Devon Williams – Tickets – Glasslands Gallery – Brooklyn, NY – December 3rd, 2011

Devon Williams

Event Off Sale: Tickets no longer available

Devon Williams

Tony Castles, Young Buffalo

Sat, December 3, 2011

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

Glasslands Gallery

Brooklyn, NY

$10.00

Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

Devon Williams
Devon Williams
Devon Williams performs a shimmering pop music that tempers sweetness and bliss with an honest, unguarded perspective. Williams' music is informed by his broad musical knowledge and diverse tastes; while the past echoes through his tunes, his song-writing skills, strong musical voice and arrangement/production prowess mark him as a truly unique talent on the scene. The past can be a window on the present, and Williams' distinctive blend of power-pop, orchestrated soft-rock, folk-rock and lush, layered jangle-pop takes full flight on Euphoria, his new album.

Euphoria presents an homage to things romantic and rare. A powerful and catchy set of songs matched with a more intricate and layered production than his 2008 debut solo album Carefree, Euphoria retains a uniform feel though it was recorded and mixed in several studios by producers like NYC's Jorge Elbrecht (from the excellent Violens) and Vancouver's Dave Carswell, who also produced Williams' onetime touring mate, Destroyer. From the gushing crescendo of "Slight Pain" to the trance-like state of "Dreaming," the album's vast emotional landscape embodies the tough-minded/tender-hearted spirit that animates Williams' live performances. The 12 songs on Euphoria live in a dizzy head space of quiet desperation, progressing from the loving and warm "Revelations" to complacency in "Sufferer," then back to the optimistic "Right Direction" directly into the claustrophobic, pounding chorus of "How is There Always Room?"

Lush and layered, Williams chooses this colorful world to make light of dark thoughts. First single "Your Sympathy" is a perfect illustration – a gorgeous, rolling jangle-infused tune that wraps romantic resignation in the stateliest of melodies. Songs like "Favor Tree" and "All My Living Goes To You" continue with this theme, heady meditations on the heart set against lovely musical backings that would make any fan of Felt or The Church swoon. This is Williams' statement of musical intent and he's been carefully crafting and tweaking the songs for maximum effect, building them up and then paring them back down to find the ideal balance of immediacy and depth, of melodic richness and lyrical concision. Euphoria is Williams' finest record yet, a very personal work of great beauty that is as thought-provoking as it is musically intoxicating.
Tony Castles
Tony Castles
(The) Tony Castles was born in Brooklyn, NY in August 2008. His family resides in suburban Connecticut and Madrid, Spain. He has great recipes for chicken marsala, pork dumplings and a variety of traditional Italian pasta sauces. He is a diehard fan of the Boston Celtics, and the New York Giants. He played three years of high school varsity soccer and has college diplomas in mathematics, economics, neuroscience and creative writing. He is a devout fan of rock and roll music. A few of his notable favorites include Talking Heads, Suicide, Roxy Music and Nirvana. (The) Tony Castles is a responsible hard worker but probably isn’t qualified for the job.
Young Buffalo
Young Buffalo
In wilder times, man hunted for survival or to prove his worthiness to pass along his DNA. This modern life requires no such effort. But the compulsive nature of man leads us to search none-the-less, scouring the city for the best taco or the perfect lamp. Obsession is a modern man’s hunger, and no variation of man knows this deep-pitted yearning more than the music fanatic. We track our pray on the interwebz and through the record stores, flipping through racks of records and reading tomes of reviews with a junkie-like fever…searching for the next morsel to sate our urges with a yearning in the pits of our soul that is as real as any physical craving. In truth, we can never get enough. It is as if our record collections are somehow the measure by which our worthiness is now measured, and we consume as if our genes depended on it. But sometimes in our journeys, we can stumble into something so satisfying that we can just kick back in our caves and give our restless search a respite.

In late February of 2010, me and a group of like-minded brothers rambled into Jackson’s Ole Tavern on George Street. We were coming from a banquet in our suits and ties, hoping to find a drink and not much more. But for creatures such as we, the hunger is always boiling below the surface. As we entered the building and made our way up the stairs, a soaring sound echoed off the walls and into our minds. With intricate harmonies that recalled the playfulness of Feels-era Animal Collective and a crisply fast-tempo guitar that was equal parts Surf and Graceland-era Paul Simon, our interests were piqued. What we found was a band of young men on stage whose youthful appearance belied the maturity and complexity of what we were hearing.

Our eyes narrowed as we drew a bead on them, stalking quietly from the shadows. Who were these guys with their fancy tunes and their modern pants? Our inquiries would be answered by the barkeep, with uncertainty: “Young Buffalo?” I would find out who this Young Buffalo was, as I approached their singer/guitarist, Jim Barrett, for the real word {and later the rest of the band through the miracle of the telephone.}

Young Buffalo, as it turns out, was a newly-formed band from Oxford that had only been playing together a few months at the time. Despite the brevity of their union, Barrett had formed a tight and dynamic sound with keyboardist Alex Von Hardberger and bassist Ben Yarbrough. “We played together some in high school {in rural Taylor, MS}, and then they {Barrett and Von Hardberger} asked if I wanted to join this new band…” Yarbrough recalls. “We all wrote our own songs, and we just kind of play through them and add our own parts” Barrett adds. That dynamic of individual creativity and freedom has served the band well, as they’ve managed to forge a cohesively complex sound out of the individualism.

They sound familiar, but in a way that makes their music instantly accessible while not being derivative. “We drew a lot of inspiration from The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Neutral Milk Hotel, and some indie groups like Animal Collective…” Barrett stated. Amazingly, as I listened to a demo recording of their songs, it wasn’t exaggeration to say that Young Buffalo, at moments, held their own with the bands that have influenced them. Could they build on these moments of brilliance? It may be unfair to ask that much of such a young band, but their first recorded efforts confirm the high promise of their live performance.

On “New Beat” and “Speak EZ,” the band channel’s Fleet Foxes’ harmonies and song structure while adding a more modern flavor, via their instrumentation, that is far more clean-shaven than mountain man. Snow Angels, in addition to a wonderfully melodic chorus, features a killer guitar solo that reveals not only good songwriting and vocalization, but surprising musicianship. But it is on “Catapilah,” that the band’s potential is truly revealed. Barrett’s crisp guitar playing creates an energetic pace while Von Hardberger’s keys subtly add textures as the song builds to a memorable crescendo in the chorus where harmonies soar higher and higher. Barrett sings “…you get what you put into it” before the rest of the band breaks in with a playful and creative vocal breakdown that recall’s Feels-era Animal Collective in both structure and tone. The imagination and musicianship on this song, more so than any of their others, leads you to believe that Young Buffalo’s first record could be something that garners national attention, should they be able to sustain it over a full-length release. But these recordings confirmed what we suspected the moment we heard them that night in the stairwell - these guys were something special.

As we left that night, our unexpected hunt successful, our hungers had been satisfied completely. Young Buffalo was exactly what we went out into the city nights looking for, a band so new that no one had heard of them, yet so good that everyone you know would very soon know them well. We had found the white buffalo in Young Buffalo, a sight so rare and special that you take it back to your homes and tell others about it in words that would seem like hyperbole had you not been there to witness it yourself.
Venue Information:
Glasslands Gallery
289 Kent Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.theglasslands.com/