Two for Tulsa
Two recent album releases in diverse styles
Burning City Orchestra, “Burning City Orchestra”
Noam Faingold has all the right credentials.
He serves as the director of Tulsa’s Barthelmes Conservatory and teaches music courses at the University of Tulsa and Tulsa Community College.
As a composer, arranger and orchestrator, he has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra and members of the New York Philharmonic.
But his current passion project is a genre-bending approach to challenging what an orchestra can or should be.
With Burning City Orchestra’s self-titled debut, Faingold infuses traditional chamber music soundscapes with elements of rock, jazz and punk. The result is a wholly unique experience that is simultaneously complex and yet highly approachable for classical and contemporary music fans alike.
Lush, soaring strings give every track an emotional surge that elevates Faingold’s crooning vocals and beautifully earnest lyrics. Honestly, it doesn’t even seem fair that someone so talented in composition should also be so gifted when it comes to songwriting.
Standout tracks include the energetic love song “Inspiration Hits Like an Atomic Bomb” and the epic “What Sweaters are for in the Summer.” However, the entire album is a fantastic must-have.
Cucumber and the Suntans, “Consumer Mono: I hope they don’t find this. E.P.”
Cucumber and the Suntans is a band that delivers. Its creative output is astonishing and rivaled by few other acts in the city.
Since TulsaPeople last spoke to frontman Mike Gilliland and drummer Allen Martin in summer 2014, the group has released three albums to its Bandcamp page, recorded an hour-long song and distributed countless limited-edition cassettes of even more material.
John Langdon joined the band a year and a half ago on the keyboard and guitar, rounding out the group’s low-fi production.
The band’s most recent effort, titled “Consumer Mono: I hope they don’t find this. E.P.,” released in November. The majority of the record focuses on the age-old theme of love, a theme that seems to be a staple of Cucumber and the Suntans’ material.
But with each album, lyricist Gilliland delves deeper, examining the concept from a new perspective. On “Accord Omni,” one of the band’s previous releases, feelings of heartbreak and love lost permeated the album.
“Consumer Mono” picks up right where that record left off, this time focusing on finding one’s footing and rediscovering oneself after grieving the demise of a relationship.
The album’s opening track, “I’ll Be Here,” sees Gilliland trying to reconcile his artistic ambition with his desire for genuine romance. “If I could really have my way, I’d pick up this uke and I’d never stop playing,” he sings. “But then I’d change my mind for fear I’d be an angry old man, no ring on his finger, no bride in his hand.”
“Consumer Mono” is a heartbreakingly honest record at times, and it’s this heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting that makes it so relatable and attractive.
FEBRUARY’s Best Bets for Live Music
2/11 Martin Sexton, Cain’s Ballroom
Singer/songwriter, blue-eyed soul man, a musician’s musician — Martin Sexton is all of the above.
His performances are legendary for being incredibly intimate, but they likewise feature an unbelievable energy that rivals any arena show to grace the BOK Center.
The artist stops in Tulsa in support of his latest record, “Mixtape of the Road.” Show starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7.
2/14 Arlo Guthrie, Brady Theater
When Arlo Guthrie was arrested for littering on Thanksgiving Day 1965, not even he could’ve guessed the incident would not only prevent him from being drafted into the Vietnam War, but also would become the basis for his signature song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.”
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the incident, Guthrie has spent the past year performing the 18-minute long story song, among others from his catalog, as part of his “Alice’s Restaurant” tour. Concert starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7.