Monday Night Residency with Night Terrors of 1927

Night Terrors of 1927

What do we know about the mysteriously monikered Night Terrors of 1927? Well, they're from LA. We know that because it says so on their SoundCloud page, which only has one song on it. As does their official website. Perhaps there's more information on their Facebook page? Nope, they only signed up for that last week. Ah, but Twitter, everyone's on Twitter. Yep, they're on Twitter, but they've only tweeted three times and only have four followers. Still, it's all about the music, isn't it? Thankfully their debut offering, Watch the World Go Dark, is excellent. An impending apocalypse never sounded so good.

Welcome to Happy Valley—an oddly untouched neighborhood in the corner of Los Angeles, that has served home over the decades to wild buffalo, an ostrich farm, a racetrack, and now, CILLIE BARNES. In a house carved into a hillside of land time has forgotten, is where Cillie, a musician, songwriter, and supernatural psychic, resides…

The house is a mystical artist’s denizen, with walls covered in hanging tapestries, shelves filled with crystals and other apothecary, a garden where you’ll stumble upon a ceramic effigy among the succulents and ferns, and an ever-shifting group of nomadic inhabitants. Inside lays a modest recording studio where Cillie concocts her self-described “gyp-hop” music, which embodies the eclectic, multi-faceted nature of herself. The enchanting Newport Beach native – daughter of convicted bank robber father and art teacher mother – moved to Los Angeles at 17 and has been here ever since.

In her house in the hill, Cillie and musical co-conspirator Joe Keefe wrote and demoed the songs that appear on her debut, a five-song collection, that recounts her time and experiences. It's the first in a series of four collections, each with its own feel, like chapters in a much longer narrative.

Cillie and Joe developed the songs over the course of a few years, each showcasing her gravelly yet charming voice, hip-hop flow, and literary, but conversational, lyricism. The opening number, “Hey Hi,” takes the listener on a journey from smoky LA bars to the crisp country air in Woodstock, New York.

Using Jordan Kolasinski’s music as a backdrop, she explores feelings that arose when she returned to her favorite ride at Southern California theme park, Knott’s Scary Farm, ‘Blood Bayou,’ as an adult (“Halloween Haunt, Halloween Haunt/You don’t thrill me like you used to”).

“Mr. Brainwash” slowly builds “like TNT and Dy-no-mite” to explore the emotions after being tied up and robbed in a Hollywood apartment owned by the infamous street artist. She fittingly describes her feelings after the event (“We be like Cleo and Marc Antony/Way we’re going down”).

“Solstice” delves into her Wiccan spirituality, singing, “I’ll be bringing in my solstice/In my Stevie Nicks Dress/Channeling my Energy to make my life/Less of a mess,” while “Veranda” explores the heartache of forbidden love.

And then, fittingly, there’s “Happy Valley.” While it’s a song about a place, it’s also about what she’s created and experienced since moving there, including this collection of music.

Much like the ‘Fool’ in her deck of Tarot cards, is the spirit of Cillie—exuberant, clever, and ready to take on the first steps to a long unknown journey ahead, whatever it may be…

Spring 2010 saw the demise of Port O'Brien, and founding member/front man Van Pierszalowski needed a break from the hectic, wonderful mess that is touring. He stumbled into respite in Oslo, Norway, and spent some time away from making music. Van explored the new city, swam in the Norwegian fjords, enjoyed the weather and the experience of seasons changing. He found his bearings and fell in love again.

Inspiration arrived and as he wrote, Van was compelled to fuel the process further by changing his environment once more. He spent most of the next year traveling: to Alaska, where he'd spent summers working on his father's commercial salmon fishing boat; to California, where he'd grown up in a seaside town off Highway 1; and eventually to New York, where in Brooklyn he endured relentless blizzards and a cold nearly reminiscent of Oslo.

Van gave his new project a name: WATERS. These new songs he wrote veered away from the frequently loose, punchy anthems of Port O'Brien, and as he intensively pieced each one together, he sought a bigger sound – something louder than he could play on his own. So Van returned to Oslo, where his new journey had begun. He put together a band of fine Norwegian gentlemen and spent every day of the next two months rehearsing in a small practice space outside of the city.

This band went with Van to Dallas, Texas, to record with producer John Congleton. Over a brief 10-day recording session in April, Congleton – who has worked on some of Van's favorite albums (by artists including St. Vincent, Bill Callahan, and yes, R. Kelly) – kept the production stark, maintaining the songs' intimacy and emotional intensity. Out In The Light has a louder, fuller, more aggressive and raw sound than any of Van's earlier works. It's a mix of fuzzy, pealing guitars and crashing drums, and easy, alternately soaring and languid, indelible melodies.

According to Van, "The record is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you're not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over."

She puts the Z in JJAMZ. Founding member of The Like. This will be a solo performance on piano and guitar.

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Monday Night Residency with Night Terrors of 1927 with Cillie Barnes, WATERS, Z Berg

Monday, November 25 · 8:30 PM at The Echo