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
At a time when most female singer-songwriters perform as alter egos, Eleanor Friedberger is simply, refreshingly herself. And that’s just the way her fans like it. Having spent the last decade fronting the indie-rock institution The Fiery Furnaces (currently on hiatus) with her brother Matthew, in 2011 she emerged as a formidable solo artist with Last Summer, a thoughtfully crafted tale of memory and place couched in the organic pop of her ’70s idols. Instantly, Friedberger established herself as a modern-day heir to the tradition of Donovan, Todd Rundgren, Ronnie Lane, and their ilk: Warm, nuanced, timeless songs. No gimmicks necessary.

The title of Friedberger’s sophomore album is Personal Record, and it is, in a sense. Personal, that is. But not personal in the way of, say, a coming-of-age record, or a diary about the past, which Last Summer was. Many of the songs seem to be about love, or love lost, but whether any of the experience is hers or someone else’s, she isn’t saying. “It’s not as specific a narrative this time,” she says. “There’s a universality to it.” So incisive are the lyrics, in fact, that Friedberger’s bassist incorrectly assumed that two of the songs were about him. “I loved that,” she says. “I want him to feel like the songs are about him. I want you to feel like the songs are about you.”

The term “personal record” also refers to an athlete’s best, and the double entendre is apt. An intense decade-plus of touring and recording has burnished Friedberger’s voice and imbued her songwriting with newfound depth; there’s a maturity and mellifluousness to this outing that feels downright epic. It was always the Eleanor-penned songs that gave the Furnaces’ albums their most poignant and graceful moments, especially in later work like I’m Going Away. Last Summer took that promise into full flower; Personal Record “is part of the same growth process,” she says. Faced with a six-month gap between the completion of Last Summer and its release and accompanying tour, Friedberger holed up at home in Brooklyn; by the time the tour started, she had twelve new songs to road-test. Though most bands work this way, the Furnaces didn’t. For Friedberger, touring with the unreleased material allowed her to flesh out a more rollicking, full sound from the get-go. “By the time I came home,” she says, “I knew exactly what I wanted the songs to sound like.”

She reunited with Last Summer producer Eric Broucek (the DFA-trained emerging talent whose clients include !!!, Hercules and Love Affair, and Jonny Pierce) to expand upon the warm, textured atmosphere of their first collaboration. Tracking began in fall 2012 with a week at Plantain Studios, the West Village home of DFA. To Friedberger’s favored electric pianos and classic-rock guitars, they added a menagerie including an upright bass, an alto flute, a bass clarinet, and even a portative organ. (It’s a device made of several recorders and a bellows in a frame that looks like a wooden castle. Or, actually, like Howl’s Moving Castle.)

Production then resumed at Broucek’s home studio in the Los Angeles hills, where the rest of the record was completed in just ten days. As the songs filled out, Friedberger went full-out in immersing herself in her romantic vision of that city. “I was just listening to Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young, driving around in a borrowed Prius,” she says. “Walking along Point Dume, playing tennis at Griffith Park.... I ate hippie food every day. Lots of lentils.”

The sun-warmed languor of the West Coast and its golden age of rock ’n’ roll shines through in Personal Record. It’s the aural equivalent of an afternoon jaunt up the PCH in an orange BMW 2002, fist pumping into the wind. “When I Knew” and “Stare at the Sun” rock out like the Furnaces’ finest, but with that unmistakable Eleanor gracefulness. “Echo or Encore” is a lilting love ballad underlaid with with a bossa nova beat. “I Am the Past” evokes the mystical side of the Me Decade with meandering bass clarinet and a balls-out flute solo (seriously). Though Friedberger may harbor a bit of a ’70s fetish, there’s an idiosyncrasy and intimacy to her music that’s undeniably modern. Above all, it’s pretty. “It’s such a romantic album to me,” Friedberger says. “But more so than love for another person, it’s really about a love of music.”
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.«
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002