MV & EE, The Dodos headline Outdoors in Big Sur as FolkYeah! fun continues.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Local music promoter Britt Govea is following up his groundbreaking, 2008 Festival in the Forest with Outdoors in Big Sur, a two-day, 11-band buffet with hefty sides of live DJ sets at the Henry Miller Library in an eclectic array of some of the best indie/folk acts around.
MV & EE, the heady Vermont folk duo, is a favorite of Thurston Moore, who called the group’s Green Blues album, “an already classic and legendary move.” The Sonic Youth front man was so impressed he signed MV & EE (Matthew Valentine and Erika Elder) to his Ecstatic Peace! label.
Green Blues, backed by The Bummer Road, is a Vermont-centric album that intoxicates like down home, Southern moonshine with its trippy, fuzzed-out jams. “Solar Hill,” the album’s closing, 18-minute expedition is evocative of the multi-part, hallucinogenic blues of live Grateful Dead marathons like “Blues for Allah.” The song’s opening line – “Perfectly sunny and mellow” – offers a fitting way to describe MV & EE’s entire body of work.
“We just played [“Solar Hill”] last night in Philly,” Valentine says on his way to the 70th birthday party for Elder’s dad. “It felt good to play because it’s one of those songs that uses parallel modes to expand the musical language.”
MV & EE’s new album, Barn Nova, comes out Oct. 13. Valentine calls the album a “rural jammer that captures more of a live sound.” They play Friday alongside Expo ’70, Cotton Jones, Jeffertitti’s Nile, Doug Paisley, Big Eagle and Seventeen Evergreen.
The Bay Area band The Dodos, who have been steadily gaining international acclaim, tops the bill Saturday.
One of the group’s primary appeals is its unconventional approach: Drummer Logan Kroeber doesn’t use a bass drum in his kit and at times wears a tambourine taped to his shoe. Keaton Snyder, the band’s newest addition, plays a vibraphone surrounded by a pair of cymbals and a drum. Sometimes Snyder saws at the side of the vibes with a cello bow to create psychedelic shrieks.
After an extensive European tour, front man Meric Long is glad to be back in San Francisco. Recently, the trio played a killer afternoon set at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco.
“I felt a lot of hometown pride playing [Outside Lands],” Long says. “It was also great to see Pearl Jam; I’ve wanted to see them since I was in junior high.”
In the midst of The Dodos’ grueling tour schedule, they released Time to Die, produced by Phil Ek, who has produced albums for Built to Spill and Fleet Foxes.
“[Time to Die] is really different from our other albums; we focused on writing more melodic songs with vocal harmonization,” Long says. “It was a little tangent that I think we needed to go on and I’m very happy with it.”
Like Govea, Long believes it’s a great time for indie music: The weird, the noisy and the eclectic are becoming more accepted by the masses.
“People are giving more attention to musicianship these days,” Long says. “Bands like the Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective are not really mainstream but they are successful.”
Also playing Saturday are The Papercuts, The Ruby Suns and The Mumlers.
OUTDOORS IN BIG SUR starts 4pm Friday, Sept. 25, and 6pm Saturday (5pm gates open), Sept. 26, at the Henry Miller Library, 1 mile south of Nepenthe on Highway 1, Big Sur. $19.50/Friday; $28.50/Saturday; two-ticket minimum per transaction. 667-2574, www.folkyeah.com