December 13, 2013

Friday night live at Transistor: Anna Soltys, The Astronomer and Brice Woodall. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

Anna Soltys usually fronts Anna Soltys and the Familiar, a modern folk rock band with an entrancing new sound. Anna spent the first part of her childhood in Poland followed by six years in Paris before she moved to her self-proclaimed hometown, Chicago. It is the cross-cultural awareness that may awaken the type of delivery that is so unique to her sound. On top of the music, her lyrical, poetic content fills the heart with an awareness of the self we could all use a little of. "My goal as an artist is not only to explore this roller coaster called life," says Anna, "but also to explore and unveil the strands that bind us all together." Anna's unique vocal stylings sit on a bed of seasoned musical arrangements melting together into a fresh and soothing kind of unfamiliar familiar. Her music explores and embodies elements of pain, strength, honesty and sorrow. From start to finish, lyrically driven simple melodies leave you with a sense of colorful melancholy. For her Transistor set, Anna was joined on guitar by Jesse Cryderman.

Visit Anna Soltys' website.

The Astronomer plays rootsy, floaty, creaking, chamber pop/rock about the things you misplaced and the things you're about to find. Their recently completed second disc, "You Could Be Something When You Disappear," evokes the song construction and lyricism of The Band and mid-period Kinks, while sonically akin to releases by Brian Eno and Brian Wilson. The Astronomer's self-titled debut is a collection of hopeful and naive tales wrapped in rustic orchestrations of pedal steel, vibraphone, upright bass, creaking electronics and floating voice.

Charles Kim has played with bands and aritsts such as Pinetop Seven, Sinister Luck Ensemble, Will Oldham, Boxhead Ensemble, Ken Vandermark, Pan American, Fruit Bats, and Chris Mills. He's also a film, television and theater composer, working for Showtime, Chicago's Redmoon Theatre, and author Joe Meno.

The Astronomer's delicate art-pop songs, filigreed with pedal steel, vibraphone and electronics, have a distinctly otherworldly feel despite their occasional rootsiness; it's as though Kim learned songwriting by picking up radio signals in low earth orbit. - Chicago Reader, July 10, 2008

Cinematic space trip Americana! - Marty Lennartz, WXRT 93.1 FM Chicago

Visit the Astronomer's website.

Alternately spectral and warm-blooded, the live incarnation of songwriter/beatmaker Brice Woodall's work bridges the organic and the synthetic, the embodied and the digital. Brice draws upon shortwave radio, film samples, and a growing arsenal of analog toys to cut an oblique face on synth-pop. His electro-acoustic arrangements build walls only to cut them down, puncturing thick atmospherics with clean guitar, beats and keys. This is the sound of the ghost in the wires, a weapon against the cynicism and neurosis that permeates our increasingly digital world.

Brice described his Transistor set as "lo-fi folktronica" with "beats, keys, guitar strings, white noise."

Visit Brice's website.

Also available: a previous Brice Woodall Transistor performance from February 15, 2013.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.