Last updated by at .

Mar 132015

murder-by-death-at-the-social_kisses-and-noise-music-blogI know this show sounds like a thrash metal or grindcore show, but it totally wasn’t. I called Bloomington, Indiana’s Murder by Death and New York’s O’death ”Mumford & Sons for kids that wore black nail polish in high school” because they both take themes of Americana; country & western, bluegrass, and folk then blend them together seamlessly with splashes of alternative rock. They tell tales of the darker side, from whiskey drinking to lost loves that drown in a river.

O’death blew me away. Building from dark, goth-y folk to nearly doom metal by the end of the set they kept my attention all night. With ghostly vocals, banjo, and some killer fiddlin’ O’death was both authentic and unique. I found the drummer interesting. It was apparent that he was holding back early. I could feel him wanting to blast into power punk. He executed with restraint, but as the set progressed he got heavier and heavier. He also had a pretty interesting set up with no hi-hat. Instead he had a tambourine mounted to the left and another rigged to his foot so he could tap tambourine with his left foot. He also had a ride cymbal with another, slightly smaller, ride cymbal sitting directly on top of it creating this cool, trashy hiss. I notice these things. Sorry.






Murder by Death let go of some of their softer nuance to come out of the block heavy and loud. I have no problem with that! I’ve always been struck by lead singer’s voice. It sounds dusty and old. I pictured a grizzled 60-year-old man in overalls. Adam Turla’s voice is just so whiskey-soaked and wise that the face just doesn’t match up. Cellist, Sarah Balliet balances out Turla’s craggy voice and adds gothic ambience to their alt-country sound. I adore 2010′s Good Morning, Magpie, but the band threw a wild mix of songs from all six of their albums.




Mar 102015

album art for the band O'DeathThere was a recent spike in folky Americana-inspired, bluegrass-tinged alt rock that swept the nation. That surge coincided with an exponential increase in old-timey facial hair. I know correlation doesn’t equal causation, but think about it. I didn’t quite understand it. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t get the throngs of fans singing along with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Avett & Sons, and Sons & Sons or whatever.

I am a gigantic fan of bluegrass so that’s not the problem. I just prefer the way bands like Murder by Death and Portland, Maine by way of New York’s O’Death bring a more authentic, honest sound. Touches of Appalachian music blend with alt country, western textures and dark themes. It’s just cooler.

It’s like if Alice Cooper started a band inspired by Fleet Foxes and wrote music for True Detective and any band that takes their name from a song made famous by Dr. Ralph Stanley is alright by me!

MBD is a perfect gothic, whiskey-soaked companion for O’Death.

If you prefer Johnny Cash over Elvis, Slayer over Metallica, Outlaw Country over New Country, The Black Crowes over Dave Matthews or just can’t stand the inexplainable popularity and unnerving optimism of modern folk rock and its fans then this show is for you. Buy Tickets