First/Last-He’s My Brother She’s My Sister

October 27, 2012

“He’s My Brother She’s My Sister seem to invite a broad range of colorful words to describe their music and performances: “flamboyant folk,” “psych-acoustic,” “estranged and glamorous” and “vaudeville-y.” No doubt this is due to their mélange of musical styles, both modern and antique; their eccentric attire and sense of expression, both sincere and theatrical; and, their unique instrumentation, which includes a rhythm section bolstered by a tap dancer. Brother and sister Robert Kolar and Rachel Kolar split vocal duties, with Robert on guitar and kick drum and Rachel on tambourine. Their voices range from boisterous to introspective, from breezy to emotive. Lauren Brown adds full-body percussion with her fluid tap-dancing and drumming. Oliver Newell adds stand up bass with joyous flair. Aaron Robinson plays lead guitar on a lap slide, veering from nuanced psychedelica to American roots riffs.”

The band makes it’s Pittsburgh debut tomorrow at the T’Bird with support from local duo Faithful Sinners. They are touring behind their latest fantastically foot-stompin’ release, “Nobody Dances in This Town” from Park The Van Records. My thanks to siblings Rachel Kolar (Vocals/Percussion) and Robert Kolar (Vocals/Guitar) for taking some time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • Rachel Kolar: Cyndi Lauper, “She’s So Unusual” (Used).
  • Robert Kolar: With my own money…Blur “Park Life”, Weezer “S/T ‘Blue’ Album”. First cassette was an Ace of Base extended single on a street corner in Paris.
  • Your last album bought?
  • Rachel: The Orb Featuring Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, “Golden Clouds”.
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • Rachel: “The White Album”, “Sgt. Peppers…”, “Revolver”…The Beatles.
  • Rob: So many…right now, Bowie, “ Ziggy Stardust”, Arthur Alexander, “Best of”, The Beatles, “The White Album”, T. Rex, “Electric Warrior”, Spoon, “Kill the Moonlight”, Neil Young, “After The Goldrush”, CCR, “Green River”.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • Rachel: Lana Del Rey.
  • Rob: Hard to say. Hate to knock anyone that is creating something and putting it out into the world. I’m not thrilled with the direction Radiohead has gone. I feel like they have been too conscious of not writing a pop song or a song that might tie into a more traditional songwriting structure. I think their music has suffered a bit. Feels like they are a bit self aware and calculated in their approach. They’ve lost some of their guttural rock and roll looseness that I love about their early records. I think this is indicative of a lot of releases at the moment. I like The Growlers approach and Soft Pack or Ariel Pink, same with Bad Weather California. There is a looseness and freedom in the expression that makes the records more fun to listen to and experience.
  • First concert attended?
  • Rachel: Janet Jackson in Hong Kong.
  • Rob: Rancid at The Palladium. ‘And Out Come the Wolves’ tour. First mosh pit too.
  • Last concert?
  • Rachel: The Flaming Lips.
  • Rob: Tommy Santee Klaws CD release in LA. Really excellent show! They are part of a bizarre underground folk scene that has emerged in the east side of Los Angeles. We also feel very much a part of that movement.
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • Rachel: Radiohead.
  • Rob: The White Stripes in Prague. Radiohead at Coachella in mid 2000’s. Dr. Dog at The El Rey. Beck at The El Rey. Spindrift at Clean Air Clear Stars. Henry Wolfe in a medusa mask at a fundraiser party we threw. Many others. These areoff the top of my head.
  • Least favorite concert?
  • Rachel: Can’t remember…it was that bad.
  • Rob: My other band Lemon Sun played with Gotye in a small LA club. I found it a bit boring.
  • Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • Rachel: Great massages!
  • Rob: I love the Penguins (second fav team after the Kings) and we’ve never been. One of my best friends is from there and all the folks I’ve met from there have been really cool so we are really excited. Also read an article that it is one of the most livable cities in America so that makes it all the moreenticing.

Thanks, guys. Such a fun record you have there. I am sure it’s a hoot to play live!