Eef Barzelay

Eef Barzelay

Heligoats, Shannon Stephens

Thu, May 24, 2012

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL


Tickets at the Door

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Eef Barzelay
Eef Barzelay
Clem Snide began in Boston in the early 1990s. It was there Eef
Barzelay and good friends Eric Paul and Jason Glasser first performed
under that moniker. The band dissolved when Eef Barzelay moved to New
York where he briefly dabbled in Art School and the Sidewalk café
anti-folk scene before reconnecting with Glasser to reform the band
and begin work on their first record “You Were A Diamond”. Their
artistic partnership would become the backbone of Clem Snide, and
would produce two of the bands seminal records, “Ghost of Fashion” and
“Your Favorite Music”. Described by Robert Christagau as “true
American deadpan” Clem Snide garnered critical acclaim for their
unique brand of “art country” and enjoyed a brush with mainstream
success when their song “Moment in the Sun” was chosen as the theme
song for the NBC show “Ed”.

In 2002 Glasser relocated to France with his family and Eef carried on
recruiting old Boston friend, multi-instrumentalist Pete Fitzpatrick
and his cousin Brendan to complete work on the band’s third record,
“Soft Spot”. In 2004 Eef moved to Nashville and recorded their
fourth record “End of Love.” With the addition of Nashville bred
drummer Ben Martin, the band did extensive touring for the next couple
of years, which culminated in their return to the studio to begin work
on “Hungry Bird.” Financial and interpersonal strife dogged the band
throughout the recording process resulting in an “extended break”
before they would release and tour behind the record. Barzelay, eager
for a clean slate during that time, struck out on his own, releasing
two solo records, “Bitter Honey” and “Lose Big” and created the score
for the Sundance award-winning film “Rocket Science”.

In spring 2009, Barzelay reformed the band with Brendan Fitzpatrick
and Ben Martin for the “Hungry Bird” tour. Heartened to find their
fans still loyal and devoted as ever, Clem Snide began fleshing out
Barzelay’s ripening batch of new songs, resulting in “The Meat of
Life.” Recorded and mixed in the Fall of ’09 it came into existence
with the deft engineering hand of Mark Nevers and help from local
Nashville players Tony Crow (Piano, Organ), Roy Agee (Trombones), and
And Carole Rabinowitz (Cello). Described Recently by
as “one of the finest current songwriters in America, that get quietly
ignored” Barzelay and Clem Snide have emerged true indie rock
survivors with their best record to date.

Last year saw the release of Eef Barzelay's Journey Covers record,
featuring six classics interpreted by Eef and ukelele, a tour to Spain
and most recently a tour to Ecuador with Clem Snide.
"Chris Otepka sounds somewhat like Built To Spill's Doug Martsch, but also like the Mountain Goat John Darnielle with his sincere and nasal voice ... a sense of perspective that trumps most navel gazing indie rockers." -- SPIN

We all know that "long-awaited" is overused in band bios, but ask any hardcore Heligoats or Troubled Hubble fans and they will tell you they've worn out the edges of their seats waiting for the newest release from Chris Otepka, the man behind The Heligoats. On this EP, Otepka takes you to a deeper, darker place than on any of his previous endeavors. With the help of veteran musicians such as Kenny Aronoff, Michael Levin, Kara Eubanks, and more, The Heligoats' arrangements become alive, growing and moving with the vocals and melody.
Shannon Stephens
Shannon Stephens
Shannon Stephens is a Seattle-based singer/songwriter with a winding road behind her. Her third album, Pull It Together, is the result of nearly two decades spent traversing a unique musical landscape. The album captures a fresh sense of self-assurance and a sound that weaves hard truths with sweet melodies for an emotionally gripping blues-tinged brand of indie folk.

Stephens grew up in a house filled with music. As an infant, she sat under the piano as her mother rehearsed hymns for the church service. Her father hosted hootenannies in the family home, singing and strumming a sunburst Gibson. Stephens studied both piano and voice as a child and wrote her first song at the age of 7 – a ballad of heartbreak and longing titled "Where Is My Pie?” As a young adult, she delved into poetry and still keeps, hidden well away, a 3-ring binder overflowing with mortifying adolescent poetry. During a particularly boring teenaged summer, she sat on her bed and learned to play the acoustic guitar, starting, as everyone did in those days, with a soulful cover of Extreme’s "More than Words." She soon ventured into songwriting, and was driven to seek out other musicians to satisfy her urge for musical collaboration.

In 1993 she moved to Michigan where she became the voice of the folk/rock band Marzuki, an ensemble assembled and co-led by Sufjan Stevens. When Marzuki disbanded, Stephens moved to Seattle and embarked on a solo career, recording her self-titled debut LP in 1999. Shortly after its release, Stephens lost her taste for the business side of musicianship and retreated, spending the next eight years focusing on home, family, and the pleasures of an abundant garden. Those years of domesticity gave rise to 2009’s The Breadwinner – an album described by Exclaim! magazine as “intensely relevant, lyrically incisive and richly deserving of your attention.” Jon Pareles of the New York Times said of The Breadwinner “she finds moments of companionship and epiphany, when the commonplace falls away.” Bonnie Prince Billy covered Stephens’ song "I'll Be Glad" on his 2008 album Lie Down In The Light. In 2010, Asthmatic Kitty Records re-released her debut LP, which was included in the Paste magazine feature “Five Amazing Albums In My iTunes You’ve Never Heard Of”.

Stephens produced Pull It Together, due to be released in May of 2012, with the help of Grammy-award winning engineer Kory Kruckenberg. The album brings together a brilliant cast of musicians, including Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan, Isobel Campbell) on guitar, James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens, Pedro the Lion) on drums and Steve Moore (Sufjan Stevens, Laura Veirs) on keyboards. It features a duet with Bonnie Prince Billy, a collaboration with New York songwriter DM Stith, and backing vocals by Galen Disston of Pickwick.

Pull It Together represents a leap in confidence and songcraft for Stephens. Greater maturity has brought a both a looser, louder style and a more sharply focused worldview. Add to this the influence of a burgeoning Seattle scene that sees artists like Allen Stone and Pickwick playing music meant to counteract the gloom of a damp Seattle winter, and you’ve got an album that’s sure to shake the dust from your boots.

Shannon Stephens and her Fabulous Friends – the talented group that backs her on stage – have spent the past couple of years playing out and touring the west coast. They plan to tour nationally with Pull It Together.
Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642