Company of Thieves: In Good Company (?)

This Wednesday, Feb. 29, the TLA will be hosting Philthy’s best bill of 2012 yet, with Company of Thieves and Girl in a Coma.  It is likely the best...

This Wednesday, Feb. 29, the TLA will be hosting Philthy’s best bill of 2012 yet, with Company of Thieves and Girl in a Coma.  It is likely the best lineup the city has seen since… well, Girl in a Coma and The Coathangers hit up the North Star last November (Check out my interview with GIAC).  This time, however, my favorite Texas Power-Poppers are handling the support duties, with the Chicago Indie Rockers headlining.

The last time the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection saw Company of Thieves they were performing at the Piazza for one of 104.5’s “free summer block parties,” a setting far more conducive to sunburn and strollers than Rock’N’Roll.  However, I suspect seeing them in the far more (well, relatively speaking) intimate, indoor setting of Theatre of the Living Arts will be quite a different experience.  The band are still touring behind their sophomore LP, Running from a Gamble, which dropped last May on Wind-Up Records.  RFAG is a concept album revolving around a girl named Karen, who grows bored with her life in the suburbs, and the trials and tribulations that ensue with her eventual romp through the Wonderland of America.  It often sounds along the lines of Fiona Apple fronting a Power Pop band. It has a certain singer/songwriter aesthetic, but with less concern for delicacy and eloquence.  I recently got a chance to chat with COT vocalist Genevieve Schatz.  Here’s what she had to say.

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Izzy Cihak: Since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I’m inclined to ask if you have any particularly fond, or vivid, memories of the city.  I know you’ve been here a few times now.

Genevieve Schatz: Yes! Philly has so much soul, so much flavor. We have fond memories of walking around South Street and enjoying the stories that the locals offer up. We have been fortunate enough to have mostly friendly interactions with strangers there.

IC: You’re from Chicago, a city with quite a bit of musical history.  Do you have any particular favorite Chicago-based artists?  Liz Phair tops my list.

GS: Wilco and The Smashing Pumpkins are huge flag waivers for Chicago!

IC: Your current tour was a bit of a happy surprise, as you released Running From a Gamble last year and did some substantial touring behind it.  What are the band’s plans for 2012 and what should fans and potential fans expect of the tour?

GS: Surprise! We are so excited to be touring on this record right now. A lot of cities were left out during 2011 and this year gives us a chance to play more songs off the album for cities we hold so dear. We are writing a lot of new material and have been collaborating with fellow artists in our down time. As far as expectations go, I have often heard that coming to a Company of Thieves show is like hanging out with an old friend, so come on out and share the evening with us!

IC: RFAG displayed an evolution of sounds from your debut.  Any even newer sounds that you’re currently looking forward to exploring?

GS: Always- sounds are physical expression, yes? So the more feelings we have, new feelings, the more sounds we will discover to help express those feelings.  A few days ago I got a loop pedal to use in the song “Never Come Back” from RFAG. It helps to re-create the reality of the intense emotional tug of war that I am feeling at the end of the song!

IC: You’re touring with Girl in a Coma, one of my favorite bands (and the band that I’ve regularly heralded as “The only band worthy of their Smiths-inspired moniker”).  What are your thoughts on the Texas trio?

GS: I am a newbie to them, but have recently been digging a little deeper- I absolutely love their honesty in the NPR tiny desk concert performance and their chemistry in the live youtube videos I have seen. They seem to be coming from a sincere place, with both grit and grace.

IC: So I understand that, as a band, you’re quite a fan of sweets, ice cream in particular, in addition to your most famous song being named for one of history’s greatest literary figures (“Oscar Wilde”).  Do you have any other especially significant non-musical influences?

GS: Ohh children’s stories, crowded restaurants, the weather, film, museums, street art!

Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.