Smile Politely

Jared Bartman Plays Monday on WEFT

If wading through an endless sea of faceless indie-rockers has you thirsting for something altogether different, then tune in Monday night at 10 p.m. on WEFT, 90.1 FM, to hear Jared Bartman perform on WEFT Sessions. Bartman says, “Expect an ethnic, European-sounding combination of instruments and also a great deal of musical variety.”

Bartman, who normally performs as a three-piece with drummer Aaron Kavelman and multi-instrumentalist Erik Christian Juhl, will be stripped down to a duo on-air, as Kavelman is unavailable for the evening. “It’ll be pleasantly surprising what Erik and I can do with limited space and instruments,” Bartman noted of their in-studio gig. “We’re used to smaller stages, and we
find ways to make the clutter of instruments work.”

A native of Princeton, Illinois, and a student at Bradley, Bartman counts John Vanderslice, Radiohead, Wilco, Ravi Shankar, and the Mountain Goats among his influences. “I’m a fan of both [Vanderslice and
John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats] especially because of their ability to find beauty in absolutely horrible situations.” he said. You can hear the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Wilco come through loud and clear on tracks like “I Refute Technology,” filled with clangs and tinkles that form an unlikely melody.

If you happen to be in Peoria tomorrow night, you can catch Bartman and company at Peoria Pizza Works. He’ll also be performing as part of Pygmalion Music Festival at the Red Herring on Friday, September 19 at 6:45 p.m. “We’ll be a three-piece for Pygmalion, and it’s a much shorter set than we normally play.” he explained. (Full disclosure: a founding member of Smile Politely also produces Pygmalion Music Festival.)

Bartman’s most recent EP is I Refute Technology, released in August 2007. “There are plenty of other things coming,” he promised. “We’re releasing a full-length album after the first of the year, so we’ll be promoting that and hopefully doing a ton of shows in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.”

Their upcoming album was recorded at Pogo Studio in Champaign by Mark Rubel. Bartman said of Rubel, “He’s very well-versed in the music industry, an amazing friend, and was crucial in the development of the sound of our latest E.P.”

Bartman’s eclectic mix of “indie with world music influences” isn’t for everyone, but it’s original enough to warrant a free listen on Monday night to find out for yourself.

Photo by Dixie Schoeder

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