Oh My Rockness presents
Hospitality (Merge Records), Willoughby, Junior High
1717 Silverlake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90027
Doors 8:30PM / Show 9:00PM (event ends at 2:00 am)
This event is 21 and over
Hospitality (Merge Records)
The angular, intricate, and intelligent compositions of Hospitality signal a sophisticated new pop voice. Singer Amber Papini's idiosyncratic songwriting and incisive lyrics coupled with the band's rich arrangements on their self-titled debut explore youth, New York, and the bittersweet commingling of past and present in a way that feels just right, right now.
From the opening phrase of "Eighth Avenue," guitar hooks are balanced with a cultivated melody. Papini's singing has a wisp of an English accent via Kansas City (she learned to sing by imitating Richard Butler on The Psychedelic Furs' Talk Talk Talk) and her lyrics create a moonstruck, even cinematic vision of New York City, where the band formed in 2007. The production by Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) and band member Nathan Michel (guitar, drums, keyboards), who released his share of experimental "bedroom" pop, culminating in 2005's The Beast (Skipp/Sonig), imbues the entire record with an intimate yet prodigious sound, layering period keyboards with horns, synthesizers, and treated guitars.
Hospitality the album has an overarching vision and should be listened to as a whole, though every song registers as a single. (Will Merge take a cue from Epic's Thriller campaign and release seven singles? They should!) "Friends of Friends" could break the Hot 100 with its heavy intro, swingin' breakdown, and horn riffs; "Betty Wang," the lynchpin of their live set a few years back, is impossibly catchy, the story of one of Papini's real-life colleagues at a financial day job; and "The Right Profession" is a power-pop burst of an anthem with Papini chanting the immortal line, "It's hard to change!" (Isn't it?) And "The Birthday," with a sinuous, dissonant lead guitar, the lockstep rhythm of the drums, and Brian Betancourt's nimble bass, wouldn't be out of place on The Police's debut record, but its epic coda makes it decidedly CinemaScope. Hospitality, while hearkening back to '70s/'80s pop—both Elvis Costello and Kate Bush are influences—has an ambitious vision: its big promise is nowhere more evident than on the gorgeous anthem "Julie," the album's centerpiece which already sounds like a classic. The song's lush, glorious build is coupled with lyrics inspired by Papini's great-grandfather, a Pennsylvania coalminer.
Reprising some songs from a self-released 2008 EP recorded by Karl Blau (K Records) allows Hospitality to nod to its beginnings as a more lo-fi outfit; that early intimacy can be found in the arrangement of the cheeky and distinctly NC-17 "Liberal Arts." Since recording its LP, the band has become a quartet, filling out its live sound with Kyle Olson on drums and Michel moving to lead guitar duties. And after patiently honing its craft, playing concerts (and gaining converts), Hospitality has reached what will be its first apex with many more heights to come; from their modest debut in a Red Hook row house, the band has evolved from four-track low-fidelity to a luxury five-star future.
For their forthcoming debut LP (due in January), Hospitality have widened the iris with the help of producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells), letting in new colors and textures while continuing to pack an impressive degree of musical and lyrical sophistication into the pop song structure, along with a refreshing fondness for experimentation that should turn the heads of casual listeners and merciless critics alike.
Since recording, Michel has traded his trap kit for electric guitar (an instrument he's been known to wield on his various brilliant solo efforts [Google him]), and the band has added drummer Kyle Olson to the lineup, transforming the once minimalist trio into a fully orchestrated quartet with quite the engaging live show.
All songs performed and produced by Gus Seyffert. The live band is Gus Seyffert, Bram Inscore, John Wood, and Mike Green.
In the fall of 2010 Michael Deakers and Josh Ottum met up for beers and burritos in the small beach town of Leucadia, California. Under the spell of the breezy Pacific Ocean air and memories of an idyllic San Diego upbringing, they headed to Michael’s house and wrote a song called “D.O.P.E.” They both listened to it 50 times each day for the next week and both recognized they had come across something special. Over the next few months the two musicians feverishly wrote and produced what would become Junior High, their self-titled debut. Junior High celebrates the sounds and emotions that are inextricably linked with the emergence of the synthesizer, the warmth and nostalgia of a pastel-colored windbreaker, sailboats, and the unapologetic lyrical positivity of the 1980′s.
Both Deakers and Ottum grew up in the 80′s with older sisters who directly and indirectly exposed them to the beautiful collision of athletic sentimentality, relentless grooves, and the technological innovations of a digital age. Whitney Houston, The Pointer Sisters, Prince, the St. Elmo’s Fire soundtrack…these are just a few of the cassettes that have been worn out by the members of Junior High. Not content to pretend they’re living in the past, the group’s songs embrace a number of influences from different periods in history. “My Number One” features a Roy Orbison-esque post-chorus; the epic “Shufflin’ The Cards” is reminiscent of Steely Dan and M.I.A.; and the anthemic and undeniably catchy single “PSA” has nods to Michael Jackson and soundtrack composers Harold Faltermeyer and Giorgio Moroder. In an age thick with irony and emotional distance, Junior High is a sincere, catchy, and highly danceable breath of fresh air. This is music made by instinct. And these instincts say, “Pretend you are 13 and you’re alone in your bedroom dancing in front of the mirror!”
Prior to Junior High, both Deakers and Ottum have been active with careers of their own. Deakers’ work as a producer has led to several remix collaborations as well as work for TV and film. Ottum has released two solo albums on Germany’s Tapete Records, completed several tours of the U.S. and Europe, and has had music featured on Mad Men, NPR, MTV. While the bulk of Junior High was created by the two musicians in an uncommonly productive period of writing and recording, the album was mastered by Tom Meyer (Neu!, Brian Eno and features contributions from Los Angeles musicians John Wood (The Black Keys, Sebastian Tellier) and Frank Lenz (Richard Swift, Jesca Hoop). Armed with a double keyboard stand, two guitars, a drummer, and a shiny black keytar, Junior High are playing a few select shows in the Southern California area before embarking on a European tour in the summer of 2012.
Sat, May 25
Sun, May 26
Mon, May 27
Tue, May 28
Wed, May 29
Thu, May 30
Fri, May 31
Sat, June 1
Mon, June 3
Wed, June 5