Tag Archives: Murder by Death
The five-piece Murder by Death formed while attending college in Bloomington, Ind., in 2000. They began making music together just to have fun, with an eye on playing parties to drink for free. The name comes from a movie and where their sound comes from is either complicated or very simple depending on your point of view. There have been all kinds of labels for it, from post-punk and Americana to alt-country and Gothic Southern rock. But the band—Adam Turla (vocals, guitar and keys), Matt Armstrong (bass) and Sarah Balliet (cello and keys), part of the original lineup, and Dagan Thogerson (drums) and Scott Brackett (accordion, cornet and theremin), who joined in 2007 and 2011, respectively—just prefers: rock and roll. Their sixth album, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, comes out on 9/25 (stream “I Come Around,” below), and Murder by Death (above, doing “As Long as There Is Whiskey in the World”) plays Webster Hall next Tuesday, 7/17.
Tags: Adam Turla, Bitter Drink Bitter Moon, Dagan Thogerson, Matt Armstrong, Murder by Death, Preview, Sarah Balliet, Scott Brackett, Video, Webster Hall
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Murder by Death – The Bowery Ballroom – May 4, 2010
Over the years, Murder by Death has honed its gothic noir punk-rock sound, carving out a niche genre of basically one. Last night’s Bowery Ballroom set had the Bloomington, Ind., quartet showcasing yet another step in its evolution as a band, playing a selection of songs from its newest release, Good Morning, Magpie, an album that once again starkly plays upon Americana influences, especially Johnny Cash. Driving such comparisons is frontman Adam Turla’s low-baritone range, which is similar to Cash’s.
After playing a few older songs, Murder by Death jumped into a run of new material, playing standout tracks “King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs,” “As Long as There Is Whiskey in the World” (leading to a loud crowd sing-along) and “On the Dark Streets Below.” Although the audience swayed and sang songs old and new—and even moshed for a few—it was “Brother” and “Spring Break 1899” that had the most drinks in the air. One of Murder by Death’s best qualities, other than its penchant for writing songs about zombies, the devil, and drinking whiskey, is its lush instrumentation, which once again draws on its Americana roots. Having an electric cello player instead of a bassist, Murder by Death is already rather unique, but last night they added a keyboard, an accordion and a trumpet, which took the band’s on-record sound perfectly into the live setting. —Kirsten Housel