Brunswick, Maine, is the home of the hallowed venue named Bart & Greg's DVD Explosion. That's where 23-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist Aly Spaltro - the Lady of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - wrote angst-ridden lyrics and melancholy melodies while selling used movies. Her sparsely arranged debut, Ripely Pine, suggests spiritual wanderings among the moors of Wuthering Heights or the dusty campfire settings of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Check out "Bird Balloons" for Spaltro at her best.
Equally cinematic and spooky is the show's opening act, Xenia Rubinos, a Brooklyn singer whose big voice and minimalist (but flavorful) rhythms are nobly on display throughout her debut disc, Magic Trix. Soulful and strange, the Cuban-Puerto Rican singer makes her way aggressively through quirkily melodic songs such as the album-defining "I Like Being Alone," with danceable weirdness.
- A.D. Amorosi
The resumes of Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld include some impressive entries: saxophonist Stetson has worked with Bon Iver, Tom Waits, and Anthony Braxton, as well as with Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre, both of which count violinist Neufeld as a member. As solo artists, however, their work is appealingly unclassifiable.
Stetson uses his circular breathing skills to turn his bass saxophone into a droning, screeching polyphony that possesses the blunt power of metal, the technical virtuosity of jazz, and the hypnotic repetition of electronica. That he does it without loops, samples, or overdubs makes his live performances something of a tour de force.
Neufeld's solo violin work veers from frenetic to fragile, cloaked in reverb and repetition.
This show, with each artist performing solo upstairs at World Cafe Live, should be fascinating.
- Steve Klinge