CT5 - Five Years of Captured Tracks Day 1: DIIV, Mac DeMarco

DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged new Brooklyn four-piece.
Recently inked to the uber-reliable Captured Tracks imprint, DIIV created instant vibrations in the blog-world with their impressionistic debut Sometime; finding it’s way onto the esteemed pages of Pitchfork and Altered Zones a mere matter of weeks after the group’s formation.
Enlisting the aid of NYC indie-scene-luminary, Devin Ruben Perez, former Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, and Mr. Smith’s childhood friend Andrew Bailey, DIIV craft a sound that is at once familial and frost-bitten. Indebted to classic kraut, dreamy Creation-records psychedelia, and the primitive-crunch of late-80’s Seattle, the band walk a divisive yet perfectly fused patch of classic-underground influence.
One part THC and two parts MDMA; the first offering from DIIV chemically fuses the reminiscent with the half-remembered building a musical world out of old-air and new breeze. These are songs that remind us of love in all it’s earthly perfections and perversions.
A lot of DIIV’s magnetism was birthed in the process Mr. Smith went through to discover these initial compositions. After returning from a US tour with Beach Fossils, Cole made a bold creative choice, settling into the window-facing corner of a painter’s studio in Bushwick, sans running water, holing up to craft his music.
In this AC-less wooden room, throughout the thick of the summer, Cole surrounded himself with cassettes and LP’s, the likes of Lucinda Williams, Arthur Russell, Faust, Nirvana, and Jandek; writings of N. Scott Momaday, James Welsh, Hart Crane, Marianne Moore, and James Baldwin; and dreams of aliens, affection, spirits, and the distant natural world (as he imagined it from his window facing the Morgan L train).
The resulting music is as cavernous as it is enveloping, asking you to get lost in it’s tangles in an era that demands your attention be focused into 140 characters.
“Sometime” hit stores on October 11th with a second single to follow November 29, culminating in an early March EP release.

Mac DeMarco

When the then 21-year old Mac DeMarco released his debut Rock and Roll Night Club 12″ just a short while ago in the Spring of 2012, it was accompanied by a barrage of bizarrely funny promo videos, wildly unhinged live performances and a not-so-subtle disparate range of promo photos. The glam facade was purely that, an image that was manufactured for fun to confuse the stiff and compartmentalizing world of indie music journalists. But it wasn’t all a jest, as that EP covered a whole range of music styles that were latent in the ex-Makeout Videotape frontman’s already impressive slough of cassette-only releases. The sincere and warm Mac who sang “Only You” was the same lipstick-wearing sleazoid that crooned “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans” and that suited him and his listeners just fine.

Now, all of six months later, Mac is back with his first proper full length, Mac DeMarco 2. As opposed to RNRNC, “2″ is a concerted effort to produce a cohesive work that showcases Mac’s natural ability as a songwriter, singer and producer. With a new arsenal of recording gear, the fidelity has substantially improved without compromising the immediacy and organic quality of his prior releases under any monicker. The results are immediately rewarding, from the warm “Cooking Up Something Good” to the heartfelt “My Kind of Woman.” It’s obvious Mac is presenting himself musically in the most sincere way possible, no matter what happens in his wild videos or live shows. “Freaking out the Neighborhood,” Mac’s apologetic ode to his loved ones about such public behavior, shows that Mac DeMarco is still with us, coming along for the ride, getting everyone else in trouble. Even so, the maturation process of Mac DeMarco, recording artist, is in full swing. He did, after all, turn 22 this April.

Blouse is based out of a 6,000 square-foot warehouse in North Portland. The project started in the summer of 2010, after Los Angeles native Charlie Hilton met Patrick Adams in art school. They made a few home recordings and soon began spending nights at the warehouse recording with Jacob Portrait (Producer of Mint Chicks, Dandy Warhols, Starfucker). Having played music since their teens, the three found that there was something inexplicable in their coming together. After posting two demo tracks to Bandcamp's website, the group was picked up by Captured Tracks out of Brooklyn, NY. A 7" single of Into Black was released at the end of March '11 by Captured Tracks. Sub Pop Records will be releasing the second single for Shadow on May 31st.

“Tides End” is the second MINKS album, but you could say it’s a world away from the first. Moving out of New York City to try and cure a bout of writer’s block, frontman/songwriter Sonny Kilfoyle wound up in the East End of Long Island. Surrounded by water on three sides, it’s the same place that drew Warhol, Pollock, de Kooning, Steinbeck and more to escape the constant barrage of information of the urban landscape.

The escapist mentality of the location directly and literally affected “Tides End,” as the LP is named for a beachfront estate Sonny had wandered upon one day while out for a drive. Occupied by one family for generations, who after financial decline, are now forced to sell all they own. The experience of seeing old East Coast wealth, surrounded by beautiful Rococo paintings yet no modern appliances was the initial spark to record the LP. Kilfoyle himself purchased a portrait “Margot,” which inspired and named one of the LP’s catchiest tracks. Visions of sipping gin and lemonade’s on the dunes with their future in peril could be Something clearly reflected in the choruses of “Everything’s Fine” and”Playboys of the Western World.” Themes of affluence, decadence and eventual decay in spite of the outside world are everywhere, even by the skull and shells amidst an explosion of color in the Everest Hall painting that graces the cover. This is “Tides End,” indeed.

Armed with a new arsenal of material, Sonny connected with producer and engineer, Mark Verbos, who had moved to New York from Berlin after a prolific career in techno and electronic music. The entire album was recorded at Mark’s studio, a former electric room in the base of the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge. “It was actually a very uninspiring and uncreative but it forced us to use our imagination and find new ways to work together,” says Kilfoyle. So when they encountered a creative impasse they would consult The KLF’s “manual” or Verbos would choose a card from Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies.” To clear the cobwebs of influence, the producer chose to only allow Sonny to listen to Seal, Simply Red, Enigma, and early Chicago house music during the recording process. This helped build texture and depth in a recording that blended ambience and immediacy to the established foundation of all the of MINKS’ previous work.

The result is not just a romantic trip into isolation, but a melodic and warm experience to immerse yourself in. It’s a pop record, with all the hooks and harmonies you’d expect from that, delivered with experience, depth and hope.

Chris Cohen is a 37 year old native of Los Angeles currently residing in the farmlands of Vermont. He is the child of a former music business executive and a Broadway actress.

A multi-instrumentalist who records himself, Chris has cycled through many different styles and techniques, combining them into his own brand of psychedelic pop music. Idiosyncratic in form, using dissonance, irregular phrasing and open space, Chris’s music is more than anything about the character of the moment in which it is created.

His resume of projects with other people is a long one – as a contributing member of The Curtains, Cryptacize, Deerhoof, Natural Dreamers, and Park Details Band, he released 10 full-length albums between 2002 and 2008. “Overgrown Path” is the first under his own name, and Chris spent the last three years developing and recording it.

Heavenly Beat

Texas native John Pena began writing and performing under the Heavenly Beat guise in the latter part of 2009. After a handful of unfulfilling and embarrassing live shows, John put performing on the back burner and began working on building a stronger set of songs. John emerged from his bedroom after months of leisurely paced recording with a couple of tracks that would become his first release on Captured Tracks in the form of the 7 inch single “Suday”. Being influenced by nothing in particular has payed off as many have had trouble pinning the sound down as anything other than “immaculately arranged and paced” and “attractive music for attractive people”. Thus again proving that just because you’ve heard a song by The Cure or Neil Young doesn’t mean you have to ape it shamelessly to gain wide acceptance. Shortly after the release of “Suday” Heavenly Beat released the A side “Faithless” for their forthcoming 2nd single, igniting not only the blog world but the interest of the uninformed few who might have missed “Suday”. By paying homage to no one but himself, John Pena’s band has become one to watch in 2012.

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CT5 - Five Years of Captured Tracks Day 1: DIIV, Mac DeMarco with Blouse, MINKS, Chris Cohen, Heavenly Beat

Saturday, August 31 · Doors 3:00 PM at The Well