BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

The Fresh & Onlys

The Fresh & Onlys

The Shilohs

Tue, July 22, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

The Fresh & Onlys
The Fresh & Onlys
“We make albums to be heard as albums,” says Tim Cohen. “We always toil over the sequencing and slight pauses.” House of Spirits, The Fresh & Onlys’ fifth album since 2008, testifies to their rigorous full-length approach. Their most adventurous outing yet, House of Spirits devotes its A-side to the character of dreams. Written partly during his stay at an isolated horse ranch in Arizona with only a guitar, Korg keyboard and drum machine, Cohen focused the album’s lyrics on firmer narratives than on past material, but his imagery veers towards absurdity, reflecting the unreliable visions culled from his nightly subconscious activity. The album’s latter half finds his speaker awoken, resolute and lucid. All throughout, Cohen says the album grapples with the “idea that home is where your feet are.” While still possessing the impeccable pop faculties displayed on Long Slow Dance and Soothsayer, The Fresh & Onlys also deal experimental atmospherics and drum-machine anchored ballads like never heard from the group before.

“The things I remember from dreams are when something is slightly off. You’re in your house but realize suddenly that it’s not yours,” says Cohen. In that sense, album opener “Home is Where?” is a statement of the album’s intent. When Cohen’s speaker notices a “bowl full of eyes on the floor,” or “cauldron of hearts on the stove” during his comforting walk through “the good life,” the brisk but nuanced track morphs into a surrealist nightmare.

Originally formed by Cohen, bassist Shayde Sartin and guitarist Wymond Miles, who met through their mutual employer Amoeba Music, The Fresh & Onlys soon recruited drummer Kyle Gibson. Their self-titled debut appeared in 2008 at the fulcrum of a flourishing San Francisco music scene on Thee Oh Sees’ leader John Dwyer’s then-fledgling Castle Face imprint. The debut distinguished The Fresh & Onlys from their peers in the lauded “San Francisco garage scene,” the regional buzz tag that couldn’t have been more inadequate for the band.

With tunefulness equally indebted to pastoral psychedelia, punchy new wave and hyper-literate proponents of lofty 80s pop, The Fresh & Onlys swiftly moved through the ranks of venerable indie rock labels. Follow-up albums and a voluble slew of EPs on Woodsist, In The Red and Captured Tracks earned the group high critical praise, including a flattering New York Times feature, while Cohen’s output with his folk-inclined act Magic Trick and Miles’ own solo career rode impressive trajectories of their own.

In 2012, The Fresh & Onlys’ fourth album, Long Slow Dance, appeared on Mexican Summer. A meditation on the complexities of love with Cohen’s signature insertion of severe imagery into poignant song craft, it also solidified The Fresh & Onlys’ adoption of lush analog production. They continued to work with Phil Manley (Trans Am) at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco for the Soothsayer 12” EP, which showcased Miles’ Morricone-esque handle on atmosphere, hazy chords ringing out with shimmering, ghostly notes in their wake.

As Miles says of House of Spirits, “We wanted to honor the mystery that the desert gave to Tim’s songs.” The seasoned ensemble’s fiery feel and careful arrangements run throughout, but it also privileges The Fresh & Onlys’ experimental tendencies. There’s violent, churning guitar noise between gospel-like vocal interplay for “Bells of Paonia” and an ominous drum machine pulse underpins the unsettling finale, “Madness,” a track that inspired Miles to throttle his guitar with a power drill in the studio for what he calls “a sort of Einstürzende Neubauten moment.” As Cohen relishes mystery, camps out in dreams and hones his singular approach to glistening pop with sinister undertones, perhaps “Madness” speaks best to the Fresh & Onlys’ essence. As Cohen puts it in the track, “So, madness has a heart / Letting me rejoice / In the most peculiar things.”
The Shilohs
The Shilohs are a rock band in the timeless sense of the term. They consist of four friends who play tight and tuneful pop, harmonizing sweetly and delivering their songs with to-the-point sincerity.

Johnny Payne (vocals/guitar), Mike Komaszczuk (vocals/guitar), Daniel Colussi (vocals/bass) and Ben Frey (drums) met while playing in various bands in Vancouver, BC, and they formed The Shilohs in 2008. "We formed with the concept of being a band that writes short, snappy pop songs," Colussi remembers. "In Vancouver at the time, there were lots of stoner rock bands. We wanted to be different."

They released a self-titled EP in 2010, and signed to Light Organ Records for 2013′s acclaimed debut full-length, So Wild. The album prompted Spin to praise the band's "delicious bit of Big Star-informed, Feelies-indebted pop," while The Vancouver Sun gave it four stars and called it "a golden pop-rock nugget."

Now, a little more than a year later, The Shilohs are back with a self-titled sophomore album. Once again, the collection was recorded with esteemed production duo John Collins and Dave Carswell (Destroyer, the New Pornographers), with sessions taking place at Vancouver's iconic Mushroom Studios (a.k.a. Hipposonic Studios) and at JC/DC Studios. Payne, Komaszczuk and Colussi all shared frontman duties, with each contributing his own material to the project.

"It's less purposefully referencing country rock and power-pop," Colussi says of the sonically varied results. "It's a little bit more all over the place."

Payne agrees and adds, "There were three of us writing the songs, so it was inevitable. This time, it was a free-for-all. We have a bit more confidence, so we weren't afraid to make one song completely different from another."

This anything-goes approach is exemplified by the psych-tinged "Strange Connections," which is laced with manic guitars. "Queen Light Queen Dark" culminates in a similarly noisy six-string freakout, while "Bless Those Boys" is a sprawling piano ballad with flourishes of baroque strings. Elsewhere, breezy cuts like "Palm Readers" and "Champagne Days" display The Shilohs' enduring love of harmony-laced pop. Some of these songs were recorded entirely live to tape, while others were built using more meticulous layering.

The outfit spent the early part of 2014 travelling across North America with Real Estate, and more tours are planned for later in the year. With three songwriters operating at the top of their game, the band is continuing to churn out classic-sounding slices of pop magic. Not beholden to the past, nor concerned with blazing new trails, The Shilohs are living proof that catchy hooks and honest lyricism will never go out of style.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com