White Arrows

White Arrows stands at these balmy crossroads like a vision from an alternate reality: classic without leaning on nostalgia, visionary but not unfamiliar. What should be a collision of sounds and styles—ritualistic rhythm and four-four thump, synth sequences and strummed guitars, garage-y grind and airy atmosphere—is, in this quintet’s capable hands, a fluidly seething whole. Call it Psychotropical pop, something both busy and breezy. Call it Paul Simon in space (others have). Call it what you will. This is White Arrows.

The White Arrows story begins with a blind boy. Singer Mickey Church was born seeing the world as an impressionistic smear. His vision was righted at age 11, but his imagination ran wild for the intervening years. His memory of growing up in L.A. is confined to smells, sounds and swaths of fuzzy color. With family back east, Mickey eventually left for NYU, and unexpectedly wound up creating his own major with a degree in shamanistic ritual.

The band consists of his younger brother Henry, who started playing drums for the band while still in high school, their old friend J.P. Caballero, previously of Dios Malos, on guitar, Andrew Naeve on keys and electronics, and Steven Vernet on bass. The five bonded over a shared love for sensory overload both aural and visual—essential to the White Arrows live show which currently employs plenty of fog, lights and visuals with hopes of making it bigger and better each tour. With only a 7-inch to sell, they toured with Cults, Those Darlins, The Naked and Famous, played Sasquatch, opened for Weezer, and held residencies at home and in London in 2011.

With the release of the album, “Dry Land Is Not A Myth” in June, the band has been on the road almost continuously this year with Beat Connection, White Denim, Givers, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra with no plans to slow down and trips to Australia, the United States, and both the UK and Europe to close out the year.

From the mystical, unGoogleable beyond comes PYYRAMIDS, a new collaboration by OK Go’s Tim Nordwind and singer Drea Smith. Living in the dark, atmospheric grotto midway between the dance floor and the mopey teenage bedroom of the mind, PYYRAMIDS’ six-song debut will be available on October 31st from Paracadute, the full-service 21st century record label OK Go founded on their 2010 parting from Capitol. Befitting the band’s cross of banging beats with underground pop, PYYRAMIDS arrives on that most idiosyncratic of formats, 10-inch vinyl.

PYYRAMIDS comes as a reinvention for both players and steps into new, wild territory. For Nordwind, the guy with the bass, beard, and glasses in OK Go, PYYRAMIDS’ expansive textures find him far from the bright indie pop and all-inclusive videos that have made OK Go one of the most recognizable – not to mention most-watched – acts of the digital age. (Though that doesn’t mean PYYRAMIDS won’t try their hand at videos.) For Smith, formerly the saucy half of the electro-pop duo He Say She Say – and a stint with Lupe Fiasco – it brings her songwriting into a place of bold new maturity without sacrificing the force of her singular presence. For both, it is an unlikely partnership entirely befitting of the new age.

Connected by a mutual friend in Chicago two years ago, the pair struck up an email correspondence that, by the magic of the internet, soon transformed into a small torrent of music. Bonding first over dark British pop from the early ’80s like The Smiths and Joy Division, and stranger more modern fare like Micachu and the Shapes, Nordwind and Smith were natural collaborators. An inveterate home recorder with piles of songs, beats, and sketches leftover from OK Go writing work, his People project, and a fairly unceasing productivity, Nordwind first passed along beats that Smith layered vocals over in GarageBand. Only meeting in person for the first time months later, the cyber collaboration transformed when Smith visited Nordwind in Los Angeles, where they polished off a half-dozen tracks working face-to-face, and where Smith was soon to relocate to work on PYYRAMIDS and other projects.

In addition to the four-song vinyl, Human Beings comes in digital form, too, featuring a remix of “Human Beings” by Nordwind’s OK Go bandmate Dan Konopka (as DMK.) Between the alt-rock tensions of “That Ain’t Right” and heavy riffage and cooing chorus of “Animal,” PYYRAMIDS’ beyond is an inviting one indeed, a long-promised map back to the buried valley of the dance-rock hook.

Emerging from the endless summers of Venice, CA to teaming up with Shlohmo, Jonwayne, D33J, RL Grime and more to form the Wedidit crew, Jasper Patterson aka Groundislava has transformed from bashful video gamer to full­fledged composer. Groundislava has roots that draw from 80s nostalgia, TV and pop culture that grow and transform into the 21st Century aesthetic of electronic music. Recently tapped for official remixes of Slugabed and Shlohmo as well as Kutmah’s Brownswood compilation, Groundislava returns with the ‘Feel Me’ LP, the follow­up full­length to his self­titled 2011 debut. A mature step for the artist, ‘Feel Me’ showcases Groundislava’s unique sensibilities for developing sweeping soundscapes, luscious backdrops and somber tracks in a distinct sound all his own.

Somewhere between the very precise surf-pop of Allah-Las and outrageous skate-punk of FIDLAR lies the appropriately named Beach Party, whose lo-fi clamor makes me long for that Nehru shirt I wore in the 7th grade. Beach Party is the brainchild of Rob Banks and James Hurst, who began collaborating only a few months ago. They teamed up with bassist Adam Arcos and drummer Nico Maccioca and have been churning out the rough stuff a song at time ever since. Like a lot of bands resuscitating this era, Beach Party doesn’t seem to aspire to much more than — as their chorus shouts — “C’mon, c’mon, let’s have some fun.” As long as the hangover remedies work, it’s hard to campaign against it.

DJ Kat Corbett

$12.00 - $15.00

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White Arrows with PYYRAMIDS, Groundislava, Beach Party, DJ Kat Corbett

Thursday, July 18 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Bootleg Bar

Off Sale