The Messthetics, The Royal Arctic Institue, Amy Bezunartea
43 Montgomery St.
Jersey City, NJ, 07302
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
The Messthetics is a new instrumental trio with Brendan Canty (D), Joe Lally (B), and Anthony Pirog (G). Brendan Canty and Joe Lally were the rhythm section of the band Fugazi from it’s inception in 1987 to it’s period of hiatus in 2002. This is the first band they’ve had together since that time. Joe has returned from Italy, and is ready to play. Brendan is very happy to have him back. The two missed each other, and the playing of the music together, so the feeling of the world being righted is right there in the foundation. Anthony Pirog is one of the greatest guitarists anywhere. He challenges our preconceived notions about genre and guitar sound. He continues to shape, tear down and reshape his unique conceptions of what guitar can be. The Messthetics is an unsupervised sonic playground that is driven primarily by Anthony’s imagination, and his not-so-latent desire to torture his rhythm section with odd time signatures. The three of them, Canty, Pirog, and Lally, are The Messthetics. Debut album on Dischord to be released in 2018.
The Royal Arctic Institue
The Royal Arctic Institute is an instrumental, post-punk, cinematic jazz trio. The members are John Leon (guitar), Gerard Smith (bass), and Lyle Hysen (drums) who combine 50+ years of experience (Phantom Tollbooth, Das Damen, Roky Erickson’s backing band, & more). Their music is “post-everything.” After a year of writing and playing, TRAI recorded at Nuthouse Studios in Hoboken, NJ with Tom Beaujour. The album “The French Method” was self-released in May of 2017, and will be reissued by the Lightning Label in December.
"A clear voice and an unsparing eye define the songs of Amy Bezunartea... She keeps the music slow and sparse, sometimes just a lone guitar or piano note, deliberately exposing the way her terse lyrics and finely chiseled melodies carry uncomfortable insights about herself and others."
-The New York Times
"Singer-songwriter Amy Bezunartea's latest single, 'Oh The Things A Girl Must Do' is gently sung, but it's not an easy listen. Bezunartea's voice and her soft guitar play in stark contrast to her frank, razor-sharp lyrics about the pressures put on women."- NPR Music
From the glacial pulse of album opener “Call on Me” to the somber piano and vocal arrangement of set closer “All This Wreckage,” New Villain, Amy Bezunartea’s sophomore release on Kiam Records, establishes her place as a riveting voice for an extreme age.
“To me, the idea of being a new villain is that the usual rules don't apply and you don’t have to stay in your place. I don't mean 'villain' in a violent way,” explains Bezunartea. “It’s really about waking up and refusing to play along with the powers that be - the forces that rely on us to be complacent, broke, scared, addicted, depressed, stressed out, etc...”
New Villain, recorded over the course of two years with co-producer Tom Beaujour, employs a palette that is deliberately sparse. Guitar, piano, electric guitar and an occasional drumbeat, are all that fill the sonic space around the singer’s clear voice, which she uses to deliver lines that are bold and often confrontational. This lyrical stance is more commonly associated with the screeching punk of Bikini Kill, or the booming indignation of Public Enemy than with an artist who generally performs solo with a classical guitar (as Bezunartea did on a recent tour supporting Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields). This silence between notes, as heard on the haunting “Wild Thing”, and the breathtaking and emotionally naked “Oh The Things A Girl Must Do”, leaves ample room for the listener’s own thoughts, yearnings and probable discomforts.
On her 2010 debut, Restaurants and Bars, Bezunartea chronicled a life spent working in the service industry with a gritty wit that NPR called “humorous, poignant and true.” New Villain widens the scope of her focus, taking a hard but thoughtful look at how our modern world can be alternatingly suffocating and liberating, dismissive and inclusive. Ultimately, New Villain confronts the question of how to survive in a messy time. And while it takes on its fair share of “they’s,” and “you’s,” Bezunartea’s work is often most compelling when her gaze turns inward.
“A lot of the record is about trying to harness all of your frustrations into something that is actually productive, despite having a voice telling you that nothing you do will ever be good enough,” she explains. On the chorus of “Friends Again,” Bezunartea makes an impassioned overture to her relentless inner critic. “Forgive me and I’ll forgive you,” she pleads. “And we can finally live, weightless and free, friends again, you and me.” As the melody soars on an updraft both melancholy and sweet, it becomes clear that self-acceptance is perhaps the most political act there is.