Music editor Stephen Seigel on the two big concerts in town tonight:
First, Solar Culture has two indie rock acts, including one that's a loud side project of a very quiet band:
Solar Culture's got one heck of a double bill this week in Peter Wolf Crier and Retribution Gospel Choir.
The former is a Minneapolis-based collaboration between Wars of 1812 frontman Peter Pisano and sound engineer and musician Brian Moen that released a debut album, Inter-Be, on Jagjaguwar in May 2010. Pisano plays guitar and sings, while Moen handles percussion and sings a bit, too. Based on the band's name (bonus points for paying homage to one of rock's great forgotten frontmen), you might think the duo trades in joke-rock; it doesn't. The album is a solid debut, a slightly ramshackle collection of instantly lovable indie-folk-rock songs with a warm heart. And it's produced by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Weezer), one of the best and most unsung knob-twiddlers working today. In a nutshell, Inter-Be is difficult to dislike.
The latter started out as a collaboration between Low's Alan Sparhawk and Mark Kozelek, who led both Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon (and played a member of Stillwater in Almost Famous). But by the time the band's self-titled debut album (released on Kozelek's Caldo Verde imprint) appeared, in 2008, Kozelek was no longer a member. A second album, 2, was released last year on Sub Pop.
While Low was a pioneer of what was called slowcore, a genre that sounded exactly as you'd expect (the closest I've ever come to falling asleep at a show was during a Low concert), Retribution Gospel Choir—which now also includes drummer Eric Pollard and Low bassist Steve Carrington—totally fucking rocks. On 2, the band jumps around from '70s-inspired guitar rock to guitar-driven indie-rock to riffy Southern rock. The mention of guitar in each of those descriptions is no accident; it's as if, after 15 or so years of playing the slow stuff with Low, Sparhawk couldn't wait to plug into a Marshall stack.
Peter Wolf Crier and Retribution Gospel Choir take the stage at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., at 9 p.m.. Monday, Jan. 24. Admission to the all-ages show is $7. Call 884-0874 for further details.
Retribution Gospel Choir - "Hide It Away":
And at the Rialto, sunny, accessible popsters Guster:
Listening to Guster, who have been putting out records for more than 15 years, it's difficult to imagine how they ever got pegged as a jam band. Aside from a slight folk element, Guster's music is as pure as pop music gets—it's sunny; there are plenty of "ooh"s in the background vocals; and it's got hooks for days. If you've written them off in the past due to their reputation or their fans, trust me when I say they're worth another listen.
Guster performs at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Monday, Jan. 24. Good Old War opens the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50 in advance, or $24.50 on the day of the show. For more info, go to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
Guster - "Do You Love Me?":