Tele Novella, Acorn Bcorn, Katterwaul; Solar Culture, Sept. 13

If there's any chance of justice prevailing in the world, Brittany Katter assuming her rightful place as a rock 'n' roll superstar wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Katterwaul—Brittany and her loose conglomerate of back up players—eerily channel that nebulous heart and soul that makes the greatest rock music seem like a perfectly rational reason to keep on keeping on. The fact that Katter, along with drummer Ben Schneider and guitarist Jeff Lownsbury on this particular night, makes it all appear so elementary to harness and then unleash raw electricity back into the universe is easy to overlook when Katterwaul's music is so great. The songs draw on rock 'n' roll, R&B and blues forms and don't look back. Katter's own guitar playing is a rhythm section unto itself—the sound of matter being created as her singing translates the untranslatable. Lownsbury, who normally delves into the outer limits of experimental rock music with The Night Collectors, adds a spectral dimension that goes beyond mere ornamentation, while Schnieder fills in the spaces of Katter's ancient guitar pulse.

Acorn Bcorn exist in the same framework, with similarly outstanding results. The two Cornelius sisters that make up the band, in their several years of performing, have gradually connected the opposite ends of their stylistic makeup—dissonant no wave and soulful country/folk—into a flowing organism that kills as much pain as it inflicts. Several new songs that emphasized Acorn Bcorn's evolution into nuanced complexity, proved to be stunning, heartfelt and moving. But the duo's music is still full of jagged edges and corrosive textures, even at its smoothest. Marina Cornelius' voice is outrageously powerful, belting out deep soul ballads with the force to move a mountain and screaming louder than an earthquake.

Headliners Tele Novella, on tour from Austin, Texas, fused Katterwaul's devastating emotional impact with Acorn Bcorn's huge sound factory and wrapped it together in a stately sense of dignity. Relatively toned down from what came before, the quartet was a commanding presence armed with songs of astonishing detail, wit and depth. Vocalist/guitarist Natalie Ribbons led Tele Novella through a remarkable set of swinging anthems, pounding rock 'n' roll and sweeping torch songs that already sound like classics.


More by Joshua Levine


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