With Opening Day less than a week away and spring on the horizon, the time has come for bands to begin peaking out with the recorded results of their winter hibernation. The year of the snake has just begun and the promise of new recordings from Milwaukee groups like Midnight Reruns, Catacombz, Castle Thunder and hopefully many, many more, is a reminder of what lies ahead in an incredible summer. Tonight at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, Milwaukee’s Calliope will start the release train with the their self-titled debut album, along the support of Animals In Human Attire and The Zelda Routine completing the three ring spectacle and something NOT TO BE MISSED!
Recorded in a 3-day stint last September under the ears of Milwaukee Veteran Mike Hoffman, Calliope set the band up in the family cabin of lead singer/organ player Al Kreamer and did most of the recording live. Together with Victor Buell IV on guitar, John Larkin on Bass and Eric Gornoll on drums, they played as a band, capturing the raw power of their live performances. I saw them for the first time at Yield a few weeks back and was stupefied. They play so tight but also were able to keep the music loose, never skipping a beat and pushing the performance straight through to doomsday. There is an influence of Blue Cheer, The Sonics, Frank Zappa, The Pretty Things, The Doors, Alice Cooper or any of the more grandiose garage or psychedelic Rock and Roll groups of the late 60’s and early 70’s giving Calliope’s sound darker narrative roots. But more importantly, the music begs for live performance interaction, easily lost in multi-track recording’s infinite possibility. The old, “F-it, let’s do it live,” camaraderie of the blues with a fuzzy psychedelic twist that transcends the influence into something fresh.
The dynamics of the album functions like a live performance, keeping your ear fixed to hear the movement within the songs and the flow from song to song. Leading with this new kind of future blues in the first few tracks, including the prevailing guitar riff and harmonica drone of the single ‘Miller City Blues.’ The “black as sackcloth” dirty funk of ‘La Catalina’ and driving guitar hook of ‘Blue Ribbon Boogie,” turning straight into the jazzey instrumental other world of tracks like “Penitent Man,” and “Rising Water,” the latter featuring Kramer on Saxophone in the groove an extended solo section. Progressing to dissonance in the guitar riff and vocal harmonies of ‘Wild Eye,’ and an almost raga drone feel of ‘Woodland Stomp’ that switches 180 degrees to more electric bluegrass mid-song. It’s all here. Apocalyptical crusades, screaming call and response sections, subtle vocal harmonies, a bit of crunchy guitar echo and even a “Happy Song” wrapping up album to play the band off at the end of the performance. It is an album that will require many listenings and never lose the unrestrained energy occurring in the live performances captured in those 3 short days of recording. This is a band to see to in 2013, this is now.
Show starts at 9. Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, $7 cover that includes a CD. Dig It. Dance.
Calliope’s video links:
Official Music Video: Miller City Blues
JS Online Sound Check: Woodland Stomp