Sacred Bones CMJ Showcase w/ Moon Duo, Amen Dunes, Marissa Nadler, Dream Police
915 Wyckoff Ave
Queens, NY, 11385
Doors 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
The highest apex of psychedelia, be it art, music, drugs or literature, is to induce a prolonged consciousness shift that affects the consumer far beyond the time they were privy to the act. Moon Duoâ€˜s third full-length LP, Shadow of the Sun, was written entirely during one of these evolving phases -- a rare and uneasy rest period, devoid of the constant adrenaline of performing live and the stimulation of traveling through endless moving landscapes. This offered Moon Duo a new space to reflect on all of these previous experiences and cradle them while cultivating the album in the unfamiliar environment of a new dwelling; a dark Portland basement. It was from this stir-crazy fire that Shadow of the Sun was forged.
Evolving the sound of their first two full-length records, Mazes (2011) and Circles (2012), Moon Duo -- Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada -- have developed their ideas with the help of their newly acquired steam engine, Canadian drummer John Jeffrey (present on the bandâ€˜s last release, Live in Ravenna). The unchartered rhythms and tones present on this record are reflective of Moon Duoâ€™s strive for equilibrium in this aforementioned new environment. You can hear it is the result of months of wrangling with a profound feeling of being unsettled â€“ there are off-kilter dance rhythms, repetitive, grinding riffs, cosmic trucker boogies and even an ecstatically pretty moment. Mixing with Jonas Verwijnen in Berlin, allowed for a creative catharsis and dissolved the albumâ€™s formal technique into a cool and paradoxically sane sound of confusion.
Amen Dunes, the project of New York-based Damon McMahon, is releasing his most focused and substantial work yet with new album, Love. Unlike his previous albums, which were almost always a solo affair, Love was performed by a variety of musicians, including members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Dave Bryant and Efrim Menuck recorded the album), Colin Stetson (sax), Elias Bender Ronnenfelt of Iceage, and McMahon's longstanding collaborators, Jordi Wheeler (guitar and piano) and Parker Kindred (drums). Amen Dunes has always been rooted in traditional song and sound, but Love is his first work in which this so clearly shines through. The guiding influence of Astral Weeks, Sam Cooke, Tim Hardin, Marvin Gaye, Hector Lavoe, and the cosmic non-verbal mediations of Leon Thomas all kept vigil over the songwriting of Love, and the spirit of late 60's/early 70's spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane channeled the sound. These are elemental songs about time, love and memory, as much about the listener as they are about the writer: pure, open, and beautiful.
"Comprising just acoustic guitar, drifty piano taps, and an almost-subliminal percussive rumble, 'Lilac in Hand' is the sort of song that feels light and slight at firstâ€”that is, until you realize you're floating high up in the misty mountains 10,000 feet above sea level." - Pitchfork, April 2014
Marissa Nadler wastes no time in cutting close to the bone on "July," her latest album and first for her new labels, Sacred Bones (US) and Bella Union (Europe).
"Drive" opens the record with one of her most devastating lines, addressing a quandary we have all grappled with at some point: "If you ain't made it now/ You're never gonna make it."
There is catharsis in the chorus: "Nothin' like the way it feels/ To drive," she sings amid a choir of celestial harmonies, elongating that last word as if it were a car bounding down a long stretch of lost highway. It's Nadler at her most elemental: warm but spectral, vulnerable but resilient.
Nadler lays the listener â€“ and herself â€“ on the line with "July," her sixth full-length album in nearly a decade. Set for release on Feb. XX, it floats freely in the pop cosmos somewhere between gauzy shoegaze, unvarnished folk, and even a hint of metal's doom-and-gloom spirit.
On "Firecrackers," an acoustic strum frames a cascading melody that is simply gorgeous until you realize just how much it belies the brutality of what Nadler has to say. "Firecrackers/ Burned into heaven on the floor/ My attacker/ It's me, it's me, it's me you're looking for."
Then she slyly leavens the mood: "July Fourth of last year/ We spilled all the blood/ How'd you spend your summer days?" Nadler asks with a straight face, acknowledging you could either laugh or cry at such a sentiment.
This is the world of Nadler's "July," where you're likely to find the Boston-based singer and songwriter "holed up at the Holiday Inn" watching crime TV or leaving her instruments to freeze in the car. These settings, details, and themes are brand-new to Nadler's canon, and they paint a far more realistic version of her life than her previous records. The results are astonishing and occasionally reminiscent of David Lynch (who is, appropriately enough, among her label mates on Sacred Bones). As Pitchfork once wrote, her songs are "as gorgeous as they are elliptical and intriguing."
Recorded at Seattle's Avast Studio, the album pairs Nadler for the first time with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room). Dunn matches Nadler's darkness by creating a multi-colored sonic palette that infuses new dimensions into her songs. Eyvand Kang's strings, Steve Moore's synths, and Phil Wandscher's guitar lines escalate the whole affair to a panoramic level of beautiful, eerie wonder.
Her voice, too, is something to behold here, at once clarion but heavy with the kind of tear-stained emotion you hear on scratchy old country records by Tammy Wynette and Sammi Smith. Long gone are the days when Nadler summoned images of 1960s folk singers who got lost in the woods. She is a cosmic force on "July," shooting these songs to euphoric highs and heartbreaking lows.
Celebrated for her crystalline soprano, she explores her lower register to profound effect throughout "July," turning "1923" into a cinematic ode to forlorn love. Strings cradle Nadler's vocals, cresting in a climax that is somehow vast yet still intimate. If you were to hear only one song from "July" â€“ which would be a shame, by the way â€“ let it be "1923." It is Nadler in miniature: haunted, elegiac, and epic.
"July" is the kind of release that reminds you why NPR counts Nadler's songwriting as so "revered among an assortment of tastemakers." This is a singular achievement for the artist, a record she couldn't have made earlier in her career because, as every songwriter knows, she didn't just write these songs: She lived them.
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