Signal Kitchen Presents
Small Black, Snowmine
71 Main Street
Burlington, VT, 05401
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM (event ends at 1:00 AM)
This event is all ages
Gracing the cover of Brooklyn band Small Black’s new record, a mysterious woman walks alone on the dunes at dusk, amid pockmarked sand. She’s the subject of a found photo, one of many rescued with the warmth of a blow dryer and a fireplace, by singer Josh Hayden Kolenik after Hurricane Sandy flooded his family’s Long Island home. The faded image offers clues and invites viewers to construct their own narrative, one that escapes even the picture’s taker, Kolenik’s father.
To put it simply, Best Blues is an album about loss. The specific loss of precious people in our lives, but also the loss of memories and the difficult fight to preserve them. “I spent months trying to scan all these images & letters, most covered with ocean dirt, and in doing so discovered what people often find in their family’s past: that they are a hell of a lot like those who’d come before,” says Kolenik. The chorus of standout “Boys Life” echoes this sentiment with the refrain “pictures of youth/picturing you,” over a track that itself was an old demo re-discovered by accident by the band, during a late night jam session at a cabin in Upstate NY. The compassion of the record collects itself in the soft repeating mantra-esque hook in “No One Wants It To Happen To You”.
The group’s third full length release, written & recorded at their Brooklyn home studio, nicknamed 222, showcases a mature band still evolving, and embracing the unpredictable. Kolenik (keys, vocals), Ryan Heyner (guitar, keys, vocals), Juan Pieczanski (bass, guitar) and Jeff Curtin (drums) have been recording, writing, and often living together, throughout the life of the band, establishing a closeness that has allowed them to achieve easy creativity and unspoken chemistry, After a year of recording, that band enlisted mixer Nicholas Vernhes (War on Drugs, Deerhunter) of Rare Book Room Studio to help complete the record.
Best Blues finds the band in their sweet spot: the smoky intersection of considered & vulnerable songwriting and loose, almost nonchalant ambience. The addition of piano flourishes, trumpet (Darby Cicci of The Antlers), hidden acoustic guitars and Kaede Ford’s ethereal vocals provide new dimensions to the band’s already expansive sonic palette. Cut-to-the-chase rippers “Back at Belle’s” & “Checkpoints” embody & build on the group’s signature gritty yet focused electronic sound. While the more pastoral tracks, such as “Between Leos,” & “XX Century,” skeletally based on recorded improvisations, find the band painting a more nuanced, assured aural portrait. The repeating of the line “twentieth century” on closer, XX Century, serves as a coda for the album, offering a simple summation of what Best Blues intent has been from the opening Casio stab :: an attempt to re-examine the past, but also one to let it go.
Snowmine are set to release their new album – Dialects – through their own imprint Mystery Buildings. Dialects, Snowmine's second album in their three year history, was entirely written and produced on their own, and recorded by Jake Aron (Grizzly Bear), and Yale Yng Wong (Here We Go Magic) in a church in Uptown Manhattan. The album chronicles a disoriented period in singer Grayson Sanders' life, when after the band's first record, he spontaneously left his job, and spent the following year wandering with a single bag. The lyrics are pulled entirely from the journal he kept during his travels. Dialects is about communication. With the self. With the lover. With society. It's about its breakdown, it's triumphs, and it's misgivings. Growing off of the band's previous release, Dialects marks a subtle shift in the band's sound, from the optimistic, tribal undertones of Laminate Pet Animal, to a more ambient, meditative nostalgia. Recording in a church afforded them the opportunity to record real reverbs, and gather true ambiances one can feel in their headphones. Combine a stronger presence of vintage synthsesizers with the beautiful 1960's cinema-inspired string, woodwind, and choir orchestrations, and you are left with a surreal retrofuturism beckoning you inside for a fireside chat.
In the band's leadoff single "Rome," we experience this juxtoposition firsthand, with a hypnotic post-punk drum groove pushing us forward through a mist of sweeping strings and classic synth sounds. "Columbus," an echo from the past, starts with distant, seductive sirens beckoning us into their sepia-toned love story, driven forward by Fleetwood Mac inspired drums and an irresistably memorable chorus. "Safety in An Open Mind," a purely instrumental track, highlights the entire ensemble on the record, with glistening choral textures soaring in and out of an organic percussion landscape. This piece is a testament to the band's originality, as they utilized zero foreign samples on the album, and recorded every single sound effect and note live. The album's soaring, melancholic third single, "You Want Everything," caps the record's message by urging us to accept who we really are. "You could try to be your best, but don't you know it's suicide to want? You want. You want everything...I won't let you have regrets, no way." It's this message that has guided the band's release strategy. Having been disatisfied with lengthy label discussions, the band decided to forego the system altogether and turn to their diehard organic following. Staying true to the DIY methods they have adhered to since the band's inception, they created an entirely custom crowdfunding project via their website Snowmine.Com. Not only can fans choose what they want to buy for the money they can afford to give, but the band has created milestones that allow the fans to be a part of the art, by submitting information or photos of themselves to be included in album artwork and other pieces of content. It's this type of attention to their supporters that has turned a once self-released Bandcamp bedroom project into a beloved musical presence.
Burlington, VT duo Pours is the new project of Bryan Parmelee and Christopher Shar, the latter of whom was previously a touring member for Man Man and Santigold. For this project, they're making atmospheric indie pop led by Bryan's airy falsetto which mixes electronics and live instrumentation. Their self-titled debut LP comes out this May via Section Sign Records.