Manic Productions Presents
Elizabeth & the Catapult, Kindred Queer
295 Treadwell St.
Hamden, CT, 06514-4140
This event is all ages
On Kishi Bashi's debut full length, '151a,' the songwriter expands on the majestic sound of his Room for Dream EP (Aerobic International), teasing out the baroque mysteries suggested in those songs while sharpening focus. Since the release of Room for Dream, K Ishibashi has toured with Sondre Lerche, and Alexi Murdoch. He's also collaborated with of Montreal's Kevin Barnes on that band's new album, Paralytic Stalks. This last endeavour, Ishibashi credits with some of his most recent musical growth, acknowledging that Barnes pushed him to new heights of creativity, forcing him to explore a broader use of his primary instrument, the violin. This experimentation affected his loop-based live show and led to him write more of the new record with violin rather than piano or guitar, loosening him from the grip of habit and expanding his palette. Ishibashi uses Japenese singing as another of many layers, doing so without any trace of gimmickry, and achieving what, to Western ears, must sound like an expression of the ineffable.
After lead track "Intro/Pathos, Pathos," a soaring yet concise amalgam of all that is to come, the record unfolds with a gentle, and somehow grander revisiting of two songs from Room for Dream, reigniting their purpose with subtle variations that serve the larger arc of this new LP. From this foundation the record candidly affirms its suggested dialectic, a dance between the earthbound materialism of captured art and its airy origins, in the give and take of "It All Began With a Burst." The song appropriately struggles for take-off, whispering its intentions in washes of synthesizer that threaten to drown the claps and voices struggling to emerge, until a fragile harmony is realized in a bass-driven dance beat and desperately triumphant vocals.
From the deconstructed doo-wop of "Wonder Woman, Wonder Me," a 21st century transmission of Smile-era Brian Wilson that is both lush and blushingly naked to the menacing marriage of Eastern hues and Western operatics that is the Blade Runner-like trance of "Beat the Bright out of Me," this album is a mediation between opposing drives, offering possible reconciliation but never promising it. A nuanced awareness of inherent contradiction is constant in all of these songs, at turns jubilant, as in "Chester's Burst Over the Hamptons," a frenetic violin driven gallop full of stabs of sound and classical vocal harmonics that resolves in a synth and string composition worthy of Bach or Vangelis, and lamentable, most pronounced in the sweet despair of "I Am the Antichrist to You," which layers the delicate vocal melodies of the best of post-Beatles pop over a somber and beautiful New Age string arrangement.
If "I Am the Antichrist to You" is tragedy, then "Atticus, in the Desert" is comedy, albeit dark, bouncing and whistling with the acceptance of romantic failure, reaching for a fuller, more compassionate survey of the landscape. Starting with the admission, couched in the layered a capella not done so well since Queen, that "as twins we create an era, two souls in bright Sahara," a tale is told, over bright symphonic gypsy pop, of a doomed affair, and yet there is a palpable sense of acceptance and even enjoyment in the suffering.
It is fitting that, during the conception of this record, Ishibashi was mindful of the Japanese term "ichi-go ichi-e," a recognition of life's transience, sometimes translated as "for this time only." Acknowledging that each moment happens only once, ichi-go ichi-e, reminds one to invest fully in these moments but also to let go of their outcome. It is in this practice that one opens the portals to both creativity and love and the results are clearly in evidence throughout this record with its synthesis of disparate formal elements and its unnerving look at contradiction.
Shortly after debuting his full length solo album 151a, NPR 'All Songs Considered' host Bob Boilen listed Kishi Bashi as his favorite new artist of 2012 noting that he created "a radiant, uplifting soundscape" with songs such as "Bright Whites. In the same year, Microsoft licensed "Bright Whites" for use in a commercial for Windows 8. Around the same time, Sony used Kishi Bashi's song "It All Began With A Burst" from the same album for a commercial introducing their Xperia Tablet S. In addition to these placements, Smart licensed "Chester's Burst Over The Hamptons" for their line of smart cars in the United States.
Kishi Bashi has since been invited to play in major festivals such as SXSW and Austin City Limits and gone on an extensive US tour with supporting acts like The Last Bison, who happen to be from his native Hampton Roads, Virginia. Kishi Bashi announced a North American tour for the summer of 2013.
Elizabeth & the Catapult
Take a clear and powerful voice, add a memorable melody and set it to unique, sophisticated harmonies, and what emerges is Elizabeth and the Catapult’s singular sound. At a time when so much music is saturated with familiarity, the band’s style, which Northeast Performer describes as “a mixture of organic jazz, rock and pop,”is a welcome departure from a well-beaten bath. Comprised of Elizabeth Ziman (vocals, keys), Danny Molad (drums), and Peter Lalish (guitar), Elizabeth and the Catapult came into existence in 2004.
In the less than two years since their move to New York, Elizabeth and the Catapult has already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. In May and August of 2006 they were featured on WNYC’s “Soundcheck” as well as PRI’s “Fair Game with Faith Salie”. At the end of the year they were dubbed by NPR as “One of the Best Discoveries of 2006”. The Catapult have had residencies at clubs such as the Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall, and after opening for national headliners like Jessie Harris, Kirk Kirkwood (of The Meat Puppets fame), The Wood Brothers (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood), and Amanda Palmer (of The Dresden Dolls) there was enough buzz about them to support a tour and label interest on the West Coast. All of this success also earned them a place as the Billboard Underground Artist for last October.
Bound by a common love of eclectic influences, Elizabeth & the Catapult draws inspiration from artists such as Tom Waits, David Byrne, Joni Mitchell, and Jon Brion- as well as classical influences such as Debussy, Ravel and Chopin. One explanation for the bands musical diversity is Elizabeth Ziman’s musical background. She was trained as a classical pianist until the age of sixteen. “As a kid, I used to practice all the time…” Elizabeth explains. “But one day I realized that I couldn’t lock myself in a room for eight hours a day…that’s when I started writing and singing.” After that, it quickly became apparent that her vocal abilities rivaled her piano kills. In 2002, Elizabeth successfully auditioned to be a background vocalist for soul-queen Patti Austin and ended up joining her on tour for the next year and a half. Elizabeth’s experience along with Pete and Danny’s folk/rock sensibility piece together to make up the band’s harmonically distinctive pop sound, a sound well reflected in their stylistically diverse new EP.
After a listen to the Elizabeth and the Catapult EP, it is immediately clear that a great deal of thought went into each of the songs’ arrangements. Strings, Horns, Marimba and Synthesizers are all blended together, creating an organic, off-beat style that fans have often referred to as “baroque pop”. The sound of the EP is also shaped by the guerilla-style fashion in which it was recorded. Drummer Danny Molad recorded most of the EP in basements and bathrooms, producing the album, along with Elizabeth, in an incredibly modest home studio. With these limited resources, Elizabeth and the Catapult managed to produce an expertly mixed album. Every note of the EP sounds deliberately placed while there still manages to be an air of effortlessness that penetrates throughout all the songs.
In their recordings as well as live performances, Elizabeth and her band members bring together all their backgrounds and experiences to make music that they themselves enjoy. They acknowledge their amorphous style and readily admit that it probably scares record labels. Even so, Elizabeth asserts that she is “not interested in assigning herself a specific style.” Elizabeth and the Catapult are proud of their ever-changing sound and are committed to keeping their music fresh and creative.
Kindred Queer is a New Haven based band that has been a revolving cast of musicians and continues to collaborate. Once involving an experimental dynamic of 7 is now comprised with core members as a trio.
Kindred Queer brings a musical blend of folk, experimental elements of rock, jazz and classical. With a leading presence of lyrics painting poetic images of each song's attitude.
As the band works to bring their debut record, their sound continues to organically grow in the midst of the two years as a collective.