July 6, 2012 

Friday night live at Transistor: Zapruder Point, Stephen Mulcahy and Marko Casso. Sound by Dominic Armstrong.

Dan Phillips, aka Zapruder Point, writes more to understand than to be understood. He records direct to laptop in a basement on the far West Side, usually alone on nights and weekends. On first listen, the results can feel deceptively slight. Open-chorded abandon trumps musical virtuosity, and the tunes are atypically short. But whether sweet, haunting or sentimental, a distinct voice swims to the surface of each.

You could describe Zapruder Point as a cross between Paul Simon's oblique yearning and Robert Pollard's short bursts of whimsy. Dan has also been likened to Leonard Cohen, the Mountain Goats and Death Cab for Cutie. More connections can me made to those he's played with — Bowerbirds, Whitehorse, Bill Fox, Anders Parker and Jason Molina, among others.

For this performance Dan was joined by Tom Millard on drums and harmonies and Casey Riordan on violin.

Also available: a previous Zapruder Point Transistor performance from May 27, 2011.

With a penchant for the melodramatic lyric, and an innate sense of the happy-sad melody, Stephen Mulcahy writes short pop songs framed sparsely with either a guitar or a piano. Thematically they toggle between a fervent frustration and a wide-eyed fascination with the world that surrounds him. Singing mostly in the falsetto key, he is often compared to Neil Young, Grandaddy and the Shins. In addition to his solo work, he is the lead singer for the Chicago band Honest Engines; their first full length record will be released by Tandem Shop Records July 17.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.