Liturgy To Play Dante’s With Lightning Bolt

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By Hollister Dixon // Photo by Erez Avissar

Brooklyn’s own Liturgy, a band described by frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix as “transcendental black metal”, is a tough band to crack open for a lot of people. On the band’s first two albums, 2009’s Renihilation and 2011’s Aesthethica, the band made a conscious effort to work within the confines of black metal, while subtly trying to make it their own. This can be polarizing, and off-putting for some people, but for others, it’s truly exhilarating.

Three years after Aesthetica – as well as the near-implosion of the band following the departure of drummer Greg Fox and bassist Tyler Dusenbury, both now back with the band – Liturgy are back with The Ark Work (out now on Thrill Jockey), the band’s most expansive and genre-bending effort yet. To support the record, the band are about to embark on a massive tour of North America and Europe, which includes dates with fellow Brooklynites Sannhet and Baltimore’s Horse Lords, and, for a fantastic string of dates on the west coast, noise rock giants Lightning Bolt. You can catch Liturgy and Lightning Bolt at Dante’s on April 29th, and find tickets right here. Don’t sleep on this one, dear reader.

After the jump, you can listen to “Quetzalcoatl” from The Ark Work, and check out all of Liturgy’s upcoming dates.

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Episode 124: “What If?”

Thanks to Dave Harris and Josh Kennedy for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • “What if…?”

Songs:

  • Death Grips – “Pss Pss”
  • Joan Osborne – “What If God Was One Of Us?”
  • !!! – “Myth Takes”
  • Osibisa – “Fire”

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Episode 123: The Cult of Personality

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Thanks to Joey Gerber for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • Musical personalities and personas
  • Who are some of the greatest musicians to, essentially, become someone else?
  • Are those personas an extension of the performer, or merely a gimmick?
  • What reason is there to adopt a persona?
  • What about artists who took on multiple personas during their careers?

Songs:

  • Blondie – “Call Me”
  • David Bowie – “Space Oddity”
  • Parliament-Funkadelic – “Can You Get To That?”
  • Sufjan Stevens – “Eugene”

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LIVE: Kindness, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

By Hollister Dixon

In a lot of ways, for a lot of people, pop music is something frivolous, airy, and pedestrian. In the world of indie rock, there exists a weird riff between people who embrace it, and those who view it as “not real music”. This is an absolute shame, because those are the kinds of people who will sleep on people like Adam Bainbridge, otherwise known as Kindness. He’s still a relatively young artist, with two records under his belt (2012’s World, You Need a Change of Heart and 2014’s Otherness) but he’s also worked with a lot of undeniable stars (Robyn performs on Otherness, as does Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, aka Lightspeed Champion), and although your roster of guests doesn’t make your records good, it definitely means that you’ve got something good going on.

And make no mistake: judging by the fantastic (albeit short) set Kindness performed at the Doug Fir Lounge, he’s definitely got something special to offer. This becomes apparent almost immediately, as his backing band lauched into World closer “Doigsong”. Onstage, Bainbridge proves to be the full package: he can sing, and he can most definitely dance – something you just don’t see enough anymore. It feels over-the-top to compare him to the likes of Prince or Michael Jackson, but given five years, I can’t doubt that the comparison will be thrown around a lot more.

Bainbridge isn’t alone in the stage presence department, though: every other person onstage, from the drummer (and his fantastically simple Robert De Niro impression) to his backup singers, feel absolutely vital to the experience. This was never more clear than the point where, very early in their set, he decided to take a four-minute break to give his singers the spotlight, and left the stage entirely. Though his manic, all-over-the-place energy was missing, the potency of the song was still there, which made Kindness feel less like a single guy with a backing band, and more like an actual collective. That collective elevates the project to an entirely new level.

At the end of the day, though, my biggest complaint is that the set was just too short. There was a decent amount of very funny, very rewarding crowd work and banter, but if you stopped to think about it, it was just to kill a little time. The set was 10 songs long and just over an hour, and though I enjoyed myself, I can’t help but wonder whether or not the rest of the crowd walked away satisfied. With two albums of material to work with, was it impossible to include an extra song or two to sweeten the experience? Bainbridge did an impression onstage of a concertgoer calling TicketMaster in a huff over the set-length, so why not just play a tiny bit more?

This complaint is relatively minor, though, as I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the performance I got, no matter how long it was. Kindness is clearly still in its infancy in a lot of ways, and in a year or two, I can see it being the kind of act that you pound on your neighbor’s doors to talk about. I was satisfied by the passion they put into the performance, even if I wish they’d done it just a little longer. Keep an eye out for Adam Bainbridge, though, he’ll be blowing socks off in way bigger rooms if he keeps working like he has been.

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Episode 122: The Likely Lads

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Thanks to Katy Hampton for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download the episode right here.

Topic:

  • The Libertines!
  • We discuss the obsession of our guest, her beginnings with all things Libertines, as well as all the bands connected to them

Songs:

  • Violent Femmes – “Love Love Love Love Love”
  • The Libertines – “(I’ve Got) Sweets”
  • Tweedy – “Please Don’t Let Me Be So Misunderstood”
  • Black Sabbath – “Iron Man”

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Episode 121: Anatomy of a Remix

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Thanks to Anthony Baney for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, or download it right here.

And, as an added bonus, Anthony has provided the playlist of songs below, to give you some examples of his work, and a few that inspire him. Enjoy!

Topic:

  • The remix
  • How did our guest get into remixes, and doing them himself?
  • What are our relationships with remixed music?
  • What are the different types of remix? What do they look like?
  • Is there a formula that most remixes follow?

Songs:

  • Leonard Nimoy – “Follow Your Star”
  • Clean Bandits – “Rather Be (Elephante Remix)”
  • Caribou – “Our Love”
  • Kindness – “Who Do You Love? (Ft. Robyn)”

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Episode 120: Don’t Believe the Hype

Thanks to Jordan Portlock for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, and download it right here.

Topic:

  • When you enjoy a band, but not the things that influenced that band
  • When you enjoy a band, but hate the things they’ve influenced
  • How can hype enhance or destroy people’s enjoyment of something?

Songs:

  • Portland Trailblazers – “Bust a Bucket”
  • Iron & Wine – “Your Fake Name is Good Enough For Me”
  • Fugazi – “Waiting Room”
  • Trapper Schoepp – “Tracks”
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LIVE: Cursive, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

By Hollister Dixon

The first Cursive record I obsessed over was not The Ugly Organ. It was actually Happy Hollow, the band’s misunderstood (and possibly underrated) fifth record, that pulled me in. A few days before my 16th birthday, my father and I took a trip down south and paid a visit to the Redwoods in North California, and – among other things – I brought with me Happy Hollow. I played that record to death, and somehow didn’t get to the point of my father throwing my iPod out the window during the trip. I know we must have listened to other things on that trip, but that’s the thing that sticks out more than almost anything. Everything comes back to The Ugly Organ, though: after my father went to bed one night, I wandered from our hotel room to the nearest grocery store and listened to that record for the very first time. I never quite got over either of those records, but I fell the hardest for Ugly Organ in the end. More than 10 years later, every inch of that record feels absolutely perfect, without a single ounce of unnecessary fluff or fat. It is, somehow, still probably the best album to ever come out of Saddle Creek Records.

More than 10 years later, Ugly Organ is still a record worth celebrating. Which is why, instead of touring behind new material, the band are out on the road promoting the recent reissue of the album (which I can tell you, after having a peek at the merch booth, looks gorgeous) – but, we’ll get to all of that in a moment or two.

I only caught three songs from Slow Bird, from Seattle, WA. I regret not catching more of the band’s set, because what I heard was incredibly tight. The trio’s music may not really be a breath of fresh air – they really aren’t treading any uncharted territory with their material – but they manage to make wonderfully atmospheric and surprisingly soulful indie rock, and it was a fantastic way to start off the evening. It’ll be very interesting to see how they develop over the next few years.

The night’s second band, Beach Slang, also fit into the category of “Can’t wait to see what happens next”. Make no mistake here: the band’s set was absolutely astounding. They’re a band that wear their influences on their sleeves in a major way, but it never verges into the territory of lifeless pastiche, but instead turns an obvious love of The Replacements and Big Star into something entirely fresh, and incredibly fun. The band are currently recording a new album, a follow-up to their superb four-track Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken, which I can’t recommend enough.

And then, there’s Cursive. I didn’t know, walking in, that the plan was to play The Ugly Organ, in it’s entirety, mixed in with a couple b-sides from the record, as well as songs from the rest of their career. It was a definite trip down memory lane, with almost no focus on the records that came after: a song each from Happy Hollow, Mama, I’m Swollen, and I Am Gemini. I got a chance to see Tim Kasher solo last year, but this was a whole different ballgame entirely. Dressed in a suit and tie, he commanded the stage in a way that few frontmen do, and somehow made the act of chewing gum while performing an act of immeasurable suaveness.

Surprisingly, Cursive do not seem sick of any of the songs from that era. They whipped in and out of stretches from the album with jarring intensity, and the crowd ate up every moment, most noticeably during “The Recluse” when the crowd chanted every word louder than Kasher himself – which is, if I’m honest, one of my favorite things about bands performing their classics. It’s an act of passion and love, which fit perfectly with the nature of the show. It’s somewhat rare these days to see a crowd that feels like they are completely with the band every step of the way, and it was a treat to be a part of that evening.

Aside from Ugly Organ tracks, they tossed in a small handful of equally old songs: two from Domestica (“The Casualty” and “The Martyr”, which left me wanting a similar show for that record) and the criminally underrated Burst & Bloom (“Sink to the Beat” and “This House Alive”), and though the latter two didn’t rile up the crowd like the rest, it was a pleasure to see them performed for an adoring crowd. They ended the set with “Sierra” and the squalls of “Staying Alive”, which perfectly capped off an already unbeatable set, and despite still wanting more (I’d have paid to see “Shallow Means, Deep Ends” or “Hum of the Radiator”), I got to leave completely satisfied, and impressively wiped out.

At the moment, Cursive are nearly three years removed from I Am Gemini, and though I was never a fan of that record, I feel like the intensity of this performance bodes well for the band’s future, even if it was the result of a deep dive into the band’s past. I’m not sure if I need to see the band again after this show, but if they can match that passion with the next one, I’ll still happily turn out to see them any chance I get.

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Episode 119: Kind of Blue

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Thanks to Jessica Rand for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download the episode right here.

Topic:

  • Jazz!
  • Where did we all begin with Jazz? What exactly is Jazz?
  • Who are the most important people in the genre?
  • What are the different subgenres? What about “Soft Jazz”?
  • What are some things that stop people from getting into it?
  • Where should newcomers start?

Songs:

  • Hot Chip – “Huarache Lights”
  • Herbie Nichols Trio – “45 Degree Angle”
  • Motion City Soundtrack – “Everything is Alright”
  • Chromatics – “Just Like You”

Bands:

  • Hot Chip – “Huarache Lights”
  • Wild Ones
  • Alialujah Choir
  • Aphex Twin
  • St. Vincent
  • Beck
  • Beyonce
  • Tenacious D
  • Mastodon
  • Motorhead
  • Drake
  • Herbie Nichols Trio
  • Charles Mingus
  • Duke Ellington
  • John Coltrane
  • Miles Davis
  • Art Blakey
  • George Gershwin
  • Elvis Costello
  • Chet Baker
  • Charlie Parker
  • The Blue Cranes
  • Christopher Brown
  • Wayne Shorter
  • Robert Glasper
  • Billie Holiday
  • Cannonball Adderley
  • Sun Ra
  • Herbie Hancock
  • The Bad Plus
  • Go Go Penguin
  • Sheila Jordan
  • Lucky Peterson
  • Luis Conte
  • Tito Puente
  • Gene Krupa
  • Bill Evans
  • Nils Frahm
  • Kenny G
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Lou Rawls
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Grateful Dead
  • Weather Report
  • Jaco Pastorius
  • Tortoise
  • John Zorn
  • MarchFourth Marching Band
  • Pink Martini
  • Motion City Soundtrack
  • St. Paul & the Broken Bones
  • Robert Cray
  • Rod
  • The Church
  • Mr. Bones
  • Daniel Lanois
  • Chromatics
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Episode 118: The Small Faces

Hey everybody! Due to some scheduling conflicts, we decided to take a small break last week and this week (sorta!) to get our bearings again. However, we didn’t want to leave you folks empty handed, so we present to you this brief episode, in which we talk about everything we’ve been up to in the last couple weeks, and what we’ll be up to this week. Enjoy!

Songs:

  • Prodigy – “Return of the Mac”
  • Mr. Bones – “You Don’t Have a Skull of Your Own”
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