Live Review: H.C. McEntire + Pedro The Lion

H.C. McEntire + Pedro The Lion | 8/12/18 | Black Cat (Washington, D.C.)

On Sunday, David Bazan visited the Black Cat as Pedro The Lion for the first time since a 2005 opening slot for Low. With the exception of three tracks from his solo catalogue, this was a Pedro-only set that relied heavily on 2002's Control. I missed out on the 2012 tour where Bazan played the album in full under his own name, so I was happy to see six tracks performed from it. Matching the intensity of tracks such as "Second Best" in a live-setting is not easy, but Bazan and his band pulled it off. They also played "Quietest Friend," a new song that will appear on Phoenix, the new Pedro album to be released in early 2019 on Polyvinyl

Bazan has long been known to take questions from audience members in-between songs. That only occurred once during this show, as Bazan instead chose to keep the interruptions at a minimum. The focus that he and his band displayed justified this decision. However, he did take time to do a very genuine and thoughtful riff on toxic masculinity that could not be more timely. The newly-added diss to Steve Bannon in "Slow and Steady Wins the Race" was also much appreciated. Although I would argue that he is at his best with an acoustic guitar in a stranger's living room, Bazan and his band more than did justice to many of Pedro's finest songs on this evening. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention H.C. McEntire, the opening act. My familiarity with the Mount Moriah singer consisted of the four or five tracks I listened to from her solo debut in my car the morning of the concert. I have since listened to Lionheart, the album she released on Merge earlier this year. I must say that she might be even better live. McEntire's take on alt-country is heartfelt and exciting. Her and her band gave one of the best performances I have seen from an opener in quite some time. 

John Vanderslice Recording New LP

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Few artists in the 2000's were as prolific as John Vanderslice. Vanderslice released seven full lengths between 2000 and 2009. He added White Wilderness in 2011 and the Kickstarter-funded Dagger Beach in 2013. He even released a full-length cover of David Bowie's Diamond Dogs that same year. Since then, Vanderslice has largely focused his time on Tiny Telephone, the recording studio he founded in San Francisco in 1997. A second Tiny Telephone location opened in Oakland in 2016. Fortunately, Vanderslice is poised to resume his solo career with a forthcoming tour and eleventh album. Vanderslice will embark on a living room tour later this month and has spent much of the Summer recording a follow-up to Dagger Beach at Tiny Telephone with engineers Jamie Riotto and Rob Shelton. The album is expected to release next Spring on Native Cat

Photo by Sarah Cass-Davenport

Astronautalis and P.O.S Return as Four Fists

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In October 2013, Minneapolis rap heroes Astronautalis (Andy Bothwell) and P.O.S (Stef Alexander) debuted their Four Fists collaboration by releasing a self-titled 7". The project then proceeded to hit the back burner. I imagine that was largely due to the busy schedules of both artists. Bothwell released Cut The Body Loose in 2016 and is one of the more prolific touring artists I can think of. Alexander took time to recover from a kidney transplant before releasing Chill, dummy in early 2017 and followed it with extensive touring. He also released music and toured with Doomtree and Shredders. Fortunately, fans that have been clamoring for the return of Four Fists can take a breath. Bothwell and Alexander are back with two new songs ("Nobody's Biz" and "G.D.F.R") that are available now on your preferred streaming platform. A full-length release is also being teased, but there are no additional details on that just yet. Until then, these two gems will more than suffice. 

Update - 8/15/18: Full-length 6666 out October 12th on Doomtree.

Steve Hauschildt to Release Dissolvi

Since 2011, former Emeralds member Steve Hauschildt has quietly been releasing some of the most innovative electronic and ambient music around. After releasing four full lengths for the Kranky label, Hauschildt will release his debut for Ghostly International on August 3rd. Dissolvi follows 2016's superb Strands and was recorded in Chicago and New York. A preview of "Saccade" is available above. The track pairs Hauschildt with Julianna Barwick. Barwick's voice is perfect for Hauschildt's music, so it is no surprise this is a winning combination. As indicated by the tweet below, fans will be pleased to know that Hauschildt is still working with former Emeralds member John Elliott on what sounds like a massive overhaul of the beloved group's catalogue.

Marissa Nadler Reveals For My Crimes

Sacred Bones will release Marissa Nadler's new album For My Crimes on September 28th. The follow-up to 2016's Strangers is Nadler's third full length for Sacred Bones and eighth overall. For My Crimes was co-produced by Justin Raisen and Lawrence Rothman and features contributions from Angel Olsen, Mary Lattimore, and Sharon Van Etten. That is an impressive supporting cast. Preview the album's title track, which features backing vocals from Olsen. Nadler will open several U.S. shows for The Decemberists in October before heading out on a European tour this Fall.

Photo courtesy of Ebru Yildiz