The Fresh & Onlys / Vetiver
Sun Araw, Pure Bliss
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is all ages
The Fresh & Onlys
“We make albums to be heard as albums,” says Tim Cohen. “We always toil over the sequencing and slight pauses.” House of Spirits, The Fresh & Onlys’ fifth album since 2008, testifies to their rigorous full-length approach. Their most adventurous outing yet, House of Spirits devotes its A-side to the character of dreams. Written partly during his stay at an isolated horse ranch in Arizona with only a guitar, Korg keyboard and drum machine, Cohen focused the album’s lyrics on firmer narratives than on past material, but his imagery veers towards absurdity, reflecting the unreliable visions culled from his nightly subconscious activity. The album’s latter half finds his speaker awoken, resolute and lucid. All throughout, Cohen says the album grapples with the “idea that home is where your feet are.” While still possessing the impeccable pop faculties displayed on Long Slow Dance and Soothsayer, The Fresh & Onlys also deal experimental atmospherics and drum-machine anchored ballads like never heard from the group before.
“The things I remember from dreams are when something is slightly off. You’re in your house but realize suddenly that it’s not yours,” says Cohen. In that sense, album opener “Home is Where?” is a statement of the album’s intent. When Cohen’s speaker notices a “bowl full of eyes on the floor,” or “cauldron of hearts on the stove” during his comforting walk through “the good life,” the brisk but nuanced track morphs into a surrealist nightmare.
Have you been sitting at that computer all day? You’re overdue for a break. The new Vetiver album, The Errant Charm, is a superb soundtrack for an afternoon idyll. Take a moment to load the record on your mp3 player. Hell, if you still have a Walkman, the whole thing fits neatly on one side of a C-90 cassette tape. Select your favorite pair of headphones, and go for a stroll.
This album was made for walking. Vetiver bandleader Andy Cabic spent hours wandering the streets around San Francisco’s Richmond District, listening to rough mixes, tinkering with lyrics and arrangements. You can hear his strides in the tempo of “Hard To Break,” which captures the brisk gait one might adopt while passing through a public green space: Not hurried, just excited to be heading somewhere.
But you’re not there yet. “Hard To Break” is the fourth song, and there’s no need to rush. The album opens with “It’s Beyond Me,” a slow boil of acoustic guitar and vintage keyboards over a roomy beat. Here you’ll encounter almost every sonic idea showcased on The Errant Charm, the album’s universe distilled into one vibrant, six-and-a-half minute song. It builds to a robust character you’ve not heard from Vetiver before, but may have anticipated if you’ve followed them over the last four albums, from their eponymous 2004 debut through 2009’s Tight Knit.
Cameron Stallones began his musical career as a founding member of the experimental psychedelic rock collective Magic Lantern. Soon after, demos originally intended to light the Lantern became the first Sun Araw LP: The Phynx. Sun Araw blossomed as a solo project in attempted geosynchronous orbit with the Eternal Now: oblique six-dimensional transmissions from changeless environs. Structural and spiritual inspiration for Sun Araw comes primarily from Cameron's first artistic love: film and filmmakers, especially those invested in the long-take (Tarkovsky, Altman, Bela Tarr, Greenaway). Devoted to long-form mantric music, the ethos is similar: straight lampin' in deep focus, angle after angle on the melodic object, gaining strength from the subsequent breakdown of the illusion of fixed perspective.
Since 2007, 4 full-length LPs, 3 EPs, and 5 cassettes have walked the mind-planes from psychedelic drone to melted afrobeat, from warped dub to minimal composition. These releases have been praised in Wire Magazine (who selected Heavy Deeds as one of the top 50 records of 2008, and On Patrol in the top 50 of 2010), The New Yorker, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Uncut Magazine, Mojo, Pitchfork, and beyond. Sun Araw has performed in the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand with hundreds of artists including luminaries like Christian Fennesz and Konono No. 1. In early 2011, Cameron and M. Geddes Gengras traveled to Jamaica where they produced and recorded a collaboration album with roots reggae legends The Congos, set for release in the fall. While in and around Kingston, they also began producing dancehall singles and tracking local toasters under the name Duppy Gun Productions, which will be seeing release this summer.
Nine Ways to Begin a Pure Bliss Bio
1. While you slurped down a thimble full of DMT last CMJ, Pure Bliss merged two shimmering guitar leads into a single javelin of sound to split the heart of ecstasy.
2. Two musicians sauntered along either side of a white picket fence and struck it with twigs in the spring. At the fence’s terminus near the abbey, Frank Ene and Sam Weiss started a band.
3. Oakland has a moderate climate. Still, it felt quite cool when Pure Bliss formed in 2013.
4. Jean Genet wrote that “harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance.” I think that at least one member of Pure Bliss agrees. Bassist Margot Rhodes is undecided.
5. “True conjurers, Pure Bliss . . . [They] yanked the gold outta the chaff in a five-gallon bucket for two nights room and board last winter.”
6. Forget what you think you know about Oakland—Pure Bliss leader Frank Ene lives in Berkeley.
7. In a band that drummer Sam Lefebvre calls rock but Ene calls pop, Joe Carducci susses a problem.
8. Pure Bliss covers Christian Death on Halloween and fawns over the Go-Betweens in private. The rest is speculation.
9. Boss TU-2 Tuner—Diamond Compressor—Menatone Red Snapper Overdrive—Z-Vex Mastotron Distortion—MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay—Boss CE-2 Chorus—Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb—Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler—MXR Micro Amp Boost—Boss TU-2 Tuner—Timmy Overdrive—Behringer RV-600 Reverb Machine—Z-Vex Fuzz Factory Fuzz—Janglebox Compressor—Boss EH-2 Enhancer—Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler—Boss DD-3 Digital Delay.
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