The Bowery Ballroom
Milagres (Album Release Show)

Milagres (Album Release Show)

Conveyor, Leisure Cruise

Thu, April 10, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

$12 advance / $15 day of show

This event is 18 and over

Milagres
Milagres
Audible fireworks explode in the distance of the opening moments of Milagres second album, the aptly titled, Violent Light. It is essentially elemental, as vocalist Kyle Wilson descends on lead track, “Perennial Bulb”, singing, “I am in a cloud”, keys and drums pounding around him as he issues the album’s thesis statement: “My feet are bare. They hit the ground. I’m running toward the miracle.” This is the way down and the way up for the band, fire exploding in the sky behind them, toes tucked firmly into the dark soil, running toward a transfiguration. Far from being the fleeting perennial bulb or mercurial firework, Milagres instead fill Violent Light with richness and delicacy, channeling influences as diverse as Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, providing a durability of vision and influence that is as much born from the earth as it seeks to return to it.



The history of Milagres runs back more than a decade as Wilson performed under the name as a solo artist before moving to Brooklyn and eventually linking with current members Fraser McCulloch, Chris Brazee and new drummer, Paul Payabyab. In 2011, official debut Milagres record, Glowing Mouth, yielded a sight-unseen signing to Kill Rock Stars, national club and European festival touring, and inclusion on numerous year-end “Best of” lists for 2011 and 2012. Eponymous single, “Glowing Mouth” introduced audiences to Wilson’s brilliant falsetto hooks, as well as the band’s blinking, cold-medicine aesthetic. It was a fever dream, a fantasy world full of pitch and yaw, blurry edges and limitless possibility, choruses that erupted and hooks that stuck. Independent rock fans and press took note, as well as radio outlets KEXP and KCRW. Returning to the studio with McCulloch on production duties, Wilson and the band set out to expand and clarify the warm neon universe of Glowing Mouth.



Violent Light begins at the beginning. Wilson found inspiration for the record in the memories of childhood summers spent with his grandparents in Northern New Mexico. The caves, valleys and mesa burial grounds of the Pueblo Indians intermingled with Wilson’s conversations about atomic physics with his grandfather, a scientist on the Manhattan Project of the 1940s and the development of the hydrogen bomb in the 1950s. This mixture of twin organic compounds, the history of ancient people who made their lives in these caves in the earth and the lethal, brilliant modernity of the mid-20th century, unite and blur on Violent Light. When the recording for the album was complete, Wilson returned to visit his grandfather, an attempt to unify these visions, the scientist and the outdoorsmen poet. The conversation bore no fruit, and the listener is left only with the brilliant tension between these twin naturalisms on Violent Light. The stakes aren’t life and death, but how best to live in the shadow of modern fatalism, to wrestle with the meaning of the fire in the sky.



The album ranges across eras and soundscapes channeling psychedelica, dream pop and classic rock. Lead single, “Jeweled Cave” rides a winking Bowie hook, surging keyboard and syrupy backing vocals. Wilson insists in the tracer fire of the chorus, “We were in love” as the arrangement swirls around him. The stakes are in the sky on “Black Table” as Paul Payabyab’s insistent drumming backs an arrangement that easily could fit in the Peter Gabriel catalogue. Stand-out “Terrifying Sea” swells with immediacy, Wilson again drifting through a dangerous and elemental geography before pleading for connection, “I want nothing but you touching me.” Perhaps this is the “core of light” that Chris Brazee describes as lying at the center of these dark compositions. Even the bright, synthesizer-driven, “Sunburn” has Wilson wrestling between the earthly and the modern, “You felt real in a world of plastic, a bit of grit in a sterile place, I’ll be the bird flying up into the sunburn”, another of the album’s instantly memorable hooks. It is the Icarus problem, to have flown so high and burned our little wax wings: The caves of the Pueblo Indians dug into earth of the testing sites for the atomic bomb.



These tensions drive Milagres forward on Violent Light. Melodies and lyrics written partially in wanderings through Greenpoint and Williamsburg day and nightlife, Wilson and the band apply their unique democracy to fleshing out the arrangements that appear on the record. They take the listener into the belly of a remembered landscape, a meditation on the self and modernity as we have come to know and fear it. On final track, “Another Light”, Wilson sings, “When I was young I was afraid that I would never find a way home”, closing the record with, “I’m not afraid to die a natural death”, the final rest in the existential crisis. This is the atomic bomb, the ancient burial site, the melody hiding in the bar at the corner of Franklin and Manhattan Avenues. This, then, is the miracle, the bare feet and explosions of Violent Light, an intimate and ambitious record from a band with its toes on the ground and its eyes in the sky.
Conveyor
Conveyor
Conveyor is a band. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, the band is composed of electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, voice, and the four members that manipulate these instruments in order to perform the songs. The body that comprises their work currently includes: a string of self-released EPs, a cassette, one full-length album, and a number of 7” singles. The music is best described as melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, predominantly major-key, and adequately fits under the categories of rock and pop, with additional associations, more or less strong, to related sub-genres
Leisure Cruise
Leisure Cruise
Every dark cloud has a silver lining. On November 1, 2012, Lower Manhattan was powerless. Red Hook was submerged. And Williamsburg—though spared most of the trauma of Hurricane Sandy—was shaken nonetheless. Felled trees and utility poles littered the sidewalks; normally harried Brooklynites, unable to get to work or anywhere else, wandered Bedford Avenue in a daze.
Dave Hodge—the veteran Canada-born musician (Broken Social Scene & Bran Van 3000..who has also performed with Macy Gray, Feist, Brazilian Girls, and Basement Jaxx), arranger (Janet Jackson/Neptunes, Carly Simon), and composer was sitting in a café that day when he saw an acquaintance walk by: singer and songwriter Leah Siegel (a fixture on the New York scene known for her solo project Firehorse and for singing with The Citizens Band). The two had met while recording for a tv spot a few years prior, and hadn’t seen each other since. Before the storm, Hodge had been writing songs and score for the soundtrack to the indie film Two Hands to Mouth; pleased with the results, he hoped to create a new musical project based on a few of the pieces. Something that day—maybe it was a post-Sandy you-only-live-once feeling—prompted him to run out and say hello, and ask Siegel if she’d maybe want to try writing some music together sometime.

Scheduling conflicts prevented that from happening before March 2013, but when it happened, it happened. After just two months of writing, recording, and mixing, Hodge and Siegel have a band—Leisure Cruise—and their self titled debut album of darkly hypnotic, danceable synth-based anthems.

The name is somewhat ironic. Right before Hodge and Siegel began working together, news broke that astronomers had discovered three new planets in the Lyra constellation that appeared capable of supporting life. In light of the previous fall’s events, Hodge and Siegel got to talking: What if we had to leave earth and colonize a new planet? They imagined “a final leisure cruise for the human race,”—and the fledgling musical project as a sort of soundtrack for it. “We’re sort of living our lives in a state of leisure,” Dave says, “with regards to using up resources and knowing what’s happening and not really doing much about it.” Not that Leisure Cruise is all doom and gloom (or that it could be, with a name like that). “It’s not this apocalyptic thing,” says Siegel, of the concept. “We’d elect to make a purposeful and exciting exit. Try something new. In my head, I see it as a natural progression in the hopefully delayed inevitable.”

So what would play on this spaceship’s sound system? Something sounding like the future as imagined in the past—yet rooted in the now. Imagine the music of a John Hughes film if it had been written by Bowie, remixed by Johnny Jewel, and fronted by a female Prince, and you’ll start to get the idea. Rounding out the sound is an impressive roster of guests (Metric’s Jimmy Shaw, Blondie’s Tommy Kessler, Liam O’Neil from the Stills, Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene, and Drake’s Adrian Eccleston). It’s at once dark and light, serious and fun, melancholic and euphoric. Ask Hodge and Siegel about their sound and process, and the answer sounds a lot like what happiness researchers call flow. “We weren’t trying to emulate anything,” Hodge says. “We were just making music.”

In fact, Hodge and Siegel see Leisure Cruise as the product of two musical soul mates meeting at just the right moment in their careers to truly savor it. “I’ve worked with some great singers, but it’s really very effortless with Leah,” says Hodge. Chimes in Siegel: “This is just the truest collaboration I’ve ever experienced—it’s a rare pairing.”
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002
http://www.boweryballroom.com/