I have an odd relationship with Dustin Smith and the Sunday Silos. I bet I have been to a dozen shows they have been a part of, at least. Yet, for whatever reason, if I ever get to a show later than I’d like, they always seem to be the band that I missed. I’m not sure how it always happens, but for some reason I hear about one song of there’s and it is usually in the background as I order my drink or whatever. The couple of times I have been there, I have gotten distracted by whatever outside stimuli and not paid as close attention as I should. I think my own hang-ups have even caused me to discredit their work, for whatever reason, which is decidedly unfair.
I was very excited to be able to review their debut full length album, Northerner, because I knew I had never really given them a fair shot.
I’m glad that I did, because I have absolutely been devaluing them for far too long. Northerner is a surprisingly brisk 15 song pop/folk/soul album that shows off the talents of the entire band. While musically they are all solid, I especially like the horns on the opening track “Center St.”, the vocals are what really stand out for me.
Smith has a real throaty and bluesy voice. It is wonderfully unique for this scene and this time. With so many trying to be American Idol winners, very few ever want to be Taylor Hicks. Yet, Smith is a rich man’s Hicks, a soulful singer who can actually pull off pop and folk backing without it sounding forced or stretched. It is an honest and gutsy style and it makes me very pleased to listen to. And is much better than Taylor Hicks, let us not forget that.
The real vocal star, though, is Paige Harpin. With two powerful voices and a beautiful score, the best track on the album is undoubtedly “Orphans”. Everything about it seems to click. The piano pounds like a heartbeat and Smith’s smooth voice beds. But when Harpin gets her chance on the chorus, her powerful voice steals the track. It hits at the right intensity, without being comical or overblown.
All in all, this is a pretty great first LP from a band of talented musicians. It makes me wish I had given them more of a chance in the past. But it does accomplish something pretty significant; it assures that I will do my best to be punctual when I know they are on the bill.
Try Not To Miss Shows – 12/6 – 12/12
A quick happy belated birthday to Vaudeville Mews. Because I am bad with math, I somehow forgot to put this in last week, so I hope you all got a chance to get to the celebration last night.
Home for the Holidays Starring Max Wellman, Chris Ford and Others –Des Moines Social Club Dec 7- 16
Des Moines resident jazz crooner, Max Wellman presents his yearly holiday extravaganza. Featuring Chris Ford of Christopher the conquered, the talented Dave Rezek on trumpet and many other guests, this will be an excellent show for fans of jazz standards and holiday favorites.
Night Moves & Dumptruck Butterlips – Vaudeville Mews Dec 6 6pm & 10pm
A doubleheader of returning 80/35 standouts. Night Moves is a psych band on the verge of breaking out, while Dumptruck butterlips is an entertaining bluegrass riot.
The Envy Corps – Wooly’s Dec 7 9pm
C’mon. It’s The Envy Corps. You either love them and are going or you don’t and you aren’t. But you should.
Viva Montesa, Hath No Fury, The Austin Taft Sondtrack and The Getaway Scene – Hull Ave Tap Dec. 7 9pm
Four excellent rock acts highlighted by one of my favorites, Viva Montesa.
There are a couple of cool metal shows that I should highlight as well at House of Bricks with Janus, This Sudden Darkness and more on Dec. 7 and Dead Horse Trauma, Psychostick and more on Dec. 8. Metal isn’t really my scene, but I feel like I should at least point out potential shows for those who do enjoy it.