We like this video right now. A LOT.
The Flannelmouth Sessions: Glass Lux
There’s a unique dynamic incorporated in the electronic music of Glass Lux. The melodies are often up-beat and catchy, inspired by the mainstream-pop hits singer Emily Morse karaoked to as a child. Combined with drummer Alfonso Mayen’s old-school beats and heavy 80s synth elements, their music is infectious; and as the crowd surrounding the Lincoln Hall stage proves, impossible not to move to. However, the lyrics are mystic and abstract, becoming even more haunting through Glass Lux’s live performance.
"I didn’t want to write anything that was romantic, because I wanted to relate in a weird way. I read a lot of fairy tales and am really interested in the darker side (of fairy tales). It’s fucked up and I like that,” says Emily explaining the inspiration behind the dark themed lyrics.
Although there are only two members (plus a third rotating musician used for live shows) Glass Lux has a bold presence that is able to fill the stage. They are not shy characters, neither on stage, shamelessly loosing themselves in their performance; nor in the studio as they kickback with champagne and beer, energetically speaking with everyone at Studio 11.
The studio space where the band currently records, located in Chicago’s River North, is a psychedelic maze of mix-matched furniture and knickknacks. There is a dark, yet welcoming vibe, fitting of the energy of Glass Lux. It’s no surprise the band has chosen to settle in Studio 11’s creative space as it correlates well with the group’s inspiration and diverse musical influences.
Both musicians were surrounded by various influences during their youth that have played a part in the creation of Glass Lux. Alfonso, growing up in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, was raised in a musical family with a father who always kept a guitar in the house. Alfonso’s journey started on guitar, but later turned to the drums after his early metal band was unable to find a drummer. From there, Alfonso explored many styles and genres with different bands.
“”I love death metal drumming with the double bass petal break downs and shit. I also love techno and hip hop, but Glass Lux is defiantly a way to express my love for synth pop,” says Alfonso, who aside from playing with Glass Lux, also drums with another band called Perfect Kiss.
Emily got her start in music doing karaoke. Even though she enjoyed the sounds of classic rockers such as Led Zeppelin and Heart, Emily often sang to Top 40 hits, which she credits to the development of Glass Lux’s catchy melodies. Emily continued to sing in high school choirs and performed with pop/punk bands at talent shows and other competitions.
The two crossed paths in the fall of 2010 at Debonair Social Club shortly after Emily’s move to Chicago from Michigan. Through a networking of Facebook friends, Emily was able to contact Alfonso and within 48 hours, Glass Lux formed and put together their first and most popular single, “I’m a Machine”.
As the band is not yet a full time gig for either artist, both have taken an active role over the last four years in not only crafting great music, but also picking up the ropes of the trade from a business standpoint as they navigate the music landscape.
“”I feel like it took us a bit to get our shit together and get serious. We were making music and didn’t really know the business side of everything,” says Emily as her and Alfonso reminisce on the obstacles of Glass Lux’s career, specially the struggles of live shows early on.
"Our early shows were me on the synth and [Emily] singing," says Alfonso who felt the dependence on playbacks took away from their performance. In order for the band to get a richer sound, they decided upon adding a third musician to play synth for live shows, freeing up Alfonso to do live drum work. “We wouldn’t be opposed to adding a fourth or fifth person down the road,” says Alfonso.
Glass Lux’s current focus is on playing live shows during the summer months. Following some local Chicago shows, such as a performance at the Soho House on August 18th, the band will be venturing out on a mini east coast tour. Like any band working to make a career of their art, Glass Lux has established long term goals which they hope to achieve in the near future. Aside from being signed to a label, Glass Lux hopes to continue playing quality shows and eventually gain the opportunity to tour with larger bands.
The future seems bright, and Alfonso speaks with hope. “We like to try new things, play it by ear and see where the wind takes us.”
Perfume Genius: “Queen”
Perfume Genius is a very aggressive singer-songwriter project. Michael Hadreas’ most notable songs are unencumbered, bold and direct to the point of confrontation. Many of us first heard him on "Mr. Petersen", an unflinching look at student/teacher impropriety. More of us, through the stark, sweet and ultimately tragic video for "Hood", a two-minute visual love story with now-deceased gay porn star, Arpad Miklos. This aspect of Hadreas’ artistry creates a fascinating tension against the music of a Perfume Genius song, which bear typical signifiers of passivity: creaky vocals, piano, and a kind of reverb that makes all his stories sound like shellshocked, PTSD recollections.
On “Queen”, Hadreas unifies his lyrical and musical ambitions into the most forthright, ornate, lustrous and “pop” moment of his career. We hear him over bigger drums, new keyboards, grunting samples, barely any reverb. It fits the concept: Hadreas describes “Queen” as a song inspired by “gay panic”, and the power one can derive from knowing their mere being is making everyone around them extremely uncomfortable. It’s a perfect merger of intent and execution, but there’s still the tension that makes Perfume Genius such an uneasy, unique listen: “Queen” sounds like triumph amid the pathetic relevancy of its subject matter in 2014.
See Perfume Genius at Lincoln Hall on October 1st - TICKETS
Office Mix: Pitchfork Fest - Past & Present
Pitchfork Music Fest is back for another round starting tomorrow. Get yourself ready with this mix featuring artist’s not only performing at the festival, but have (or will) played at Schubas or Lincoln Hall.
Steve Gunn: “Milly’s Garden”
The title of Steve Gunn's upcoming full-length, due in October, is Way Out Weather, and on the first available song, “Milly’s Garden,” the double-tracked melodic lead guitars billow in like warm sheets of rain. The album has a hint of ecological unease lurking behind it, as Gunn wrote it on tour with an eye to the passing landscape and the worrying changes roiling it. His voice has a little more pain and gravel here than it did on 2013’s rocking-porch gem Time Off, but he still sings with a calming and gentle soulfulness, a hand smoothing a bedsheet.
The full band he’s assembled opens into shimmering interludes that openly and warmly pay tribute to the Grateful Dead and the Band. The extended instrumentals feel less like “jams” than explorations—a fine and niggling distinction that nonetheless points to what is so often missing in extended instrumental interludes. You can sense, as a listener, that every single player has the same overall shape in their mind, and you can feel them all pushing towards it. This is masterful, textured and gorgeous. And as easy as it is to listen to, it conceals a grain of unease: “Your faith is savaged, and your mind is damaged/You’re more than halfway there.” Halfway to where, exactly, is unclear, but the uncertainty is evocative and troubling.
Mandolin Orange performing “Little Worlds”
See them live at Schubas on September 7th. Tickets on sale now.
We teamed up with Eventbrite for their Backstage Revival project. Check out this video capturing the transformation of the Lincoln Hall green room. A huge thank you to Eventbrite for their amazing work!
OOIOO’s ‘Gamel’ Reviewed
OOIOO (pronounced “oh-oh-eye-oh-oh”) is an extraordinary band led by the drummer, singer and guitarist Yoshimio, who has gone by Yoshimi and Yoshimi P-We. Since the ’90s, she has also played drums with the Japanese band the Boredoms, whose cathartic concerts and large-scale concepts — including gatherings of 77 and 88 drummers for outdoor shows in New York on July 7, 2007, and Aug. 8, 2008 — have eclipsed Yoshimio’s own work a bit. That shouldn’t be so.
Over 17 years, OOIOO has tended to shift its goals categorically for each record: “Armonico Hewa” (2009) is more rocking, “Kila Kila Kila” (2003) more groovy, “Gold and Green” (2000, and my favorite) more lovely, immersive and strange. Well, they’re all strange; they may sound informed by West African music, no wave and Asian folk traditions, until they don’t at all. But at the same time, they’re very basic; they get back to how music is made in the first place.
The motivating sound behind “Gamel,” the group’s new record, is gamelan, the Balinese and Javanese tradition involving metallophones struck with mallets. This is a sort of music Yoshimio seems perfectly suited to; it’s all about order, cycles and trance-inducing repetition. She composes in sections, with cyclical chants and overlaid rhythms: simple, powerful and disciplined ideas.
But the band’s tracks build their bones through ritual real-time repetition. OOIOO performs in a circle, and sometimes you get the idea that Yoshimio is creating a kind of idealized nonprofessional orchestra, a people’s band, working with musical elements adapted from nature or passed down through old cultural practices or half-imagined in dreams.
She’s added two gamelan players to her band, Tomoyuki Hamamoto and Koheysai Kawamura; they’ll be included in the band’s rare tour of the United States, which will stop at Rough Trade Brooklyn on July 18 and Le Poisson Rouge on July 20. Though they may not be playing in the traditional style, they’ve been completely subsumed into the group.
Despite this music’s predetermined composition, these pieces become structurally volatile: The roles of different players and sections might become inverted several times over in a single song, with the gamelan players moving to rhythmic from melodic roles, and with Yoshimio moving to gestural phrases and whoops from chants. It’s rugged, inspired, original music. BEN RATLIFF (NY TIMES)
See them at Lincoln Hall on 7/15 - Tickets
Source: The New York Times