Myshkin’s Ruby Warblers
Double Salt Records
The temptation here is to not review all of Sigh Semaphore, but to simply dwell on the brilliant folk/dark-jazz concoction “Lied” that opens the album. This gypsy-tinged double-beat tune is seething with restrained vitriol and haunted by Myshkin’s hide-and-seek alto, which alternately whispers and gently wails for climactic effect. And the spurts of Enion Pelta Tiller’s violin complete the smoky vibe in this taut, two-minute track, coming close to a lilt before being swallowed back up by the rapid patter of the upright bass and percussion. It’s a wickedly gorgeous opener for this Portland, Ore., contingent’s latest EP.
The rest of Sigh Semaphore doesn’t simmer with quite the same intensity as “Lied,” but it’s never short on surprise. Displaying a willingness to dabble in the farthest corners of their alt-folk sound, the band brings elements of everything from electronica to old-school country into these seven songs.
All the while, Myshkin’s lyrics are pointedly aimed at political targets. “Lied” is an affront to President Bush, “Moonwater” deals with natural resources and “Bywater” is an ode to New Orleans, written the day Katrina hit shore and tore apart the city where Myshkin lived for nine years. The EP was recorded the following week, which no doubt fueled Sigh Semaphore’s arrestingly complex and subtly charged sound. (Skylar Browning)
Myshkin’s Ruby Warblers plays The Loft with Raina Rose Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8 PM. $12/$2 off for Missoula Folklore Society members.
Enter the Haggis
When was the last time you thought: the world needs more bagpipe-infused new wave-prog-rock hybrids? Hopefully it was recently because that’s how Enter the Haggis’ Soapbox Heroes starts, and it’s worth sticking around for the balance.
The Yes homage that instrumental first track “Lancaster Gate” suggests is just one style on an album suffused with many. Ska and latin rhythms both wend their way into the album’s second track, “One Last Drink,” which addresses the time-honored Celtic subject of drinking until belligerence and sunup strike.
Getting hammered and outlasting the night isn’t all that fuels ETH. “Cynical” turns obliquely political, more cultural critique than outright call to action, while “No More Stones” takes a more direct tack—“Hey ho the wind has blown/Won the war/Now there’s nothing to show”—but in both cases the fiddle, guitar and drums are more stirring than the lyrics.
It’s effective agitpop, musical ire focused through a lyrical lens and, like most of what ETH attempts on Soapbox Heroes, it’s likely to rile you to move your feet if not your fists. (Jason Wiener)
Enter the Haggis plays Sean Kelly’s Saturday, Oct. 28, at 9:30 PM. Cover TBA. Call 542-1471.
Despite the Crushing Weight of Gravity
Sack of Hits Artists
Raina Rose employs a host of musicians on Despite the Crushing Weight of Gravity to create stylistic fluidity that rescues the album from the tonal monotony that tempts too many singer-songwriters. Still, every song is a showcase for Rose’s songwriting and the songs aren’t always pretty under the lights. “Canary” mixes its main metaphor: “You’re a canary in a coal mine and now that danger light is blinking.” “Stupid Song” aims to protest a “stupid, ineffectual, costly toy” of a war with the refrain, “But right now I can’t stop thinking about you,” a personal short-circuit that keeps sparking throughout the tune. It prompts Rose to declare, “I hope you can’t figure out this song.” Well, mission accomplished.
But then there’s “Mt. Hood Moth Infestation,” a track that transforms a thousand splattered moths into a frenetic harmonica crescendo of mass murder and guilt, the intersection of minivan windshield and insect life exemplifying humanity’s relationship with nature. And there are other songs with style just as robust but a sound that might be symphonic or spare. Rose’s effort is eclectic and worth a listen—not often heady but always full of heart. (Jason Wiener)
Raina Rose plays The Loft with Myshkin’s Ruby Warblers Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8 PM. $12/$2 off for Missoula Folklore Society members.
Bridger Creek Boys
Live @ The Robin
The Bridger Creek Boys are probably the only Montana bluegrass band to be born as the result of a snowboarding accident. Fiddler Matt Broughton broke his back and right arm in a winter 2005 accident and, as a result, suffered through “2.5 months of dreadful music-free rehabilitation,” according to the band’s bio. The life cycle of the performing musician seems to be one of feast and famine, and after the musical starvation of a fiddle-free spring, Broughton formed the Bridger Creek Boys that July.
The band has enjoyed a bountiful performance schedule ever since. Each member of the Bridger Creek Boys may have come to play bluegrass via his own roundabout route—Jim Dugan, born in Lewistown, studied guitar at Berklee College of Music; banjo player Jon Meek, originally from Delaware, taught music in Waterville, Maine, before heading west; mandolinist Phil Jolly studied piano at Montana State University before switching to bluegrass; and bass player Lynwood Johnston, originally from bluegrass-rich Kentucky, somehow ended up playing in Bozeman. But by listening to the seemly playing on this live recording, you would guess that all the band members grew up together, spending their days picking on the same porch. (Caroline Keys)
The Bridger Creek Boys play Sean Kelly’s Friday, Oct. 27, at 9:30 PM. Cover TBA. Call 542-1471.