Wood Robinson's New Formal, Anne-Claire | Local 506 | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Wood Robinson's New Formal, Anne-Claire 

When: Fri., Jan. 12, 9 p.m. 2018
Price: $8-$10

"Last year was pretty packed," says Mipso's Wood Robinson. It's quite an understatement, considering the locally based string band spent nearly half the year on tour behind its fourth LP, April's Coming Down the Mountain. The quartet even found time to record its next album and is aiming to release it this spring.

"We grew a lot musically and in feeling fulfilled with what we were doing and that it was worth something," he says of 2017, and there's plenty of reason to believe that Mipso's momentum as rising Americana stars will continue in 2018.

"Being a touring musician is a funny thing because you're really occupied for select amounts of time, then you get home," Robinson says from his Asheville residence, where he's tried to keep himself busy during Mipso's current two-month break. He jokes that when he's off the road, he spends his time as "a serial hobbyist," confessing that his first attempts to craft bowls and cups with his recently purchased wood lathe haven't been as fruitful as he hoped.

"I realized about four months ago that I would start to be driven a little stir crazy during this point in our time off," Robinson says. So he made plans for a weekend run in which he'll return to the familiarity of manning the bass while fronting Wood Robinson's New Formal. Since releasing New Formal's debut in 2016, Robinson has still had few opportunities to play those songs live, but he's continued trying to define the sound of his side project. "I recorded those songs without totally knowing what I sought for my own sound," he admits.

In the two years since recording that album, Robinson says he's learned more about what sounds appeal to him. That's been informed by both other artists—he calls David Ramirez's work "so rich without being overblown"—as well as his own New Formal bandmates: Mario Arnez, Charles Cleaver, and Dan Westerlund. Having a consistent group to help him shape his originals has made Robinson hopeful to get back into the studio this year, with most of an album's worth of material already written and a clearer idea of his own style as a rhythmically compelling, songs-forward band.

"I've figured out that it isn't the most honest representation of myself to be a funk band," Robinson says.

Enchanting Durham singer-songwriter Anne-Claire opens, fresh off a successful crowdfunding campaign to finish recording her second full-length album later this month, which should draw together the classically trained singer's disparate interests—from jazz to soul and folk to pop—into lushly orchestrated originals. —Spencer Griffith

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