Sole Symphony (Andy Natusch) will play the tunes for them to speak over. "It'll be sort of an improv night, where we will be playing the music nonstop. It'll be sort of like a sound bath, and the poets will be going in and out of the music," Amaker says. "It'll be a really intimate experience." Stanzas and Synthesizers is the first night of Amaker's week-long Free Verse Festival. The seven-day event will be an opportunity to show the different avenues that poetry can be applied to. "I think poetry is too often put in the corner of coffee shops and people don't really see it as a moveable, flexible, exciting artform," says Amaker. "I wanted to present poetry in ways that people wouldn't necessarily expect." β€”Heath Ellison NEXT WEDNESDAY

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HARD-ROCK | Cusses
w/ Drunk Couples & Fiasco
Thurs. Oct. 11
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

It's taken six long years, but Golden Rat, the long-awaited sequel to the self-titled debut album by the Nashville trio CUSSES, has finally been released. And it's just as explosive, razor-edged, and powerful as the band's first album, a 10-song blast of ear-frying, merciless hard-rock headed up by the searing vocals of Angel Bond, one of the most compelling lead singers in the biz. As for why it took so long, well, there were a lot of reasons, most of them personal. The group, Bond, guitarist Bryan Harder, and drummer Brian Lackey even took a hiatus at one point with no real idea of when or if they'd get back together. "It's been a long time coming but we wanted to take our time putting it out," Bond says. "There were many reasons that got in the way, such as life." One of the main issues was that Harder doesn't typically tour with the band, meaning they need to find a touring guitarist if they're going to play shows to support the album. "But we've found someone who is a lot of fun to tour with, and it's great to be able to do this full time," Bond says. "We're ready to take over the world now." β€”Vincent Harris THURSDAY

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SATANIC SKA | Mephiskapheles
w/ The 33s
Wed. Oct. 17
9 p.m.
$8/adv., $10/door
Tin Roof

Who knew Lucifer could skank? Mephiskapheles did and they made sure all of God's creations were educated on that lesson with their 1994 hardcore punk, reggae, free jazz, metal mutt of an album God Bless Satan. Although they've fully embraced the black mass ritual aesthetic and subject matter over the course of their career, their tongues are planted firmly in cheek, often having fun with Satan. "I feel like we've always had a really core sound that we never lost, so while our music has always progressively gotten more complex and a bit darker, over time, it's still got the core sound," says bassist Mike Bitz. Mephiskapheles were in the vanguard of the flash flood of punk-ska revival acts in the '90s, and their outrageous inverted pentagram sound forced them to stand out from the crowd, so when the band started an eight year hiatus in 2002, the ska scene wasn't the same. Longtime fans will be happy to hear that the dry spell ended with the 2015 EP Mephiskapheles, and a new album is planned for 2019. β€”Heath Ellison WEDNESDAY

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