Bull City Tour Dates, Early Press

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Already the hardest working band around the office, Bull City will celebrate the release of their debut UM release Guns & Butter with an epic summerlong tour of NC. They will play not one, but TWO CD release shows–one for Chapel Hill, one for Durham. We’ve been teasing them that they’d better get a Raleigh show in there for the trifecta.

Here’s a show preview/G&B capsule review from this week’s Independent Weekly Music Worth Leaving the House for:

Former Ashley Stover Jim Brantley’s been working on Bull City for three years, and their first proper relase, Guns & Butter, pays waiting-game dividends. Brantley brings a range and finesse to his songwriting uncharacteristic of freshman efforts, capitalizing on sharp, guitar-forged hooks and tastefully built harmonies. Like Cracker sharpening Countrysides to a not-ironic gleam or—better yet—an album-rock suckler whose sense of song and like of jangle survived a career as an indie rockist, Bull City gets smart, efficient pop about right. It’s not hard to conceptualize Bull City as the Connells or Roman Candle of, yeah, the Bull City. Free/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

And from Ross Grady of trianglerock.com and alt.music.chapel-hill:

Bull City are just about to release their debut album, and it’s a good ‘un. Early demos sounded like a pop band in search of an angle, but in the year or so since, they’ve found their footing & have recorded a great record of southern country-rock that starts out all Crazy Horse, but then veers into weirdo smartass Alex Chilton/Big Star territory, to great effect.

Here’s the dates:

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Guns & Butter Initial Reviews: “Is there a Grammy for kicking ass?”

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Bryan Reed of the Daily Tar Heel writes:

“It’s been said (too much probably) that you can never really go home. But cliched and pessimistic proverbs don’t stand in the way of Bull City’s effort to craft a record that harks back to country-bred classic rock.

The result of that effort is the seven-track EP Guns & Butter. At times, the relatively new band lays the twang on a bit too heavy (”Ford Ranger All American”), but when the band hits its groove with a rootsy, retro, and most importantly, rocking variety of Americana rock ‘n’ roll, as on the guitar fueled “Game” or the poppy, jangly “Easy.”

Though relatively new as a band, Bull City is built on the talents of music veterans from acts including Dillon Fence and My Dear Ella. And flanked with additional support from the likes of Dan Bryk, Schooner’s Kathryn Johnson and Megan Culton, and Mark Paulson of Ticonderoga and Bowerbirds, Guns & Butter is a debut album from a seasoned band, one that generally knows what works. So when Bull City tries on a little rockabilly with “Sally,” it doesn’t feel forced, just unexpected.

The EP proves Bull City to be a band fully capable of producing solid rock music, one that is welcome into Durham’s increasingly relevant music community.

David Menconi of the Raleigh News & Observer suggests:

“This weekend has a trio of album-release shows from some of the area’s finest bands. Jim Brantley’s Bull City unveils “Guns & Butter” (Urban Myth Recordings), an album featuring veritable truckloads of killer guitars, tonight at Durham’s 305 South.”

Rich Ivey of the Independent opines:

“Like the sonically similar Wilco, Durham’s Bull City melds the pop cognizance of Alex Chilton, the face-peeling passion of Neil Young and the empirical studio slight-handedness of Jim O’Rourke. And while Ex-Ashley Stove and Bull City guitarist/vocalist Jim Brantley certainly wanders the same hook-laden turf as Jeff Tweedy, he isn’t emulating. Instead, Bull City’s first EP (barring an early CD-R), Guns & Butter, is a stunning execution of how rewarding Southern music can be when next-generation indie rockers gaze at the Archers and Allmans with equal admiration.

Over seven tracks, Guns & Butter tastefully twists styles through Brantley’s cultured songwriting and penchant for harmonies and licks. The band ebbs between swaggering hard rock, country-fried pop and delicately orchestrated arrangements, only falling short for five of the EP’s 30 minutes. Goofy saloon stomp ballad “Sally” breaks its forming momentum, but upbeat tracks like “Game,” “Everything Falls Apart” and “Knock It Down” soar with fine hooks and standout instrumentation. Bandmates Lance Westerlund, John Kurtz and Scott Carle prove essential. Slower tracks “Easy” and “Runnin'” are both lyrically and musically mature, offering some of the EP’s strongest and most dynamic moments. Ass-kicking opener “Ford Ranger All American” includes the line “I’ve got a double-barrel in my doublewide/ It ain’t about livin’ on cinderblocks, it’s ’bout American pride.” Is there a Grammy for kicking ass?

Guns & Butter is too good not to transform Bull City from another local ex-member band into a crucial part of the Triangle’s music scene. It’s not a stellar local debut. It’s a stellar release.”

Bull City plays their CD release tomorrow, Friday, May 18, at 9 p.m. at 305 South, with a solo set by The Old Ceremony’s Django Haskins and Charlotte’s The Sammies

More Bull City shows:

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Dan Bryk interview in GloNo

Pop Psychology, geddit?

There’s a sweet new Dan Bryk review and article over at Chicago rawkzine Glorious Noise today, marking the return of the “Bryk by Bryk” pun in at least one article per bi-annum.

The article reviews Bryk’s recent NYC set, and discusses his immigration and “career” travails, the outlook for Urban Myth, and since we haven’t formally announced it here yet… Bryk’s brand new green card. (i.e.; there’s gonna be some b-r-y-k in the u-s-a…)

To sweeten the deal, there’s The Next Best Thing, an exclusive love-letter from the forthcoming Pop Psychology. Does Bryk finally bring the rock? You decide.

Praise for Dan Bryk’s Christmas Record

Like a Sisyphean caveat, Dan Bryk’s Christmas Record is quietly rolling uphill, picking up some great reviews along the way…

Grayson Currin of Independent Weekly:

“The 30-something songwriter, known for his piano playing and keen observational wit, doesn’t hate Christmas, but he certainly doesn’t like it, either. Perhaps the front cover of Christmas Record tells the story of his antipathy best: A bright, red ornament is shattered across an otherwise pristine white floor. The shards are too big for the ornament to have been thrown. It looks like it was hanging high with seasonal spirit. Then it came crashing down. The hook that held it to the branch is still there. Maybe someone bumped into it? Maybe someone shook the tree? Or maybe it just got tired of trying.

That’s the sentiment of a Dan Bryk Christmas, detailed in what has to be one of the most self-effacing Christmas albums ever. It’s predicated neither on seasonal and spiritual joy nor money-making maneuvers. It’s just an honest (if exaggerated) appraisal of the holiday’s inspired difficulties—infinite loneliness, bad luck, bankrupting ambitions and overactive materialism. You know, the kind of stuff that people call “cheer…”

Carmen Lyon of Suite 101.com’s Top 10 Indie Christmas Albums

3. Dan Bryk: “Christmas Record

“All I can really say is that this is probably the most original of Christmas-themed albums out there. It’s so strangely unique that I sometimes wonder how holiday-related it really is, and then I realize that’s what Dan Bryk does and that’s why I love it!”

John Sakamoto of the Toronto Star’s Anti-Hit List and Podcast:

2. Dan Bryk

“In which the displaced Torontonian (he now calls North Carolina home) encounters Jesus changing a flat tire in the parking lot of a Radio Shack and becomes reacquainted with the true meaning of the season. What ensues may be intermittently sardonic — after preaching about peace and the wings of a dove, “Jesus” self-deprecatingly observes, “I know they’re clichés, but they work” — yet the overall tone of earnestness deftly plays against the song’s comic premise.”

Brian Howe of Pitchfork:

“[Four Stars] Sleigh bells and chimes are a hallmark of popular Yuletide songs, evoking so much winter wonder at once– reindeer on the roof, hansom carriages in the snow, tinkling icicles falling from the eaves. Leave it to wittily depressive Dan Bryk to warp their good cheer toward the doomy, intoning them like funeral bells amid the ominous drums and minor-key pianos of this gloom-pop Christmas crash ‘n’ burn… A real grinch, all right, but anyone who’s got a shitty Christmas or two under their belt will know what he means. Oh, did I mention that the song is kind of a suicide note? Merry Christmas.”

Jeff Liberty of KV Style Magazine (Kennebecasis Valley, New Brunswick):

“Dan is one of the most eloquent lyricists who also possesses a potent sense of humour. He is also a master craftsman of brilliant pop sensibilities. Armed with a piano, Dan was the Indie “It Boy” a few years back. He has since moved south and continues to craft some of the best pop music never heard. The Christmas Record is a great addition to his already rich catalogue and is a must for the true music aficionado. Songs that are sometimes auto-biographical and other unique holiday songs soon to be classics sit side by side on the disc. This CD is for those looking for a Christmas release with a new outlook and maybe one that hits closer to home. My favorite track is Cozy Evenings (Morgan David Remix) and it is maybe one of the best Christmas songs i have ever heard! Fans of Joe Jackson, Ben Folds and Randy Newman will love this cd and i highly recommend ALL of Dan’s CDs.”

Kerry Doole of Corriere Canadese Tandem (Toronto):

“If you’re still searching for a Christmas album with a difference, seek out Christmas Record from DAN BRYK. The former Torontonian is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he’s come up with a disc that is both contemporary and seasonal in sensibility. His melodic piano-driven pop balladry suits the seasonal vibe real well, and he mixes tunes from other songwriters with originals and classics…”

Gabino Travassos of Mote (Calgary):

“You know of course that the guy who wrote “…and Now Our Love is Dead” didn’t just release a chirpy little Christmas album full of family-friendly good cheer. Nor is this a sarcastic stab in the heart of the holiday season that you might expect from a smug indie rocker. Instead this is an entertaining, sensitive yet comedic, singer-singwriter album similar to his 2000 release Lovers Leap, but instead the songs are about Christmas, a tete-a-tete with Jesus Christ, and a long drive across the United States… it will keep you alive with indie rock Christmas tales year round.”

songs:illinois:

“Someone halfheartedly complained recently in the comments section that the Christmas song I linked to didn’t sound enough like Christmas. I guess they meant an idealized Christmas where everyone’s happy and families get along and we don’t have to go back to work the next day. But the majority of folks don’t live that Christmas so here’s Dan Byrk’s (although “Cozy Evenings” is a cover) take on Christmas. These are songs that use Christmas as a backdrop to make some broader point, usually a very melancholy one about loneliness and missed opportunities. Because of that they are timeless and not just something to be consumed and used up over the holidays.”

And our favourite, from masashi on myspace:

“I just bought your X-mas album. Thank goodness, an X-mas album that rocks. You rule.”

Thanks man!

Listen to Christmas Record in its entirety here.

Bryk-O-Rama!!!

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Man, are we ever in love with the “-O-Rama” today!!

First, a flurry of Dan Bryk activity! The Bryk’s about to issue a cavalcade of one-off tracks while he finishes up his long-rumoured “difficult third record” Pop Psychology (which he keeps tweaking… most recently cutting some vocals at My Morning Jacket soundman Ryan Pickett’s Durham, NC studio.) While Dan was there, Pickett asked him to contribute some keys to veteran NC bluesman Skeeter Brandon‘s upcoming record.

But first, THE NEW TRACKS:
“We Don’t Care” (b/w “BecaRebecca”) is going to be the third release of PopUp Records’ Singles Club. (Their first track was Eric Mingus’ “Child As Target”, and the second was by Florida shoegazers Whirlaway, so let’s just say Bryk’s going to be in eclectic company…)

An overhauled, PG-rated version of “You Won’t Love Me For Christmas” is going to appear on Have a Holly, Raleigh Christmas” a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa benefit CD put together by the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association. Other Raleigh-based artists who contributed tracks include the Rosebuds, Nathan Asher, Schooner and the Brantley Family Singers. CDs will be on sale October 18th.

Yet another new song called “Hang Around” is going to be on the Raleigh Hatchet‘s upcoming compilation CD, and he will be playing Hatchetfest 2006 at King’s in downtown Raleigh Friday October 27th.

PIANOFEST

The next morning he will hop a plane to Boston for the 5th Annual ALL-DAY PIANOFEST, at the Lilypad in Cambridge’s Inman Square.

This venerable event will also feature UM artist(e) Lee Feldman (and a host of others who play piano much, much better) celebrating Boston’s unique piano culture. (The non-profit Lilypad, located in a national historic building registered as Cambridge’s oldest functioning commercial structure, serves as a community clearinghouse for a variety of innovative, disparate and often underrepresented voices in music, poetry, performance and visual art. The Gallery’s annual piano festival serves as a fundraiser to help defray costs associated with maintaining the building and the Gallery’s programs. Recently, The Improper Bostonian honored the Gallery with its “most fun you’ll have looking at art” award. UM fave Greta Gertler recently raved to us about playing the Lilypad’s 7-foot grand piano.)

LIVE ON WKNC

Bryk will um, promote all this activity with a live interview with DJ SteveO on Raleigh’s WKNC Friday, October 20th. Dan will be on air sometime between 6pm and 8pm on 88.1 FM or the interweb.

Stereophile on I’ve Forgotten Everything

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“Lee Feldman’s I’ve Forgotten Everything is unlike anything else in contemporary pop… If you have a passion for good songwriting, you need this album.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

“I’ve Forgotten Everything” REVIEW
STEREOPHILE
September 2006, by Art Dudley  

Then there’s Lee Feldman, a classically trained pop musician who brings a strong if decidedly off-center sense of melody to the art of traditional American songwriting, and whose lyrics betray a poetic sensibility in tune with the best of the 20th century Americans (especially Theodore Roethke, whose “My Papa’s Waltz” could easily hide on one of Feldman’s albums).  All of which is to say that Lee Feldman is unclassifiable.

Continue reading “Stereophile on I’ve Forgotten Everything”

Summer Feldman Happened So Fast!

Lee Feldman

Good grief!! UM geto supastar Lee Feldman recently had to send a proxy to Toronto’s NXNE after busting up his knee so bad it required emergency surgery.

The good news is, Lee and his errant knee are feeling well enough to head out on the road for a few mid-summer dates:

Sat., July 29th 08:00 PM
Ashland Coffee & Tea
100 N. Railroad Avenue, Ashland, VA 23005
Door: $10.00
Opening for Chris Moore

Sunday, July 30th 08:00 PM
The Cave
452 1/2 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC
Door: PWYL
with the above-mentioned Chris Moore and Dan Bryk

This show will be Webcast LIVE so even if you’re not in NC, there’s no excuse for missing this great line-up!

Continue reading “Summer Feldman Happened So Fast!”

Lee in the New Yorker

Just a reminder, Lee is playing a CD release party with Byron Isaacs (Bass) and Bill Dobrow (Drums) at the Rockwood Music Hall, on 196 Allen (between Houston & Stanton) at 7:00 on March 23rd.

Here’s a nice little preview from this week’s New Yorker:

Lee Feldman, a piano-playing songwriter from Brooklyn, is a fixture on the downtown scene. In the late nineties, he received acclaim for his début album, “Living It All Wrong,” and scored a contract with Mercury Records. But the label got caught in an industry merger and it never released his follow-up, “The Man in a Jupiter Hat,” which Feldman eventually put out himself. Known for tight pop tales of urban life, little vignettes tempered by an incisive sense of humor, Feldman has collected a group of solid local musicians around him, including Teddy Thompson, Steven Bernstein, and Greta Gertler, all of whom contributed to his new record, “I’ve Forgotten Everything.” On March 23, Feldman, backed by his longtime bass-and-drum trio, celebrates the album’s release.

http://www.newyorker.com/goingson/nightlife/