taking a listen
SCREEN DOOR PORCH — Screen Door Porch
Sometimes a band’s name alone can have such a visceral effect on the listener that it’s almost shocking when their sound doesn’t fall in line with whatever one had in mind sight unseen. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Screen Door Porch’s self-titled debut is akin to drinking Coke expecting tea, but there is a polish and modernity suggests something more urbane than breezy days on a rattan chair. The Austin, Texas-via-Jackson Hole, Wy. duo’s debut is a meditative, if often scattered collection of revisionist folk and alt-country that never quite finds its groove. It stands atop the collective strength of its two primaries; Seadar Rose’s voice lies somewhere between the heavily sedated repine of Courtney Love circa Celebrity Skin and the sinewy mist of Chan Marshall on the uptick of an emotional breakdown, while vocal cohort Aaron Davis lands squarely in the territory of M. Ward and Greensboro’s favorite expatriate, Andy Cabic. Too often, however, the duo dithers between forlorn cabaret folk and knee-slapping Nashville country. The impact of the sparse and disquieting “Blow Away” of mitigated by “Ramblin’ Around,” a bouncy number that seemed hurried and careless in it’s efforts to be charming in a “Ballad of the Uneasy Rider” kind of way. Both share the vocal duties equally and often to great effect, as evidenced by Rose’s spritely interjections on the boogie down “Jivin’.” There’s considerable potential heard here for the day that Screen Door Porch makes a more decisive album, but until then their debut will echo less certain times.
Screen Door Porch will play The Garage on Tuesday, April 27.
YARN — Come On In
After three albums, it should cease to be a novelty that one of the finest and most uncomplicated country bands still flying under the radar of even most informed listeners hails from the epicenter of self-important indie rock. Like their first two wonderful offerings, Come On In finds Yarn (www.yarnmusic.net) more in tune with the beer-soaked honkey tonks than the fussy imagism of their native surroundings. While the jamband beginnings of front man Blake Christiana are still evident — the instrumental influence of Jerry Garcia and David Grisman’s collaborations are heard all over this album — it’s Christiana’s knack for simple yet pointed songwriting that sets this band apart from the field. Regardless of his geographical situation, his ability to carve out such effective and evocative lines like “I gotta get back to my Brooklyn flat, where the neighbors don’t know my name/ and the forecast calls for rain” on “Time Burns On” suggest that the honest storyteller can still survive in even the most oppressive of artistic climates. The fact that this six-piece ensemble is as technically sound as the most battle-hardened bluegrass outfit is even more suggestive of Christiana’s ability to weave something rich and wonderful out of this Yarn.
Yarn will perform at the Blind Tiger on Thursday with the Honeycutters.
For a chance to have your band’s CD reviewed, mail it to: YES! Weekly, 5500 Adams Farm Lane, Suite 204, Greensboro, NC 27407. ATTN: Ryan Snyder.