[NHM] New Haven Music


July 2011 NHM Artists of the Month – Farewood, Ovlov

I know, I bet you thought we forgot about our Artists of the Month series. What’s that? There’s only 10 days left in July you say? Well at least we remembered before August. Ohh? You think we’re nothing but lazy sacks of s***..Hey now! Lay off the expletives will ya? There’s kids here! So we we’re a little late…sorry!

Anyway, this month’s Artists feature a band formed in the 90’s and another band which sound like they could have been formed in the 90’s. Yup, we’re talking about none other than Farewood and Ovlov, the July 2011 NHM Artists of the Month.

Farewood is husband and wife songwriters Lou Lorenzo and Leah Booker. Formed in the mid-90’s, Lorenzo and Booker’s brand of indie rock retains a timeless quality that comes across as both heartfelt and genuine, never contrived or schticky or old. Featuring influences like the Afghan Whigs and the Cocteau Twins, Farewood’s songs are driving yet weather-worn, almost as if they are absorbing the world wholesale into their compositions. The band’s biography attributes much of this old-soul influence to their hometown of Meriden, CT (aka ‘The Silver City’). There the real-life scenes of post-industrial urban blight would work well as a music video to any one of their songs. Rather than sounding grimey or abrasive though, Lorenzo and Booker seem to find beauty in such surroundings and, as such, write beautiful songs filled with warm vocals, yearning guitars and burning melodies. For anyone looking for great indie-rock with a soul, Farewood is what you want.

Although never truly going away, Farewood has found more time lately amongst family obligations to play some higher profile shows. Most recently they landed an opening slot at one of Manic Productions’ Wednesday night BAR shows opening for ExitMusic. In addition they have begun work on a new album that they hope to have out sometime in 2012 (despite their longevity, this will only be their fourth long player).

Better yet, Farewood will be performing tonight at Cafe Nine opening for German singer/songwriter Maren Parusel. You can also catch them Friday, July 29th in their natural environment of Meriden, CT. at Chas’ Place along with Treebeard and Old Man Lady Luck. These both look like killer shows so make it a point to check them out if you can!

Ovlov (yup, that’s Volvo backwards) are an indie rock quartet based out of Newtown and New Haven, CT. Pretty much any description of the band’s sound (including their own) mentions influences like The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr. In addition, I would like to throw in a little Blue album era Weezer as well as a whole lot of World of Noise era Everclear. Heck, even hints of Built To Spill and Ash pop up from time to time. Notice a trend here? Ovlov’s brand of super-catchy indie-rock (dare I say grunge?) could have easily fit into 1993 without anyone thinking different. As with Farewood, Ovlov do not sound dated in anyway though. If anything its exciting to hear classic indie rock being reinvigorated so well, and with such authenticity. Overall the band’s attack is relentless and their songs, heavily melodic.

The band’s latest EP (released July 11th) What’s So Great About the City? sees Ovlov turning up the guitar fuzz a bit but also aiming for the pop fences a bit more, especially in the songwriting department. Having just completed a series of shows leading up to their dual record release shows this past weekend, Ovlov’s next scheduled live show as of press time is not until August 20th at Brooklyn’s Legion along with fellow locals Eula. You can listen to the What’s So Great About the City? in its entirety on the band’s Bandcamp page and, if you wish, download it for a price left for you to decide.



June 2011 NHM Artists of the Month – Snake Oil, Old Man Lady Luck

So, eleven days into June and we’ve finally selected our Artists of the Month (yeah, we know, about time!). Without further delay, the NHM Artists of the Month are….(drum roll, please)…Snake Oil and Old Man Lady Luck!

‘Snake’ who? ‘Old Man’ what?

Snake Oil is a new instrumental collective spearheaded by drummer extraordinaire Jason Labbe. Comprised of current and former members of Weigh Down, Titles, The Mountain Movers, Atrina, Charles Burst, Latitude/Longitude and Meridians (among others), Snake Oil was initially conceived as a recording-only side project to Labbe’s former main band, Weigh Down. After Weigh Down ran its course, Labbe began dedicating more and more time to working on Snake Oil, in the process bringing in a dozen or so musicians to assist on the project. After a few months of production, the collective had finished a cache of recordings which ultimately formed the running order of Snake Oil’s fantastic self-titled debut album.

Self-released by the band this past Tuesday (June 7th) in vinyl and digital formats, Snake Oil is nothing short of a revelation for those unfamiliar with Labbe’s never-ending well of creativity. Beats (both acoustic and electronic) collide off bass grooves, guitars, keys, synths and percussion with utmost ease as if the instrumentation itself were always meant to be combined in this way. Equal parts funky and spacey, Snake Oil is the rare instrumental album that keeps your attention throughout and doesn’t let go until the final drum hit. Its as if your mind and ears have no other choice but to submit to the aural sermon that is Snake Oil, blindly following each snare roll and bass lick ad nauseam. No other God or stimulation required. Of course, this is not to suggest that Snake Oil overstays its welcome at all. At 9 tracks and just over 30 minutes, Snake Oil avoids the common instrumental album mis-step of overwhelming length, instead focusing on quality not quantity. And with a production this adept at sonic placement and attention to detail, each subsequent listen yields more rewards. Be sure to pick up a copy via the band’s website snakeoilsounds.com or at Redscroll Records. In addition, you can catch Snake Oil live next Friday, June 17th at Cafe Nine as they celebrate the album’s release with fellow locals Atrina and DJ Shaki.


Photo by Miss Angie Chambers

Old Man Lady Luck fit the definition of ‘power trio’ to the T. Featuring members of gonzo-riffsters like the Vultures, Bloarzeyd, Humanoid, Murdervan, The Black Noise Scam and Atrina, Old Man Lady Luck knows how to bring the rock (and also the roll). With this said, don’t expect to hear some kind of boogie-woogie old-time music or an endless barrage of guitar pyro-technics, these guys are HEAVY (with all caps). Inter-changing between funeral pace doom and mid-tempo evilness, Old Man Lady Luck succeeds well at keeping things interesting. Their willingness to experiment with and evolve their riffs especially helps to break up any monotony created by tempo and tone. Although all three members are locked in throughout, bassist Warren Brelsford and guitarist Phil Law seem particularly well paired, playing off each other with ease. In addition drummer Andre Roman’s propulsive percussive work never lets the band’s songs become too sedentary.

This past May, Old Man Lady Luck celebrated the release of their debut self-titled album with a now rare Sunday performance at New Haven’s BAR. Recorded in Chicago with legendary producer (sorry, ‘engineer’) Steve Albini (and mastered by Bob Weston), the album is comprised of six tracks, all untitled. The production and performance is warm, full and crisp, showcasing the band’s unique interplay and dirgy sound in a way that only Mr. Albini could capture well. Be sure to pick up a copy on vinyl via the band’s Bandcamp page or, if you need your fix quicker, download a digital copy free. Old Man Lady Luck will be performing tonight as part of a four band riff-fest at New Haven’s Cafe 9 along with Skeletons In The Piano, VRSA and Treebeard. Bring earplugs and a neck-brace.



May 2011 Artists of the Month: The Guru, The Proud Flesh

We are pleased to announce the the NHM Artists of the Month for May 2011 are….The Guru and The Proud Flesh!! Although our original intention with this series was to highlight one up and coming band and one established band, these two groups show so much promise at the moment that we had to break our own rules and highlight them both (that is, the ‘up and coming’ category). Who knows? Maybe next month we’ll highlight two established bands instead… Without further ado…The Guru and The Proud Flesh…

The Guru are a four-piece indie-rock band based in the suburbs of Waterbury, CT. who, over the past couple of years, have garnished a dedicated following throughout the state, both for their high energy shows and for their original sound. Upon first listen, the band’s music most closely resembles that of 80’s underground heroes The Minutemen as well as fellow locals, Kimono Draggin.’ Their sound differs slightly however with the often intricate sonic textures created by the band’s dual guitarists combined with a definite funk influence. What surprises most people when they first hear this band though is their age (all of them, as of this article, are still in high school). Not only is the quartet well rehearsed, they are solid players through and through, easily surpassing the proficiency of most bands in their age group (and probably many beyond).

Currently the Guru is prepping their new album ‘Native Sun’ to be released June 11th. In lieu of this album, the Guru will be releasing new single ‘Arizona’ for free this Friday, May 6th via the group’s Bandcamp page. Also, the Guru will be playing two relatively high profile shows this month: May 9th at the Space with California’s The Growlers and as part of the coveted locals lineup at this year’s BombFest. But enough talking, check this band out now!


New Haven, CT.’s The Proud Flesh are a four-piece indie/folk/bluegrass band whose updated take on authentic Americana has gained them praise both by local audiences and by the musical community as a whole. Led by songwriters Alexander Burnet and Patrick Dalton, the Proud Flesh first gained attention on the local scene in 2010 with the release of their debut album Tiny Picture Frames. With their mix of traditional folk styles, lush arrangements and instantly hummable melodies, its hard not to be carried away by this band. Most often compared to groups like Dr. Dog, The Mountain Goats and Wilco, the Proud Flesh’s music is so organic its almost tangible, just waiting to be plucked from the night air and placed in your hand (or, in this case, your ear). Although referencing all manner of folk and blues styles, their songs never sound contrived and instead bleed sincerity in the best ways possible. For anyone remotely interested in folk, bluegrass, blues and/or country, with a bit of a modern context, the Proud Flesh are your band.

The Proud Flesh will be making a series of live appearances this month including shows at the People’s Center (as part of the ‘Great Day in May‘) on May 7th, Cafe 9 with Holly Golightly on May 8th and a near residency (May 3rd, 17th and 31st) at the Outer Space as part of the venue’s ongoing ‘Tuesday Night Honky Tonk’ series. Best get your ears and stomping feet ready.