I doubt I would have taken to them as quickly if I hadn’t been able to watch dozens of video of their live performances in a short period of time. I like the way she throws herself at the microphone, often literally. She is a spazz on stage at times and I am fine with it. She’s a spazz almost the way La Lupe was a spazz (minus the Cuban motion or Latin moves), except it’s in the service of rocking. I do seem to like some very theatrical singers, often female ones.
I like that their songs go off in unexpected directions at times, although I’m sometimes not completely convinced it all fits together perfectly. Sometimes their seems to be too much of a struggle between the fairly straightforward hard rocking side and the more arty digressions. Based on hints here and there, I tend to assume that the more muso aspects of things are coming via music school trained guitarist Marc Walloch rather than vocalist Genevieve Schatz, but it’s not possible to be sure of that at this point. (There are obviously people with no formal musical training who push their music into territory considered tricky or adventurous by those who know music theory.) I do suspect their is an aesthetic tension there that could pull the band apart, but that might also be driving their best songs.
If this song spent all its time with the sort of vocals it starts off with, I would lose interest; instead the performance builds tension in a way I find mesmerizing.
Look Both Ways & In Passing:
The first version of “Look Both Ways” was from the Audiotree session linked to below. I was on the fence about the vocals. Were they even too mannered for me? It helped to find out that Karen is some sort of alter ego for Gen, because on the rather extreme Audiotree version Gen seems carried away with disdain, or something like that. I love the jazzier rhythmic feel of “In Passing,” and the way the description of her “vision” gets its own distinctive melodic line.
Past the Sleep:
Again, this becomes a lot more interesting (actually pretty phenomenal) to me past the somewhat wispy beginning.
Here are a couple of their actual promotional videos (I prefer the live videos I’ve seen to any of these):
And a couple of the strong covers they’ve done:
Their two albums are on Spotify, but I think sifting through the live performances is more rewarding. (I do plan on buying their albums at this point, as a fan.)
They appeared on Live From Daryl’s House (that would be Daryl Hall), and you can see that entire episode here:
They also sound good on this Audiotree Live session (but I find the host incredibly annoying):
(Thank you Shiina Ringo/Tokyo Jihen fans on Electric Mole Forums for once again providing good leads.)
― _Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 02:11 (10 months ago) Permalink
(All this (not really) careful editing, I realize I started referring back to Genevieve as "she" before I'd even provided a name.
It probably is an admission that for me, on some level, certainly on the stage presence level, she is Company of Thieves.)
― _Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 02:13 (10 months ago) Permalink
Entering space rock territory, at least partially:
― _Rudipherous_, Thursday, 9 August 2012 02:03 (10 months ago) Permalink
Always love it when the Wikipedia pages are created by fans first and foremost:
Ortiz's drumming was a distinguishing factor of the band's sound along with the unique guitar chords of Marc over the soothing sound of singer Genevieve's voice.
That said, this is pleasant listening.
― Ned Raggett, Thursday, 9 August 2012 02:08 (10 months ago) Permalink
Haha, this is so much more than pleasant listening to me right now (at least the first few videos I posted--not so much this last one). That's not a complaint, of course; you get to hear it the way you hear it. Also, why is it I suddenly love a new American rock band (something that hasn't happened to this degree in probably a couple decades at least)? Does it say more about something distinctive about the band, or does it say more about a change in me? It's also a two-edged sword to say "I hardly ever listen to genre x, but I really like this genre x music." (Obviously you, and many others here, have clocked in thousands of hours more than I have listening to music somewhat along these lines.) At the very least, I think I need an infusion of the drive and aggressiveness and catharsis* of rock right now. (Sorry. I have no idea how you get an infusion of catharsis. That's really awful.) But it's not as if I've been any more receptive than usual to any other rock.
*To be clear, I am not saying all rock boils down to these things.
― _Rudipherous_, Thursday, 9 August 2012 02:56 (10 months ago) Permalink
I'm also excited about what they could end up turning into:
(Little bit of unnecessary fans-only sort of intro.)
― _Rudipherous_, Thursday, 9 August 2012 03:11 (10 months ago) Permalink
I saw them in a Loft a few years ago and thought they were nice folks and played good music. Really liked the EP I got that night.
― Earth, Wind & Fire & Alabama (Eazy), Thursday, 9 August 2012 06:01 (10 months ago) Permalink
Hmmm. Was that an acoustic EP? It's probably a rarity, whatever it is.
So much good material.
I wish I had been more careful with the first post of this thread, but I don't know how much practical difference it would make.
I do have some issues with some of their songwriting, and yet a lot of the time the songwriting (emphasis on the music) is a huge draw for me.
And after watching more recent live footage, I'd say Genevieve is undergoing a lot of changes in how she presents herself. There are fewer of the typical indie signifiers in her performance and appearance in the last couple years. What's funny is I'm not sure I don't miss them (funny given my general aversion to indie rock or what I imagine it to be). I mean, this kind of thing is going for more of a mainline rock sexiness than you see in some of the other live footage I've posted, even if, yeah, some of her gesturing and so forth still owes a debt to punk/new wave/etc. This is pretty good, though she gets a bit hoarse toward the end:
I'll tell you though, this is an example of where I don't quite get why they put these kind of undynamic lulls in a lot of their songs. The "time keeps on ticking" part just doesn't hold me. Some other songs have instrumental passages where not enough happens. I have to wonder what they are going for, since I don't think it's just a matter of "we couldn't come up with anything." They clearly are able to keep songs moving and turning in interesting ways, so this just seems to be a choice they are making that I don't quite get.
All of that said, if it isn't obvious, I think they are exceptional, extraordinary, great.
― _Rudipherous_, Friday, 17 August 2012 06:03 (10 months ago) Permalink
Sometimes I think their recordings like this are the best:
― _Rudipherous_, Friday, 17 August 2012 06:52 (10 months ago) Permalink
Wha? no embed? I'm going to bed. It's on CoT's own youtube channel so I guess they don't want you to bypass that framework.
― _Rudipherous_, Friday, 17 August 2012 06:53 (10 months ago) Permalink
What if I do this:
― _Rudipherous_, Friday, 17 August 2012 07:01 (10 months ago) Permalink
Pretty nice extended show footage, although some crucial songs got cut short. Also some of these audiences are a bit fratboyish, in general, but I guess that's performing in front of drunks for ya. You go to war with the audiences you have.
― _Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 22:15 (9 months ago) Permalink
That's got very good sound and the performances are solid, though I've heard slightly better to much better live versions of most of the songs. But for the convenience of one extended listen, I think it's good.
― _Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 22:16 (9 months ago) Permalink
hey, thanks for the nudges, diph. listening to the vimeo set, and i wish i could say i loved it to death, but i'm on the fence. she's an energetic & charismatic performer, but i'm not getting much more than that out of it atm. maybe part of the problem is that i'm too attached to dated punk & hard rock tropes that have little to do with their goals.
tbh, going on stuff like that acoustic video, she seems like a vocalist in search of less band...
― contenderizer, Wednesday, 22 August 2012 18:41 (9 months ago) Permalink
Thanks for checking them out. I think it's probably time for me to rein in my new convert fanboy enthusiasm a little. I'd say the band has a punk sort of energy (live) but with a sometimes prog/art rock sort of structure (not that some prog and art rock didn't already have a punk sort of energy). (I'm pretending this has nothing to do with indie rock, but to my ears most of it really isn't that close to most of the indie rock I hear. Undeniably they are coming out of an indie/indie rock context.) Anyway, I do like the songs themselves, most of them. I like her a lot as a performer obviously but I like the material as well. Even though she's great in an acoustic setting, I tend to slightly prefer my favorite of the full band material. Either way, I think people some people could end up being blindsided by how big this band, or at the very least this vocalist, will end up getting. Not saying it's definitely going to happen but I think there's a real potential for it.
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 22 August 2012 19:46 (9 months ago) Permalink
Also, whether her going with minimal accompaniment might make the most sense or not (not necessarily agreeing), I get the strong sense that at least for now she really wants to work with a band. The constant personnel turnover is interesting though. Does that reflect band members feeling that they are never really going to be integral parts of the band? It could be lots of things though, including simple economic issues (not willing to make the commitment to tour so hard for minimal pay off)--who knows?
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:08 (9 months ago) Permalink
i mean, if i were a moneyman with a record label, i'd be more inclined to sign her than the band
― contenderizer, Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:11 (9 months ago) Permalink
Yeah, I can see that. They're already on Wind-up records though. The label is actually pretty supportive. That's the label Creed is on, so maybe the label knows something about finding successful acts (whatever one thinks of Creed--gag). I don't know what the label's overall record is.
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:14 (9 months ago) Permalink
(On that Daryl Hall show they did, they talk about how Wind-up Records gives its artists health insurance and takes more of a long-term view of developing artists, like back in the old days blah blah blah.)
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:15 (9 months ago) Permalink
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:39 (9 months ago) Permalink
haha. Not getting carried away here, no.
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:40 (9 months ago) Permalink
Kind of wish I hadn't posted that vimeo link, since there are better renditions of almost all those songs earlier in the thread. ("Yes, if I can just get people to listen to that one particular live recording, they will of course have the same opinion as me.") Seriously, listening to this Milwaukee concert again, the crowd is really annoying me.
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Thursday, 23 August 2012 03:14 (9 months ago) Permalink
OMG there is a video segment of her using a neti pop. I haven't laughed this hard in ages.
My eyes are tearing up I was laughing so hard.
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:19 (9 months ago) Permalink
And I probably should have skipped that. It's not that it's so funny in itself, but as a fellow nasal irrigator, it was hilarious to me. Also I needed to go to bed.
But I wanted to say that every time I hear the beginning of a live, full band, version of"Oscar Wilde" (at least from the past two or three years) it reminds me of Psychic TV's sound in the late 80s/early 90s, the kind of rave-rock thing they had going. It could just be a shared roots in some sort of Rolling Stones guitar sound + disco thing (e.g., by the Rolling Stones themselves).
― an infusion of catharsis (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 25 August 2012 20:40 (9 months ago) Permalink
and that should have been "neti pot" obviously, though "neti pop" could be a good genre name. Probably already late with that.
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 1 September 2012 19:17 (9 months ago) Permalink
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 1 September 2012 19:57 (9 months ago) Permalink
This is where I wish there were an edit function on here. Didn't mean to post that second video. (Would strongly urge skipping over if not already a fan, and apparently non-lurking fans are scarce here.) And this was supposed to be there somewhere:
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 1 September 2012 20:00 (9 months ago) Permalink
Yes, okay, I'm a hippie.
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 1 September 2012 20:04 (9 months ago) Permalink
"We the Free" is a store though (I think), not the song. The song is the "Fire Song," about Genevieve's house burning down when she was a kid.
But yeah, I'm a hippie. I'm still am capable of liking this sort of acoustic material. Some of these songs are earnest inspirational anthems. And--never mind indie--the band is basically classic rock. Shhhh.
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 1 September 2012 20:26 (9 months ago) Permalink
Nobody will ever be able to open this thread with all these youtube embeds, which does rather defeat the purpose.
Starts at 3:00, after some pro-Company of Thieves propaganda from Daryl Hall &Co. I was mishearing one line of this as "I want to die with the sun dial stuck in my head." (She does talk about time a lot in her songs.)
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Sunday, 2 September 2012 00:03 (9 months ago) Permalink
So, so good.
Love Genevieve so much! (Radio "personalities" less so.)
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Sunday, 2 September 2012 00:04 (9 months ago) Permalink
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Sunday, 2 September 2012 00:06 (9 months ago) Permalink
Her body language in that first (Pressure) video at 2:12 reminds me embarrassingly but also somehow delightfully (maybe because I'm just astonished to see it in this context) of some gestures my very nerdy/awkward girlfriend, from my freshman year of college, used to make.
― the optics aren't what they look like (_Rudipherous_), Monday, 3 September 2012 04:09 (9 months ago) Permalink
Much respect to Genevieve for having the guts to perform this song while opening for Hall & Oates!
― _Rudipherous_, Monday, 3 September 2012 16:11 (9 months ago) Permalink
Running on a Gamble, the second Company of Thieves album, has grown on me considerably. Everything comes out somehow more blues-rock than in most of the live performances, which I think slowed down my connecting with the album. Alas, I still don't know what to actually say about it. It's easier to talk about what confuses me. The short Bjork-like a cappella opener is misleading (if one expects it to predict what follows); but then again, the next track, "Queen of Hearts" suggests this is going to be more of a straightforward hard rocking affair than it actually is. "Modern Waste" lands more solidly in the space that makes the band somewhat distinctive. It's still fairly hard-edged but there's something a bit more prog. (and simply more interesting) in the drumming. (Actually maybe it's just syncopation. Yay syncopation.)
What else? Good melodies. Songs that open up into spaces not obvious from what has already been established in the song.
I continue to hear weird, very specific resemblances to Shiina Ringo and Tokyo Jihen. It's not frequent, but it's striking to me anyway. I think they are working from a similar set of musical sources. The ending chorus of "Never Come Back" and the piano part that comes in after it, is a pretty good example of this. Have to think about that some more though. Company of Thieves definitely sounds more American--surprise. This could simply be a matter of me making comparisons of one thing I like to another thing I like, just because I like them both (and don't listen to much in the particular genre). See past comparisons of everything to Arabic music or Sun Ra.
The debut is still a little disappointing to listen to because while the songs are almost all good to very good, Genevieve's vocals aren't nearly as distinctive as they have become since 2007. (As I understand it, they recorded their first album before they had really performed live much at all.)
I'm only going to revive this thing when I think I have something to post; if that means continuing solo indefinitely, I will do it.
― _Rudipherous_, Thursday, 6 September 2012 15:56 (9 months ago) Permalink
I don't want to exaggerate the thing about their music going unexpected places. It's not particularly experimental and it's not like whoah, that transition is totally out there. They just write a lot of songs that move in unexpected ways, but not ways that drastically violate convention or anything.
Need to say something at some point about the staggered sort of rhythm of a lot of the vocals. I think that's a little bit of a signature. Definitely there in parts of "Death of Communication" but some other songs too that I can't think of off-hand.
― _Rudipherous_, Thursday, 6 September 2012 15:59 (9 months ago) Permalink
I really think Genevieve Schatz made a mistake by so often encouraging her audience to sing along during live performances. I'm listening to songs from a recent small acoustic gig and I am hearing way too many voices singing the damn songs.
― _Rudipherous_, Friday, 5 October 2012 02:51 (8 months ago) Permalink