ON AN ON
HANDS, THE HOLY COAST
8005 East Roosevelt Street
Scottsdale, AZ, 85257
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
ON AN ON
On An ON is a project - and approach to making music - the three members had been waiting for. The Chicago & Minneapolis-based musicians – Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing -- that comprise the band had played music with one another in various capacities for the better part of a decade -- most recently as members of indie-pop outfit Scattered Trees. With almost every member of that band living in a different state (MPLS, MYC & Chicago), the distance proved too much. (MAYBE REMOVE THIS PREVIOUS SENTENCE) One fateful, cloudy night, while the soon-to-be On An On were standing in line for a show in Austin, TX, a conversation took place that would shape their musical future (needs work). They would leave their other projects behind and the trio would emerge ready to create art that melted outside the lines. With an affinity for chaos and the unprocessed, and tired of the polished pop format void of risk, they were escorted into a new atmosphere of making music.
Their new project bloomed when they traveled to Toronto only three weeks later to collaborate with producer Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals, Los Campesinos!). With a knack for genre-melding, and a boundary-pushing mindset, Newfeld would prove to be the perfect match for the trio's caution-less approach. In the studio, the musicians explored a newfound chemistry and honed their sound; synthesizers, scattershot electro beats and ambient ear candy would give guitars, bass and drums a newfound ghostly sheen.
"We really wanted to get away from the sterility of our previous approach to recording." Eiesland states. Along with Newfeld, the three artists readily embraced the unknown and opened up to sessions filled with spontaneity and instinct.
The end result was Give In, ON AN ON's ten-track debut album – a dream-washed textural journey armed with a biting perspective on life, love, and the commonality of loss. The affair sizzles with electricity and calls one in with its unnerved openness. It's a project – and approach to music -- the three musicians in ON AN ON had been waiting for.
For Eiesland, recording Give In was a self-described exorcism: it allowed him to let go of old projects and bad habits, and more importantly, open himself up to benefits that vulnerability allowed for in the songwriting process. The band learned to adopt an improvisational ear for melody, and accept the charm of particular aural nuggets that in the past they might otherwise have deemed flawed.
And while the melodies on Give In -- those soaring, undulating synth grooves that set the table for pearly harmonic hymns -- might clue one in to the trio's newfound sonic palate, it's through the album's messages that the group member's respective evolution becomes most apparent. Eiesland wrote the majority of the lyrics on Give In, in the process fully coming to an understanding of death and the traps that life springs upon us. Whether letting his intuition guide him on "I Wanted To Say More" ("You are a saint and you're the devil/Every word I spoke to you, I thought that they were wings/ But they were only feathers") or owning up to life's inevitability on "All The Horses" ("A family tree will split in two halfway through its life"), there's a tempered calm to the brain candy he eschews. Estwing offered up his own lyrical séance via on his lead vocal track "Cops"; although the bassist says his message -- that the police can be surprisingly corrupt -- is more direct.
What Give In, more than anything, provided for ON AN ON was a sense of urgency: to fulfill their creative fancy; to embrace uncertainty --– albeit, this time, on their own terms.
Hands can be so many things: welcoming, scolding, loving, clenched into a fist. With Hands as your name, you have to both capture emotion and prove that the music you create with your own is worthy of the moniker. Luckily these Hands are up to the challenge.
Hands makes music like a rip tide, swirling in overlapping loops and riffs, slowly enveloping you. The group's members – Geoff Halliday, Ryan Sweeney, Sean Hess and Alex Staniloff – craft their hypnotic sound from a single dropping note that builds into a reverberating roar that crashes over you like a wave. It's a mesmerizing trick that they pull off on their debut LP, Synesthesia. Building off the success of their Massive Context EP (Small Plates) released in 2012 and a 7" to be released on White Iris in January, songs like "Videolove" and "Trouble" show Hands' innate ability to blend instruments and electronics into a deep texture that moves ethereally through genres. Hands moves from rock to synth-pop to skyrocketing stadium anthem, often within the same song. The interplay of Sweeney's esoteric guitar riffs, Hess' technical tempos, Staniloff's thumping bass and Halliday's soaring vocals and affected keyboards help Hands build a dynamic atmosphere, where a lesser band would only manage empty atmospherics.
A relative newcomer to the LA scene, Hands began as a two-piece from Philadelphia before Halliday and Sweeney headed west and added the low and thump of Hess and Staniloff. The band made a mark on the scene immediately, quickly playing packed shows across the country including stops at SXSW, CMJ and Deluna Fest, headlining Echo Park Rising, sessions with Daytrotter, and a west coast jaunt with Maps and Atlases. Hands' ability to win over fans with their feverish live show and dance-party-ready sound has already earned them opening spots for the likes of Deerhoof, DeVotchKa, Foster the People, and Kimbra as well as playing shows to sold out crowds at venues across LA.
For now, Hands' graceful and danceable indie rock is still under the radar, as evidenced by their spot in TIME Magazine's "11 Bands You Don't Know (But Should)" List, but they are quickly rising to the surface, bringing their melodies and thumping beats with them. Over the past year, Hands has built a devoted following for their evolving palette of sounds, soaring melodies, and complex looping song structures. With overwhelming responses to first listens of the record and Hands hitting the road for most of 2013, surely this is the year that Hands will start to make waves. Big big waves.