The Bowery Ballroom
Address: 6 Delancey Street
City: New York
|| with SHAED, Late Night Episode
|| with Reo Cragun
With an appetite for the gliding, glassy indie-pop of artists like Aurora and Lana Del Rey and the Distorted Menace of Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, Billie Eilish listens to music the way that most watch movies, entirely undefined by genre. This bleeds through into her own unique style of music, calling out lyrics with a mix of heartbreak and damaged indifference. Born and raised in Los Angeles by two actor/musician parents, Billie Eilish grew up surrounded by Art. She began singing in the Los Angeles Childrens Chorus when she was 8 years old. Now at the "seasoned" age of 14, Billie has begun releasing her own original material, Produced and Co-written by her Older brother Finneas OConnell (Of The Slightlys). With songs like Fingers Crossed, telling an apocalyptic tale of a virus outbreak and the Song Ocean Eyes Calling out to a lost love, Billies voice and perspective roams far beyond her years in its emotion and power.
|| with Girl Ray, Palberta
Early on his third record as Porches, The House, Aaron Maine outlines his rifting desires: I dont wanna leave you out/I just wanna leave the house. Though the debate is seemingly simple (the classic should I stay or should I go scenario), at the crux of the sentiment is an urgent need to exit the comfort of domesticity and be ones own person. The House is driven by this urge to step back and reconcile with oneself. Whether examining identity through a relationship, nostalgia, or isolation, the key to unlocking The House is the conscious act of renewal. Unlike 2013s rollicking indie rock crusher Slow Dance in the Cosmos or the lush synth-pop of 2016s Pool, Porches third record is a conscious effort in minimalism and honesty. While making Pool I learned how valuable the spirit of the demos are, says Aaron, so for The House I made a point to try and capture the song the day it was conceived. He recorded only for keeps and initially limited himself to a 4-track as a means of committing individual songs. Though he would later rework the arrangements, Aaron focused intensely on recording the essence of the song, embracing the imperfections of some of the performances in hopes of putting forward something more honest. Though Aaron largely composes on his own, The House features contributions by Alexander Giannascoli (Alex G), Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Maya Laner (True Blue, Porches), Kaya Wilkins (Okay Kaya), Bryndon Cook (Starchild & the New Romantic), Cameron Wisch (Cende, Porches), Jason Arce, Bea1991, and his own father, Peter Maine. As with Pool, Aaron brought his recorded work to Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive, TV on the Radio), who then mixed The House at his Sunset Sound studio.In accordance with the raw recording process, The House finds Aaron saying less with more intention. Because of his urgent desire to document immediate sensations, The Houses fourteen tracks offer a series of diaristic vignettes. There are moments of emerging from fear of ego death (Leave the House, By My Side, Now The Water), escaping the corporeal (Now The Water, Swimmer), the terrifying thrill of young love (Country, W Longing), and parting with the past (Wobble, Goodbye). As on Pool, images of water suggesting salvation at every turn: Think Ill go/Somewhere else/Where I can sink/Into myself (Find Me); can you make it right/can you do no harm/break the water with your arms (Country); This cold pool/Glowing against the night/Is the only thing/I believe is right ( W Longing). While these themes possibly paint The House in a dark light, the record is marked by an excitement at the prospect of self-discovery, and commitment to the process of getting there. Find Me, for example, touches on anxiety and isolation, but is put forward as an icy dance track where one might be able to celebrate those two emotions. The same paradox can be found in Goodbye, a piano track Aaron wrote after taking a solo trip to his hometown. Though it is initially a melancholy reflection of youths ephemerality, the chorus image of slipping into a lake invokes the beauty that sometimes accompanies the act of letting go. Now The Water also features one of The Houses most affecting images: Red clutch farm kid not making a sound. As Aaron explains it, the image is of a rural adolescent who sneaks out into a field at night. Only then, lying there alone while the world sleeps, do they truly feel in touch with themselves. This idea of being fully oneself is the ultimate state of liberation, and with The House, Aaron Maine creeps closer to realizing that goal for himself.
||Gang of Youths
|| with Common Holly
The holiness of love, the chaos and rapture of surviving against all odds, these are what drive Gang of Youths. A five piece from Sydney founded in the confines of their religious youth, enchanted by the spectacle of worship and deliverance, it's no wonder their music burns with the desperation of apocalypse. With singer Dave Le'aupepe's lyrics drawn from some of the most miserable life experiences available to humanity, and the band's music taking cues from rock history's most ambitious and theatrical preachers, Gang of Youths drag the beauty out of everything from hell to high heaven. Debuting in 2013 with smoldering single "Evangelists," they were met with instant radio play and praise. Only just out of high school, Le'aupepe was already planning to marry his girlfriend, settle down, and leave his dreams of music behind, but the band's first brush with recognition suggested there could be more to life than the path that had seemed so obviously laid before him. Things moved quickly: the band started their own record label, Mosy Recordings, got snatched up for really great support slots with Vampire Weekend, Foster The People, Manchester Orchestra, Frightened Rabbit. But as soon as the band let themselves get their hopes up, Le'aupepe would begin the worst period of his life. Le'aupepe's soon-to-be wife was diagnosed with lung cancer after a melanoma on her ear metastasized. He began writing the songs that would eventually become their debut record so she had something to listen to in hospital. After they married, the band went into a studio in New York to track the new record. Working with producer Kevin McMahon (Swans, Rhett Miller, Titus Andronicus) and with Peter Katis (The National, Local Natives, Frightened Rabbit) mixing, they'd assembled a dream team - just one of the peaks that would contrast against the tragedy unfolding in Le'aupepe's life. Le'aupepe's wife survived, but the relationship had other problems. Struggling to balance his commitments to the band - his closest friends - against his commitments to his marriage, unable to enjoy success with one while the other was breaking down, and feeling unworthy of happiness, Le'aupepe was dragged into self-destruction. "I was secretive, unkind, abusing drink and drugs," Le'aupepe says. The breakdown of his marriage and later attempted suicide were where Dave finally bottomed out, but the rest of the band were there to help him climb back up. "I don't ever wanna be unkind again," Le'aupepe says. "I'll spend the rest of my life repaying them for sticking with me." Out of all that trauma and regret, Gang of Youths drew The Positions. Praised worldwide for its sincerity and nuance, blending the melodrama of rock's greatest traditions with piercing, hyper-literate lyrics, The Positions demolished any lingering notions of a pop/alternative dichotomy. Dave was also finding a new lease on life, finding strength in the band and the women in his family, including his young niece whose middle name, Magnolia, was taken from the title of The Positions' most triumphant song. Debuting at #5 on the ARIA Charts and embraced by Australian youth tastemaker triple j, The Positions became the soundtrack for the Australian winter in 2015, with the band embarking on a national tour to support the record. It was the first time much of the country was seeing Gang of Youths up close, and they were charmed in every state. Reports praised their thumping live sets for living up to their songs' stadium-sized ambitions, stating that the band were a guaranteed success. A year later the band released Let Me Be Clear EP, following on the success of their 2014 five-ARIA-Award-nominated debut album The Positions. Addressing similar themes of loss and heartbreak trumped by togetherness, the EP also showed the band expanding their scope with sweeping string arrangements and renewed dedication to songs as epic declarations of feeling. The band hoped to achieve admirable and genuine things with this new release, as said by Leau'pepe, "I want to make the most hopeful, life-affirming music possible. We want listeners to feel affirmed, to feel hopeful, and feel more. That's the most important thing we want to accomplish." Once again scoring glowing praise across the board, Let Me Be Clear cemented Gang of Youths as mainstays of the Australian music landscape. After the success of their UK, European and USA tour, Gang Of Youths came back to Australian shores and rocked crowds and critics alike with stellar performances at Byron Bay's Splendour In The Grass and St. Jerome's Laneway, featuring songs from Let Me Be Clear, and also teasing fans with a taste of their highly-anticipated sophomore album Go Farther In Lightness.
|| with Kraus
The first track on Lo Moon's self-titled album is ever so gentle in its clarion call. Starting softly with light beats, '80s synths and the controlled vocals of lead singer Matt Lowell, it eventually erupts in a stadium-ready chorus cry of This is it! This is it now! For Lowell and his two main bandmates Crisanta Baker (guitar, bass, keys) and Sam Stewart (guitar), Lo Moon is it: the moment they've each individually been working towards their entire musical lives. Music is the universal language for a group of people who all come from vastly different corners of the earth. Lowell is from Long Island, Baker from Denver, Stewart from London; Los Angeles was their eventual meeting place. It was Lowell who instigated Lo Moon before it even had a name. His mantra if you like for all the material was their first release Loveless, a track he had been working on for five years. After its release, the media were wagging their tongues on this new mysterious band who emerged with a My Bloody Valentine-referencing, epic sprawl of a tune. Lowell and co., however, insist that their intention was never to be opaque. They just didn't have anything else to say at the time. We thought, 'Let's lead with the music and see what happens', he explains.It ended up going really far and everyone wanting to know more about the band, but we weren't keeping any information, we were just figuring out what we were gonna do next. We were starting from nothing.From nothing has come something astounding. Their self-titled debut album - a dark, luscious collection of songs full of crescendo rock and sparkling electronics - spans the breadth of human highs and lows, mostly inspired by the dissolution of Lowell's relationship in New York and his subsequent move to the west coast. The record was made in Seattle and Los Angeles and was produced by Chris Walla (former member of Death Cab For Cutie and full-time producer) and Francois Tetaz (known for his work with Gotye). Matt had met each of them separately a few years before, and felt strongly that they'd both bring something important to the project despite having never met. He decided to introduce them to one another, eventually encouraging them to co-produce the record. The result takes the best of both producers worlds and melds them into something as dynamic as its creators. Joining the band for parts of the recording process were Adam Granduciel and Charlie Hall of The War On Drugs, along with touring drummer Sterling Laws and The Blue Niles P.J. Moore.Kicking off with instant anthem This Is It, Lo Moon mirrors the type of seductive electronic energy of bands such as the xx, immediately engulfing you in a cool, thought-provoking, meditative atmosphere. Moving into Loveless, the bands calling card, the album veers towards hopeful, uplifting, and wanting. On the heart-rendering tip, Thorns tells a narrative of a love that's gone but not forgotten. It's bittersweet, sad, and nevertheless alive with catharsis. Real Love another highlight begins with an almost gothic synth line, moving from minimalism into a noirish despair. When it's real love, you try to fix it but it's never enough, go the lyrics, drastically and crushingly honestly.It's no surprise that Lo Moon have thus far toured with the likes of London Grammar and Ride. Their music almost bridges a gap between those two generations of soft experimental rock and near atmospheric electronic pop. The record could sit happily among the likes of Talk Talk, Roxy Music, early Coldplay, and the cinematic scope of Sigur Ros. Admitting themselves that they don't keep too abreast of current bands, the trio find their musical Venn diagram tends to crossover in the '80s, '90s and always classics: Depeche Mode, The Cure, Peter Gabriel, and so forth. They're very unconcerned with chasing the zeitgeist, or trying to stay current, an attitude that takes Lo Moon squarely out of the now and places them in a future perfect place of their brilliantly-devised own making.The band has made itself at home on the road in 2017 - opening for Phoenix, London Grammar, The War On Drugs, Temples, Ride, and more - and the forthcoming year sees them rapidly becoming one of the best new live bands to emerge over the last few years, complementing their interest in their everlasting search to connect with as many new listeners as possible. We're just trying to take it day by day, says Lowell, sensibly. We want people to believe in what we're doing and where we're going. Of course, Stewart is there to keep their egos in check. In terms of our ambitions for this record I was actually thinking more private jet, he laughs. If the music stays this good, the sky will be the limit.
|| with Dear Boy
Over the decade and a half that Rogue Wave has made music, Zach Rogue has continued to expand his bands emotional spectrum. Drawing inspiration from the inevitable delusions of everyday American life, Rogue, his longtime bandmate Pat Spurgeon, and their fellow members have returned reinvigorated, and with a fresh sound founded on the art of patience, the fearlessness of experimenting, and the unbridled joy of creating something meaningful to help us navigate through these vacant times. Trusting in its own abilities and leaning on each other, Rogue Wave has seized creative control of its identity and sound and is set to smash any preconceptions of its music, revealing the most truthful, powerful, and urgent sonic blueprint of the band to date.Taking a longer break in between albums than ever before, Rogue enjoyed his extra time off at home in Oakland with his children. The songwriting process for Rogue Waves music is always the sameme, alone in a room, as Rogue saysand this time around, he found the most success at home in his bedroom or while driving in his car, even learning to embrace his two-year-old sons experimental tunings on his beloved Taylor guitar. Lyrics, however, did not come as easy, and Rogue only found success with his words when slowing himself down and recognizing that his wild juxtapositions of lyrical themes actually felt right. I wanted the duality, he says, I wanted the thematic conflict. This is a record of things being out of balance and at odds with one another. Thematically, Rogue Waves music has never drifted too far from the subject matter of emotional battles with fear and joy in equal parts.Choosing to title the record Delusions of Grand Fur, a riff on the tendency of fresh-faced musicians to misperceive the reality of band life, Rogue found himself reflecting on all that he had learned through his time in Rogue Wave, in addition to our need as humans to keep up appearances. You think the world will be your oyster and the wounds you were running away from when you joined a band will magically go awayyou think you can just become someone else or get whatever you want, he says. But really, we are all deluded in some way. We need to delude ourselves to deal with the impossibility and difficulty of life. Delusion is what keeps the mythology of America alive. It keeps us from facing our history and our true selves. We dont want to be deluded. We need it. And once he had convinced Spurgeon of the sincere intent behind the titular pun, they began the recording process.In a sense a return to their recording roots, Rogue and Spurgeon decided to work without a producer, instead recording and producing themselves at their home studio in Oakland. Calling to mind the bands debut, 2003s Out of the Shadow, a project completed entirely by Rogue and a single engineer, the band also decided to work without recording demo versions of songsinstead, the demos would simply become the songs. Setting up shop amongst their large collection of well-loved gear at the place they felt most comfortable, the band was free to experiment at willrarely would they rehearse a song as a band first, instead choosing to tinker and jump off the deep end as Rogue and Spurgeon desired, blessing the process with what seemed like a natural evolution. At times, bassist Mark Masanori Christianson and the bands new guitar player Jon Monohan would come by to throw in some ideas. But by and large the architects remained Rogue and Spurgeon, resulting in a revelatory experience and so many songs the band could have potentially released a double album. The process taught them to trust their instincts while embracing the fleeting energy of an imaginative spark.It was really nice working at our own pace, says Rogue. We wanted to just go with our own instincts and trust ourselves. Pat really blossomed as an engineer during this record. His curiosity in the studio is just endless. There are no rules. And thats why Ive always been so comfortable bringing song ideas to him, because he is so open. Spurgeon played all the drums on the record, as well as a bit of everything else. In Rogues words, even Spurgeons experiments became instruments all of their own, and despite the modest environment and DIY approach, the end result is a clearer snapshot of who Rogue Wave is today.In a way, it could be argued that we chose the most regressive step by tracking our record in such a comparatively low fidelity environment, says Rogue. But for the music itself, it is the trajectory Ive always wanted for this band. Its the sound of who we actually are, for better or for worse.Echoing that sentiment, Delusions of Grand Fur opens on a confident tone with the upbeat and personal Take It Slow, a song inspired by a mantra of patience. The energy takes off on the next track, In the Morning, which was given its gyrating, infectious pulse by the deft hands of its mixer, Chris Walla. And the bright clip of California Bride, perhaps the tone that will prove most familiar to longtime fans, is a meditation on the beauty and fortune of being alive. Do you even know how lucky you are? says Rogue of the song. You got to live in California and feel the sand in your toes and grab what you wanted from life.But when the dark indie pop of lead single What Is Left To Solve opens the second half of the album with electronic flourishes, its clear that a new, exciting direction is being heralded. Originally written on guitar, the duo was inspired to deconstruct the song by listening to electronic music by Kraftwerk and Grimes. The synth bass line is meant to represent the futility of thinking you will get a different result when you try to change someone else, says Rogue. We are slowly but surely replacing human interaction with digital interaction.Continuing the fresh foray, Frozen Lake is an interpersonal breakup song that evokes sounds of the 80s, the present, and the future all at once, while the jangly, psychedelic Ocean is an instant smash about breaking up, and how getting stabbed in the back can leave you feeling infinitesimally small. When Mike Deni of Geographer lends his soaring voice to the tracks bridge, the tune rises to the rafters. By the time the album reaches its close with the slow-burning, achingly lush Memento Mori, its clear that Delusions of Grand Fur is a masterstroke by a band that knows who it is and has continued to evolve. Rogue Wave has released a work that serves as a culmination of all it has learned and that trusts itself over all else to deliver that message with a supreme urgency.Overall, I think we have grown more comfortable in our own skin, say Rogue. We had total control; we were on our own little island and made the record entirely for our own amusement. As a result, there are some pretty experimental tendencies. It is pretty immersive. There are some very emotional moments. But my relationship with Pat continues to grow. In many ways, I feel like we are just starting to figure out how we like to record music. This record was the most challenging album weve ever worked on, but it never felt like a slog. When we are working on songs together, it just never feels old.
||Charlotte Day Wilson
|| with James Tillman, Raveena
Charlotte Day Wilson is a 25-year-old vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Toronto.With roots ranging from R&B to folk, her soulful, singular voice and timeless sound garnered global attention with the 2016 release of her debut EP CDW, and through her work with friends and collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD, Daniel Caesar and River Tiber.The November 2017 release of single Doubt marked her first new music in more than a year, an intimate yet accessible anthem for the unsure, driven by the strength and honesty of her voice. As with all her previous works, Charlotte served as performer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, an artist in full control of her unique creative vision. Doubt also represented the opening salvo of Charlottes second project, Stone Woman, a six-track EP which will be self-released February 23. Stone Woman is Charlottes first project in the 18 months since CDW, and it chronicles the growth and uncertainty of that period, and a search for a sense of truth and identity.
|| with Un Blonde, Daisy Glaze
I am large, I contain multitudes. Walt Whitman, Song of MyselfSimply calling Curtis Harding a soul man feels reductive. Yes, his music is undoubtedly soulful and his songwriting is both evocative and provocative, but theres more to his music than the stock imagery the label conjures. Hardings voice conveys pain, pleasure, longing, tenderness, sadness and strengtha full gamut of emotions. Yet still, soul man seems too simple a description for musician like Harding, a man who has lived multiple lives as a musician, participated in different scenes, and brought all those varied sounds and experiences together to carve out his own unique niche. The culmination of his experimentation is his latest masterwork, Face Your Fear.To understand Curtis Harding, the singer-songwriter, drummer, guitarist and producer, one must first understand his musical origins. For Harding, it all began in his birthplace, Saginaw, Michigan. It was there that his church-going mother, a singer herself, first exposed him to the sound and spirit of gospel music. He sang and played drums in church with his family, and songs like Mahalia Jacksons stirring rendition of Elijah Rock left an indelible mark on him. While his moms gospel records praised the sacred, his big sisters rap tapes showed him the beauty in secular music. He looked up to his big sis, an amateur rapper herself in the vein of MC Lyte, and before long young Curtis Harding was writing his own rhymes. After a nomadic childhood of moving Harding put down roots in his adopted home of Atlanta the perfect place for an intellectually curious young man to broaden his musical horizons.Embracing his surroundings and fearless in his exploration, Curtis the rapper and rhyme writer would eventually become Curtis, the songwriter and back-up singer for ATL icon CeeLo Green. I learned a lot from that dude, says Harding, recounting the valuable lessons the Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley member taught him about singing and songwriting. He used to say, You aint gotta commit murder [on a track], you can do a simple assault. No need to overdo it to get your point across. The singers task is not to prove that they can sing but to get the audience to feel. For Curtis, it isnt enough for him to be a proficient performer, his voice and his words have to serve a purpose.Curtis Hardings definition of soul is a broad one. Soul is the essence, not the form. He found soul in Atlantas punk scene, he found it at rap shows, he heard it on Bob Dylan records and found kinship with people who heard it the same way. Harding once found soul blaring through the speakers in an Atlanta bar whereBlack Lips Cole Alexander was spinning the same classic gospel his mother raised him on. The two bonded over their shared appreciation for the music and formed the band Night Sun.Becoming a fixture in studios and on stages helped him develop his own unique formula: Curtis Hardings specialty is synthesis. I take everything that Ive learned from these different genres and put it in a pot and come up with something new. His well-received 2014 solo debut Soul Power was the first iteration of the formula, his new album Face Your Fear is that formula perfected. Partnering with his chief collaborator Sam Cohen and with mentorship of super producer Danger Mouse has created an album that speaks to range of emotions a man reckoning with the world and love go through. Hes reminded of a lost love on Ghost Of You, he seduces on Welcome To My World, he seeks forgiveness on Wednesday Morning Atonement and pledges devotion on Need My Baby.As Curtis explains, "The record [Face Your Fear], to me, is all over the place because I go through moods, man. I change. The dark title track was inspired by the feeling of a nightmare; a foreboding feeling, the spell broken by the clarity of awakening. By the way maybe dont worry Its OK face your fear he croons on the chorus. Fear of the unknown, fear of the unfamiliar is a bad dream the brave among us must constantly shake ourselves out of. its something hes had to practice his entire life as he moved from place to place and continues to practice as he moves forward as a musician, Just putting myself out there and not being close-minded and just being open to different ideas and different sounds and different flavors and putting myself in situations sometimes where I didnt know if I would make it out but you know [the mantra is], face your fuckin fear!
||The Night Game
|| with The Band Camino
When the sun goes down, The Night Game happens. Under the cover of darkness and awash in neon stadium glow, the project first took the field in 2017 led by frontman, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Martin Johnson. A catchy combination of muscular guitars, new wave synths, and big screen-worthy stories seamlessly speaks to the nocturnal nature of their moniker.The name personifies the emphasis on sports, sex, and the undying quest for the American dream, explains Johnson. The lights are on. Its primetime. Theres an element of danger. It feels like anything can happen in the moment. As the story goes, The Night Game first began appearing (fittingly) at secret late night shows around the Los Angeles area. Upon release in March 2017, the debut single The Outfieldco-produced by Francois Tetazquietly garnered early praise from The Fader, Billboard, and Noisey who unabashedly proclaimed it a future classic. Journeyman jack-of-all-trades Dev Hynes directed its cinematic and avant garde music video, while the song amassed millions of Spotify streams upon its release. After The Outfield graced Spotifys New Music Friday playlist, John Mayer heard the song and invited The Night Game to join him on a summer shed tour. Usually, its that clich of your people call my people, and then something happens, Johnson laughs. John heard the song on Spotify and reached out directly. It was refreshing to see that real music fans still exist in the industry.Following The Outfield, The Night Game unveiled the follow-up single Once In A Lifetime. On the song, a robust beat gives way to another emboldened and enigmatic hook punctuated by Johnsons fiery falsetto. I was in a pretty dark and self-destructive time of my life, he admits. Lo and behold, in the middle of all this darkness, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity. There was this pinhole of light. I dont know if its fate, divine intervention, God, or a willingness to live, but this moment changed my life for the better. It pushed me out the door.You mightve heard a tune or two from Johnson before The Night Game began. He fronted the mid-2000s pop band Boys Like Girls before transitioning to songwriting and productionpenning and producing music for a myriad of artists across pop, rock, R&B, and urban. However, The Night Game represents him most clearly in the end with each experience leading to this moment. Id love for listeners to be transported into this world, Johnson leaves off. This is an extension of my reality and truth. If people can relate to or feel that at any level, then were really getting somewhere.