The Ceremonies, CLAIRE, Misun, The Darcys, Duologue, Flagship

The Ceremonies

Upon meeting Matthew, Mark, and Michael Cook — three smart, stylish, and somewhat serious-minded brothers who make up the Los Angeles band The Ceremonies — it's clear that these aren't just any ordinary young people. Their biggest influences are '80s post-punk pioneers Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths, and The Cure. The oldest, 21-year-old Matthew, who is The Ceremonies' musical architect and lyricist, cites the romantic poets William Blake and William Wordsworth, and British futurist writer Aldous Huxley as major inspirations. A lover of conceptual art and experimental film, Matthew attends art school, as does Michael, 19, who is also an abstract painter. Rounding out the highly artistic trio is Michael's twin brother Mark, who pursues creative writing and painting with his brothers while also working toward a business degree. The images that The Ceremonies' have made public are stark black and whites of their creative lives, whether it's a shot of them playing guitars in the studio, Michael drawing a self-portrait, or all three of them composing a painting to illustrate the concept behind their debut single "Land of Gathering." Drawn to the full sensory experience (it's hard to think of Depeche Mode or Joy Division without conjuring up Anton Corbijn's iconic portraits), The Ceremonies are in full control of their visual statement as well as their musical one.

"We cross-breed the rock band feeling with a multi-media theatrical element when we perform," says Matthew, citing the Talking Heads' David Byrne in Stop Making Sense as inspiration. "Our shows aren't just concerts, but something much more special — where people can go not only to watch our performance but also to have an impactful experience." "That's why we call ourselves The Ceremonies," explains Mark. "We've created a sense of communion through music," adds Matthew. "Ceremonies can be both positive or negative. Ceremonies are held for someone's funeral or wedding; they are all-encompassing gatherings about engaging with emotion."

The exuberant "Land of Gathering" is all soaring harmonies, airy synths, and bright horns set to an insistently chugging backbeat. It's a blend of cinematic, melodic pop lushness, '80s New Wave nostalgia, and cutting-edge alternative rock aesthetics, reflecting the band members' love for such classic pop tunesmiths as Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys, and The Righteous Brothers, as well as current tastemakers Arcade Fire. But the Cooks, working with producer Danny Garibay, are clever and talented enough to transcend their influences and create something entirely their own.

The brothers, who grew up in Los Angeles, recall their childhood rarely holding a silent moment; song never failed to flow through the Cook household. When Matthew was a teenager, he discovered a dark, swirling cover of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" by Echo and the Bunnymen, which he found an intriguing contrast to the original. He eventually turned his brothers on to his favorite music and the three formed The Ceremonies while Michael and Mark were still in high school, where they performed in an a cappella group and in musicals.

"It's hard to find the right people to be in a band with," Matthew says, "and I've realized that making music with my brothers is really special." While Matthew writes the songs and plays all the instruments on the band's recordings, all three band members play various instruments live and sing lead vocals. "There's definitely a quality each of us has in our voices that allows us to intertwine and come together," Mark says. "Our vibratos are pretty much the same pace, which is difficult to find when you're singing with other people," notes Michael.

The brothers met Danny Garibay through a mutual friend and bonded over their shared musical taste. Matthew and Garibay began to retool the demos Matthew had created, injecting rhythmic urgency and other production flourishes into the sound. Garibay brought the music to Troy Carter, who also manages Lady Gaga and John Legend. Carter asked for a meeting. Now The Ceremonies are signed to Carter's company Atom Factory and are working on their debut album, which they describe as "very conceptual." "The songs are about maintaining the perspective of a child in the adult world," Matthew says. "We're really interested in the idea of keeping imagination alive. 'Land of Gathering' is a metaphor for a place you can go in your mind to preserve childhood wonderment. If we can inspire other people to hold onto that appreciation for things that go unnoticed, it would be huge for us."

The three young musicians and producers, Matthias Hauck, Nepomuk Heller and Florian Kiermaier, who share a studio in the south of Munich, decided at the beginning of 2012, to produce a track with the singer-songwriter Josie-Claire Bürkle, for a film project amongst friends.

The evening was to become legendary and aspired ambitions to immediately do more.

Three months of intensive studio work followed, at the end of which an EP emerged that achieved in a short space of
time, 30.000 Soundcloud plays and caught the attention of
labels, bookers, radio stations and blogs.

Now Claire is born, a band that finds itself somewhere
between synthpop, electronic-pop, half-time beats, hip-hop and indie and they´re ready to be let loose on the stages of the world.

The three multifaceted band members of the DC aquawave/emo-pop band Misun (pronounced 'me-sun') met while working in different capacities at the Dupont Circle bar/restaurant, Science Club in 2010. At the time vocalist Misun Wojcik waitressed part-time, often sharing overlapping shifts with resident DJs William DeVon and Nacey (production). The three soon discovered a common musical bond and began writing and recording in Nacey's bedroom studio on U Street.

AJA is the second in a trilogy of releases from Toronto art rock quartet The Darcys.
An interpretation of Steely Dan's 1977 studio masterpiece, the album was produced, arranged and recorded by the band at home during the summer and fall of 2010.
Moody, dense and textured, AJA is an exploration of physical and emotional space and the real and imaginary divisions within it.
The decision to interpret the album in full was made during a period in which the band struggled to complete its self-titled sophomore record.
With no label and mixing stalled, The Darcys were unable to track new material, instead embracing the challenge of reshaping the collective favourite and presenting it to the world as a declaration of self-sufficiency.
"We did it because we could," the band's Wes Marskell explains. "And because we thought we couldn't."
"It became as much an art project as an album."
More than a year later, following a multi-album deal with Arts & Crafts and the release of The Darcys on October 25, AJA is unveiled, representing an essential

link from 2011's self-titled offering to the band's much-anticipated third studio release.
And above all else, AJA has come to signify a crucial turning point for The Darcys - created in the darkness to bring light and living as a demonstration of resolve, proficiency and imagination.

UK

When the brotherhood of Flagship gathers together to innovate more of their intricate, ethereal diacoustics, it's a virtually effortless endeavor. Their sound is visionary and vivid, much like the minds and hearts behind the instruments. The band is made up of Drake Margolnick (vocals, guitar) Matthew Padgett (guitar, bgv) Michael Finster (drums, programming) Grant Harding (keys) and Chris Comfort (bass).

Margolnick's lofty melodies and contemplative lyrics are now carried to listeners by a band largely characterized by rapturous orchestral sounds. Padgett and Harding work closely together in creating underlying soundscapes -- cerebral and slow moving until met with the aggressive and often tribal rhythm section of drummer Michael Finster and bassist Chris Comfort.

Flagship is set to release their first full length album on Bright Antenna this Fall. This new material is truly a maturation, and the musical step forward pays off beautifully, finding the band comfortably traversing varying territories ranging from the alternative tendencies of Grizzly Bear to the beautifully atmospheric swells of Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire, and even to the frenzied passion of fellow southerners Colour Revolt.

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The Ceremonies, CLAIRE, Misun, The Darcys, Duologue, Flagship

Friday, October 18 · Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:00 PM at Spike Hill

Free