Who: Frances Cone
Where: Horizon Records, 2-A W. Stone Ave., Greenville
When: Saturday, March 9 at noon
On album, the Charleston group Frances Cone creates vocal-harmony drenched dream pop, as if the mid-1970’s version of Fleetwood Mac found themselves in an ultra-modern 21st century studio and began creating electronic-tinged soundscapes. There’s a combination of song-craft and studio knowledge at work in the band’s sound; the tracks on their new album Late Riser seem to shimmer with an otherworldly glow. It’s a spellbinding sound on album, but the live version is a little more stripped-down, though just as powerful. “I personally don’t like to go to shows where everything sounds just like the record,” says singer, songwriter and keyboardist Christina Cone, who along with singer/bassist Andrew Doherty forms the nucleus of the group, which is named after her great-grandfather. “I feel a loyalty to a lot of our sounds, and we do try to recreate them, but our voices fill up a lot of the space, and I don’t think anyone actually misses anything in what we create. I feel like it’s still a really full sound, and my intention is really clear. If I mean it every night, then nobody’s going to miss the shaker on the second chorus.”
Who: Audrey Hamilton & The Vibes
Where: The Velo Fellow, 1 Augusta St., Greenville
When: Saturday, March 9 at 8 p.m.
Singer/keyboardist Audrey Hamilton has been a part of the Upstate scene for a while now, working in various groups from LOZ to Soul Service. But her new project, Audrey Hamilton & The Vibes, is the best setting yet for her soulful, yearning vocals and top-notch playing. Just take a look at the video for the band’s tune “Kamarah’s Song,” recorded at Red Arrow Studios in Westminster. Over a subtle, jazz-style beat, Hamilton, guitarist Elijah Gossett and bassist Carey Walter bob and weave around one another, stretching the soul-jazz tune into a near-six-minute workout. There’s a tight-but-loose feel to the music, which is fitting because it arose from extended improvisation in the band’s rehearsals. “We all needed a format that was a little less structured,” Hamilton says. “We all wanted something where we could be as creative as we wanted to be and make up our own stuff and kind of let loose. So for the longest time we would just get together and improvise for hours. After a while we liked it all so much that we started making songs.” Hamilton says that the connection she feels with Gossett and Walter is a deep one. “It’s like having a conversation with your best friends,” she says. “We have so much to talk about, musically.”
Who: The Bright Light Social Hour with Rare Creatures
Where: Radio Room 110 Poinsett Hwy., Greenville
When: Saturday, March 9 at 9 p.m.
Tickets: $10 in advance, $12 day of show
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Jude, the new two-volume set of songs by the Austin quartet The Bright Light Social Hour, is that it exists at all. Just before the band released an album of massive-sounding shoegaze-influenced indie guitar-rock called Space Is Still The Place in 2015, their manager Alex O’Brien (brother of the band’s bassist Jackie O’Brien) committed suicide after a struggle with bipolar depression. That stunning loss put the band in a sort of limbo, even if they didn’t really acknowledge it to each other at the time. “I don’t think we ever faced it as a group, but I think we all faced some sort of existential crises in terms of what we were doing with our lives,” says singer/guitarist Curtis Roush. “I think we spent a lot of time thinking about our relationships, if we were doing our best work being the band and if we were at the right place in our lives.” The intense, gorgeous neo-psychedelic soundscapes on the Jude albums (Vol. 1 of which was released in February), served as a sort of therapy, and a tribute to Alex’s life; in fact, “Jude” was Alex’s middle name. “To be able to work on music together and talk about what we’d been through and put those feelings into sound, that was the primary way we got through it all,’ Roush says.