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Toy Soldiers’ Ron Gallo Stripped-down at Triumph Brewing Co. Nov. 3

You may recognize Ron Gallo as the charismatic frontman of soulful roots rockers Toy Soldiers. But he has also recorded a catalogue of solo albums between 2006 and 2009 that show a whole other side of the talented songwriter. When you hear him play a stripped-down, intimate set as part of Triumph Brewing Company’s Live & Local Music Series tonight, you’ll hear his patented Americana folk that you know and love. But you also might here some candid moments thanks to songs such as “C.C. Rag” and “Time Covers House in Vines”. Gallo may be working on rebuilding the lineup for Toy Soldiers again, but you can bet that the determined Temple student will remain a fixture in the local music community. Joining him on the bill will be another young dynamic singer-songwriter in Kevin James Devine. Between his debut album “Through the Fields” and the online mix tape he released in September, he has been able to impress with his honest lyrics and echoes of early Springsteen. Triumph Brewery, 117 Chestnut St., 8pm, Free, 21+ - Bill McThrill

Review of Grandmother's, "Invade/Sublet"

While a plethora of music journalism in Nashville revolves around well documented and overly attended events that seem to occur repeatedly throughout the year to an almost detrimental extent, most of the mainstays emerged quickly from a period of either non existence or relative obscurity. Deep under the radar of Nashville's utility musicians-turned-journalists and/or bloggers community lies an assortment of abrasive musical acts whose shows are attended by a crowd who, while sporadic in number, are most assuredly devoted to the challenging nature of these musicians.

Grandmother's "Invade/Sublet" release, the first on experimental music label Destined For Increase, is a shining example of said abrasion. Functioning as a sort of earmark for any individual's field of musical tolerance, this three piece conducts a sonic assault of whirrs, clicks, feedback, and guttural bursts via specifically manipulated electronics and carefully orchestrated chains of every effect imaginable. Anyone looking for standard structure to bop your head to will no doubt experience the losing side of a violent altercation in their ears. The subtlety of musical application throughout this release should, however, appeal greatly to those open to experimentation, progression, and new interpretations of theory. It's quite rewarding to discern the extreme use of dynamic herein through the harsh and amoebic flow of "Invade/Sublet" while also picking out the use of these seemingly improvised noises as pseudo-sources of rhythm and melody. Repeated occurrences of particular relationships between the distorted vocals, over-active drum loops, and feedback inducing squelches make these tracks function better on the whole than individually. Traits such as these render the workings of Grandmother quite similar to traditional orchestral releases.

While the release can be a challenging listen to unwilling ears, a little imagination can lead to some severe moments of joy from an unexpected place. Grandmother's live shows are also exemplary of this statement, and are somewhat like watching a group of men battle their instruments to an epic soundtrack while clamoring for victory over something they have themselves created. In short, a must-see and a must-listen. The "Invade/Sublet" cassette (which is limited to only 100 copies) is available to order now, and to get yourself a copy and more information on Grandmother and experimental label Destined For Increase, visit destinedforincrease.blogspot.com. - Jesse Baker


Alvin Love's, "The Strawberry Project"


I was first introduced to Alvin Love’s live show in early September at an 8 off 8th – and I was blown away. Being in Nashville for several years, I’ve seen a lot of mediocrity in showmanship – but Alvin’s set was fresh and interesting, and I wanted to know more. Sitting at Portland Brew with Alvin was more than an interview. We talked about everything from a Detroit music scene comeback to his travels to Australia…and finally his just-released EP, The Strawberry Project.

Co-produced by Love and friend Dwan Hill, the five-song EP (technically seven with intros and outtros) is his “first everything.” “I’m excited about it…Given that you can’t fully express yourself on a five-song record, I’m happy with it,” he says. The record showcases his talents, and presents a new face of pop-influenced, upbeat music – one with depth and creativity.

Love’s fusion of rock’n’roll and old school, feel-good soul is nothing short of revolutionary – his surprises on stage and on The Strawberry Project are new to the Nashville music scene. But Love doesn’t want to be limited to one genre: “I want my music to open up people’s horizons, to the idea of being creative and eclectic. People listen to different kinds of music, but mainstream music doesn’t reflect that. I’m just really in support of being out-of-the-box; there should be no boundaries on creativity.” His words come from experience – after feeling pressure to limit his sound to one niche, Love decided that hindering his creativity “wasn’t worth it” to cater to the mainstream world, and that now, “what you’re hearing is exactly what I want to do.” And people respond to it – attend any one of Love’s live shows, watch him tear up the stage and watch the reactions in the crowd. I will be the first to admit that it’s nearly impossible to stand still while Love is performing.

Although his entertainment ability is winning, Love’s songs are more than just a show and dance. Writing is “something that just happens,” according to Love. “Strawberries,” the title song on The Strawberry Project and winner of a songwriting contest, was written in the car (on Hillsboro Pike, specifically). Others, he says, have been written in the shower, in class…and even church. “I’m lucky to have such a gift,” he says, “but I feel kind of guilty- like I can’t even take credit most of the time.”

Not having an EP until now has “put some limits on what I want to do,” says Alvin. His current plans include touring and getting back in the studio. And while he realizes “[he’s] very green right now,” his outlook is positive: “I’m writing songs that I like, and I’m crazy enough to think that other people will like them, too.” 

Catch Alvin Love live this Wednesday, November 3 at Imogene + Willie and at the Basement on December 3.--Lindsay Hayes


Smith Westerns "Weekend"

We now have our first taste of the new album, Dye It Blonde, from The Smith Westerns. They have released the first single from the album "Weekend". As we reported last week, Dye It Blonde will be released by Fat Possum on January 18th.

You can catch The Smith Western this Friday (Nov. 5th) at Lincoln Hall with Mickey and Dead Luke. (Photo by Jaein Lee)


Album release show and exclusive music video from Julian Shah-Tayler

Last we heard from Julian Shah-Tayler, we knew we were on the edge his release Coito Ergo Sum sometime this winter. Well another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place, Shah-Tayler will be releasing his single and video for "Say What You Want" when he plays the Moscow Club (@Boardners, 1625 North Cherokee Avenue in Hollywood) on Nov 10th. Of course, as a little after-Halloween treat to all of our Deli readers, we've got the permission to preview it here on the website.

Read our first impressions on Coito Ergo Sum

Download Shah-Tayler's two EPs on Bandcamp

-Angelo Lorenzo


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