John Vanderslice and Bishop Allen in Concert
Hear singer-songwriter John Vanderslice and Brooklyn rock band Bishop Allen take the stage for a night of smart, adventurous pop music, webcast live on NPR.org on Sept. 22. Bishop Allen opens the performance from Washington, D.C.'s Rock and Roll Hotel.
Vanderslice is one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today. He's released six mostly conceptual solo albums in about as many years, all of them widely praised for the way they reflect Vanderslice's curious world of sonic and musical experimentation.
Vanderslice's latest CD is Emerald City, a multi-layered collection of twisted musical tales. Over the course of nine tracks, the album reveals a world of insecurity in which the characters, driven by loneliness and paranoia, lust for revenge, but remain confused by their own anger and conflicting desire for love.
Vanderslice wrote the bulk of Emerald City while dealing with legal problems after U.S. immigration authorities rejected a visa application for his French girlfriend. The case, which remains unresolved, inspired Vanderslice to address the complicated politics of a world in conflict. (The name Emerald City refers to the Green Zone in Baghdad.)
In addition to recording and releasing albums, Vanderslice is also the founder of San Francisco's Tiny Telephone, one of the last all-analog studios in the Bay Area. Artists such as Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon and Okkervil River have all recorded there, and it's where Vanderslice recorded Emerald City.
Opening the live webcast on Saturday is Bishop Allen, an upbeat, playful pop group based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Though not officially a duo, Bishop Allen features the songwriting of Justin Rice and Christian Rudder. The long-time friends formed the group in 2003 with a rotating cast of supporting members.
With no label or publicist, Rice and Rudder spent all of 2006 self-releasing an EP each month on their Web site, creating nearly 60 new songs in the process. Bishop Allen's new CD, The Broken String, features reworked versions of ten songs produced during the EP project, as well as two new tracks.
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