Last night I had the extreme pleasure of attending a private party/performance thrown by Savoir Adore to celebrate the upcoming release of their new album, Our Nature (out 10/16). The shindig was held at YouTooCanWoo, their sick studio in Williamsburg. There was plenty of beer (though they ran out of the good stuff far too quickly), plenty of people and plenty of great music. Savoir Adore, the musical alias of Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro, played their new album while we drank before giving us a four-song preview of Our Nature. This album is going to be amazing. The songs are thoughfully melodious and ethereally beautiful. Hammer and Muro’s voices blend together enchantingly as their backing musicians help create a full and encompassing sound. I was able to chat a bit with Muro after their performance and she was very sweet and very happy to be finally sharing the new album. Check back for an interview with the band in the weeks to come!
GHOST PAL LAMENTS/CELEBRATES THAT ‘NATHAN JONES IS DEAD’
An old friend once suggested that the first paragraph of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea provides an uncanny synopsis of the story to follow, both in content and tone. The lead track off of Nathan Jones Is Dead, the newest otherworldly dreamscape steeped concept-album delivered by Brooklyn’s Ghost Pal, does very much the same thing.
A fitting chaos of organ, drums, guitar, bass, and horns fills the first 15 seconds of “Who Is Nathan Jones?,” a precursor to the enthralling stupors the listener is subject to throughout the album, followed by a minimalist prologue in which frontman Oliver Ignatius warbles out a dark string of lyrics that contemplate mortality, contradiction, and experience with the afterlife. Vocal harmonies, heavy reverb, and occasional echo suggest a likeness to Abbey Road’s “Sun King” as the track transitions into an R&B jaunt, led by staccato baritone sax hits and jazz-tumbling drums in three-quarters time.
To be terribly brief, Nathan Jones Is Dead is the story of a delinquent man whose disillusions with corporeal life lead him through an odyssey of the afterlife in which only groovy music and the hedonism of the dead can save his immoral soul. The album embraces a certain eclectic temperament, showcasing both crooning balladry and screeching, deconstructive pop, leaving the listener screaming “we gotta move” a la Nathan Jones himself. Ignatius’ lyrics assume a certain schizophrenic, dual-plus personality, wherein he sings in first, second, and third person, enabling any listener to take on whichever Nathan Jones persona they’d like.
The album’s single, “Hop, Skip & a Jump,” establishes the uptempo and vivacious component of the opus. A country shuffle, accompanied by an Elliot Smith-like (multi-tracked) melody, and baptist congregation handclaps indicates the lively, rambunctious side of Ghost Pal, not to mention, the wonderful and bewildering passage from life to death. After a delicate Velvet Underground-style interlude, one wonders how many foot-tapping choruses these guys can deliver.
Without cease, there is something for everyone upon this album. No wait, scratch that: there is too much for everyone. I hear a haunting soundtrack for a barren wasteland, a baritone saxophone line that rivals Sylvia Plath’s poem “Arrival of the Bee-Box,” a sedated-ragtime-funk-groove that’s on par with Fiona Apple’s most wretched shadow, a freaky little toy piano waltz that mimics the credits to a horror movie, a single note piano-punch reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Starman,” religious connotations, sublime isolation, lyrical puns, The Phantom of the Opera, the pomp of Queen, a wall of sound, a head-bangers delight, a playful melodica ditty, a pertinent and understated cover, and of course, a light at the end of the tunnel. Woah, I’m out of breath.
Beautifully orchestrated, arranged, mixed, and mastered, Nathan Jones Is Dead will leave a listener over-saturated, gloomy, baffled, and surprisingly tranquil.
It should be mentioned that this album must be heard from beginning to end, on continuous play, for the track order is definitive; the end of one song is often the foundation of its successor and mere seconds of silence between songs breaches on sacrilege. Here, hellcats, is a piece that speaks for itself.
Listen to the album on Ghost Pal’s bandcamp. They will perform Nathan Jones Is Dead at their record release party, this Saturday @ 111 Rogers Ave, Apt 1. Doors open @ 8pm.
GRIMES // ‘GENESIS’
GRIMES OWNS MY SOUL. Watch her just-released music video for “Genesis” (off Visions) for snakes, swords and symphonic bliss.
THIS IS EVERYTHING.
- MARK DOMMU
GRIMES // “CIRCUMAMBIENT” @ PIER 84
THANK YOU to Loren Wohl, who captured Grimes’ performance of “Circumambient” at Hudson River Rocks last night which, as I wrote in my full review of the show, was one of the night’s best songs. Beware, Grimes may steal your soul:
- MARK DOMMU
GRIMES @ PIER 84 WITH WILD NOTHING AND DIIV
First of all, hats off to Hudson River Rocks for putting on a summer full of amazing, TOTALLY FREE shows. I will fellate everyone involved with organizing these awesome free events.
Thursday night was the perfect evening for a show on the pier. The breeze was cool, the sunset was beautiful and there were thousands of well dressed kids out on the pier for Grimes, Wild Nothing and DIIV. Literally thousands, Williamsburg must have been completely empty.
DIIV started the night out and I’d never heard/heard of them before and had a lot of fun during their set. Their ambient garage rock was the perfect sound to get the evening of music started. They were very enthusiastic performers and I often found myself jumping which is always a good sign.
Wild Nothing was pretty good, I really liked the sound but couldn’t connect with Jack Tatum, his voice just didn’t match the promise of his music. Nonetheless I did start enjoying myself more at the end of the set when they played songs from their new album, Nocturne.
Then Grimes came on.
Fuck man, that was some supersonic sexual music magic. I’m more of a rock and roll guy than an electronic music freak, but Grimes just takes it to another level with her dark, indietronic dream pop. Claire Boucher manipulates her keyboard and mixers like a witch brewing a cauldron. She plowed through Visions, arguably one of the best albums to drop this year, with almost no between-song banter. The few times she did speak she came off as charmingly shy with an adorable lisp, her blonde and pink hair in long braids.
Being at a Grimes show, as I now know, is like being at a rave for ghosts. Her distinctive brand of witch house madness is haunting and so complexly layered. Boucher uses her magnetic, almost angelic voice the way she does any of the other sounds she creates and works with, manipulating it with a mastery that is prodigious and captivating. Highlights of her set included the dreamy “Circumambient”, which she growled her way through like a wild animal, her viral single “Oblivion” that turned the crowd into a mad dance party and her surprise encore, “Nightmusic”. She also played “Phone Sex”, the Blood Diamonds track she guests on, as well as some NEW music, that’s, in her words, “not real songs yet”. I’m VERY excited that I’ll be seeing Grimes again in October, once was not enough.
Check out the first 12 minutes of her set, thanks to YouTube user iwaseasymeat: