Reviews

Album of the Year

Author: Brian Fogarty
10/11/2004 | Exoduster.com | www.exoduster.com | Live Show Preview
As is par for the course in these busy times, I skipped out on seeing the opening acts Tilly and the Wall from Conor Oberst's new label Team Love and Neva Dinova. But I got there in sufficient time to see Athens' favorite Now It's Overhead, Tim Kasher's side baby the Good Life and newly minted superstars Rilo Kiley. This was a big enough show to get the Chunk out of their shell for some Cat's Cradle love.

The last time I thought about Now It's Overhead it was because, oddly enough, Andy LeMaster's father (I think) wrote to me to tell me that the band had just got some shows opening for R.E.M. This tour was sort of a warm-up to those few dates with R.E.M. Though it had only been a few months since I saw NIO at the now-defunct Go! Studios, I had forgotten how fragile and small and, yet, amazing LeMaster was as a frontman. NIO was awesome at Go!, but they now seemed even tighter and sweetly radiant with the enhanced Cradle sound system. The band powered through a majority of their latest record Fall Back Open, including standout tracks "Wait In a Line," "Turn & Go" and "Fall Back Open." The crowd was mostly there to experience the behemoth Rilo Kiley, but it seemed Now It's Overhead secured a number of new converts.

I didn't know what to expect from the Good Life. While I had found their Lovers Need Lawyers EP a splendid affair, I hadn't been too inspired by the tepid Album of the Year. Before the show it seemed that which release, and others, that the Good Life decided to focus on would heavily dictate the ambience of the show. To my chagrin, the band spent most their time on the often long-winded tracks from Album of the Year. When they played tracks such as "Entertainer" and "Lovers Need Lawyers," there was an entire switch in mood and feel of their show. All of a sudden everyone was upbeat and moving, while on the drawn-out tracks, the band seemed to be dreading the next six minutes and the crowd stood their like they were on ludes.

Admittedly, I'm not well-versed in the discography of Los Angeles-based Rilo Kiley. In fact, I don't even properly own any of their records; though I've heard all of them. The only other time that I saw them play, I only caught a brief moment as I had to head out after catching the Statistics. Now, though, Rilo Kiley is a media darling, getting press as one of ten artists to watch in 2004 in Rolling Stone and reviews in numerous major publications. I had seen guitarist and partial-frontman Blake Sennett cavorting around the crowd talking to awe-struck girls, though lead singer Jenny Lewis seemed absent; and with probably good reason. So, even though Rilo Kiley took a-very-close-to-rock-star-time to finally take the stage, I stayed to see what all the magic was about. The specific magic is certainly all about Lewis and her prowess as lead singer. Their set was healthy centered on their new record More Adventurous, but they include scores of older material as well. Lewis illustrated that whether she was channeling alt-country or indie pop loveliness, playing keyboards or simply leaning on the mic, she threw her all into every song. After Rilo Kiley's performance there is little doubt that they deserve the attention that have been getting and should find the coming months a fast train to great heights.
Album of the Year

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