On Baghdad by the Bay, Jan 26th, 8pm. Interview with The Moonlight Orchestra, Birdmonster and Kids on a Crime Spree

26 01 2012

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The Moonlight Orchestra
The Moonlight Orchestra orbits around a multifaceted array of musical influences that spring from a blues inferno within a psychedelic cascade and on to the chaotic senses of experimentalism and a bit of frenzy. Their music doesn’t fit a mold or heed itself to any convention but of their own that reflects a homage to their colorful musical backgrounds.

It is a pop explosion reminiscent in “Beatle-esque” lyrical sentimentality and a musical sensibility of the 90’s recessing in dreamlike sultriness that is laced in bluesy and psychedelic guitars, climactic and loud romping rhythms, paired with rich melodic piano and a folky feelin’ violin.

The band members are brothers Mehdi and Hadi on guitars and vocals, Roman on the bass and keyboards, Suchi on violin, Shana on Cello, and their newest addition TG on drums.

San Francisco quartet Birdmonster are kind of like a Bay Area version of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, except that where Leo and his group have an undying devotion to first-wave new wave and ska groups like the Jam and the Specials, Birdmonster spike their Fugazi-like indie rock tunes with nods to American Beauty-era Grateful Dead and early Bruce Springsteen. Revved-up and punky rockers share space with country-inflected tunes, with singer/songwriter and guitarist Peter Arcuni’s lived-in vocals the primary point of connection. Arcuni, a native of Connecticut, formed Birdmonster in 2004 with three fellow musicians who lived in his San Francisco neighborhood: bassist Justin Tenuto, guitarist David Klein, and drummer Zach Winter. Determined to maintain complete D.I.Y. control over their band, Birdmonster released their self-titled debut EP on their own and used the proceeds both to tour the nation and to fund sessions for their full-length debut with the well-known producer Bradley Cook, who had previously worked with Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. Although the band originally self-released 2006’s No Midnight as well, the increasingly positive buzz around Birdmonster led them to sign a distribution deal with noted indie SpinArt Records, which re-released the album in August 2006. For 2008’s Americana-tinged From the Mountain to the Sea, the band switched to the Fader label this time with Tom Schick, known for his work with Ryan Adams and Rufus Wainwright, at the producing helm. The band supported the album on the road and released Blood Memory, also produced by Schick, the following year. The band is currently working on new material and will be dropping a single they self produced and recorded on a reel-to-reel 8-track machine this month. The song, Living, will premiere at their upcoming hometown show at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.

Kids on a Crime Spree
About a decade ago, Californian Mario Hernandez (of Ciao Bella and From Bubblegum to Sky) was sitting on a Stockholm couch, casually drinking a really good cup of coffee when a friend put on the Back to Mono box set and Hernandez’s life was forever changed. He was instantly drawn in by the excellent songwriting and lush instrumental arrangements; and what started out as an innocent side trip into the Phil Spector back catalog soon became a longtime fascination with the Brill Building and Spector’s fabled wall of sound. As time passed, he kept coming back to the idea of a simple pop song that wasn’t really that simple—a happy melody with a dark underpinning in the lyrics—and he knew that it wasn’t enough to just listen. He had to make his own version of this great stuff. Kids on a Crime Spree is the result of this obsession.



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