Catch Bees and The Query: A little Theory with your Music?

I usually make it to about half of the shows I put on my calendar, since usually the walking distance, weather and my available energy set a cap well below what I optimistically hope I can do in a week. This week has been no exception, but I did get in a fabulous concert Friday night. I’ve been a Catch Bees fan for a few months now- they played at New West Fest at a time I was stuck volunteering, so that I never actually got to see them.

I did write a brief blurb on them anyway (New West Fest 2012: Day 1 (Friday)) and listen to what I found of their music on spotify, and ever since I have been adding their songs to my playlists and starting to forget that my friends and acquaintances don’t yet all know who Catch Bees is. This Friday just past, Catch Bees played a show at Everyday Joe’s, with The Query also there playing a set. I’d not heard of The Query before, and they aren’t really on spotify, but they are also amazing.

I’ve wondered ever since I first listened through Catch Bees’ album Newman’s Open Choir, whether the song “Simulacra” is referencing Baudrillard (his Simulacra and Simulation). I also couldn’t help but notice the Hegelian references in “Hegelectic”. I didn’t get around to actually asking about “Simulacra”, but I don’t really need to. That was one of the books on the required reading list for a political theory course I sat in on a couple years ago, taught by my thesis advisor, and yep, that’s where I know one of the fellows from this excellent band.

I vaguely remember having had the conversation before this year, the “have we met before? … why yes, weren’t you in that one class? …” conversation. In any case, that explains the Baudrillard reference. The music these folks make goes beyond nerdy theory references, though. The harmonies in “Holiday Home” are beautiful, and I love all the interesting rhythms this band builds up, using xylophone and other textural instruments to make otherwise pretty songs just a few notches more complicated and interesting.

I don’t have any prior acquaintance with Jonathan or Sam of The Query, of course. I could have sworn that I’ve encountered the gal whose name appears as the third member of this trio, Emily Kitchen, but as she was not there Friday, I’ll have to let that notion simmer a while longer. Both Sam Golden and Jonathan Herring also have done solo work, though I haven’t heard any of it yet. I did, however, bring home a copy of this group’s EP, which will make it onto my computer so I can hear it eventually. In the meantime, there’s always youtube.

Listening to the song “Bloom” from this band’s youtube playlist, I am not sure which arrangement I like better. I do like the third voice (Emily’s) on the video, but the way Sam and Jonathan performed this one on Friday sounded great, too. This was one of my favorite songs from their set. One song that these guys had fun with was called “Emma”, a nice literary reference to go with Catch Bees’ theory references earlier that night. These are both great bands for anyone wanting to put those humanities/ liberal arts degrees to use.

The instruments for their show this time were a cello (and pair of recorders, briefly), acoustic guitar and baritone ukulele. The wide and complex array of sounds these two men create with their poor tortured strings is very cool. We all have some idea what a cello sounds like, but Jonathan’s cello stretches the range of expression usually reserved to cellos. Both men have lovely singing voices, too, and they harmonize very smoothly. Another of my favorites, also on the EP and youtube, is “Breeze”. This one I definitely like better with Emily’s voice added in, but it was a complete and satisfying piece of music without her, too. It’s just a really solid, lovely song in either form.

If you get a chance, dear reader, to see either of these bands live, they are a real treat, up there with SHEL as some of the best musicians and music Fort Collins has created. 🙂

About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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