Monthly Archives: June 2013

Orchestral indie-rock band Mother Falcon shows true colors

The music of Mother Falcon contains enough colors in the rainbow to tickle almost any musical palette. It’s just a matter of opening your ears a bit wider to let them in.

Mother-Falcon_Field

The orchestral indie-rock band, from Austin, Texas, boasts anywhere from 15-20 contributors. The performers use all kinds of instruments — glockenspiel, bassoon, piano, violins. On their Facebook page they list among their faves Beethoven, indie band Bon Iver, rap legend Notorious B.I.G., Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and Rihanna. Yet, Mother Falcon doesn’t feel like 15 people clamoring for the spotlight in a song; the music just flows.

Their songs blend classical and contemporary melodies while covering it all with indie, folk and alternative sheens. Mother Falcon carries a bold sound, without a trace of over-production. It’s unconventional, but that’s not to say their music isn’t highly calculated. Mother Falcon can do what any rock/indie band can do, but their own unique signature is what makes them a standout. There’s amazing collaboration and inventiveness here.

They have the ability to move around within one genre during a song and then seamlessly add some unconventional instrument, such as a mandolin or clarinet, which brings the song toward a new direction.
The soothing “Blue and Gold,” from their May release, “You Knew,” is a good example. A man and a woman trade off vocals; the slide guitar brings a country-western feel and a lone trumpet makes a salvo. On  “Porcelain,” a bass cello builds intensity and drama. Sometimes the music soars, as on the intro to “Sleep.”

Many songs contain a mix of male and female vocalists who sometimes sing in step with an accompanying violin melody. “Dirty Summer” is immediately catchy and fun, especially the chorus that opens and closes the song. The slide guitar lends a country feel and somehow blends in naturally with the folksiness of the piece.  “Marigold” hosts another beautiful melody.

They’ve been steadily gaining fans following their performances at South by Southwest this year. The group wrote a first-person story about the band and where they stand, which you can find at indiegogo.com. In it, they describe how they exist without a record label and that they have to raise money to continue the band and pay for recording, mastering, etc. According to the web page, they projected a goal of raising $40,000 by April 22. They had raised $24,455.

Mother Falcon has released plenty of other music too: “Alhambra” in 2011 and “Still Life” in 2010. Besides the release of “You Knew,” Mother Falcon is doing plenty to keep busy this summer. The band spent all of June in New York City doing a residency, performing every Sunday night at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan and every Tuesday at Littlefield in Brooklyn. From July 22-26, Mother Falcon is hosting a really cool concept: a music lab at the Scottish Rite Theater. The band will take their indie flavors and classical training and hold workshops on songwriting, arranging and other tips on how to market a band.

It’s actually a joy to listen to such a large group meld their variety of musical tastes and genres so effortlessly. Once you accept the band for what it is — unconventional collaboration — waiting to see what they come up with next is going to be the hard part.

Dig it or Ditch it: One big Dig it. Listen to “Marigold” here:

and “Dirty Summer” here:

Are you ready? Mother Falcon is a variation of the following, according to their Facebook page:

Laura Andrade – Cello
Rita Andrade – Viola
Diana Burgess – Cello
Kira Bordelon – Violin
Clara Brill – Violin
Nick Calvin – Cello
Maurice Chammah – Violin, Piano, Vocals, Glockenspiel
Du – Violin
Andrew Fontenot – Tenor Saxophone
Nick Gregg – Vocals, Cello, Mandolin, Guitar, Piano
Austin Harris – Violin
Kalifa – Vocals, Accordion, Piano, Bouzouki
Evan Kaspar – Pedal Steel, Percussion
Matt Krolick – Trumpet
Gilman Lykken – Bassoon
Josh Newburger – Violin Claire Puckett – Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Banjo
Matt Puckett – Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Alto Saxophone, Percussion
Dusty Rhodes – Bass
Sterling Steffen – Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Luke Stence – Bass
Isaac Winburne – Drums and Percussion, Alto Saxophone, Piano

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Jack White aims for anonymity, gets a theatre named after him

Jack White remains committed to his roots. And Detroit is returning the favor.

Jack White, 37, has been pre-posthumously honored at Detroit's Masonic Temple

Jack White, 37, has been pre-posthumously honored at Detroit’s Masonic Temple

This week it was revealed that the at-one-time anonymous donor who paid $142,000 in back taxes for the Masonic Temple in Detroit, thus saving it from foreclosure, was White.

He’s the former White Stripes frontman who now runs Third Man Records and is at the helm of the Dead Weather and the Raconteurs.

According to The Press, Jack White practically grew up at the temple; his mom was an usher there. In addition, when the Stripes were at the top of their game, they played two sold-out shows at the temple in April 2003.

The temple gave the stage to legends MC5 and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. in 1968. Erykah Badu played there in February.

Detroit's Masonic Temple

Detroit’s Masonic Temple

The temple, which takes up a city block, is the world’s largest and holds three auditoriums, two ballrooms, a pool, a pool hall, bowling alley and more. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Last year, the temple’s future became in peril after acts such as Vince Neil started pulling out; the website mlive.com in December reported Neil, Great White, and rapper Lil Twist canceled amid financial difficulties at the temple.

According to Twist in a tweet: “They mula wasn’t right.”

After White’s nameless donation, a press release from the Masonic Temple Assocation then announced it would name its largest theater the Jack White Theater to thank him for his help.

” Jack’s donation could not have come at a better time and we are eternally grateful to him for it,” said Detroit Masonic Temple Association President Roger Sobran.

After  the press release, the Detroit Free Press picked it up, and Jack White was outed. Again. Diehard Stripes fans will note the newspaper announced White and drummer Meg were not actually brother and sister, as Jack White  claimed for several years early in the band’s history.  Their 1996 marriage was announced in 2001.

Jack and Meg

Jack and Meg in a lover’s waltz.

But I digress.

White donated the money anonymously. While I’m sure White appreciates the honor, he may have donated the money on the down-low for a reason. Instead, the spotlight is put squarely on him.

The act of naming a building or hall after someone often happens to people after they have died. Jack White, 37, barring any unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, could live another 50 years. Will he regret donating the  money? My guess is no, but it may give him pause next time he wants to give back.

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