Dirty Beaches

"It's not hard to get tangled up in the Name Game while listening to Dirty Beaches. Alex Zhang Hungtai's schizo romantic crooning alter ego is chillwave-ugly in name and greaser-gorgeous in execution, as defined by its many references as it is by its creeping allure. The recently released "Sweet 17" mines a few crucial touch points -- Suicide's desiccated punk wailing, the existentialism of David Lynch's ominous Lost Highway, Duane Eddy's rollicking echo rock -- to create something that slashes ligaments and hits the bone. In this moment of relentless, unchecked nostalgia, the 1950s have remained a curiously under-romanticized era, with a torrent of mystery and unmined cool ready to be pillaged. Hungtai, clearly an admirer of the decade, has a blood-red baritone that explodes into shrieks here, revealing some alien hybrid of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Dirty Beaches' forthcoming Badlands EP splits its time between corroded dream-pop and this sort of menacing road music. Brace yourself for the pomade revolution." --Pitchfork.com

SISU is Sandra Vu. The LA-based singer/multi-instrumentalist layers airy, harmony-laden vocals over dreamy synthwave, which has been described as “Smithsian shoegaze” (Village Voice) and “Nightmarish Beach House” (Santa Barbara Independent). Though she’s a seasoned drummer (Dum Dum Girls, The Raveonettes, Boredoms, Dirty Beaches), she’s stepped out from behind the kit to center stage for SISU, opening on tour dates for Cat Power, Marnie Stern, DIIV, and Metronomy.

"Blood Tears", SISU’s first full-length album (due September 2013), builds on the recently released "Light Eyes" EP (April 2013), offering a bigger sound and a heightened sense of drama. As Vu explains, “These are pop songs with un-pop sounds.” SISU is defined by contrast and juxtaposition, and Vu finds a particular challenge and joy in combining opposites—soft and hard, loud and quiet, abrasive and smooth—to arrive at this aesthetic.

Writing songs for the album was catharsis for Vu, who used the process to overcome a period of disillusionment in between bands. “Blood Tears" is about relationships and the creative process—the necessity of pain for growth or creation,” she says. “Sometimes you have to kill a part of yourself to become stronger.” The new single “Harpoons” is a declaration of this power and independence found in divorcing yourself from the past. Both aggressive and sublime, it’s quintessential SISU. From this experience, Vu found her voice, naming it SISU, the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.”

"Blood Tears" is the second release under the MONO PRISM umbrella—a collective of artists and springboard for music, film, and print projects. David South, SISU’s touring bassist, heads MONO PRISM, directed SISU’s first music video, “Two Thousand Hands,” and creates the band’s live visuals. It was these immersive audiovisual experiences that caught Cat Power’s attention, which lead to SISU supporting her on numerous dates earlier this year.

Vu wrote, played, and produced "Blood Tears" with bandmates Ryan Wood (co-producer), Nathanael Keefer (drums), and Lars Stalfors (Chelsea Wolfe, The Soft Pack, The Mars Volta) mixed the album. Julianna Medeiros (Dum Dum Girls) joins SISU live on synth and backup vocals.

If Ell V Gore's Sex Static sounds to you like it was made by four weirdos you'd meet at a pitch black, late night bizarre sex party beating their instruments half to death…well, that's because it was. Toronto's Ell V Gore is the project of 24 year old Ell V who has been playing in weirdo punk and no wave bands for the past decade. He is also a man known around town for throwing some of the freakiest late-night parties in the city (when he isn't manning the microphone at strip clubs in between for cash). Sex Static, their debut EP on Bad Actors, is an industrial punk rock beat-down. It is a visceral, dark, and loud late night album that sounds like Chairs Missing era Wire and The Birthday Party being filtered through a kaleidoscope of 90 shades of black and grey. Known around the city for their stunningly intense live show, the experience has translated well to record. The rhythm section is tight and malicious, the guitars and synthesizers scrape, scratch, and scream, and Ell V's controlled Lux Interior-esque howl bounces off walls with the guttural intensity of Michael Gira. Weirdos, freaks, and late night delinquents – your party has begun.

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The Firebird

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Dirty Beaches with Sisu, Ell V Gore

Friday, September 13 · Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM at The Firebird