Monday, July 9, 2007

voices to hear #7

Written by John from Altjiranga Mitjina

This week’s voice to hear is a departure from what we’ve done so far. Instead of a single voice, we’re going to talk about a group. The group is called Marah and they hail from Philadelphia. Basically the group is two brothers, Dave and Serge Bielanko and whoever else they let in. Over the years they have had quite a few players come and go in the band, while they remained the constant. They’ve recorded six albums and one of them was a Christmas album.

On their MySpace page they call their music “technicolor folk-punk-rock” and I think that’s about a good definition of it as I could come up. How many rock bands use a banjo?

Besides making great music the band also comes up some of the best song and album titles ever. Their first album was called Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight. Their most recent album is called If You Didn’t Laugh, You’d Cry. One of their early songs was titled “The History of Where Someone Was Killed.”

Early in their career Marah was labeled in with the alt-country crowd and it wasn’t exactly a place they wanted to find themselves in. The presences of the banjo made people think they had to be alt-country. Which they weren’t. What they are is rock n roll, or as they put it “Technicolor folk-punk-rock.”

Marah has self produced five of their six releases. They’ve worked with artists like Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen. Stephen King called If You Didn’t Laugh, You’d Cry the best album of the year upon its release.

Marah has also given me one of the most fun concerts I have ever been to. Last year they performed at the Parish Room at the House of Blues. This is the upstairs smaller room, for artists that can’t open in the main room of the HOB. I don’t think there were more than 100 people, and if there were that many I’m being generous, there that night. But it didn’t stop the group from putting on a great show.

Towards the end of the show Dave jumped down from the stage onto the floor. He called all the people in the audience to him and had us all sit on the floor around him as he talked and sang. It was one of the most unique concert experiences I have ever had.

I’ve always read about groups like R.E.M. and the Police that started out playing clubs they said with fifty people in the audience. I always thought that would be really cool to see a concert like that, for someone that later became big and you can say I saw them when. I really feel like I had that experience with Marah.

Marah is a band filled with excitement and that excitement translates onto the album and in concert. They sing about people trying to live their lives with all the problems that come with that; money and faith and love and the occasional beer and party in there. This is a band to watch out for.

If you're reading this it can only mean one thing, that John from altjiranga mitjina has once again forgotten to provide a blurb after whatever it is he wrote for this issue. All he can say is that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. He'd write more but he'd just forget whatever it was he wrote.


Surviving Motherhood said...

it is interesting music, I think I will need to give it a few listens before i make up my mind.

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