David Nance, Long Hots, Axis: Sova
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
This event is 21 and over
Omaha, NE musician David Nance is nothing if not prolific. Over the course of the past six years, he has released three full-length albums for labels Grapefruit and Ba Da Bing, a 7-inch, numerous cassettes, CDRs and unlicensed "cover albums" of artists like Lou Reed, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Doug Sahm. His latest full-length is credited to the "David Nance Group" and features Nance alongside his recent hot-shit live band of fellow Omaha musicians; guitarist Jim Schroeder, bassist Tom May and drummer Kevin Donahue.
Appropriately, the album is called "Peaced and Slightly Pulverized" as the sounds contained therein are alternatingly tender & brusque. Nance has an enviable way of conveying intensity and pathos in his music without necessarily resorting to clicking on a distortion pedal, instead relying on the build-up and tension from the interplay of his bandmates with his cracked, impassioned wail. There's also plenty of fuzz and distortion too, from the anthemic "Poison" with its fuzzed- out guitar riff that leans into a Crazy-Horsian guitar maelstrom and white-hot solo, to "Ham Sandwich"; a blisteringly frantic rant about a lunchtime torment - uncomfortable in its directness. Respite comes with "110 Blues"s languid late- night desert psychedelia, and side one closes with the epic seven and a half minute "Amethyst", expanded & jammed upon from 2017's Richie Records single into an emotional odyssey with Nance & Schroeder strangling their guitars into a twin-guitar, barbed-wire duel. The album's centerpiece is "In Her Kingdom", an emotive ballad that fades into view with a plaintive guitar strum, and over seven minutes ebbs and flows with a rising tide of swelling guitars, it's riffs gilding the melody & adding flecks of gold to Nance's tale of poverty and grace. Alternately, "When I Saw You Last Night" stalks the night like a predator, finally finding its prey two and a half minutes in with a stinging, blood-drenched guitar solo. The album closes with "Prophet's Profit"'s biting commentary on false idolatry that again utilizes the group's not-so-secret weaponry of Nance and Schroeder's six-string simpatico to bring the listener home.
Pitchfork (rated 7.7): "Turning the gestures and feeling of classic rock into a statement on our modern malaise, this Omaha guitarist balances the tightness of a new band with the rage of the day."
Axis: Sova returns with Shampoo You, out November 16th via Drag City imprint, God? Records. Shampoo You is the latest Axis: Sova album, following 2015’s Early Surf and 2016’s Motor Earth. With each succession, the Axis sound shape morphs in subtle yet definitive ways; now, with Shampoo You, the impact is unprecedentedly direct and connective. Take first single, “Dodger.” It emerges from the reverberating chambers of its predecessors first with the expected: scorched, punching guitars; before giving way to the unexpected: harmonized, crystalline vocals, put forward for immediate impact. Aboard a galloping waltz beat testing the structural integrity of its own mechanical limitations, “Dodger” lilts from its final big chorus into a weaving guitar confab, escalating and emoting into the deeper, wordless territories of song.
Axis: Sova has always been a rock band, even when the “band” was just Brett Sova and his Roland TR66 Rhythm Arranger creating a surging maelstrom of reverberant fuzz, with guitars foregrounded and wailing at length, while beats distended the depths. Shampoo You sounds the arrival of the trio version – Sova with Tim Kaiser (guitar) and Jeremy Freeze (bass) -- in trademark Axis style: relentless tempo with distorted, interlocking guitar concussions, and vocals that howl of other worldly mutation… but in, like, a relatable way. It’s the first Axis: Sova album entirely performed and recorded live to tape as a three piece. The amusement of rock-making turned thrillingly alive, they’ve honed in on a sleek transport for their new sounds, with tightly conceived power-punk and classic pop touches creating memorably melodic (and harmonic) contours. Head down to the scar-wash and let Axis: Sova Shampoo You!