Posts tagged #Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight #3: St. Vincent

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In the year of our Lord 2012, while trying to discover new music by looking over the Coachella artist line up, I came across a name. St. Vincent aka Annie Clark. A local girl who was born in Oklahoma and got to the DFW as soon as she could. Working as a roadie for her aunt and uncle, Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart, she learned how to play guitar from her Unkie Tuck. Attending Lake Highlands High school she was in Jazz band and the went on to college at Berkeley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. While at college she made a few records, studied with a professor of guitar and further honed her skills. Annie later dropped out after 3 years saying "I think that with the music school and art school, or school in any form, there has to be some system of grading and measurement. The things they can teach you are quantifiable. While all that is good and has its place, at some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music." She later joined The Polyphonic Spree where worked with Glenn Branca's 100 guitar orchestra. She was also briefly in a noise-rock band called The Skull Fuckers. After Clark left The Polyphonic Spree she joined Sufjan Stevens' touring band for a time. 

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In 2006, having gained all the experience needed, Clark began recording a studio album, under the stage name St. Vincent. In an interview on The Colbert Report, she said that she "took [her] moniker from a Nick Cave song", which refers to the hospital in which Dylan Thomas died. The reference is to the line "And Dylan Thomas died drunk in St. Vincent's hospital" from the song "There She Goes my Beautiful World" on the album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. The name is also a reference to her great-grandmother, whose middle name was St. Vincent. Her second album is where it all started for me. On the 7th track of her second album Actor, a song called Marrow changed my life forever. The angelic voices and melody interrupted by the sour guitar notes and perfectly accompanied by her asking for H E L P and by the end of it all I was the one who was pleading for help. I NEEDED more. I was hungry for more. Enraptured by her sound and presence. I drank at the altar of the Saint Vincent. Addicted to the way she would anoint her guitar with the chaotic strumming and schism. Fast forward to 2014 the release of her 4th solo album I'm foaming at the mouth ready to pre-order her album and buy tickets to her show. I was taken back to it all, the harmonic dissonance in all its glory. Four days before my birthday on the 14th of March, I got see her in all her Saintly glory, albeit in the last row standing room only at the House of Blues. At that point, she had just come off of a tour with David Byrne of Talking Heads fame and you could see the influence in the best way. Annie was a performer and a good one at that. Her choppy footwork and erratic dancing only complemented her style and grace. Sated but not satisfied I left hoping that one day I'd be able to see her again.

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November 2017 the Saint announces her return to the DFW for the Fear the Future tour promoting her 5th solo album Masseduction. Clamoring for another shot to see her again I couldn't pass up the opportunity. This time things would be different it was at Dallas's Bomb Factory, a large venue located in the heart of Deep Ellum. As I sit in the living room of my girlfriend's house on the ILOVESTVINCENT.com website I see it, the game changer 3 letters that are more valuable than gold, VIP. I jumped out of my seat for 2 reasons the price and the excitement. The Miss and I mulled it over and decided to do it, we were going! I questioned myself later thinking we spent too much but I would find out three months later that it was worth every red cent.

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February 24, 2018 and the it was time to see if it would all be worth it. The venue opened it's doors for V.I.P at 5:15 and the line was building. I had all six of her records in hand, nauseous with the thought I may not be able to ask her to sign my records. As we wait in line we overhear the hipsters brag about the number of shows they had gone to see on her tour. With the thought of rejection on my mind I ask the bragging partition, "Hey man you know if she was signing anything?" He replied, "No. She isn't signing anything." My heart sank maybe it wouldn't be the V.I.P experience I wanted after all. While in line I saw someone who put it all into perspective, Annie's family. Specifically her sister. The angular face and light complexion was a dead give away. I was reminded she was home, and little did I realize she had her aunt and uncle opening for her. So into the venue we go. She played 2 songs and she goes on to the Q and A. I am wrought with contemplation should I ask? Is this in bad taste?  I think to myself it's now or never... I raise my hand and clear my throat "I want to start off by saying what a huge fan I am and want to thank you for doing all of this, Over the years I have become a collector of vinyl and most especially yours. I would be completely remiss if I didn't ask you to sign my records please." Then without a moment of hesitation she responds with the most pleasant "Yes". Stunned, I fell my heart leap for joy! All my fears washed away.

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As I anxiously waited for her to sign my stuff My wonderful girlfriend found us the best balcony seats smack dab in the center. Giddy as school children we celebrated with shots! The openers were awesome and rich with stories of the early days before Annie being canonized. The show that proceeded, rocked me to my core I wept, I sang and I danced. She played all I could want and more for an hour plus solo. By the end of it all I needed a face-lift and a new pair of socks. All in all I was over the moon. I'll finish by saying if you have the chance to go V.I.P and you can afford it do it. It could be the little light that shines in your memories and no one can take that away.

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Posted on February 27, 2018 and filed under Artist Spotlight.

Artist Spotlight #2; Aisha Badru

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Aisha Badru is a singer/songwriter with wispy, yet soulful voice that is a welcome change in sea of the ordinary.

 “Aisha Badru’s vocals are slight but soulful, airy but powerful…she uses this distinctive alternative/indie sound to soul-stirring effect that is difficult to describe but impossible not to feel.”Afropunk

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I had the pleasure of being indoctrinated to her music as the opener for Radical Face. While performing, she told of her tale and how music was her escape and ultimately saved her from a life of insecurity.

Aisha, a Yonkers native, took the traditional route after high school and attended a local college in the Bronx. While there, she increasingly felt more depressed and detached and used music as a form of therapy. After her junior year, she decided to follow her passion and try and make a career out of it.

Her big break came by way of her song “Waiting Around” off her self released EP Vacancy, being used in a National Ad campaign for VW.

This lead to her being noticed and subsequently signed by Nettwerk Music Group and recently releasing her new single “Mind On Fire”.

“I’m happy to share my first single “Mind On Fire.” This song is a step back from my usual reflections on love. Its about the revolutionary spirit that dwells inside all of us that often gets smothered underneath mundane obligations imposed by society that keep our heads down and our attention focused on the small details of our lives which in turn hold us back from correcting the flaws that exist in the current state of the world and prevents us from truly being free.” –Aisha Badru

 

Her first, full length album set to be released in early 2018ish.

She has an upcoming performance on Sunday March, 11th at the Deep Ellum Art Company.

Posted on February 9, 2018 .

Artist Spotlight #1: Radical Face

Welcome to the Reservoir Geek’s Artist Spotlight.

Our mission is to introduce artists, from all types of media, which are lesser known and not necessarily main stream. They may be emerging artists trying to get their big break or are established, yet not widely known. No medium is off limits. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds, so you never know who or what we will cover next.

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I would like to introduce you to Ben Cooper. Ben is a singer/song writer that performs under the stage name, Radical Face. His style is often described as Modern Folk, along the likes of Sufjan Stevens. I was introduced to his music while watching the Discovery Channel Series, North America. I remember hearing a captivating song and had to hear more. I quickly used the app Shazam and found the song that grabbed me was Welcome Home. From the opening of the dancing of wind chimes, to the rhythmic clapping, to the acoustic guitar and piano, I was captivated. He is like a one man Simon and Garfunkel. I was hooked. I had to hear more, and that I did.

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Ben was born in 1982 in Jacksonville, Fl and has 9 siblings. He states his family is a big influence in his work. When he was 14, he came out to his family as gay and his step-father kicked him out of the house. Later, there were some much more serious issues that came to light about his step-father. While it is easily found by searching, I choose not to include it here.

At 19, he developed a talent for writing and wrote 2 novels, but lost them when his computer crashed and he hadn’t backed it up. It’s said he took a hammer to his computer and decided to focus on his music. Lucky for us, unintended consequences turned into a music career.

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In October of 2017, I was fortunate enough to see him live at the Kessler Theater in Dallas, TX. It is such a wonderful, small venue with fantastic acoustics. The show was intimate and he was completely engaged with the crowd. He would tell stories and the meaning of the songs as he performed.

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His first full LP release was Ghost in 2007. On it you can find the aforementioned Welcome Home. It was recorded in an old tool shed behind his house and many of the ambient sounds heard such and wind chimes and birds chirping, were incorporated into the tracks. It brings a truthfulness that is often over produced out of studio albums.

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In November of 2010, he announced a trilogy of albums known as the Family Tree. They follow the lives of multiple generations of a fictional family, the Northcotes, set in the 1800s. The family is unique in that they are afflicted with strange and unusual powers, such as walking on water while sleep walking, to seeing spirits, to bringing dead animals back to life. These are things they feel they have to hide, thus are forced to live with dark secrets. It sounds strange, I know, but it works. When listening to the albums, The Roots (2011), The Branches (2013) and The Leaves (2016), you get the feeling you are listening to someone’s confessional. It has a level of truth and honesty not often seen. By the third album, it becomes apparent it has become more of shedding of anger, than the Northcotes. His music ebbs and flows in a way that feels natural and organic. Using only period instraments and voice, he paints such a vivd picture, you feel like part of the piece.

The chance hearing of Welcome Home, opened me up to a new artist and subsequently a new-to-me genre of music. I encourage everyone to give him a listen and while you’re at it, do some musical exploring of your own. It’s an amazing world out there.

Then everything danced to a stranger tune
And we found our song and we found our truth
And now that we know it's that we always knew
Farewell to the chains we were born into

Posted on January 24, 2018 .