Kenji Urada, Generator Ohm, Lightouts
249 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11215
Doors 7:30PM / Show 7:30PM
This event is 21 and over
Ernest D’amaso, Michael R.P. Morales and Willie Chen created Generator Ohm in 2010. Their union, facilitated by the genesis of EndAnd, took place in the heart of Brooklyn. Because of the friendly, cooperative, and productive environment of King Killer Studios, where Gen Ohm calls home, their certain fate was sealed on the terms of the affable and the dreamer. This was a place where musical endeavors could blossom: A place where work could be accomplished. And by the summer of 2012, Generator Ohm had produced in the company of the venerable Dan Kramer, a record of their last two musical years, a record of high fidelity.
Generator Ohm’s debut album, Upon the Me Om I, is an aural panacea against the spirit of sloth settling in digital sediment. We play with dirt and find creatures of life between our fingers. We jump the tires and see with closed eyes what is on top of that summit beside us. We forget to bring our cameras, and settle for focusing on the things we want to remember. We take the day on our backs, and unpack the burdens at night to seek the fruits of a bard’s labor. We do it the way we heard our heroes do it; with guitars, drums, and our voices. But, we have something new to talk about. We have a new set of sounds to express, and a new set of tools to use. Upon the Me Om I is a genre-bending collection of songs written by Ernest D’amaso, or by Willie Chen, or as a collective writing unit. With this infrastructure of writing akin to the Beatles, a vast array of personal influences can be heard, and the listener will be surprised at the range of ability Generator Ohm can express. The two gentlemen even swap instruments so that their individual styles change with the frequencies of the songs. While the songs are different, the tie that binds is the spirit of Rock n Roll that all three members hold to high esteem. Michael, who came late into the band after the songs of Upon the Me Om I were constructed and arranged, brought the fulfilment Ernest and Willie long sought for in the second year of Generator Ohm. His eclectic style of varied influences from jazz and world music, to pop and punk was the exact rhythmic counterpart Generator Ohm songs needed. And as a man of high stature, the power he puts into his playing sounds like that of a man who can reach higher than you can. This is the sound of passion. It’s Elton John through a Marshall stack, it’s Pink Floyd hiring Tommy Ramone, it’s Leonard Cohen with a fuzz pedal and Hendrix without the blues scale. There are Pop sentiments everywhere hidden under the raw tone of Ernest and Willie’s unpredictable playing styles. This is an album that will stand in perpetuity. It is an album on the mantel in the annals of distortion. It is neo and classic…but not neo-classic. To truly understand Generator Ohm’s pursuit of passion, one must see with their own eyes and hear the music as it is produced by the electricity of the human heart.
Generator Ohm refers to the heart in every man and woman, and the resistance they must face when accepting the will to live.”
It started with a want ad, plastered across the board of a post-industrial space near the Gowanus Canal. The request? Quite simple: “Robert Smith/Emily Haines, where are you?” The kind of thing you’d expect from a New Mexico native who studied the Cure’s bleak but beautiful hooks at a time when riff-raking guitar heroes were all the rage.
“People would always say, ‘Why would you want to play like Robert Smith?’” explains Lightouts founder Gavin Rhodes, last heard in the one-man band Honeypower. “‘Wouldn’t you rather learn how to shred instead?”
Not quite. More like become the instrument-swapping backbone of a fuzz-flecked band like the Jesus & Mary Chain. Enter Greg Nelson, the only sane person who answered Rhodes’ call. Luckily he was exactly what Lightouts needed: a seasoned member of the NYC music scene with the war stories to prove it. (Let’s just say Lady GaGa opened up for him at a Lower East Side club in 2007.) More importantly, Nelson’s a natural at toeing the line between darkness and light, as exemplified by the sky-scraping choruses of “See Clear,” the sinewy melodies of “The Eloise Suite,” and the vapor trail verses of “Dress Shop.”
All part of a loosely-linked concept album—Want, a meditation on what it means to follow our instincts—that’ll be prefaced by a series of singles in the coming months. The idea being a brief return to an era where A and B-sides actually meant something, right down to the duo’s highly reverential deep-cut covers of the Stone Roses, Joy Division, and more.
“While we’ve been compared to everyone from the Hold Steady to Surfer Blood,” explains Rhodes, “Our retro touchstones are rock bands from the early ‘90s.”
Beyond that, Lightouts’ first proper recordings are a byproduct of the band’s home base in Brooklyn. We’re not talking about Williamsburg or any of the borough’s other painfully hip environs here, either. Try Gowanus, an area that’s full of airy art studios, pockmarked apartment buildings, and a canal that’s dirtier than your kitchen sink after a potluck presentation of Thanksgiving.
“There’s a sick pulse running through it,” says Nelson. “Some people might not find it attractive, but I love its sense of space and openness. Its desolation is beautiful.”
And so is Lightouts’ moonlit blend of steam-pressed beats, cauterized power chords and lean bass lines. Not to mention a crucial call-and-response chemistry that’s quite surprising considering the duo—yep, a duo’s responsible for every last deftly layered track—formed less than a year ago.
“I like bands who sound like Animal Collective and Yeasayer,” admits Nelson, “But we’re not part of the new primitive movement, you know? We’re going for something that’s tighter and more structured.”
“Like Smashing Pumpkins,” adds Rhodes, “When they were good.”
The Rock Shop
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