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Sons and Daughters, The Swell Season must-see shows
by Albert Rodriguez and Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writers

SONS AND DAUGHTERS
APRIL 29 - 9 PM
NEUMOS - $10


There's something a little menacing about Glasgow's Sons and Daughters. It's hard to put your finger on what it is, exactly, as their songs lurch between wild stomps and melodic, angular Scottish folk-punk flourishes from one track to the next. Maybe it's something to do with the content; vengeance and madness topped with devilishly pretty vocals can be a little chilling. As the tour winds down to its last week and brings the band to Neumos, you can bet Sons and Daughters will be as razor-sharp as ever. This seems to be a quartet at its best when pushed to extremes. Having cut their teeth in the UK as well as opening for Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, and The Decemberists, rumor has it their live performances are perfection and impossible to follow.

Petite vixen Adele Bethel is a fascinating frontwoman and guitarist. She manages to make playing with something dangerous seem like a very good idea. Scott Paterson's growl matches her during each call and response, and the two often sound like lovers fighting to the death. Bassist/mandolin player Ailidh Lennon and drummer David Gow complete the quartet's punk edges, although there's a folksy hint of Lee-Hazelwood-tinged storytelling apparent as well. Fans of Nick Cave, New Model Army, and the male/female vocals of X should not miss this show.

This Gift, released in 2007, is the quartet's best work yet. True to their focus, Sons and Daughters holed up in a barn in Scotland with no television or telephones and wrote songs all day long for their third record. In what seemed at first an odd pairing, the group hooked up with top-notch producer (and former London Suede guitarist) Bernard Butler, known for his uncompromising ear and sometimes blunt opinions. However he brought it about, Butler helped push the band to a new confidence and took their sound to another level. Sons and Daughters now sound like a band reveling in strength. If the album is this intense, it stands to reason that in person they'll blow the roof off Neumos this week. Don't miss it. J. Price

Artist essentials: Top picks from This Gift include "Gilt Complex" and the fierce "House In My Head."


THE SWELL SEASON
APRIL 30 - 8 PM
MOORE THEATRE - SOLD OUT


This year's Academy Awards provided few surprises and even fewer thrills, unless you count Marion Cotillard's deserved triumph over a frumpily-attired Julie Christie. And, of course, there was the emotional win by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for Best Original Song. The pair, co-stars of the adorable indie sleeper Once, accepted the award with watery eyes and huge smiles - they absolutely earned it. Days later, Hansard and Irglova signed a recording contract with Chappell Music, a sub-label of the mega Warner Music Group. Which brings us to The Swell Season, the original collaboration of Hansard and Irglova. If you enjoyed the Once soundtrack, you'll no doubt fall in love with the self-titled album by The Swell Season. It's twice as good. If you don't get chills from the fragile, startling "Drown Out" then perhaps you're spineless.

What's so amazing about The Swell Season is the lush simplicity of their music - a combination of guitar chords, violin and cello strings, and two stirring vocalists. Like a favorite cup of tea on a rainy afternoon, the songs by this European foursome perfectly hit the spot. Hansard and Irglova first crossed paths in the latter's native Czech Republic when Hansard toured the country with his other project, Irish band The Frames. Sound confusing? Probably, but just know that it all led to The Swell Season.

The quartet, Hansard and Irglova with Marja Tuhkanen and Bertrand Galen, sold out Wednesday night's performance at the Moore Theatre before the show was even officially announced. I still haven't figured out how I'm even getting into this concert, but where there's a will, there's a way. And believe me, I've got the will. Should you have tickets to The Swell Season, you're in for an incredible treat - an evening of genuine, beautiful, acoustic music and a rare opportunity to be serenaded by two Oscar winners. A. Rodriguez

Artist essentials: Listen to "Drown Out" at www.myspace.com/theswellseason and prepare to be mesmerized.

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