Wine and Spirits is a Louisville band not entirely unlike its namesake. Like the experience of being under the influence, there is most definitely a calming aspect to their songs, but they also creep along with an abrasive drone by no means unpleasant but completely impossible to drive out of the mind, kind of like the hangover after the best night of your life.
This isn’t surprising since the band seems to have some sort of obsession with hypnotism and subtle seduction. Their music reminds me of the joke where the doctor cures a patient’s leg pain by hitting him in the head with a hammer. Only in Wine and Spirits’ version of the joke, the patient would be grateful. He’d come back.
“I think that we all kind of have a preoccupation with any sort of mysticism and spirits,” Wine and Spirits’ Kevin Molloy explained. “At times we all feel as though we’re completely disconnected from our actions and our bodies and we like to try to channel that any time that we play. Which is kind of what music is about to us anyway. Hypnotism would be an example of that mysticism and of that fact that you’re under the influence of other people’s examples all the time.”
After talking to Molloy, it occurs to me from his explanation about the band’s paranormal interest that perhaps the Spirits in Wine and Spirits aren’t alcoholic, but ghosts. This makes the name even more fitting for a band that actively seeks a surreal musical tone by layering multiple guitars until a haunting drone runs throughout each song.
Wine and Spirits set up this Saturday’s show at the Monkey Wrench as a vehicle to bring in Simon Joyner, a ridiculously unnoticed singer-songwriter legend in a vein similar to Townes Van Zandt. Most of Joyner’s recent attention comes from the fact that Conor Oberst, a.k.a. Bright Eyes, a.k.a. “The New Dylan,” is actually more like the new Simon Joyner, which is painfully obvious when one hears Joyner’s songs and learns that he hails from Omaha, Oberst’s hometown as well.
Joyner is known for almost never touring, but thanks to the wonders of MySpace, Molloy was able to get in touch with him as soon as Joyner sent out a message about doing a small Midwest tour that would hit either Lexington or Louisville.
“That whole MySpace thing is really like a big high school, and it’s a complete waste of time,” Molloy said. “It’s people who are single getting on there trying to hook up with other people, and it’s really kind of disgusting. But for bands, it’s a total different version of disgusting. It’s more like, ‘Let’s see who we can try and get to like our music across this town and across America.’”
Despite Molloy’s disgust for the online community, his luck in catching Joyner’s message at the right time is now passed on to the people of Louisville, because seeing Joyner live is a rare opportunity.
Additionally, Molloy has brought in the Working Poor, of Pittsburgh, Molloy’s former hometown, to perform. Molloy describes them as “the most modern and appropriate version of country that’s probably going on right now across this land. It’s the kind of country that was supposed to be played when people originally invented the genre, which is basically true to the heart about words and emotions with a little bit of a beat so people can dance. It’s really sweet and really poignant.”
Lastly, a brand new Louisville band, Horseless, will be there. Horseless is a collaborative effort between Bootsie Anne, who is known for her evocative vocal performance alongside her simply-strummed ukulele, and Joe Meredith of the Merediths.
“I don’t think they were quite wanting to play shows together yet, but they were so excited about Simon Joyner, just as we are, that they wanted to just take the opportunity and play it,” Molloy said.
With such a diverse group of musicians scrambling to perform alongside Joyner, the show is bound to be interesting and have a little something for everyone. There will be male and female vocalists, the buzzing insistence of electric guitars and the quiet plink of a ukulele, and as the centerpiece to it all: a semi-reclusive singer-songwriter who, as Molloy said, “could do anything he wanted if he actually wanted it, but I think he’s pretty happy to just write a song.”
I, for one, am pretty happy to just listen.
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