Pure Love, Workout, Volt Direction
1120 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11222
This event is 21 and over
Pure Love’s timing could not be better. People have written off guitar bands and complained of a dearth of great rock music before, of course, but there has surely never been such a gaping void to be filled as there is right now. Which is where Pure Love come in… because make no mistake – this is a great guitar rock band.
Like all good things, Pure Love – the name is taken, since you ask, from a song by ’70s jazz-rock fusionists Mahavishnu Orchestra, Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love – came into being quickly and instinctively. Singer Frank Carter and guitarist Jim Carroll got together in their adopted hometown of New York at the beginning of last year having decided to form their perfect rock band.
Both come from backgrounds in hardcore music – Carter was frontman with the incendiary British band Gallows; Carroll played in US hardcore bands The Hope Conspiracy and The Suicide File. Both wanted to branch out and do something different. “Playing hardcore on tour becomes really punishing,” reasons Carroll. Carter puts it this way: “It got tiresome just beating the shit out of myself all the time. I’m proud of what we achieved but I’m not an angry kid anymore.”
Over the years Carroll had assembled around a thousand instrumental tracks and sketches. Last February he gave 50 or so of them to Carter the day before going on holiday to Mexico. That same night Carter put lyrics to one of these two-minute pieces. Pure Love had written their first song. The date: Valentine’s Day 2011.
“Frank and I complemented each other right away,” says Carroll. “We had the same perspective on things and music was our instant bond.”
Carter says his partner’s tracks were exactly what he was looking for. “I’ve always liked big, hook-filled rock songs,” he says. “I was brought up on The Beatles, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin… With Pure Love, I’ve found my voice again.”
The songs have flowed ever since – 30 or 40, at least, the pair estimate. And, yes, they are big and hook-filled. Songs like Bury My Bones, the stomping introductory download. Or the first single proper Handsome Devils Club, as uplifting and propulsive as you’d want a song about – as Frank Carter defines it – “being young and having fun” to be. Or Beach Of Diamonds, built around the most insistent of guitar riffs and a chorus that just won’t let go.
These and eight more tracks are set to appear on Pure Love’s debut album – recorded in a rapid-fire burst with producer Gil Norton, who has previously worked with The Pixies and Foo Fighters, and due for release in February 2013. It will be titled, entirely accurately, Anthems.
“I could tell from the early demos, which were super-rough, that these songs were meant to be played to big crowds in big rooms,” says Carroll. “I kind of want to piss people off a little bit with that title too,” adds Carter. “When you’re doing something like this and changing everything up completely, it’s good to grab people by the bollocks and say – This is us.”
And what of the music scene Pure Love are about to explode in? Says Carter: “There isn’t anything like this out there – that’s why we did it. We need to fucking shake things up.”
Pure Love’s assault began with a riotous sell-out show at London’s Bush Hall – played with perfect symmetry on Valentine’s Day 2012, a year to the day on from writing that first song together. They returned to London in May to play The Scala and have since headlined shows up and down the country, supported Paramore, Billy Talent and Biffy Clyro and played storming sets at Reading and Leeds Festival. They intend to tour and tour.
“We want to put it all out there,” says Carter, “blood, sweat and tears. But we also want to have a lot of fun.”
The Pure Love manifesto begins here.
“I want to get all this music we have out to as many people as possible,” says Jim Carroll.
Frank Carter concludes: “The intention is to write honest rock songs that are about love and death and sex. But to sell some records and have the big show too… Why the fuck not? Everything is in place to do that essentially. And so far, so good.”
WORKOUT wants to be your party band. With hardly any songs under the five minute mark, this four-piece fills rooms with anthemic odes to love, death and fantasy. Featuring Jack Killen on vocals and piano, Alexander Forbes on guitar, Jason Langdon on bass and Tim Traynor on drums, WORKOUT is well known as one of NY's wildest rock monsters. Finger-tapped guitar solos taunt the audience into sing-along choruses and foot-stomping chants, generating enough chaotic noise to break any bar out into a brawl.
Volt Direction is utterly electric. And it's not just because of the innate chemistry between founding members John Herguth and Alicia Testa. Shoegaze and synth-pop influences make for an undeniably compelling sound, featuring ethereal vocals, atmospheric constructs, and dance beats with an inescapable gravity all their own. Once you enter the sonic world of Volt Direction, you won't be able to leave—simply because you will not want to.
John Herguth brings a wealth of experience as both a writing and performing musician from his time with acts like Atlantic/Pacific, House & Parish, Neil Halstead, and Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits) solo band. In Volt Direction, he finally has a place to demonstrate just how adept his hand is at sequencing, synths, and percussion. His translucent vocals, gently buried in the soundscape, are a gorgeous, visceral detail.
Hailing from acts like Microfossils, Wands, and Out Like Lambs, herself a veteran of the electro-dance scene, complementing member Alicia Testa is the essential other half of the duo. Injecting her own developed sensibility of keys, vocals, and percussion, her other-worldly aesthetic winds in and out of the immense landscapes created by Herguth, adding light and dimension.
Don't be fooled by the immense patterns of pulsing rhythms and celestial sound—there are no computers creating these dimensions. All sounds are the product of the painstaking directing of actual hardware instruments; no computers are involved in the making or performance of these songs. Surrounded by a spontaneously erected jungle of carefully selected instrumentation, Volt Direction's live performances captivate audiences who often find they are dancing before they consciously realize that they've gladly given into the sound. Rooms erupt feverishly, where before there was only a sea of mild skepticism.
Volt Direction has spent the summer of 2015 sharpening their knives. Playing with touring acts that have landed in their hometown of Asbury Park, NJ, as well as by invitation at parties for the dream-wave and electro-dance scene, they're also currently writing for debut LP. With plans to tour this spring behind the new release, the band is slated to only gain momentum from this point forward. Get plugged into Volt Direction.
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