BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Olden Yolk, Robert Earl Thomas

Olden Yolk

Robert Earl Thomas

Friendship

Sat, February 17, 2018

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00

This event is 21 and over

Olden Yolk
Olden Yolk
Olden Yolk is a New York-based group whose penchant for dystopian folk, abstract poeticism, and motorik rhythms have enveloped them in a sound uniquely of-the-moment yet simultaneously time-tested. The project is led by songwriters, vocalists, and multi-instrumentalists Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer, whose interlaced vocals are found guiding each composition on their enlivening self-titled debut. The project was initially conceived in 2012 by Butler as an outlet for one-off songs and visual art while touring and releasing albums with the band Quilt (Mexican Summer). Following the release of a split-record with Weyes Blood in 2014, Olden Yolk became a collaborative entity.


Their debut full-length, slated for release in February 2018 (Trouble in Mind), ruminates on questions surrounding love, self-doubt, and locating autonomy amidst burgeoning unrest. Wrought with hazy melancholy and halcyon joy, Butler and Shaffer’s lilting vocals play off one another through a devotional dialogue, taking form in haunting choral melodies and candid rock n' roll. These songs are ecstatic odes to the life of the city; to the subway platforms, kiosks, and monuments which enliven and encompass our collectivity, elevating into an urban-psychedelia.

On the album, Butler and Shaffer are joined by drummer Dan Drohan (Tei Shi, Uni Ika Ai) and guitarist Jesse DeFrancesco who round out the studio sessions and live-band. Drohan’s deep passion for jazz, hip-hop, and experimental percussion come to fore while Defrancesco’s minimal yet powerful guitar ambiences are heard swelling in the peripheries of each song. The album was recorded at Gary’s Electric in NYC by Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) with co-production, electronics, and mixing by Jon Nellen (Ginla, Terrible Records). Other guests, such as multi-instrumentalist John Andrews (Woods, Quilt, The Yawns) and violinist Jake Falby (Mutual Benefit, Julie Byrne), add to the mercurial nature of the record, creating a landscape tinged with beatific songwriting and transgressive underpinnings
Robert Earl Thomas
Robert Earl Thomas
There are a million songs dressed in white t-shirts and American denim, songs that drift through open spaces in some busted sedan, over lost highways that become tributaries to eventual static, crawling traffic and stifling density. There are a million more songs about being wild and green in the cities and outside them: a song about love for every person on this earth. Another Age, the debut album from Robert Earl Thomas, avoids inhabiting these clichés even as it embraces their personal influence, distilling plucky observations and reveries into something both universal and specific. This is an album about small moments with big emotional footprints, told humbly and honestly.



It’s a debut that plays the part without succumbing to it, more pastel romantic comedy than sepia historic drama. Thomas addresses with uncommon gentleness his own pet preoccupations with iconic imagery and tones: there are stylistic nods to Springsteen and Dire Straits, Arthur Russell’s more folk-leaning output, the various collaborations of Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne. But Thomas seems intent on conveying his specific take on these things over emulating them; you get the impression that he’s just as inspired by karaoke renditions of “I’m On Fire” or “Romeo and Juliet” as he is by the originals. As a narrator, he steers a road song away from jaded indifference, and his self-aware ballads are concerned not with broken hearts (or breaking them) but with city-induced anxiety, complex and unfamiliar love, and soft ruminations on getting older.



Thomas is not new to making records, and Another Age is actually years in the works. A founding member of Brooklyn-based indie outfit Widowspeak, he’s previously lent his talents as a lead guitarist to that band as well as the experimental pop group Vensaire. He began writing and home-recording songs two years ago, gradually and purposefully in moments of solitude between tours, between stints working in a Seattle woodshop and at a hotel in the Catskills, and during weeks couch-surfing back and forth across Brooklyn. For Another Age, Thomas combined these intricately layered demos with tracks from a two-week studio session in the winter of 2016 at Marcata Recording in New Paltz, NY with producer Kevin McMahon (Swans, Real Estate, Widowspeak).



Sonically, the album is buoyant throughout, even at its most emotive. There’s an inherent sense of approachability to his melodies and, as a frontman, Thomas is sincere and affable. He coaxes the listener in with idiosyncratic vulnerability, like a lounge singer raised on AM radio and Elliott Smith singing bedroom arena rock without the bravado, easy-listening with a little more at stake. His voice is distinctive, confident even as it wavers and slides through lyrics, lending a poignant sensitivity to his otherwise assertive guitar and synth compositions. Thomas excels in the sort of wandering, hypnotic codas that instantly recall a feeling of aloneness, a feeling of sequestering oneself to a closet-sized bedroom even as the city keeps moving around you.



And the stories he tells are full of intimate moments and observations: a walk home from a lover’s apartment, a long night drive back upstate, a quiet Wednesday morning existential crisis. Musings as to the significance of a Winona Ryder portrait on the wall of a stranger’s bedroom. The sense of discovery that comes with being young in a city with a new person, and the sense of loss when that novelty is gone. Another Age is indoor music at its most expansive, rock and roll held at arm’s length.
Friendship
Friendship
Friendship is a Philadelphia and Portland, Maine based band currently comprised of Dan Wriggins, Peter Gill, Andrés Rodriguez, Mike Cormier, and Connor Stout.

In 2015, the band released their EP ‘The Further You Kick It The Bigger It Gets’ via a youtube video, a 20-minute screen capture scrolling through the Philadelphia craigslist’s “missed connections” listings. Later that year, they released their debut LP, ‘You’re Going to Have to Trust Me’ on the Portsmouth-based label Burst and Bloom. The album is a collection of songs written by Wriggins and recorded in Philadelphia.

Wriggins mumbles his character’s frustrations over the band’s twisted articulation of americana - down-tuned guitars, steel flights, and drums negotiating between the lounge and the basement. Lyrics and production recount love, loss, and the struggle for community in an irreparable world.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com