WFDU "Signal to Noise" Benefit featuring: Positive No / St. Lenox / Overlake

Positive No started in a wood paneled living room in Richmond, Virginia during the winter of 2011 with Kenny Close and Tracy Wilson (Dahlia Seed). The intention was never to start a band but once the first demo was created, the songwriting chemistry snowballed into a series of new songs. The rhythm section has been a rotating cast of characters over the years, however, Willis Thompson (Thao & The Get Down Stay Down) & James Menefee (River City High / Fun Size / Long Arms) have been the backbone of their recorded material to date which includes their debut EP Via Florum and first full length Glossa; both recorded at the Magpie Cage with J Robbins (Jawbox / Burning Airlines / Office of Future Plans). The band spent much of the fall of 2015 touring to support Glossa which received praise from the likes of NPR, The AV Club, and Stereogum. Through the years, the band's infectious harmonies, abrasive instrumentation, and ability to move sinuously between the extremes with ease has found them a place on bills with bands such as Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz, Priests, and Pity Sex.

(Positive No photo credit: Chris LaCroix)

St. Lenox is an American indie pop outfit from Columbus and Brooklyn, helmed by Andrew Choi, who works as an attorney in New York City. Writing in the vein of modern American social realism, Choi's most recent record, Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, discusses progressivism, immigration and family, set in the Iowa midwest. PopMatters, rating the record 9/10, calls it "nothing short of a 21st century pop masterpiece" with AllMusic similarly praising it as an example of "true 21st century songwriting." The Harvard Crimson proclaims it a “stellar album, covering the experience of the children of immigrants from the emotional highs of boundless optimism to cultural disconnect … one of the most interesting releases of the year.” Salon calls the record one of the most "criminally underrated albums to come out" in 2016.

Overlake is a three-piece band from Jersey City, comprised of Tom Barrett (voice, guitar), Lysa Opfer (Bass, voice), and Nick D’Amore (drums).

When they’re not incessantly waxing philosophical about the musical merits of both MBV and GBV, or working to contribute new innovations to vegan cuisine, or proofreading poorly-written articles in pharmaceutical catalogs on their own time, Overlake is busy honing their own unique brand of noisy dreampop, drawing from such stalwart influences as Dinosaur Jr, Slowdive, and Hoboken’s own Yo La Tengo, a Bar/None alumnus!

They formed in the winter of 2012 while Tom and Lysa were playing in local five-piece hard-rock outfit, WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice. During practices, while the rest of the band would take smoke breaks (neither Tom or Lysa smoke), they would stay behind and play on whatever various instruments were set up and lying around, all the while discovering a musical kinship together. Serendipity struck when they met drummer Nick D’Amore at a mutual friend’s birthday party in Downtown JC in early 2015, only after enduring a seemingly endless Spinal Tap-like run of both hopeful permanents and fill-ins.

Overlake’s sound can only be described as massive, with Barrett’s delay-drenched guitar and whispery, laconic voice backed by the solid coupling of Opfer’s driving basslines and angelic backing vocals, along with D’Amore’s propulsive drum work. They’ve spent the last few years touring throughout the U.S., delighting audiences with their all-enveloping wall of sound, most of the time with their amplifiers draped in netted Christmas lights.

Their new record, Fall, was recorded and co-produced by Cheap Trick-obsessive Tom Beaujour (Nada Surf, Jennifer O’Connor). Unlike previous recordings, where Barrett would play all the drums, they went into the studio a well-oiled apparatus. What they left with was a more expansive collection of songs, their trademark sonics augmented by appearances of sparse piano and elegiac, mournful violin, courtesy of the incomparable Claudia Chopek.

Notes bend, shimmer, and boomerang all throughout the course of Fall, as do the lyrical sentiments. Loving glances turn into sources of pain, which mutate into some form of cautious optimism. Intimacy is fraught, its beauty fleeting. A period makes way for a question mark, which becomes an ellipsis. What Fall greatly captures is how these supposed stages don’t always occur in any logical order, and can make reoccurring appearances.

After all, an ellipsis is comprised of three periods…

$10.00

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