Tennis

The much anticipated second album from Denver-based Tennis, "Young and Old," is set for release February 14, 2012 on Fat Possum Records. Their widely praised debut "Cape Dory," which The Wall Street Journal called "a winsome set of breezy pop songs," was released earlier this year. For their forthcoming album guitarist Patrick Riley, vocalist Aliana Moore and drummer James Barone headed to Nashville to work with The Black Keys' Patrick Carney.

After the success of their first album and touring for the better part of a year that included shows as far away as Moscow, Riley and Moore returned home and realized what was initially a bedroom-recording project had quickly evolved into a band. The challenge of a second record was upon them, but songwriting came quickly and in three months the duo had most of the material for their new album. The goal this time was to mature and vary their sound. Riley describes the new direction as "Stevie Nicks going through a Motown phase." By the time they hooked up with Carney, they had fleshed out most of the songs that would comprise "Young and Old." With their friend and mentor at the producer helm, the recording progressed naturally and within three weeks the album was done.

Tennis was born of Riley and Moore's nearly seven-month sailing trip, which consisted of selling all their possessions, purchasing an old sailboat, repairing it, and cruising up and down the eastern seaboard. Upon returning home, the duo began writing music together as a way to document the history of their shared experience. The result was "Cape Dory," an intimate and concise recollection of life on a 30-foot sloop.

Check out these covers of Hot Chip and Bjork!



Sometime in the spring of 2012 the musicians that would go on to form the Chicago & Minneapolis based trio ON AN ON found themselves at a tipping point. The three of them—Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing—had played music with one another in various capacities for the better part of a decade. Most recently, they had shared the stage and studio as three fifths of the indie-pop outfit Scattered Trees, which had seen its fair share of success. But with the band's studio time only a few weeks away and the other members now spread out across the country pursuing other endeavors, they would chart their own course and come out stronger for it. What emerged was ON AN ON.

For ON AN ON, the precariousness of breaking new ground only three weeks before recording with accomplished producer Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals, Los Campesinos!) provided a jolt of creative energy. The musicians had become disenchanted with their past approach to songwriting and recording, finding the process of striving for polished pop both tiresome and constrained. Newfeld proved the perfect counterpart to their initial vision for the record, encouraging them to push boundaries and go with their instincts.

According to Eiesland, the sessions were something of an exorcism: "We really wanted to get away from the sterility of our previous approach to recording." Eieseland, Ricci, and Estwing embraced musical risks that in the past it might have shied away from. In the studio, the band members explored a natural chemistry and honed their sound; synthesizers, scattershot electro beats and ambient ear candy gave guitars, bass and drums a ghostly sheen.

While the melodies might clue one in to the trio's evolved sonic palate, it's through the album's themes that the group member's respective evolution becomes most apparent. Eiesland wrote the majority of the lyrics, in the process coming to terms with 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 thought-provoking imagery he espouses through his words. Estwing offered up his own lyrical séance on his lead vocal track "Cops," although the bassist says his message—that the police can be surprisingly corrupt—is more direct.

After smashing everything they knew to pieces, they pulled themselves together around 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. It is an affair that sizzles with electricity and calls one in with its unnerved openness.

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Tennis with On An On

Sunday, November 10 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:15 PM at The Garrison

Tickets Available at the Door