The Bowery Ballroom
The Long Winters (Performing When I Pretend To Fall)

Champion CMJ Showcase

The Long Winters (Performing When I Pretend To Fall)

Eleanor Friedberger, Reuben and the Dark, Kan Wakan, Okta Logue, Promised Land Sound

Fri, October 18, 2013

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY


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This event is 18 and over

The Long Winters
The Long Winters
"…classic-rock guitar work melts into sunny vocal harmonies, creating songs that practically squirm with joy." - Magnet, Feb. 2003

2013 marks the tenth year since the release of When I Pretend To Fall, the indie-classic second album from Seattle indie rockers The Long Winters. Fronted by honorary Seattle cultural mayor John Roderick, and largely defined by his extraordinary songs that bring hooks and deft lyrical twists in equal measure, Roderick and his band have become an institution in the Pacific Northwest and around the world among fans of smart songwriting. (As Roderick says, “I like chairs that don’t creak and songs that don’t suck.”)
Eleanor Friedberger
Eleanor Friedberger

New View, the third solo album by Eleanor Friedberger, was rehearsed in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park and recorded in upstate New York. The former is a place where characters in Warren Zevon songs get clingy with their old lady while toughing out heroin withdrawal; the latter is where Bob Dylan got clingy with Robbie Robertson after flying off his motorcycle and revisiting the highway with his face. Fittingly, there’s a fair amount of recovery in the songs of New View (though you won’t find much in the way of smack or motorcycles). “Today I’m frozen but tomorrow I’ll write about you,” Friedberger sings, and much of the album seems set in that post-traumatic tomorrow, when stuff’s calmed down, the figurative road rash has healed, the metaphorical junkie sweating up your mattress has finally packed his bags.

Counting the albums she made with her brother Matthew as the Fiery Furnaces, this is Friedbergers twelfth full-length. I’ve been listening since the beginning, and to me New View seems like just that — a vista that’s opened up when I thought I’d seen everything Friedberger had to offer. (Then again, I believed her last album Personal Record was indeed her best to date, so maybe I’m just susceptible to album titles.) Before she entered the studio with New View producer Clemens Knieper, Friedberger made a playlist of reference songs. A live version of “Warm Love” by Van Morrison was on there, as was 80s-era Dylan, Neil Young at his most bummed out, a scattering of Robert Wyatt-era Soft Machine, and the odd gem by Slapp Happy, Fleetwood Mac, Funkadelic, et al. There are ghost notes of all of those influences on New View, but mostly you hear Eleanor Friedberger. She’s never lacked confidence — this is someone who once took a fractured nine-minute ballad about the international blueberry trade and put it across like it was “Thunder Road” — but there’s a new kind of confidence on this record. You can hear it on the warm, stately “Your Word,” which holds a special place for Friedberger. She says:

“It was the last song I wrote for the album. I finished the lyrics with lines taken from a dream that Jonathan Rosen had about me. I stayed at a friend’s house in LA who had a bunch of later George Harrison CDs– already a huge fan, I thought I knew it all. But I heard ‘Love Comes To Everyone’ and it kind of blew me away. Everything I love about Harrison– beautiful slide guitar and vocals and vaguely spiritual lyrics– plus a weird disco thing. That was the big influence for the sound.”

The songs on New View were recorded live to tape with simple instrumentation: drums, bass, Wurlitzer and 12-string acoustic guitar on almost every track, courtesy of the band Icewater (Malcolm Perkins, Jonathan Rosen, Michael Rosen, Noah Hecht), with Dorian DeAngelo contributing a handful of well-placed guitar solos. Producer Knieper (son of Jurgen Knieper, the German composer whose credits include the score to Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire) gives the album a classic sound, like something that’s existed forever on a record collector’s shelf, wedged in with Dylan’s New Morning and John Cale’s Vintage Violence.

For everything new about New View, it still fits comfortably in the continuity of Friedberger’s work. By coincidence, Knieper’s studio in Germantown, NY where the album was recorded is in a barn that was once rented by Matthew Friedberger and stored the furniture of their grandmother — the same grandmother whose spoken word reminiscences were the basis of the Fiery Furnaces LP Rehearsing My Choir. You won’t hear much of that album here, but songs like “Open Season” recall the Furnaces at their most magisterial. The wry, plainspoken “Because I Asked You” builds on the style Friedberger first polished on her solo debut Last Summer. And then there’s “A Long Walk,” the sun-striped finale that lends a memorable afterglow to New View. It’s a sweet, aching goodbye from an album that seems full of them.

Reuben and the Dark
Reuben and the Dark
Reuben and the Dark is a new project fronted by Calgary's Reuben Bullock. The quartet weaves together sounds and vocal harmonies to create unexpected textures that find ways of translating the confusing language of emotion into song and melody with a sound that is both ancient and uniquely contemporary.
Kan Wakan
Kan Wakan
Kan Wakan is an emerging Los Angeles-based group formed in early 2012 by composer/producer Crooked Waters. He then teamed up with guitarist Peter Potyondy and singer Kristianne Bautista to establish the bands early line up.

The project began as an effort to fuse classical minimalism and experimental soul within a more accessible sonic environment. The subsequent addition of three new members not only facilitated this experiment, but also injected a whole new palette of colors and textures to draw upon.

Vocalist Kristianne Bautista weaves bittersweet melodies through an intricate forest of instrumental orchestration, at times demanding the listeners rapt attention and at times subtly evading it, allowing the string arrangements of Crooked Waters to take center stage, while drummer Keith Krey and bassist Ian Anderson firmly navigate the fourth dimension. The result is a cinematic and oddly danceable bricolage of soul, americana, textural post-rock, ambient psychedelia, and western romanticism.
Okta Logue
Okta Logue
Tobias Thomas (DJ and journalist) about Okta Logue:

»How, where and when did this begin, that I, of all people, a seasoned techno-veteran, former pop writer, explicit follower of pop culture and even a Pet Shop Boys- and The Smiths-socialite, should be so enthusiastic about this band?

Of course it all started with »Bright Lights«, this extremely successful and highly-prized masterpiece of a videoclip, which single-handedly set the scene for friends of Okta Logue. Okta Logue were – and this can be seen even at this early stage of their progress – hardly recognizable or even audible, without the visual companion, this image which accompanies the music. If you were blind , e.g., you would not have to understand or even like Okta Logue at once ; if you were deaf, there would still be something left to enjoy.

Meaning: my first contact reminded me of the music of the old buffers, that used to hang around the record stores of my childhood or rather the hippy pubs of my youth – guys with all kinds of krautrock, blues und prog-rock experience, that had this peculiar smell of beer and tobacco about them. But at a second glance, you realize that this young band from the hessian diaspora definitively belongs to the infinite universe of cool and the undying realm of pop music.

This is due, amongst other things, to the fine signs and secret codes, that can be found in abundance, e.g. in »Bright Lights«, but also in other clips and documentaries of the band : way too tight jeans and swimming trunks, extreme pointy shoes, impossible haircuts, way too short men‘s t-shirts, and of course, the whole program of nude ocean swimming, lots of beer and hand-rolled cigarettes complete the picture.

If it wasn‘t for the band playing a) such extraordinarily and b) damn good music for their age, Okta Logue unceasingly present themselves as the embodiment of an ultra-cool group of dudes, that just love to do nothing but to make highways unsafe with their dark-red vintage band-van and to get out their guitars at romantic festivals far away from rocking rings and parks. Yes, as a matter of fact, everything is vintage and “like it used to be” with Okta Logue, they have fallen »out of time«, as spectators like to express. In doing so, and this is extremely crucial, the band understands how to connect an »old« sign with a »new« one, how to immediately cross a positive particle with a negative one, so to speak. They understand how to counter and how to neutralize the effect and thereby still keep the thrill upright. I guess, if seen pop historically, you could say, one is constantly dipping in an extremely exciting contrast bath of feelings.

The main character in the video to »Bright Lights« is not just wearing an impossibly gay pair of swimming trunks, but also this thin hipster mustache, a nerdy pair of glasses and is holding a bottle of liquor, that reminds us of Courvoisier, which used to be the favorite beverage in hip hop circles. The whole multi-colored garden, in which the clip is set, is just full of referential gimmicks, citations and contrasts. And to remain within the freefall of signs, there is even a dj next to the barbecue – whose underwear-swimming trunks I would rather hush about – who is accompanied not by an indie-electro-mixture or vintage basic-techno, which we have heard a thousand times before, but by bluesy, organ-heavy rock, which just seems to be fallen out of time, when we first hear it. But it is not.

There is a similar effect on their new album »Tales Of Transit City«, which immediately catches our ear in the first song»Transit«, but this time on a musical level. We hear a bubbly synthesizer for a few seconds, before the typical whining Okta Logue guitars join in, a downright jazzy set of drums build a new, subtle contrast, followed by organ, voice and bass, which all densify in an anti-climax, before the synthesizer returns, foaming up like an official clubtrack, finally discharging in rave similar rock structures.

After being sent on a wondrous journey by the first song, we hear all kinds of themes during the continuing course of »Tales Of Transit City« e.g. Beatles-quotes, Brit-Pop-reminiscence, never before written Keith-Richards-riffs, Wilco-bows and club-sounding synthesizers, that meet with exalted choirs. As soon as the album is over, you astonishingly want to hear it all again. Okta Logue are a shiny example of what extraordinarily musical results young bands can achieve nowadays. This is of course also due to their parents‘ record collection, as well as the infinite archive of the internet. But primarily I see a circle closing for myself, the heir of 20, 30 years of electronic music and club culture, that probably reversed the polarity of every particle in this country. Ever since, we rock, dance, party, compose, love and write differently under German rooftops.

I hear all of this in the subtext of Okta Logue. A serenity, sovereignty and candidness born of this freedom draws our attention in every song and in every note of »Tales Of Transit City« – much stronger, but also much more self-evident as on their debut »Ballads Of A Burden«.

It turned out to be a damn good second album – after all you can make a lot of mistakes – an album, that casually and sexily frees itself from the vintage-trap and retro-drawer, that beats itself with it´s own weapons and which takes a decisive step towards pop without losing itself in clichés, pomp or kitsch.

Okta Logue still wear pants and t-shirts, that are way too tight and too short and their haircuts are impossible. They will hopefully maintain this ultra-cool image of a cross-dressing hipster-band, that have heavily turned back the clock. They will probably continue making awesome videos, even though they no longer need this image for »Tales Of Transit City«.

This is music, which you damn well enjoy listening to, even if you are blind.«
Promised Land Sound
Promised Land Sound
Promised Land Sound, Nashville’s finest purveyors of febrile root-work psychedelia, chose to begin at the beginning; they named themselves after an immortal road-dogging Chuck Berry jam and proceeded from there. For such a young band—though they’re now all in their twenties, some weren’t even of legal drinking age when they released their debut—they’re remarkably attuned to historical precedents. The self-titled first album mined the same red dirt/swamp boogie as the Flying Burritos, Gene Clark, Jesse Ed Davis, Link Wray, the Band, CCR, Dennis Linde, Johnny Darrell, the Stones, et al. But For Use and Delight is the album on which Promised Land Sound finds their distinctive idiom, the distilled articulation of their mutable live performances, during which songs expand and contract, guitars flicker, flame, and gutter, and the rhythm section achieves a full-throttle locomotive choogle that locates the common/contested ground between J.J. Cale and Can.

Promised Land Sound emerged from the fertile Nashville garage scene—members have played with PUJOL, Denney and the Jets, and members of JEFF The Brotherhood and Those Darlins, among others—but they have quickly evolved to deploy a more varied country, soul, pop, and psych palette than most of their brethren and sistren. Bassist and singer Joey Scala and his younger brother Evan (drums and vocals) originally hail from Roanoke, Virginia but moved to Tennessee in 2000. Joey spent some time hitchhiking around after high school, eventually meeting Nashville lifer and guitar prodigy Sean Thompson and playing in a succession of local bands together before beginning to write in earnest as a team. In short order, they managed to attract the admiration of esteemed folks like fellow Nashvillain Jack White, who released a live 7” of theirs on his Third Man Records. The current lineup also prominently features invaluable Nashville stalwarts Peter Stringer-Hye (The Paperhead) on additional vocals and rhythm guitar and polymath Mitch Jones (Fly Golden Eagle) on keyboards, as well as handling co-production and string arrangements on the record.

In 2013 Paradise of Bachelors released Promised Land Sound’s first full-length album, co-produced by Jem Cohen (the Ettes and the Parting Gifts), Andrija Tokic (known for his work with Alabama Shakes), and Nashville guitar wizard (and Hiss Golden Messenger band member) William Tyler, who also guests on the record. In 2014 and 2015, the band toured with Angel Olsen, Alabama Shakes, and Natalie Prass, among others.

If the first album resembled, as Uncut enthusiastically described it, “what the Byrds might have sounded had Gram Parsons joined the band a year or two earlier,” then For Use and Delight suggests a heavier, darker potential meeting of Jim Ford and S.F. Sorrow-era Pretty Things (without all the conceptual baggage, but retaining the razor-wire guitars and unabashed ambition.) But that’s all fantasy rock and roll gaming, and lest you think Promised Land Sound is a band that aspires to sound like the sum of their record collections, think again: the fact is that there just aren’t many other bands writing and inhabiting rock and roll songs of this scale and structural and performative sophistication. The Chiltonisms and chiaroscuro of “She Takes Me There” recall Big Star, but not so much in sound as in sentiment—the melancholy dislocation of a Southern band in a Southern city, but existing strangely out of time and pushing beyond geography. Listen to the bittersweet swagger of “Otherwordly Pleasures” or “Oppression”: despite the classic psych and pop influences, Promised Land Sound is in some essential sense a staunchly Southern band, unselfconscious classicists eager to anchor their songs in traditional forms while tearing at the edges of the vernacular.
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002