Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Tickets – Glasslands Gallery – Brooklyn, NY – September 15th, 2011

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Hospitality, Blouse (Release Party!), Man/Miracle, DJs Katie Garcia (Captured Tracks) & Dustin Payseur (Beach Fossils)

Thu, September 15, 2011

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Glasslands Gallery

Brooklyn, NY

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Hardly anyone knows that Unknown Mortal Orchestra is some guy called Ruban Nielson. At first the ‘band’ was just a song called Ffunny Ffrends, which somehow found it’s way onto literally hundreds of music blogs in a few days after it was posted to a brand new bandcamp account. Over the months that followed, the Unknown Mortal Orchestra gradually invited willing listeners into a world where junk shop record collections came to life and recombined in freakish new combinations. Eventually, in keeping with UMO’s enigmatic moniker, a self-titled 7” EP was released from behind a veil of secrecy by UK imprint The Sounds of Sweet Nothing in 2010, sounding like Captain Beefheart, Sly Stone and RZA jamming on a creepy, never released kid’s show. For months Ruban was unable to bring himself to tell even those closest to him that he was making this music, and went about life as certain friends, family members and colleagues would start asking him if he’d ever heard about the Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Hospitality
Hospitality
The angular, intricate, and intelligent compositions of Hospitality signal a sophisticated new pop voice. Singer Amber Papini’s idiosyncratic songwriting and incisive lyrics coupled with the band’s rich arrangements on their self-titled debut explore youth, New York, and the bittersweet commingling of past and present in a way that feels just right, right now.
From the opening phrase of “Eighth Avenue,” guitar hooks are balanced with a cultivated melody. Papini’s singing has a wisp of an English accent via Kansas City (she learned to sing by imitating Richard Butler on The Psychedelic Furs’ Talk Talk Talk) and her lyrics create a moonstruck, even cinematic vision of New York City, where the band formed in 2007. The production by Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) and band member Nathan Michel (guitar, drums, keyboards), who released his share of experimental “bedroom” pop, culminating in 2005’s The Beast (Skipp/Sonig), imbues the entire record with an intimate yet prodigious sound, layering period keyboards with horns, synthesizers, and treated guitars.
Hospitality the album has an overarching vision and should be listened to as a whole, though every song registers as a single. (Will Merge take a cue from Epic’s Thriller campaign and release seven singles? They should!) “Friends of Friends” could break the Hot 100 with its heavy intro, swingin’ breakdown, and horn riffs; “Betty Wang,” the lynchpin of their live set a few years back, is impossibly catchy, the story of one of Papini’s real-life colleagues at a financial day job; and “The Right Profession” is a power-pop burst of an anthem with Papini chanting the immortal line, “It’s hard to change!” (Isn’t it?) And “The Birthday,” with a sinuous, dissonant lead guitar, the lockstep rhythm of the drums, and Brian Betancourt’s nimble bass, wouldn’t be out of place on The Police’s debut record, but its epic coda makes it decidedly CinemaScope. Hospitality, while hearkening back to ’70s/’80s pop—both Elvis Costello and Kate Bush are influences—has an ambitious vision: its big promise is nowhere more evident than on the gorgeous anthem “Julie,” the album’s centerpiece which already sounds like a classic. The song’s lush, glorious build is coupled with lyrics inspired by Papini’s great-grandfather, a Pennsylvania coalminer.
Reprising some songs from a self-released 2008 EP recorded by Karl Blau (K Records) allows Hospitality to nod to its beginnings as a more lo-fi outfit; that early intimacy can be found in the arrangement of the cheeky and distinctly NC-17 “Liberal Arts.” Since recording its LP, the band has become a quartet, filling out its live sound with Kyle Olson on drums and Michel moving to lead guitar duties. And after patiently honing its craft, playing concerts (and gaining converts), Hospitality has reached what will be its first apex with many more heights to come; from their modest debut in a Red Hook row house, the band has evolved from four-track low-fidelity to a luxury five-star future.
For their forthcoming debut LP (due in January), Hospitality have widened the iris with the help of producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells), letting in new colors and textures while continuing to pack an impressive degree of musical and lyrical sophistication into the pop song structure, along with a refreshing fondness for experimentation that should turn the heads of casual listeners and merciless critics alike.

Since recording, Michel has traded his trap kit for electric guitar (an instrument he’s been known to wield on his various brilliant solo efforts [Google him]), and the band has added drummer Kyle Olson to the lineup, transforming the once minimalist trio into a fully orchestrated quartet with quite the engaging live show.
Blouse (Release Party!)
Blouse (Release Party!)
Evolution is a tricky word when discussing current trends in music, especially when it comes to sophomore albums. The critically lauded “BLOUSE,” the 2011 debut from the Portland band of the same name was a lush, melodic and dreamy affair spiked with whoozy synths and delicate vocals. For “Imperium,” their 2nd LP for Captured Tracks, Blouse have shed the synths, done away with drum machines and wrote and recorded with “instruments that don’t plug into the wall,” as enforced by bandmember/producer Jacob Portrait.

Sonically speaking, that comes through on the LP immediately. Perhaps bolstered by the ongoing construction occurring next to the studio while the record was being made, the sense of force and urgency propelling the record is evident. Patrick Adams’ driving bass and plodding drums in the title track usher in this new guitar-friendlier Blouse; more direct and clearer of vision, but still mysterious and beautiful.

Jacob and Patrick’s Pacific Northwest alt-rock roots (filtered through post-punk and V/U) are a great counterpoint to ex-pat Southern CA transplant Charlie Hilton’s Cohen/Patti/Nico singer/songwriter nature. The dichotomy of those two forces on tracks like “No Shelter” and “1000 Years” are at the core of Imperium. These are delicate songs from the perspective of a valley girl who grew up with gurus and ashrams played by indie lifers on a steady diet of NEU! It makes it all the more understandable to have showers of acoustic guitars and (real, not synthesized) cellos interrupted by fuzz guitar.

But these interruptions aren’t a bad thing, they’re what makes Imperium the great record it is. “In a Feeling Like This” describes it perfectly, it’s a strange place that you’re weirdly familiar with. Warm but also kind of spooky and imposing, you want to stay there for longer than you’re invited. Thankfully, it’s ok to flip it over and listen to it again.
Man/Miracle
Man/Miracle
This local indie-rock outfit returns home after their triumphant tour with Rogue Wave. "This is an exceedingly exuberant, sweaty rock record. For as good a Man/Miracle m.o. as you're gonna get, listen to 'Multitudes' — it's a manic, twitching romp that trips all over itself with positively gleeful recklessness. Such is the sound of Shape: a bluster of furiously scratched-out dual guitar lines, galloping drum acrobatics and David Byrne-ian yelps. The album is full of brimming-over moments — even in the quiet, more deliberate corners of Shape, you can feel the band itching with anticipation. When the whole thing explodes again, a split second before the metronome probably clicked, it's an incredible rush. ... An excitable, exciting young band with everything to prove. " --eMusic.com
Venue Information:
Glasslands Gallery
289 Kent Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.theglasslands.com/