Murder By Death / Suzannah Johannes / Cowboy Indian Bear


Despite their brutal namesake, Indiana's Murder By Death is more country-gothic than actual goth. Nick Cave would enjoy the group's maudlin, minor-key pub songs, while Ennio Morricone might smile kindly on the group's recent Spaghetti Western material. Lyrically, the group tends toward the macabre and the concept-oriented. Fresh off the heels of their recently finished East Coast tour, Murder By Death will be performing the complete two albums in their Desert Series: 2008's "Red of Tooth and Claw" and 2003's "Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them."

It was only a couple years ago that Suzannah Johannes started writing songs and performing; first as a solo artist, and then with backing from Ghosty's David Wetzel and Josh Adams. Eventually the whole Ghosty camp joined her, and her debut four-song EP thusly became a full-bodied affair that plays to each member's laid-back skill set. Johannes also enlisted the lyrical talents of Lawrence songwriter Hanz Bronze on the four-song collection, using his poems as the foundations for her misty-eyed verses.

Cowboy Indian Bear is a superb new Lawrence band featuring former Jen Say Kwahs frontman Marty Hillard along with ex-Kennedy Luck Clubbers C.J. Calhoun and Beau Bruns. Picking up where those bands left off, CIB composes deft and brainy indie pop with party-down beats and lots of melodic left turns. Points of reference include Death Cab and Architecture in Helsinki, but these dudes are digging deep into the well to come up with something fresh.


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