Elim Bolt and Wilder Maker Reverberate the Roof

A small but attentive crowd showed up at the Tin Roof on a cool Monday night (Oct. 8) to check out Brooklyn-based indie band Wilder Maker and local group Elim Bolt. Both bands delivered sets of sonic mayem and beauty.

We were expecting a sort of bohemian-jazzy folk-pop thing from Wilder Maker (and we though they were from Boston), but bespectacled lead singer/guitarist Gabe Birnbaum and his paired-down combo rocked it up with an unusually sparse and scratchy style, propelled by rich, three-part harmonies and electric piano. They played several songs from their new collection, God Bless the Hunger. The rhythms were loose, but the arrangements were tight. Imagine the Handsome Family or Bill Callahan’s Smog covering deep cuts by the Band and the Bad Seeds.

Lanky singer/guitarist Johnnie Matthews turned up the reverb on his Fender Telecaster and cranked the delay effect on his microphone as Elim Bolt revved up the next set. They also sounded a bit heavier and more dynamic than we expected, with a dense, double-guitar attack (Jordan Hicks’ high-toned hollow-body guitar complemented Matthew’s rhythm work). Hearts & Plugs label exec and Run Dan Run frontman Dan McCurry provided a killer distorted organ tone from stage left (the late Jon Lord would have approved). Much of the music bounced with a heavy swing beat. Matthews sang confidently and emotively, especially when harmonizing with backing vocalist Amber Joyner. Jangly, fuzzy, and weird, Elim Bolt were blast. Look for their full-length debut Nude South via Hearts & Plugs in early November.

Here are a few fuzzy clips of Elim Bolt from the show:






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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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