Wednesday, August 02, 2006

North Elementary: shimmery lo-fi goodness

North Elementary:

"Super Girl"
(live at the Cat's Cradle, 17 March 2006)
"Golden Tigers"
(from Jane Magazine February 2006 CD[!])
Buy North Elementary stuff here.

North Elementary has undergone quite a few changes since I first wrote about them way back when. Pretty much the only constant is John Harrison, who founded the band after leaving the Comas. Since John and other members of North Elementary are also making music in various other places, you might wonder about the future of North Elementary proper. But, per John, they have been making demos and working towards a new N. Elem. recording, so that's something to look forward to.

He actually shared a few demos with me, and -- though it's hard to know what the final product will be like -- they don't seem like a tremendous departure from the North Elementary of old. If anything, they may show a bit more energy than the old material, much of which was hazily languid (and pretty gorgeous too). That's actually suggested by this recording of "Golden Tigers", which was the final recording with the old lineup -- it's no "Walking on Sunshine" but by N. Elem. lights, it's a pretty peppy song.

Back in March, John opened for Matt Pond PA and Youth Group, accompanied by North Elementary guitarist Ryan Lee Dunlap and compatriot Betty Rupp. A recording of the show is on the band's web site. It's a wonderful, intimate performance -- I think "shimmering" may be the best word to describe it. I always enjoy live performances that involve significant recasting of the songs to shows that mostly recreate the recorded versions. In that light, I am especially crazy about this version of "Super Girl", from 2004's Lose Your Favorite Things. It's absolutely lovely.

(If anyone's interested, I'll chop up the rest of the show into individual song files -- just let me know!)

Harrison plays tonight at the Cave with Rob from Spider Bags, who I've mentioned before. They open for the Lesser Birds of Paradise. [Edit: Apparently Rob's out, due to a busted slide guitar. A shame -- that duo sounded really appealing! But John solo should still be good.]


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