Peter Wolf Crier, Birds & Batteries, Big Tree
Nov 6 @ 9:00pm
Advance tickets available at
or at The Crepe Place
8pm doors, 9pm show
Peter Wolf Crier:
It is not so much a sound as a spirit. You don’t need to name it to know it or to trust it. Peter Wolf Crier’s second album Garden of Arms is a document that paints a vivid portrait of all the pain and beauty of growth. Written with the at-home repose demanded by performing a hundred shows in six months, these eleven tracks were nurtured from their hushed origins with a new-found footing of confid…ence and experimentation. Adapting the tenets of the grinding live show, the duo of Peter Pisano and Brian Moen transformed the fuzzy distortion, rolling and crashing drums, and laser-focused purposefulness into an intensely dynamic yet supremely polished album.
The lead off track, “Right Away”, best exemplifies the band’s new direction, a dense and jarring embrace of the immediacy of real personal connection. Later on in the album, restraint is more readily apparent, in tracks like “Settling it Off”, where the sonics do not threaten to overwhelm but are instead peeled back to reveal a more subdued, secure sense of direction.
The notion that any one of these songs could be your favorite depending on where your head and heart reside, moment to moment, is the most appealing aspect of this album. Throughout Garden of Arms, swagger is juxtaposed against an icy delicacy, making the scope of the record complex but somehow an easily digestible statement of how Peter Wolf Crier are rolling: a wheel, rusted with unrestrained hope.
It is apparent from listening to the album that, for Pisano and Moen, 2010 was a both an absolutely exhilarating and a profoundly exhausting year. How they so evocatively and effectively channeled the fabric of their experiences into their body of work is not something they could do two years ago. This is a band that is just starting to figure out what they are capable of.
Birds & Batteries:
Birds & Batteries is pretty much the perfect name to echo the San Francisco band's marriage of organic Americana and standoffish electro-pop. Their music functions a bit like a high-concept mashup, borrowing equally from warm-hearted 70s radio rock and the aloof, glamorous sheen that characterized, say, David Bowie's Scary Monsters. Unsurprisingly, this fusion of two of the slickest eras of pop production produces some polished results on "Out in the Woods", from the band's new EP, Up to No Good. This glittery surface is an appealing contrast to Michael Sempert's husky voice, the kind we're more used to hearing backed by steel guitars (which actually happens on the band's cover of "Heart of Gold"). The song borrows a page from prog rock insofar as it doesn't have much of a verse-chorus structure, instead compelling the listener to process the song as a series of catchy little vignettes. The best of these might be the break where a whistled melody soars over an undercurrent of synthesizers. It's an apt summary of the band's M.O., because-- as countless Andrew Bird tracks have shown us-- accomplished whistling can be a dead-ringer for a Theremin, blurring aural boundaries between the animate and the synthetic. On the same conceptual bent, there's a lot of layering going on here, little riffs that ebb and flow, superseding one another, then coalescing into a whole. The effect is an electronic landscape that's actually pretty akin to being out in the woods, immersed in a barrage of chattering, ebullient life.
Big Tree is an indie pop band that will make your mom cry (in a good way), your hips sway, babies dance, and your car seem way more badass than it really is. Music available on iTunes, Bandcamp, and physical copies can be ordered on our website. Sign our mailing list by sending a love note to bigtreesings [at] gmail.com