Tow’rs- “Just Because We’re Breathing Doesn’t Mean We’re Alive”: Neck of the Woods (Feb 12, 2016)

Neck of the Woods, San Francisco
Written by Erica Andreozzi

Ever since I first stumbled upon Tow’rs from a promotional sampler on Noisetrade, I DROPPED MY JAWS in disbelief. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BAND? Where are they hiding?! Well, turns out they are hiding in Flagstaff, a small town in Arizona that I (oddly enough) know quite well after spending a summer there in 2007 (internship with W.L. Gore & Associates). I felt an instant connection with them, and was incredulous over the fact that they came from a place I was so deeply fond of.  I soon learned that the band was born out of husband and wife duo, Kyle and Gretta Miller, who had been playing music with their best friends — Emma Crislip, Kyle Keller, Kory Miller — for many years (six to be exact) before finally realizing that they needed to bring this music beyond their local Church scene and into the general public. Just like that, the foundation of Tow’rs was laid down- a foundation of folk roots, soothing strings, and happy harmonies that would build one of the BEST BREAKOUT indie/folk bands of 2015 (in my opinion). I guess it’s true when they say that BEST FRIENDS truly make the BEST MUSIC, and I was happy to find “a place at their table” last Saturday night. 🙂

“Through our music, we explore the questions that haunt us, the pain that marks us, and the hope that redefines everything for us.  We invite you into the conversation, build with us, find your place at the table.” -Tow’rs

HUGE THANKS to Tow’rs for coming out west to captivate us with their live set, slaying us with songs like The Kitchen and Circles, both from their newest (and my most favorite) album, The Great Minimum. I really enjoyed meeting the beautiful people behind this beautiful music, and hope that they leave a bit of their heart in San Francisco and come back soon. When they do, I seriously hope they tour with one of my other new favorite folk artists, Zach Winters (who I think would be perfect compliment). For those fans of The Head and the Heart, Horse Feathers, Of Monsters and Men, Blind Pilot, The Oh Hellos, and Typhoon, you HAVE GOT to check them out.

Fresh off their win (‘Emerging Artist’) from the 2015 Viola Awards, Tow’rs released a new album (The Great Minimum) in June 2015. It follows up their well-received debut self-titled album from 2014.

 (see below for videos and more detail from the show)

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Tow’rs had me FREAKING OUT when they kicked off their set with my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE, The Kitchen. The captivating cello intro hooks you HARD and soon has you swaying with every stoke of the bow. Once it does, you can’t help but fall into a reverie imagining how this next verse would play out:

“You made me dance in the kitchen with you
If I was the night then you were the moon
Expectation is the currency of fools   (LOVE)
I spent it on you, I spent it on you.”

This one is another favorite from their collection, and I especially enjoy the plead of electric guitar that perfectly compliments the “pleeeeeease come home” plead throughout.

The beginning of this next one initially reminded me of an old Bombay Bicycle Club song (acoustic) but then came into its own when the perky percussion picked up the pace at the first chorus (“It’s not black or white but in between”).

This next one was major crowd-pleaser and obvious favorite from their debut album

Loved the staggering call-and-response vocals from husband and wife, Kyle and Gretta.

This next one is a definite favorite from their recent album, and I can’t help but belt out the chorus of “Just because we’re breathing doesn’t mean we are alive.” TRUTH BE TOLD. Turns out that Helm is also a favorite of Kyle and Gretta, for it was inspired by the birth of their first son (now almost 1 year old) and about the nervous anticipation that often accompanies such big life changes.

Was really impressed to learn the this one was written by the cellist, Emma, who I was lucky enough to flag down after the show. Cello players hold a very special place in my heart, for cello had come to be my favorite string instrument. I can’t quite pin down what about this instrument makes me melt, but it DOES. Props to Emma for hammering on my heartstrings all night. Also mad props to Kyle for alternating between electric guitar, harmonica, and trumpet throughout the set- a modest multi-instrumentalist who was as pleasant to chat with as he was to watch!

Loved this STUNNING version of Circles as their encore. This here is perfect proof that BEST FRIENDS really do make the BEST MUSIC. I was grinning EAR-TO-EAR as I watched them exchange smiles and laughs while they serenaded the crowd with their dreamy harmonies and soul-stroking lyrics: “Circles are the perfect shape…to describe the hearts of man.” Hands down my favorite part of the night. ❤

 

West Coast (playlist: Dec 10, 2015)

West Coast

Compiled Dec 10, 2015

Following up on my previous playlist — ‘Coming Home — I’ve launched a new playlist called ‘West Coast,’ as this title track by the Seattle-based band, Hey Marseilles, embodies the essence of WHY I moved back to California. This song reminded me of WHY it was ALL WORTH IT, and I can’t help but RAWR along with the catchy chorus, “Meet me on the west coast… We’ll make it our own.” I was lucky enough to see Hey Marseilles live for the first time in September, and I look forward to seeing them again at The Independent in March for their new album launch.

Aside from Hey Marseilles, other bands I’ve recently seen that inspired this playlist are Nathaniel Rateliffe and the Nightsweats, City and Colour, Boy & Bear, Doe Paoro, Little May (who’s song ‘Bow and Arrow‘ was another track I had on CONSTANT REPEAT),  Aero Flynn (as an opener for Minus the Bear), Of Monsters and Men, Youth Lagoon, and Penny and Sparrow.

New discoveries that I have yet to see live and are very much on my radar, are Tow’rs, King Charles (recently on tour with Mumford & Sons), Julien Baker, El Vy (I LOVE Matt Berninger from The National), Max Frost, Seoul (opener for We Were Promised Jetpacks at The Great American Music Hall last month), and This is Koa (recently featured on Noisetrade).

Although the Staves are not a new discovery — as I have LOVED THEM ever since watching Communion’s Austin to Boston music documentary —I have YET to be SEDUCED by these SOOTHING SIREN SISTERS in the flesh, and I can’t wait till they come back for another US tour (hopefully for US summer festivals!). Having been produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Volcano Choir, their new album — If I was — is a MAGICAL MASTERPIECE and was one of the only things keeping my sane during recent rough times. ‘No me, no you, no more,’ was a standout track for me, and was one I frequently sang to in order to calm my nerves and soothe the soul. Finally, I’m excited to see one of my FAVORITE ICELANDIC BANDS — Kaleo — again this spring after first discovering them at Iceland Airwaves last year. It’s SUPER EXCITING to see them breaking new ground with their new songs and becoming quite a INTERNATIONAL HIT, just as I thought they would. Now, if you shall MEET ME ON THE WEST COAST… 🙂

Here’s a Spotify playlist with most of the songs (some still missing):

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You can download all of the songs (out of order) from my link on Box.com

https://app.box.com/s/fccew2dnpyvacio4xfrps8d2fpj3qhhv

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No Me, No You, No More-  The Staves
Wasted Love- City And Colour
Helm- Tow’rs   
West Coast- Hey Marseilles   
Where’d You Go- Boy & Bear  
Bow & Arrow- Little May   
Return To The Moon- El Vy  
Hypotheticals- Doe Padro   
I Need Never Get Old- Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats   
Killing Time- City And Colour   
Dk/Pi- Aero Flynn   
No Good-  Kaleo
Hollow Ground- Boy & Bear   
Northern Blues- City And Colour  
Love Lust- King Charles   
Home- Little May   
I’ve Been Failing – Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats   
Walking Backwards- Doe Padro   
Just Dumb- Boy & Bear   
White Lies- Max Frost   
Everybody Does- Julien Baker   
Woman- City And Colour   
LoveBlood- King Charles   
Paul Is Alive- El Vy   
Trying So Hard Not To Know- Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats Twist- Aero Flynn
Breakdown Slow- Boy & Bear  
The Brightest Lights- King Charles  
Damn It All- The Staves
Highway Patrol Stun Gun- Youth Lagoon  
What Now- This is Koa
Stay With Us- Seoul
Wolves Without Teeth- Of Monsters And Men  
Duet (Feat. Stephanie Briggs)- Penny And Sparrow