Shirk Music + Sound

Other Lives, Live Session #94

by oz on October 12, 2011

Other Lives released their sophomore album, Tamer Animals, earlier this year. It’s not one of those albums that was created spontaneously in one session. The band spent 14 months crafting the arrangements and placing all the right sounds in all the right parts. Lead singer Jesse Tabish was quoted as saying ““There’s nothing like, ‘Hey, let’s rock out on this!’ It’s homemade in a way. For better or for worse, it’s all our sound.” The album is magnificent.

If you’ve fallen in love with the album but have never seen them live, this session will give you a deeper appreciation for the album and the band. Each musician in Other Lives is a multi-instrumentalist. As you watch them move around throughout songs, you’ll see guitars flung to backs to transition to keys. Lead guitars dropped to make room for horns or a violin. You’ll be captivated by Jenny Hsu on cello in “For 12” or her antlers on “Tamer Animals” and then Colby Owens’ drumming takes your attention on “Dust Bowl II.” Or maybe it’s the bows streaking across guitars on that song. Or maybe the trumpet in the end. Or the acoustic.

And that’s when you realize that Other Lives is unlike most bands you’ve encountered. Jesse Tabish is technically a front man but every member plays an equal part. At shows, you’ll find yourself leaning left to right, on your tip-toes, jockeying for better vantage points to catch all the parts that make up this magical orchestration. With headphones on and eyes closed, you’ll become immersed in its atmosphere. That’s by design. Other Lives is a sound you wouldn’t expect out of a band with roots in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Or maybe it is born from Great Plains and wide expanses where anything goes, but careful attention must be paid to crafting boundaries and structure in an otherwise open tapestry. I’ve been claiming that the band is underrated, but perhaps their popularity will grow like the making of Tamer Animals or the way it settles in on its listener over time. It’s an organic process that takes time to reveal itself. That’s my hope.

As for the session production, we need to thank our videographers. With all the transitions and gear changes throughout the session and within each song, our video contributors Nathan Saks and Mark Smirl deserve high praise. Definitely not easy to capture all the activity, but they did an incredible job. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Jesse Tabish wrote the guitar part and theme for “For 12” while sitting under a bridge outside Shirk’s studio two years ago when they arrived early for our first live session with Other Lives.

Spend some time exploring each of those videos and keep a watch out for tour dates. They are a must see.

Other Lives Band Introduction

Exclusive: Other Lives – As I Lay My Head Down (Videos: Vimeo | YouTube)

Exclusive: Other Lives – For 12 (Videos: Vimeo | YouTube)

Exclusive: Other Lives – Tamer Animals (Videos: Vimeo | YouTube)

Exclusive: Other Lives – Dust Bowl III (Videos: Vimeo | YouTube)

Download the Other Lives HearYa Live Session as a zip file.

Video: Other Lives – For 12 (Live in Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)

Video: Other Lives – Dust Bowl III (Live in Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)

Video: Other Lives – Tamer Animals (Live in Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)

Video: Other Lives – As I Lay My Head Down (Live in Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)


Trampled By Turtles, Live Session #90

by oz on June 28, 2011

Trampled By Turtles are my kind of Bluegrass band. They don’t have that clean, crisp Nashville sound you may think of when you think “Bluegrass music.” Instead, they embrace a looser sound that blends rock and punk into their twang.

TxT hails from Duluth, MN and have quietly released five albums, the latest of which is one of my personal favorites of last year. Palomino is a brilliant record that balances furious energy, calming ballads, frantic finger-picking, three-part harmonies, and startlingly good songwriting. Three of the four songs in this session, Victory, Help You, and New Orleans, can be found on Palomino. The heartbreaking ballad entitled Widower’s Heart is a new and unreleased track whose title requires little explanation on its subject matter.

I’ve seen them twice at SxSW in two consecutive years and they were in my top three sets each year. Dave Simonett (guitar/vocals), Ryan Young (fiddle), Erik Berry (mandolin/vocals), Dave Carroll (banjo, vocals), and Tim Saxhaug (bass/vocals) each command their instruments and demand equal attention from the audience. I was chatting with an old friend before they took the stage at HomeSlice Pizza last year in Austin and halfway into their first song, we ended our conversation mid-sentence and didn’t take our eyes off the stage until the set concluded. “Good” is an understatement.

Trampled By Turtles have a few tour dates left this summer, so catch up with them if you can. No matter how hot it is, there’s a very good chance that Erik Berry will be wearing overalls, a cowboy hat, and full beard.

Trampled By Turtles Band Intro

Exclusive: Trampled By Turtles – Widower’s Heart

Exclusive: Trampled By Turtles – Victory

Exclusive: Trampled By Turtles – New Orleans

Exclusive: Trampled By Turtles – Help You

Download the Trampled By Turtles Live Session as a Zip File.

Video: Trampled By Turtles – Widower’s Heart (Live In Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)

Video: Trampled By Turtles – Victory (Live In Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)

Video: Trampled By Turtles – Help You (Live In Chicago at Shirk Music + Sound)


Father’s Day is a mere 2 days away, so if you haven’t purchased a gift that reminds your father of the stress in his life (i.e. some sort of organizer, business casual apparel, and/or a yard tool), better get on that. It’s tradition.

We’ve got a special Father’s Day treat for you today – something that really pulls at the old heartstrings. I have to be honest – I nearly cried watching this.

Local Chicago musician Tony Rogers and director Michael Starcevich approached our friends at Concentrated, a Chicago-based production studio, to do a different kind of music video for Rogers’ song, “Call the Press and Send Their Best.” Rogers and Starcevich came up with a seemingly simple idea: create a music video that captured real-life human emotions in super slow motion. Their subject? Women reacting to the surprise presence of none other than their fathers.

The majority of our writers here at HearYa have daughters, so this one hit close to home (Shirk Music + Sound even did the sound editing). It’s a really cool concept and the way they planned and shot it (as explained in the video) is pretty amazing. So just watch and enjoy.

And instead of buying dad that monogrammed branding iron for steaks that you’ve been eyeing, why don’t you email him these videos instead.

Video: The Making of “Call the Press and Send Their Best”

Video: Tony Rogers – Call The Press and Send Their Best