Alt-Nation: Consuelo’s Revenge and The Viennagram — This Weekend!

vien cover photo copyConsuelo’s Revenge – Mercy

It has been about two and a half years since the self-titled debut from Consuelo’s Revenge dropped, and in that time the band has carved a name for themselves as one of the best live bands in the city.  Their versatility allows them to touch on everything from folk, bluegrass, blues and Americana to rock ‘n’ roll.  This year they cleaned up, winning several well-deserved awards at the annual Motif Music Awards.

Their sophomore release, Mercy, is a rollicking collection of 14 new tunes that captures the spirit and energy of their live sets. Mercy kicks off with “All Fall Down,” which, along with several other tunes, touches on the supernatural by delving deep into local folklore. The result is that many of the narratives on the record come off with almost Old Testament-like fervor. Co-lead vocalist Amanda Salemi shines throughout whether singing lead or adding backup harmonies on the country-tinged “Mrs. Free.” Every style of music out there has been redone till it has been beaten down, but a great song will still take one to a magical place. This happens on “Small Town Story” where the beat and Salemi’s narrative brings you down the road “till it disappears into the woods” with the violin acting like fireflies lighting the way. “My Daddy’s Son” has a ’70s singer/songwriter rock sugarcoated with the blues taste. “Palantine Light” captures the restlessness of the village with a Slim Cessna’s Auto Club like thump while recounting the legend of the ghost ship Palantine off Block Island. In the 19th century, Rhode Island was known for high reports of vampirism, notably in South County. Consuelo’s Revenge merges folk and bluegrass to tackle the tale of the most famous of these alleged vampires in “Mercy Brown.” There is beauty in the sparseness of “Teri’s Song” with only an unaccompanied accordion and Salemi’s voice floating away like a distant siren in the wind. “Lady Liberty” is another song that sounds like it was born out of 18th or 19th century legends of gunfights with Salemi singing “everything was madness, horse’s blood, and noise” that comes off as an Americana version of early The Pogues. Mercy captures the energy and the passion of Consuelo’s Revenge’s live show and catapults them to a whole new level.

Consuelo’s Revenge CD release show for Mercy with additional performances by Jay Berndt & The Orphans, Haunt The House, and Sara Azriel happens at Aurora in Providence on October 30.

The Viennagram Release LAND OF THE FREAK

Some bands don’t really appreciate the spectacle of doing something for Halloween, but The Viennagram know how to ramp up the spectacle and let their freak flag fly. The Viennagram inhabit a world of perpetual midnight like the psychedelic house band for a traveling freak show. Last Halloween The Viennagram released the full length album, LEARN TO TAME THE PATTERNS, which had everything from garage rock to show tunes, fun house freak-outs, and alien insurrections over the course of 21 tunes filled with ecstasy and madness.  This year The Viennagram are back to release what they describe as their creepy EP, LAND OF THE FREAK, which will be released as a digital download at the Columbus Theatre on Halloween. Being The Viennagram, of course there is more to the release than a sheet of paper with some digits on it. The download codes will be available as part of a Limited Edition 4-Button Collector pack. Each song will have its own unique design. In addition there will be a limited edition poster of the LAND OF THE FREAK artwork available for sale. For a sneak preview, LAND OF THE FREAK is currently available for streaming online at theviennagram.com.

As for the music on LAND OF THE FREAK, singer/drummer/provocateur AV Vienna says the songs were all conceived in one evening at their secret hideout studio: Irrational Solutions Inc. Vienna continues: “after spending six years mixing/recording our last album, LEARN TO TAME THE PATTERNS, we were ready to explode with new ideas of worlds not yet explored. In the shamanic tradition of channeling the great muse, our approach was to let the songs arrive through us, as if we were the conduit for the uncanny electricity of inspiration. To our luck and great fortune, our psychic antennas drew forth the following far out frequencies fully formed and furious in a frantic frenzy of manic joy.”

To do something different, rather than have me tell you this song reminds me of some obscure tune I once heard in the backseat of a Chevy in this parking lot back in 1997, I’ll let Vienna take us through the four tracks to give deeper insight into the world of The Viennagram.

AV Vienna’s Guide to LAND OF THE FREAK

  1. UFO WATCH: 
Ennio Morricone in Space or an ’80s cartoon theme song inspired by a bag of shirts I inherited from my Grandfather from his days as an author of Ufology (the study of reports, visual records, physical evidence, and other phenomena related to unidentified flying objects (UFOs). As both musician and producer, I sonically strove to enforce the speed, velocity and grandeur in the illusion of flying at light speed in stereoscopic space! (FUN FACT: Not only is it the first song inspired by a t-shirt, Deer Tick’s John McCauley sported an original edition of the shirt on their first appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on 6/17/2010.)

2. HORROR SHEIK: 
Although vastly different in styles and concepts, the main thread through the EP is the experiment of incorporating drum machines, creating a metronomic matte painting. It’s like having a cyborg body with this insanely pumping heart driving you to a dystopian disco dance macabre. Come and Evolve, Welcome to the Land of the Freak.

3. STEP OUTSIDE OF THE MAGIC CIRCLE: 
A Horror Trip-Hop Opera. A mad musical menagerie on Demonology! Step Outside of the Magic Circle into the sounds of psychedelic splendor! (FUN FACT: To create the effect of massive chant (133,316,666 demons, 666 legions, 6,666 demons in each legion, 66 rulers), I collaged a choir of throat singers, turned the pitch down and played it back into a giant room in an old mill that is most haunted.)

4. UNICORN BONES: 
A cautionary tale from another dimension, where major corporations tried to advertise on the moon and it exploded, creating a disruption in Earth’s gravity, as told by the battling factions thereafter. (FUN FACT: Upon first playing this song, I accidentally astral projected and eventually saw human consciousness represented as a massive system of branch-like nerve networks. This vision further instilled a belief that everyone is truly connected through the collective unconscious. Perhaps humanity’s great strength lies in the boundless power of imagination and the ambition to bridge dream into reality. We hope that our new extra sensory soundscapes inspire and expand the listeners’ inner world through the mysterious magic of vibration and air disguised as sound.

The Viennagram celebrate the release of THE LAND OF THE FREAK with a show with Beta Motel and Triangle Forest at the Columbus Theatre in Providence this Saturday, October 31st.

Happy Halloween, y’all, and email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com

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