August 22, 2014
Friday night live at Transistor: Arts and Letters and Dena Dena Dena. Sound by Jon Monteverde.
Before recording "Instant Karma!" producer Phil Spector asked John Lennon, "How do you want it?" Lennon responded: "You know, 1950, but now." That blend of retro sensibility with a modern twist is embodied in Arts & Letters, the solo project of songwriter Joe Grazulis. Beginning as a personal, song-a-week recording exercise, it slowly grew into a more public and professional musical undertaking.The lo-fi audio sketches and sonically layered demos kick-started a DIY journey that led to a self-titled, self-released, five-song EP recorded in a variety of prestigious bedrooms, historic living rooms, and (for two magical hours) one honest-to-goodness real studio. Outside of the cozy confines of bedroom tunesmithery, Arts & Letters can be seen and heard all around Chicago, performing infectious pop songs with nothing but an acoustic guitar, a single mic, and an endearing wit. Combining playful, emotive lyrics with British Invasion grooves, 1960s folk rock melodies, bossa nova chords, and gypsy jazz rhythms, Arts & Letters creates a soulful sound that feels like a long-lost 1965 album that you dug up in some dusty attic, and that was made just for you.
This Transistor set featured unrecorded songs from an upcoming LP.
Dena Dena Dena is the solo acoustic project of independent South Bend, Indiana musician Dena Woods (right). Her music tells soulful stories of confusion, broken hearts, misadventures, all with the hope that transformation can be born out of adverse circumstances. Her recently released single, "Come Home," has been described as a "lovely, haunting, melancholy...the sparsity of instrumentation and seeming simplicity provides so much air for the lyrics to breathe...her voice soars incredibly."
Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.