There are many paths to musical discovery, but one of the oldest – and still one of the most effective – is the opening act. Someone, usually with some sort of financial interest in the musical program of the evening, has sat down and made a conscious effort to match compatible (or at least complimentary musical artists), and create a unified musical event for a majority of the audience to enjoy. Even in the internet age, this is arguably still the best way to promote a young band and find the audience most receptive to a particular sound. Recently, there was a conversation among the owners of and contributors to this site about the many ways one can go about discovering music in today’s distribution stream (we all agree tympanogram should have a key role in your personal discovery process, but that might be a bit biased). The topic of opening acts came up, and I believe it was Andy who suggested how valuable it is to research the touring support for a favorite band, even when you can’t make it out to show. I know I have found countless bands this way, some of whom have since gone on to become headliners themselves, thereby leading to new support act discoveries… and so the circle of (band) life marches on.
Today’s post was discovered while perusing the lineup of Cincinnati’s MusicNOW festival lineup 2011. When a festival books a lineup of your favorite musical discoveries of the last half decade, and one unfamiliar name is playing support, it’s probably a good idea to type the unknown artist into Google.
While Little Scream (Montreal based, one-woman band Laurel Sprengelmeyer) is not well described by parallels to Owen Pallet, Shara Worden, The National or any of her fellow MusicNOW artists, it is hard to imagine fans of those artists not being taken by the fine craft of this emerging talent. The best connection one could make to the rest of the festival bill would be Sharon Van Etten. However, that comparison amounts to saying she is also a gifted singer-songwriter who can create ornate, layered studio magic – while also excelling at intimate live performance with a guitar and little else in the way of accompaniment. Both sides of the performer are on display in the song download and video provided below. The download, “Cannons,” reaches up towards the dramatic pop symphonies favored by fellow US southerner by way of Montreal, Win Butler (Arcade Fire). The video, an intimate performance of “The Heron and the Fox” from the inside of a station wagon, demonstrates how well the songs of Ms. Sprengelmeyer work in an (extremely) intimate, acoustic environment.
Little Scream // Cannons [mp3] from The Golden Record
Both songs will appear on the debut Little Scream LP entitled The Golden Record. The long player has received a limited release via merch table sales, and the buzz is already starting to mount across the web. Everyone will have the chance to listen to the full record on April, 11 when the disc sees wide release on the Secretly Canadian label. The MusicNOW festival will be held on May 13-15 in Cincinnati, OH with a Friday show featuring Little Scream, Tim Hecker, and Owen Pallet, after which Little Scream will kick off a North American tour opening for The Antlers.
MusicNOW Festival 2011 // http://www.musicnowfestival.org/