Filligar - The Nerve

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Someone You Should Know

Harper's Ferry - Allston, MA

Out there, somewhere trapped between the chords and piano of Filligar's new album The Nerve, are echoes of our collective musical heritage. In what is clearly the young band's finest work to date, they take on a number of styles not in the quartet's utility belt just fourteen months ago. The Nerve (which is now available online and through select retailers) is a monster of an album - 14 tracks these days is almost unheard of when a spartan 9 tracks is oft considered the norm.

Who They Are - Brothers Pete (drums), Johnny (guitars, vocals), and Teddy Mathias (bass) comprised the band's familial core, while longtime friend Casey Gibson completed the lineup with his background vocals and classically trained keyboard skills.
  • In 2005, while still in their early teens, the band mates released Filligar, a self-titled album that gained the band its first significant amount of local airplay.
  • Released in 2006, Succession, I Guess saw even more success, and Filligar continued to tour and record even as the band members attended college.
  • The City Tree arrived in 2007, garnering radio play from markets throughout the U.S. as well as a warm endorsement from Chicago-based music critic Jim DeRogatis.
  • They dropped their most recent album, Near or Far, in 2008 - this is a truly great "emerging" album - one which they have already toured extensively behind.

One to Watch 2010

The Chicago four-piece continue to be known for their wild, raucous live performances. Let me run a sample narrative by you: their indie love songs and alt-country songs meander into streaming rivers of rock...

Perhaps Filligar's greatest strength is the way they can transport audiences to another place. This is somehow rock and pop - but it's transforming music. I take the album opener, "Robbery," at it's full face value. It's an enticing soul-fueled rock number that made this listener think back on Joel Plaskett Emergency, the Black Crowes and My Morning Jacket.

Piano, Keyboard and Organs are primary motivators throughout (and I while I haven't talked with the band in some weeks, I have to believe piano is used during the songwriting process. But I'll find out and let you know.*) As the songs step up to the plate, one after the next it's impossible not to hear similar modern acts I have come to enjoy: Jukebox the Ghost, Augustana and Parachute Musical. Guitars and Drums are great counters in each case.

Pluses & Minuses - The singles on this record album are pretty damn beautiful. The album has a ramshackle, stop-&-go configuration created through the immediate juxtaposition of songs (and sounds) far-removed from their immediate neighbors. The songs are all very good, but there's a part of me that still very much thinks in terms of cohesiveness of 'the album' & the result being theatre as well as music. (Does that mean the criticism should belong to the outdated art romantic in me? I don't know - perhaps.)

The most clear example of this on this record is the radical rift that develops as a result in the shift between the slow, emotive "Early Riser" - and the loud, pick up with a rock rush in "Mumbling Girl." This happens again near the end of the album when the frenetic, "Wild Nature" provides the impression that The Nerve will have a rock ending. Instead, however, "New & Old" proves to be a melancholy number I would have expected from a soft but whiskey-stained night with The Band. Again, not at all disappointing - just a little jarring. And when you consider the merits of everything offered up here - this will may prove to be one of the year's best releases from a breakout act.

I can't say this anymore clearly: This is a band that was born to play live. Their magic is transferred to audiences during live shows. Do Not Miss Them if you have the chance. Filligar are truly lightning in a bottle!

07.20.10 Harper's Ferry Boston, MA
07.24.10 Bowery Electric New York, NY
07.28.10 The Grape Rom Philadelphia, PA
08.01.10 Snug Harbour Charlotte, NC
08.04.10 Smith's Olde Bar Atlanta, GA
08.05.10 The Nick Birmingham, AL
08.12.10 Checkpoint Charlie's New Orleans, LA
08.13.10 Circle Bar New Orleans, LA
08.17.10 Stubbs Austin, TX
08.18.10 Pedicab Bar San Antonio, TX
08.20.10 Rogue Bar Scottsdale, AZ
08.23.10 Soda Bar San Diego, CA
08.25.10 The Troubadour Los Angeles, CA
08.27.10 Someday Lounge Portland, OR
09.04.10 The Star Bar Park City, UT
09.06.10 The Walnut Room Denver, CO
09.11.10 University of the South Sewanee, TN
09.15.10 Utica Music & Arts Fest Utica, NY

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Ryan Spaulding said…
One of the most promising young bands in the country.
Anonymous said…
very cool!!! thanks for turning me on to these guys. hoping to make it to the show tonight...

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