La Luz, Shannon And The Clams, Sick Sad World and Dream Whip
Where: Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club
109 7 Avenue S.W Calgary
When: Wednesday May 25th, 2016
Admission: $14.00 Cheap. Available at https://slothrecords.wordpress.com/ or https://bigtickets.ca/
"For most, a brush with death would be cause for retreat, reflection, and reluctance, but Seattle band La Luz found something different in it: resilience. Having survived a high-speed highway collision shortly after releasing their 2013 debut LP It’s Alive, La Luz, despite lasting trauma, returned to touring with a frequency and tirelessness that put their peers to shame. Over the past year-and-a-half of performing, the band arrived at a greater awareness of their music’s ability to whip eager crowds into a frenzy. In response, frontwoman Shana Cleveland’s guitar solos took on a more unhinged quality. The basslines (from newly-installed member Lena Simon) became more lithe and elastic. Stage-dives and crowd-surfing grew to be as indelible a part of the La Luz live experience as their onstage doo-wop-indebted dance moves.
When it came time to record Weirdo Shrine, their second album—due out August 7th—the goal was to capture the band’s restless live energy and commit it to tape. In early 2015, Cleveland and Co. adjourned to a surf shop in San Dimas, California where, with the help of producer/engineer Ty Segall, they realized this vision. Tracking most of the album live in shared quarters, La Luz chose to leave in any happy accidents and spur-of-the-moment flourishes that occurred while recording. Cleveland’s newly fuzzed-up guitar solos—which now incorporated the influence of Japanese Eleki players in addition to the twang of American surf and country—were juxtaposed against the group’s most angelic four-part harmonies to date. The organs of Alice Sandahl and the drumming of Marian Li Pino were granted extra heft and dimension. Thematically, Cleveland channeled Washingtonian poet Richard Brautigan on “You Disappear” and “Oranges,” and sought inspiration from Charles Burns’ Seattle-set graphic novel Black Hole.
The resulting album is a natural evolution of the band’s self-styled “surf noir” sound—a rawer, turbo-charged sequel that charts themes of loneliness, infatuation, obsession and death across eleven tracks, from the opening credits siren song of “Sleep Till They Die” to the widescreen, receding-skyline send-off of “Oranges” and its bittersweet epilogue, “True Love Knows.”
In describing Weirdo Shrine, Segall remarked that it gave him a vision of a “world…burning with colors [he’d] never seen, like mauve that is living.” In “Oranges,” the Brautigan poem which inspired the aforementioned track of the same name, the poet writes of a surreal “orange wind / that glows from your footsteps.” These hue-based allusions are apt: the sound of La Luz is (appropriately) vibrant, and alive with a kaleidoscopic passion. Weirdo Shrine finds them at their most saturated and cinematic. " - http://www.hardlyart.com/laluz.html
"La Luz is ready to take on the world." -- MTV Hive
"...a uniquely haunting -- albeit occasionally unintentional -- spin on the innocent guitar-driven pop of the late '50s and early '60s, nudging the sock hop vibes of Dick Dale and the Shirelles into a darker parallel dimension." -- Paper Magazine
"Imagine all of the Shangri-La's trying, precariously, to balance on top of Link Wray's surfboard." -- Pitchfork
"One of those bands that hit the ground not running, but sprinting." -- Elle
Shannon and the Clams
The American West. America’s America. It was here in three very different worlds that Shannon and the Clams were spawned. From the dark redwood forests of Oregon emerged Cody Blanchard: singer and guitarist. The dusty walnut orchards and vineyards of northern California gave us Shannon Shaw: singer and bassist. Out of the lonely dunes of California’s central coast shambled Nate Mayhem: drummer and keys. These three talented visual artists were drawn separately to Oakland, California and it was there that the Clams began playing house parties and grimy clubs.
The band was forged in the anachronistic remote communities of the west, in some strange mixture of computer show and country fair; their music is some odd alloy of The Last Picture Show and The Decline of Western Civilization. The pioneer spirit of western life is all over this band: pushing into the unknown, blazing their own trail, creating their own destiny, with the accompanying canyon-esque loneliness and untamed joy only truly known by those with the courage to pull up stakes and head off into the big empty sunset.
Gone by the Dawn, the newest Shannon and the Clams album, is their best work to date. The music is complex, the lyrical content is emotionally raw and honest, and the production is the strangest it’s ever been. The album was written as one member was recovering from a serious breakup and another was deep in one. The lyrics reflect it, and the entire album is dripping with sadness, pain, and introspection. Shannon and Cody have not written generic songs about love or the lack of it. Instead they have written about their very own specific heartbreak, mistreatment, and mental trials. The emotion is palpable. On Gone by the Dawn the Clams have DARED TO BE REAL. They’ve exposed their true emotions, which is what's most moving about the album. People are scared to be so real. Society does not encourage it. Folks remain guarded to protect themselves from being mocked, punished, and becoming outcast . The Clams have opted to forgo the potential tongue-clucking finger-waggers, and have instead had the artistic courage and audacity to splay their pain and struggles out for all to hear. We are lucky to hear them get so damn real.
For Gone by the Dawn, the Oakland trio hooked up with studio wizard and renaissance man Sonny Smith to record the album at Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco. Best known as the driving force behind San Francisco’s beloved Sonny and the Sunsets, Smith uses his refreshing production techniques to create an engaging sonic landscape without compromising the Clams’ signature Lou Christie-meets-The Circle Jerks sound. The Clams have evolved: their skills are sharper, their chops are tighter and weirder and they’ve added new instruments to to the mix. A whole new dimension of the Clams has emerged.
In the West everything is big. The mountains are towering, the rivers broad, the deserts vast, the canyons deep, and the emotions huge. The Clams have painted themselves into a massive landscape of sound and desolation. Gone by the Dawn is monumental; immense, magnificent, and unforgettable. Shannon and the Clams have pioneered their way into a lonesome land where the past still lives in the long shadows of a hot afternoon, where whispering spirits follow high along canyon walls, and if you sink your fingers into the dusty hard-packed earth you pull out hands smeared with blood.
-- Dan Shaw
Sick Sad World
"After years spent playing in heavy bands like Christmas and Malaikat Dan Singa, Seattle musician (and apparent Daria fan) Jake Jones decided he wanted to tap into his inner pop-loving self and formed Sick Sad World as an outlet for this new direction. Sneaking time at Dub Narcotic Studios here and there with engineer Ben Hargett, Jones worked tirelessly to craft the kind of pop album he wanted to hear. Kind of a noisy blend of Beach Boys' melodies and T. Rex-ian whomp and stomp mixed with a Jesus and Mary Chain tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold stance, the album he came up with, Fear and Lies, is a total gem. Bopping from one happy, scruffy tune to the next, it's almost impossible for the pop-loving listener not to break out into a satisfied grin. The surfy "Skateboard Girl" is irresistibly fun, the peppy "Sweet Glory" is rambling, danceable rock & roll goodness, "Being Weird" is insanely hooky with a weird undercurrent, and the rest is great, too. The woozy ballad "Orange Lazarus" provides some drunk-after-a-bad-prom heartbreak, the riff "Stay Gold" hits the same fuzzy groove Outrageous Cherry hit on their witchiest songs, and the punchy "Alone All the Time" is a heartening empowerment jam for loners everywhere. Throughout the record, Jones shows that he has a real ear for what makes a pop song really pop, and he and Hargett have a sound that's rough and ready, while retaining plenty of sonic power, and the lyrics cut a little deeper than most scruff pop records usually do. Jones isn't as obviously weird or wacky as guys like Ariel Pink, but he's not singing about flowers and sunshine, either. He's got a slightly off-kilter world view and it matches up perfectly with his sugary songs and sound. While his old groups might miss having a guy as talented as Jones around, his turn toward noise pop gives fans of that particular style someone new to love. It may be a sick sad world, but as long as there are people like Jones singing and playing songs this good, the world is a tiny bit happier and healthier." - http://www.allmusic.com
Music inspired by various girl groups, ranging from the 60s to the now, what comes out is something between pop, punk, and power pop. Songs about eating chips, romance, misogyny, going to the beach, being lazy, hating the music your boyfriend likes, breaking all your teeth. These gals are all about having fun.