Johnny Brenda's Presents
Grandchildren, The Eastern Sea
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Grandchildren began in 2008 as the solo recording project of Aleks Martray, forging intricately layered arrangements with only an acoustic guitar, a mic and a loop pedal. Since then, it has evolved into a 6 piece pop-orchestra known for its high energy live performances featuring dueling drums, circuit bending electronics and an instrument swapping horn section. On stage, the tiny 5’3″ frontman remains stoic, at the eye of the storm, encircled by a whirlwind of animated instrumentalists, belting out melodies in a voice that defies his own stature. Martray attributes Grandchildren’s eclectic sound to his nomadic upbringing in a military family across Europe and the US and his journeys throughout Latin America as a young adult:
“I think when you live and travel all over the world from such a young age your mind constructs a sort of map that is an amalgamation of all of these different worlds. I see the music as a soundtrack for this puzzle-like landscape that otherwise would exist only in my head.”
As their 2010 debut album Everlasting aimed to piece together the feel of various places, their new record attempts to collage together various points in time.
Golden Age reads like a scrapbook in homage to that elusive era that serves as a reference point for how we’d like to remember “the way things used to be”, how they “ought to be”, but probably never really were. The recordings stem from this concept musically, pulling from a vast array of influences, and thematically, swirling around it from all angles with songs of hope and disillusionment, optimism and doubt, nostalgia and anticipation, caution and regret. The cinematically layered musical arrangements set the stage for unique vocal stylings that take on a range of characters in what Martray describes as something akin to method acting. “The lyrics are simple because it’s all subtext to the music. They’re more like the voice of a character and the music is the setting, and so the story unfolds between them.” As these scenes play out, what unfolds is a narrative about how we project our fears, hopes, desires on everything and everyone around us, forcing our simplistic ideals on a complex world.
The Eastern Sea
At times, it’s easy for The Eastern Sea to forget that Austin, Texas is home. While the band’s roots are firmly planted in the Texas Hill Country, their dynamic prose-pop travels from location to location, effortlessly moving between distant settings and their own, still somehow foreign, neighborhoods. Created in 2005 as the bedroom project of songwriter/vocalist Matthew Hines, The Eastern Sea quickly developed into a live band and released The Eastern Sea, a collection of two eponymous EPs, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Songs such as “The Snow” and “The Name” attracted the band’s first national press and led to several festival appearances (SXSW, CMJ, FPH Summerfest) and a pair of national tours.
Starting in 2010, The Eastern Sea began work on their first official LP, Plague (WhiteLabBlackLab), which was recorded to tape by Matt Smith (Ola Podrida, Golden Bear) at HOTTRACKS!!! in Austin. The completed Plague, mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird), represents The Eastern Sea’s most cohesive collection of songs to date. Musically, it combines the hypnotic rhythm of post-rock, the playful melodies of traditional American folk, and the dynamics of contemporary progressive indie-rock. While ornate percussion lies at the heart of Plague, the signature slow builds of poly-rhythm in songs such as “Wasn’t for Love” and “The Match” serve as a launch pad for melodic bass, shimmering keys, finger-picked electric guitar, and expressive trumpet. Lyrically, Hines’ boldly present vocals weave a revealing autobiographical narrative, developing themes of change, transition, and powerlessness over the course of twelve songs.
Ton-Taun was conceived in 2007 in Lancaster, PA. Over the years, the group has lost and gained several members and relocated to Philadelphia, PA. In 2009, the band's original roster released 'Circus Court,' their first record, and quickly followed it the next year with 2010's 'Exporter.'
After the (amicable) departure of original bassist and drummer Mario and Louis Borgatta, Ton-Taun recruited Philadelphia drummer Alex Ocko and Lancaster bassist Josh Wood as permanent members. The group worked closely with co-producer Nick Curran (Selah.Selah, Missing Pilots) to record their third album, 'Get Well,' which was self-released in November of 2012.
Ton-Taun has become a strong live act, especially since the recent addition of Philly native Aaron Binder (Housecats, Cozy Galaxies) on keyboard and guitar. Ton-Taun has played with Future Islands, Buke and Gase, No Age, Lavender Diamond, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, the Apache Relay, and Ra Ra Riot. Their live sound is based around Jordan Capizzi's commanding vocals, the tight rhythm section of Ocko and Wood, and experimental guitar textures and tones. Doug Hynes' guitar work, constantly shifting between controlled and chaotic, is one of the band's greatest assets as a performing unit.
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