Red Bull Sound Select Presents
Bad Suns, Cillie Barnes, Harper Blynn
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California, 90026
This event is 21 and over
DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged new Brooklyn four-piece. Recently inked to the uber-reliable Captured Tracks imprint, DIIV created instant vibrations in the blog-world with their impressionistic debut Sometime; finding it's way onto the esteemed pages of Pitchfork and Altered Zones a mere matter of weeks after the group's formation.
Enlisting the aid of NYC indie-scene-luminary, Devin Ruben Perez, former Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, and Mr. Smith's childhood friend Andrew Bailey, DIVE craft a sound that is at once familial and frost-bitten. Indebted to classic kraut, dreamy Creation-records psychedelia, and the primitive-crunch of late-80's Seattle, the band walk a divisive yet perfectly fused patch of classic-underground influence.
One part THC and two parts MDMA; the first offering from DIIV chemically fuses the reminiscent with the half-remembered building a musical world out of old-air and new breeze. These are songs that remind us of love in all it's earthly perfections and perversions.
Bad Suns are a band from Los Angeles. The band's back history is minimal: founded at the top of 2012, and spending the majority of that year writing and recording. However, in the first month of the band's existence, after sending out a demo of the song "Transpose" to KROQ 106.7 FM, Kat Corbett decided to air the song on their Locals Only program. Much to the band's surprise, the song reigned in the top 5 of the show for nearly three months (reaching number one on three separate occasions.)
This was an encouraging response for only a demo. The band continued writing, and in June entered Infrasonic Studios in Los Angeles, with producer Eric Palmquist (Wavves, Aloe Blacc, Trash Talk). The band quickly began to attain a steady Los Angeles following, playing to packed houses within the area (The Troubadour, Viper Room) and generating local buzz. "Cardiac Arrest" was chosen as the first single from these sessions.
As of March 3, 2013: "Cardiac Arrest" is being played on KROQ's Local's Only show, every Sunday night.
Welcome to Happy Valley—an oddly untouched neighborhood in the corner of Los Angeles, that has served home over the decades to wild buffalo, an ostrich farm, a racetrack, and now, CILLIE BARNES. In a house carved into a hillside of land time has forgotten, is where Cillie, a musician, songwriter, and supernatural psychic, resides…
The house is a mystical artist’s denizen, with walls covered in hanging tapestries, shelves filled with crystals and other apothecary, a garden where you’ll stumble upon a ceramic effigy among the succulents and ferns, and an ever-shifting group of nomadic inhabitants. Inside lays a modest recording studio where Cillie concocts her self-described “gyp-hop” music, which embodies the eclectic, multi-faceted nature of herself. The enchanting Newport Beach native – daughter of convicted bank robber father and art teacher mother – moved to Los Angeles at 17 and has been here ever since.
In her house in the hill, Cillie and musical co-conspirator Joe Keefe wrote and demoed the songs that appear on her debut, a five-song collection, that recounts her time and experiences. It's the first in a series of four collections, each with its own feel, like chapters in a much longer narrative.
Cillie and Joe developed the songs over the course of a few years, each showcasing her gravelly yet charming voice, hip-hop flow, and literary, but conversational, lyricism. The opening number, “Hey Hi,” takes the listener on a journey from smoky LA bars to the crisp country air in Woodstock, New York.
Using Jordan Kolasinski’s music as a backdrop, she explores feelings that arose when she returned to her favorite ride at Southern California theme park, Knott’s Scary Farm, ‘Blood Bayou,’ as an adult (“Halloween Haunt, Halloween Haunt/You don’t thrill me like you used to”).
“Mr. Brainwash” slowly builds “like TNT and Dy-no-mite” to explore the emotions after being tied up and robbed in a Hollywood apartment owned by the infamous street artist. She fittingly describes her feelings after the event (“We be like Cleo and Marc Antony/Way we’re going down”).
“Solstice” delves into her Wiccan spirituality, singing, “I’ll be bringing in my solstice/In my Stevie Nicks Dress/Channeling my Energy to make my life/Less of a mess,” while “Veranda” explores the heartache of forbidden love.
And then, fittingly, there’s “Happy Valley.” While it’s a song about a place, it’s also about what she’s created and experienced since moving there, including this collection of music.
Much like the ‘Fool’ in her deck of Tarot cards, is the spirit of Cillie—exuberant, clever, and ready to take on the first steps to a long unknown journey ahead, whatever it may be…
‘If pop hooks were Monopoly money, this foursome would be buying hotels on Park Place by now.’
-Time Out New York
'As far as follow-up albums go, they can't get much better than this. (...) When it comes to first-rate musicianship, Harper Blynn are at the top of the heap. (...] Making a sophomore album is never easy and in just 13 songs Harper Blynn make it appear effortless. Rather than succumbing to the pressure or their own expectations, the quartet set out to make the best record they could, and Busy Hands is exactly that. With songs this good and albums this strong, the sky is indeed the limit for this Brooklyn group.'
‘Seems like it’s only gotten harder to tell where Harper Blynn are coming from. In the past, you could pretty easily pin them to the Brooklyn indie world, but their new Busy Hands sounds more all over the map—and that’s a very good thing. If this collection of new tunes is any hint, there’s no telling where you’ll end up. But it’ll be a hell of a trip.’
'Loneliest Generation was produced by David Kahne, who also helmed the Strokes’ First Impressions of Earth'. Harper Blynn is just as catchy as that notorious garage quintet, but with a kinder view of the world, answering The Strokes’ cynical 'Is This It' with the can-do 'This Is It.''
'Loneliest Generation is chock full of eminently singable melodies couched in four-part harmonies and lyrics that set mid-twenties angst in a hopeful context. But what really separates HB from their peers is the way the band locks into the songs like… well, a band. (...) The arrangements here are muscular and fully formed. (...) Throughout, the album stays relatively close to HB’s live presentation of guitar, bass, drums and keyboard, and superstar producer David Kahne wisely allows the band’s collective brio to shine through the effort.'
'Harper Blynn bring a prickly sense of depth to their self titled EP, a likeable familiarity married with a penchant for heart-coated sleeves. (...) Four part harmonies are not to be underrated in today's popscape, and Harper Blynn keeps this skill in heavy rotation. Ballads like "Start All Over" feel that much more epic with choruses that span octaves. (...) Their New York City roots and club presence give them street cred, but the production, polish and poise of their tunes suggest a larger story arc is in the works.'
'On their debut record Loneliest Generation, Harper Blynn takes a giant step beyond their contemporaries, and moves into a category all their own... In a crowded Brooklyn indie scene hell-bent on placing vanity above content and substance, Harper Blynn offer up simple, no-frills songcraft with an unassuming modesty and a self-confidence that is refreshing, invigorating and downright hypnotic.'
‘Harper Blynn sounds like you're on acid, in a helicopter flying upside down and backwards, and you're with the guy who plays Yul Brenner in Cool Runnings.’
-Aaron Lee Tasjan
$3 at the Door / $10 after 10pm