Friday, July 13, 2012

Forecastle Fesitval Preview - Pure Volume

The Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky started ten years ago as nothing more than a PA system and some lawn chairs. Since then, the festival has expanded into a powerhouse summer tradition that has grown so large it offers its own off-shoot festival in January.

With an expected attendance of over 30,000 people, the line-up offers a wide enough variety of bands (My Morning Jacket, Flying Lotus, Preservation Hall Jazz Band) to keep everyone happy. Here are five bands playing this weekend that will definitely make the summer swelter worthwhile.

Beach House

Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand of Beach House. (Photo: Elizabeth Flyntz)
Beach House’s moody pop is perfect for slow-motion tracking shots. The Baltimore-based duo released their fourth album Bloom just a few months ago and have kept up the frowny-face streak with a lush offering  anchored by Alex Scally’s spiraling guitars and vocalist Victoria Legrand’s sullen, operatic restraint. If you are just looking for a nice corner to sway by yourself, this duo has just the soundtrack for you.

Justin Townes Earle

Sixty-six percent of Earle’s name is loaded with a folkie responsibility few people would be willing to take on. The son of Steve Earle and named after the late Townes Van Zandt, Justin has forged his own identity without losing his lineage. He is a charismatic performer who can carry a crowd with just his voice and a guitar. Although only 30, Earle has lived and imbibed enough for a lifetime. He has an undeniable troubled charm that women want to cure and men wish they could exude.

Stax! Soul Revue

Stax Records was one of the most important record labels of the 1960s. Their unbeatable streak of classic southern soul singles easily rivaled Motown for the real sound of young America. To just name a few, their roster included Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs. These days there are few survivors remaining. House bassist Duck Dunn passed away a couple of months ago and soul men like Isaac Hayes and Wilson Pickett have passed in the last few years but the legacy is still carried by the survivors. Guitarist Steve Cropper, who played on 95 percent of the label’s biggest hits will be leading a band that features vocalist Eddie Floyd. As long as they play “Big Bird,” you can’t go wrong.

Dr. Dog
Pennsylvania-based Dr. Dog are a ragged crew of touring veterans. Their newest release Be the Void, although a little cleaner than their previous releases, doesn’t hold off on the back porch rock. The band’s alternating lead vocalists, Toby Leaman with his throaty bark and Scott McMicken’s sensitive persistence, combine to make for a multifarious musical identity but always keeps its feet planted in the catchiest road-tested hooks.


Charles Bradley

The 60-something Bradley, affectionately referred to as the “Screaming Eagle of Soul,” only has one album to his name. The tireless showman scraped together a living through kitchens and various cover bands until being discovered by the soul revivalists at Daptone Records, which is home to Sharon Jones. Bradley is now making up for that lost time with a documentary and steady itinerary outside of Brooklyn. His weathered howl deserves all the recognition it can get.

Forecastle Festival @ Pure Volume

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