Note: This is the first in what I hope will be regular contributions from Jason Woodbury, a local musician (Hands on Fire and Cardiac Party) who has graciously accepted an offer to profile bands/musicians from our fine city/state. Please welcome him aboard.
I was fortunate enough to catch the live debut of Shane Kennedyâ€™s Towncraft at Modified last Thursday, supporting Social Science recording artist Obi Best, along with locals
Gita and Dakota Jeane. Gita played a set of pleasant, polite indie folk, while Dakota Jeane, of socialist agit-folk duo Dakota & the Black River Bandit, performed songs from her recently released solo EP My Bell Jar. Her presentation revealed that sheâ€™s still finding her footing as a solo artist, but her charm smoothed over any instrumental gaffs. Headliner Obi Best, featuring Alex Lilly of The Bird and the Bee, accompanied by members of Beck and Jenny Lewisâ€™ touring band, played their erudite pop to a devoted crowd. While I stupidly and ignorantly wrote them off as twee pop after precious little research, I was incredibly into their set, especially when Lilly set aside the guitar for a self described â€œkeyboard purseâ€ and the songs took on a demure Stereolab like quality.
It was Towncraft I was most excited about, based on the strength of the members other projects, such as the majority of the group acting as songwriter Daryl Scariotâ€™s accompaniment in Turn Back Oâ€™ Man, violinist Megynâ€™s work with Dry River Yacht Club, upright bassist Dario Mirandaâ€™s jazz combo Black Bear Ensemble (who played a phenomenal set down the street at the Lost Leaf after the show) and lap steel player Matt Wisnerâ€™s alt-country group Tierra Del Fuego. With the bar set high, Towncraft didnâ€™t disappoint. The instrumental sound of the Dirty 3 might be an easy reference point, but with guitar work heavy on feedback and baring an unmistakable Thurston Moore via John Fahey feel (guitarist Brent Miles was indeed sporting a Sonic Youth shirt), the spaghetti western idea makes for a good starting point, but the sound moves into areas far more spacious, ominous and majestic than a â€œrecommended if you likeâ€ tag allows. A Phoenix band to keep a watchful eye on.