Hausu, Shadow Walker, Xray Eyeballs, Lost Animal, Future Punx ☰ Powered by ADHOC.FM
Brooklyn, NY, 11211-4119
This event is all ages
We’ve thought a lot about rock-music. One selects one’s influences and moves from there, a process made simpler in the networked age. The result often resembles a collage, unified by the aesthetic leanings of its maker. Music writers and peers in conversation map out the references and citations made by their favorite new bands – “just like early SST punk” or “frigid cold-wave resembling…”
As musicians in 2013, we wanted to produce a record of many thoughts and feelings without abandoning the time-tested format of rock-music. We were less interested in “resembling” our favorite bands and songs than in searching for the small, indescribable things within that made them special.
We wanted to make plain the conditions of rock-music's existence and how it could be formed. In doing so, we sought to produce a substantive, affective entity beyond a series of reference points. We’ve participated in a feedback loop.
Our band was born between March 1991 and July 1992 but formed in 2010 while attending college in Portland. We started as many do, with a desire to write and play songs to and for our friends, evolving slowly, ever-mediated by our academic schedules. What Hardly Art will release this summer is a collection of songs written step-wise in Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles between March 2011 and January 2013, recorded at YU Contemporary in Portland by Dylan Wall.
Total then serves to document the evolution of our experience, to be understood in spite of and indebted to our time in school. Our tastes have changed and the emotions that informed earlier songs have faded into memory. In any case, music listening and playing has always remained crucial. As a result, our record is an assemblage of observations made by four different people collected in one place.
As a public document, Total allows us to extend ourselves into a broader dialogue. The beauty of rock-music lies in the expanse of terrain that it encompasses as a definition. Total aims to acknowledge that freedom; it is at times melodious and at others dissonant, all in all, a finished product, a totality.
Xray Eyeballs began as the brainchild of guitarist O.J. San Felipe and bassist Carly Rabalais, who, after founding Brooklyn garage rock juggernaut Golden Triangle (Hardly Art), sought a release that would sate both their sweet-toothed desires and their darker impulses, like a candy-coated Vicodin. Like their musical antecedents, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground, Xray Eyeballs creates a world of their own. Low-lifes, night-walkers, pill-riders, and other sordid characters stalk the band's New York City streets and their songs compel you to follow them until you find the peace of a night redeemed in the morning light.
On Splendor Squalor, Xray Eyeballs' second full-length on Kanine, refracted rays of that redemptive light shine through the band's eerie musical haze. The addition of Sarah Baldwin (The Girls at Dawn, Fergus & Geronimo) on drums and Liz Lohse (Heaven, Runaway Suns) on guitar and synths expands the band's sonic possibilities with lush vocal harmonies, unique musical counterpoints and inspired songwriting contributions. Xray Eyeballs' new lineup deftly maneuvers from unctuous drones to punk rave-ups and new-wave bangers with a confidence and melodic sensibility that illuminates the splendor in the squalor.
The needle drops on "Four" and you find yourself enthused with the will to cross the dance floor and talk to that crush your friends warned you about. "I'm feeling alright," San Felipe sings. You believe him and feel alright, too. The bass throbs with Factory-style control as "X" sends you oscillating wildly in a lovers' power struggle: "I control you/ You control me." It's 6 AM and you're sitting on a couch between two guys who either wish they were Lou Reed and Alan Vega or actually are Lou Reed and Alan Vega. You shouldn't have taken that last anything of anything. "Syrup," featuring Christiana Key (Cult of Youth, Zola Jesus) on violin, wafts into the room and suddenly that time between last call and pancakes make sense.
Xray Eyeballs fully realizes their vision ofSplendor Squalor live: skater kids donning the band's signature "Ghost Girl" t-shirt bounce off the walls; the oldest punks in the world reluctantly acknowledge the validity of something new; hands typically stuffed in the pockets of skin-tight jeans wave in the air like they just don't care; record nerds dance as if nobody's blogging; goths smile. The band's undeniable energy brings the shadows in the darkness to life. These creatures bear witness to San Felipe's blatant disregard for his physical well-being as the enraptured frontman, refusing to acknowledge the limitations of both stage and gravity, bounds recklessly around the crowd and dangles perilously from the ceiling, a provocation for the audience to match the band's enthusiasm.
It may come as a surprise that a band called Future Punx is so indebted to the past. And the present for that matter. But it shouldn't. Future Punx make little distinction between past, present and future; rather this New York City outfit recognizes three dimensions to a greater musical whole, gleaning equal influence from each. The past year has seen the Punx become one of the Big Apple's best live bands, stealing the show from headliners and locals alike. Now for the first time, the band has a physical artifact to mark their place in music history/future. On this double A side (because let's face it, both songs are hits) FuturePunx make their mark on 2014 AD. The empire built by synth punk, new-wave and no-wave is the ancestral point of origin for Future Punx' "Post-Wave". But as Horselover Fat would declare in Philip K. Dick's epic "Valis", "the empire never ended".