Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sunny pop and ghostly folk

Couple of live previews in this week's Philly Weekly flogging the sunny, California pop of the Donkeys, as well as the darker, broodier folk of Matt Bauer.

The Donkeys
Tues., Sept. 9, 8pm. With You, Me and T. Rex. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave. 215.739.5577.
If albums were drinks the Donkeys’ Living on the Other Side would be a mint julep: cool, refreshing, sweet and, after several repetitions, a hard kick in the head. Like SoCal psychedelicists Beachwood Sparks, these neo-traditionalists spin influences like the Byrds, the Band and Neil Young into hazy, mildly trance-inducing grooves. Close harmonies, slow shuffles and country jangling guitars lull you into quietude, while melodic hooks close the deal with your subconscious. Ideally, they’d have hammocks at this show—so summery, so sleepily peaceful are these songs. (Jennifer Kelly)

"Walk Through a Cloud"

"Nice Train"

Matt Bauer
Thurs., Sept. 4, 9pm. $10. With Birdie Busch. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.
Matt Bauer plays a ghostly sort of folk, wreathed in delicate webs of banjo and whispered with a lightness Sam Beam might envy. His latest album The Island Moved in the Storm weaves oblique narratives around the story of a girl found dead in rural Kentucky in 1968 who remained unidentified for 30 years. The subject is macabre, but the songs are lovely, serene and surprisingly unsentimental. In “As She Came Out of the Water” Bauer observes the world with a naturalist’s precision, pausing to listen to the crunch of shells under boots as he approaches a drowned corpse. (J.K.)

"As She Came Out of the Water"

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