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Clubland: Eytan and the Embassy brings catchy pop tunes to Iron Horse

  • Eytan and the Embassy
  • Allison Miller

If you go gaga for piano pop and ultra-tuneful rock that wears its influences on its well-arranged sleeve (The Beatles, e_SSRq60s soul, Spoon), Eytan and the Embassy is your new favorite band. The group performs at the Iron Horse tonight at 10 p.m.

The Brooklyn band, led by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Eytan Oren, works hard to make effortlessly catchy songs, timeless confections inspired by decades of pop music on the radio.

“Everything Changes” is Eytan and the Embassy’s new 12-song album. It bounces out of the speakers with hand claps, sleigh bells, Motown vibraphones, Left Banke string sections, bold and bright brass/woodwind sections, playful backing vocals — every bell and whistle that classic pop and soul music knows how to use, but with a modern sheen.

Hooky tunes abound: “No Reason To Cry” kicks off with a super-groove rhythm straight out of LCD Soundsystem or Spoon, but bursts into a big party of a chorus that marries pulsing disco energy with “Savoy Truffle” horns and “Lady Madonna” piano. “The Good Life” stomps around with another catchy chorus and “Good Morning Marilyn” sounds like Elliott Smith played by Jellyfish.

Not content to just make a fun, colorful and entertaining album, the band made an equally creative video that’s being passed around the internet by everyone from Neil Patrick Harris to your friend-of-a-friend on Facebook. It’s a clever clip that currently holds the record for most costume changes in a single-take video. Like the music, the visuals make nods to the last 50 years of pop music, as Oren’s head and shoulders shift chameleon-like from Bob Dylan to Elton John to Springsteen to “Weird Al” Yankovic (thanks to the help of Nicole Pezzolla, in charge of the costume shop at LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts).

To check it out, visit http://vimeo.com/44341787.

Allison Miller

“I try to not let the b-o-r-e-d word enter my life,” drummer Allison Miller recently said in an interview, and her wide-ranging musical world is proof of how joyously busy she is.

Miller has been behind the drums since age 10 and she’s toured with Brandi Carlile, Ani DiFranco and Natalie Merchant, played with avant-garde musicians like Marty Ehrlich, and was even chosen by the U.S. State Department to be a jazz ambassador (traveling to teach, meet local musicians and play free concerts in Africa, Southeast Asia and more).

She’s also a member of a few bands: Honey Ear Trio, Big Molasses, and her current focus, BOOM TIC BOOM, which comes to the area as part of the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert series at the Arts Block Cafe in Greenfield Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Miller surrounds herself with excellent players no matter what the project, and BOOM TIC BOOM is no different, featuring Myra Melford on piano, Todd Sickafoose on bass and Kirk Knuffke on trumpet, all big names on the indie jazz scene.

Her music has a melodic strength and diverse palette, with songs like the funky “Big and Lovely,” the spacey and moody “Spotswood Drive” (dedicated to her first drum teacher, Walter Salb, who became a close friend and mentor to the drummer) and the head-bobbing “Pork Belly.” The latter two tunes are on the group’s just-released second album, “No Morphine, No Lilies.”

And for all the jazz-drummer fans out there, mark the calendar for the next Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert, which will feature Mike Reed’s People, Places and Things at the United Congregational Church in Holyoke on Thursday May 23 at 7:30 p.m. The Chicago-based inside/outside group is a quartet of Greg Ward on alto sax, Tim Haldeman on tenor sax, Jason Roebke on bass and Mike Reed on drums.

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