GENERAL OGLETHORPE & THE PANHANDLERS
At 10 p.m. Friday, April 6
The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
There are changes afoot in the general's camp. Somewhere over the last six or eight months, Savannah's kings and queens of quirk learned the art of subtlety. Which means that the new EP, North of the River, is a musical quantum leap from the loveable but loony full-length debut Whistle the Dirges (2011).
This show, with the astonishingly good Whaleboat, is the official EP Release Party for North of the River.
The focus is still on the inter-twining twin vocals of band co-founders Devin Smith and Anna Chandler, but the songs are better, they have more recognizable structure, and the two are singing more confidently than before - very likely the result of playing many dozens of live shows.
They just got back from their very first regional tour.
Last year's addition of Daniel Wilson, on keyboards and all kinds of other stuff like marimba and trombone, gave the Panhandlers an entire palette of new colors. Founding drummer Duncan Iaria and new bassist Crystina Parker form a solid rhythm section.
Even with the new confidence, and five pretty great new songs (produced by Slave Grave's Peter Seeba), General Oglethorpe & the Panhandlers remain something of an acquired taste. But for state-of-the-art experimental pop music, Savannah-style, don't look much farther than North of the River.
Stream a song from the EP here: http://m.soundcloud.com/generalomusic/sunday-best
At 8 p.m. Monday, April 9
Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
Sofia Talvik's newest collection of songs, The Owls Are Not What They Seem, sounds like it could have been recorded in the early 1970s, when singer/songwriters were prized for their eccentricity, and the striking colors they brought as individuals to commercially-viable acoustic balladry.
The doe-eyed pop stylist, who first visited Savannah in December, has played with rock bands, with electronica backing, and was the first Swedish female artist to play the Lollapalooza Festival.
On this album, she is clearly in her element. It is a thing of spectral acoustic beauty, and this Monday night performance is highly recommended by us jaded fools here at Connect.
"I decided to make an album that was the essence of that me," Talvik said about Owls. "Just something I could record in my bedroom without the pressure of a big production, time and opinions from others.
"All the songs on The Owls Are Not What They Seem are recorded that way. Me - playing and singing at the same time, then sparsely adding other instruments to enhance and highlight where I thought it was needed.
"My goal was to keep it down and make an acoustic album with a live, organic feel to it. I had no interest in changing the world or inventing something new. I just wanted to make a beautiful acoustic album."