Cincinnati band calls it quits with new album 'Doom of the Norns' and farewell show Saturday
Saturday at Mayday in Northside, the great Cincinnati Indie Rock band Koala Fires will be performing for the last time. But the band is also saying goodbye with a gem of an album, Doom of the Norns, the band's second full-length, which will be officially released tomorrow in conjunction with the show. The Fires will be joined by Chicago's Brighton, MA and Cincy's Jody Stapleton and the Generals. Performers from Cin City Burlesque will also entertain between sets. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $7. (Koala Fires will donate half of their merchandise sales Saturday night to help relocate the women of the Anna-Louise Inn.)Doom of the Norns is a compelling piece of art, an Indie Pop/Rock record with a hefty emotional weight. Singer/songwriter Matt Mooney's vocals have never sounded better, his honey-dipped instrument crooning the album's up-and-down tales of finding love and losing it. It's not a unique concept, but in Mooney's hands, it feels real, raw, somber and often explosive. (Mooney wrote the record to help him get through the demise of his 10-year marriage.)Mooney and guitarist Ben Evans play beautifully off of each other, their intertwining fretwork creating a wash of dynamic sound. Drummer Matt Retherford and bassist Matt Zink fuel the songs with precision and a distinctive flair; Retherford's fiery yet intuitive playing, in particular, is a crucial part of the albums success. But the heart of the album is the passionate songwriting. These are Pop/Rock songs, but Mooney's melodies wind in unexpected directions and the songs themselves are dynamically structured. "Grim is the Doom of the Norns" sets the tone, building with twinkling guitars and Mooney's voice showcasing that early-love "head in the clouds" state of mind, before ripping into a big, exuberant chorus. "Nuckalavee" bops along on a jaunty rhythm, undercut by cutting lyrics like, "Do you want control of me? That might be nice/But after years and years he'll escape one night/He will terrorize, drink tears from your eyes and then scare your pain away."Doom of the Norns by Koala FiresMooney may just be one of the best Rock lyricists in town. The powerful "Valley of the Kings" begins with the lines, "There used to be a thousand ways to tear this down and start again/But, now it seems there's just one way and it involves a match and some kerosene." The album gets progressively dark, but the words aren't defeatist — they sound like the kind of lyrics someone would write to come to terms with the ending a long relationship. It's artistic therapy. By the last couple of tracks, there is hope and resolve. There is emotion to spare on Doom of the Norns, but this ain't no wallowing Emo spew. Mooney delves into his despair and writes about it smartly and poetically, making it the kind of album that would fit in your record collection perfectly alongside LPs by The Afghan Whigs, later Superchunk and Cari Clara. When you fall in love with Koala Fires after hearing this album (if you aren't already in love with them), don't be too sad. Mooney has a new-direction project in the works, Retherford and Evans play together in the Cincy band House of Feeble Minds and Zink is a member of up-and-comers The Future Strikes. The Fires will burn on. (Click here to purchase the album digitally.)
2 Comments · Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Two local Indie Rock bands have had their music dismantled and pieced back together by a slew of area producers and electronic musicians. If you’re familiar with the Rock bands Wussy and The Koala Fires, imagining them as dance-floor-friendly Electro acts is a far-fetched concept. But both new remix projects are revelatory, retaining (and often putting more focus on) the songwriting and vocals of the originals.
1 Comment · Tuesday, March 9, 2010
In addition to our "cover boys" this week, The Lions Rampant, three other local acts will be out in the clubs this weekend hosting release parties for their latest recording projects: Progressive/Hard Rock band Livid Friday at Silverton's Play By Play Cafe, Bluegrass trio The Tadcasters Friday at Arnold's Bar and Grill downtown and Metal band Behead the Tyrant Saturday at Harvey's in Price Hill (the old Blue Note). Come out and support local original music.
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It's a big weekend on the local music scene, as four bands hold album release parties to celebrate new work: Giant Wow (Southgate House Parlour), Sparrow Bellows (Stockyard Cafe), Tickled Pink (Sidebar) and The Minor Leagues (Mayday, formerly Gypsy Hut).