Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil, Welcome Wagon

Thu Feb 11 2016

8:00 PM (Doors 7:30 PM)

Knitting Factory - Brooklyn

361 Metropolitan Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211

$12.00 ADV / $14.00 DOS

All Ages

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$12 ADVANCE / $14 DAY OF SHOW

HAPPY HOUR EVERY MONDAY-FRIDAY 5PM-7PM
$1 BUD CANS | $5 BURGER

Knitting Factory Presents
Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil, Welcome Wagon

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  • Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil

    Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil

    Indie Rock

    Steve Albini rarely names records he’s worked on when people ask him what he’s been listening to, but when he sat down with Buddyhead for the fifth installment of Buddyhead Radio in July, he made an exception. “Dan Smith just put together this ad hoc band with a singer named Steve Taylor,” he said. “And they play this really rowdy punk rock. And that record is fucked-up and great. I didn’t expect that kind of music out of them, and I certainly didn’t expect it to be as awesome as it was. I was expecting it to be charming or interesting, but it ended up being really raucous and really great.” 

    “Really raucous and really great” is the perfect shorthand for Steve Taylor & the Danielson Foil, a whipcrack 6-song EP recorded by Albini that applies scalding punk rage to delightfully cockeyed song structures, making for a half-dozen songs that don’t have many clear musical parallels. It’s Magazine covering the Godspell soundtrack or the Buzzcocks trading verses with the Free Design.

    The collaboration grew out of a U.S. tour Taylor and his band, the Perfect Foil (Jimmy Abegg, Peter Furler and John Mark Painter), took with Danielson in support of Taylor’s acclaimed 2014 album Goliath. Though both Taylor and Smith had spent most of their careers questioning musical norms -- Taylor through sharp social satire, Smith through dizzyingly inventive song structures -- a musical alliance between the two of them was hardly a foregone conclusion. But they had such immediate, easy chemistry that they reached out to Albini, with whom both Taylor and Smith had worked before, to set aside studio time when the tour swung through Chicago. The result is an EP that combines both of their sensibilities for a batch of songs full of hairpin musical left turns and sharp, deftly-observed lyrics. 

    Opener “Wow to the Deadness” is the perfect example of their effortless fusion. Part eerie campfire singalong, part bruised-up brawler, the song volleys from Taylor’s exhortation to “let it slide to the other side” to Smith’s ecstatic declaration, “We have a winner!” In “A Muse,” Taylor plays another gloryhound clawing for his 15 minutes over acrid, clawing guitars. And “Wait Up Downstep” is a revved-up Boy Scout marching song, Smith alternating between mantra-like refrain and beautifully swooping verses. And “Nonchalant” has the same coiled intensity as the National, but feels more wounded, more restless. More than anything, Steve Taylor & the Danielson Foil is the sound of two acts scrapping every rule of songwriting and rewriting the document according to their own impulses. Every time you think you’ve got its sound pinned down, it shape-shifts again, transforming into something entirely new, fantastically confounding, and utterly irresistible. It is, to paraphrase Steve Albini, really raucous and really, really great.

  • Welcome Wagon

    Welcome Wagon

    Alternative Rock

    The Welcome Wagon is a married couple, the Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique, who execute a genre of gospel music that is refreshingly plain. Their hymns are modest and melodic takes on a vast history of sacred song traditions, delivered with the simple desire to know their Maker—and to know each other—more intimately.

    Vito was born in Tecumseh, Michigan, and attended Western Michigan University where he developed a love for writing poetry. His first book of poems, Self-Portrait as Jerry Quarry, was published by New Issues Press in 2002. A self-described agnostic, Vito experienced a spiritual conversion at the age of 20 and soon after enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary to study theology and prepare for ordained ministry. Currently he is the senior pastor of Resurrection Presbyterian Church, a church he planted in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, in 2005.

    Raised on a farm, by a gentleman farmer father and choir teacher mother, in the same small town as Vito, Monique moved to New York City after high school to study art, first at the Cooper Union (BFA), then Columbia University (MFA). Since then she has worked as a pre-school teacher, craftmaker for Martha Stewart, and as a mother. She also serves as the Welcome Wagon’s resident visual artist.

    But at the heart of it—if you really listen carefully—there’s just a pastor and his wife singing joyfully in the quiet privacy of their own home.

    The Welcome Wagon began as husband and wife singing in the privacy of their home. Having little to no previous musical experience or training, Vito purchased a guitar with the desire to sing hymns with his family. With Monique accompanying on toy glockenspiel or harmonica, the two would amble through old hymnals, psalters and prayerbooks. Their inability to read music was no big issue; Vito simply made up new tunes to old words.

    While their most familiar venue was (and is) their living room, the Welcome Wagon have been periodically coaxed to small stages at bars, parties, and seminaries throughout the New York City area, often joined by friends on upright bass, drums, piano, and banjo. These intimate arrangements preserve the delicate nature of the Welcome Wagon’s identity.

    But there is another Welcome Wagon, the one that can be heard on their debut album, Welcome to the Welcome Wagon. This version of the band retains the heart and soul of pastor and his wife singing together, but dresses them up in the transcendent musical vestments of Sufjan Stevens, who produced and helped arrange the record.

    Those who enjoyed the Welcome Wagon’s debut album will notice their distinct sound again in their sophmore release: Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – loose, jangly, comfortable, a gathering of friends making music together. It’s at times jaunty and toe-tapping, at others quietly contemplative, an alt-folk gem that sounds very much like it comes out of the Asthmatic Kitty camp. But while the first album was recorded over the course of eight years in various venues, this one was done in five days at the library of an old rectory in Brooklyn. And while recording artist and AK co-owner Sufjan Stevens produced WW’s first album, he’s less noticeable on this collection, produced by Alexander Foote, who also plays guitars, organ, autoharp, percussion, and some piano. (Stevens does play banjo and piano and sings in the choir on several songs here.)

    Admittedly, for a gospel duo, there’s far less soul than sweet sincerity in the casual songs of the Welcome Wagon. Vito and his wife are unabashedly Midwestern, ordinary and uncool. But this is precisely what sets them apart from the standard fare of contemporary liturgical music. It doesn’t feign emotion; it doesn’t pander to stylistic pretensions; it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: the result of countless, informal social exchanges between friends. A home-cooked meal followed by a few microphones taped to folding chairs. A family gathering, a summary of happy noises, and a room crowded with familiar faces. Sure, there are showy guitar riffs and piano codas and harmonica solos, a rowdy chorus, an imposing flourish of brass instruments like wartime canons. But at the heart of it—if you really listen carefully—there’s just a pastor and his wife singing joyfully in the quiet privacy of their own home.

Knitting Factory Presents

Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil, Welcome Wagon

Thu Feb 11 2016 8:00 PM

(Doors 7:30 PM)

Knitting Factory - Brooklyn Brooklyn NY
Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil, Welcome Wagon
  • Sorry, you missed this event.
  • Check out other similar events on TicketWeb.

$12.00 ADV / $14.00 DOS All Ages

$12 ADVANCE / $14 DAY OF SHOW

HAPPY HOUR EVERY MONDAY-FRIDAY 5PM-7PM
$1 BUD CANS | $5 BURGER