7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show
All ages welcome
$25 advance, $30 day of show
Night Beats play pure psychedelic R&B music that spikes the punch and drowns your third eye in sonic waves of colour. Theirs is a bastard blues, contorted and distorted into new shapes for 21st century wastoids - once tasted never forgotten. This is music to melt your sorry little minds.
Make no mistake: their new album Who Sold My Generation sounds like it has been created against a backdrop of burning Stars and Stripes flags and with the whiff of napalm hanging in the air - an alternative universe where ‘Helter Skelter' is the national anthem and Charlie Manson is still on the loose. Acid-test heaviness is Night Beats' currency, but this is no out-right nostalgia trip either. Instead of Nixon and Vietnam, Night Beats have their own epoch of God and guns and bombs and drones to rail against...or flee from. Besides, bad vibrations, blues jams and id-shattering explorations are timeless pursuits - why shouldn't today's young generation be allowed to take a ride down the slippery spiral that sits within the centre of each of us?
On their third album - and first for Heavenly Recordings - Night Beats perhaps most recall their Texan forefathers and psyche-rock originators 13th Floor Elevators at their ‘69 peak, just before The Man busted young Roky Erickson and dragged him to the psyche ward for barbaric doses of shock treatment. These boys represent the best of the Lone Star State's flipside - that vast dusty hinterland of the soul where it's easy to drift off the map and reinvent yourself as part of the long lineage of creative cowboys who prefer psychotropics to rodeo riding, guitars rather than firearms.
"Old cowboy culture is alive and well in Texas," says frontman Danny Lee Blackwell. "I grew up with Texan mythology all around us, so as a band its instilled in our blood. My Dad didn't wrangle steers but he did pick cotton when he was young. But then cities like Austin and Dallas, where we spent most of our time growing up, have a real sense of musical history that runs deep, so we feed off legacy that too."
From the Elevators and The Red Krayola on to pre-ZZ Top band The Moving Sidewalks, Butthole Surfers and The Black Angels - whose record label Reverb Appreciation Society have released Night Beats - and a clutch of other early cult bands besides (Bubble Puppy, Shiva's Headband and the Golden Dawn, anyone?), Texas has always been a prime breeding ground for such outlaw music. "The Elevators were one of the reasons I decided to become a singer and form the group," says Blackwell. "I loved their attempt to play R ‘n' B music, but from a distinctly Texan approach. I'd say they have profoundly influenced the group, but it's now our job to take it to another level in a new age."
It took a cross-country relocation to instigate their formation. Night Beats were born when frontman Danny Lee Blackwell upped stick from Dallas to Seattle, Washington and was soon joined by childhood friend James Traeger. "James got me a copy of Ginsberg's Howl when I was around 15 and it changed everything," remembers Blackwell of his old friend. "We grew up together and once he moved up to Seattle we did everything together there too. I wanted to try out a different place, a new city, where no one knew my music and there wasn't anything remotely similar going on. Coming from Dallas, Austin seemed like the obvious choice but I needed something more. Seattle was at one time the home to people we love like Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones so I didn't feel too disconnected."
The two existed initially as a guitar and drums duo, named in honour of Sam Cooke's 1963 album Night Beat, before fellow Jakob Bowden Dallas resident joined on bass after a stint in Austin. Filtering a collective love of pioneering artists as disparate as Buddy Holly, Fela Kuti, Etta James, James Brown and Leonard Cohen, Night Beats dropped a clutch of singles, split-singles, cassette release and two albums - their self-titled debut in 2011 followed by Sonic Bloom in 2013 - as well as featuring on all manner of compilation albums that document the cutting edge of the head-bending, modern counter-cultural US underground.
Night Beats hit the road too, touring extensively with Roky Erickson, The Zombies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Strange Boys, Black Lips, The Growlers and The Black Angels in North America, Europe, Israel, South Africa and Australia.
Recorded on old two-inch tape in Echo Park, Los Angeles at the home of producer Nic Jodoin and featuring co-production and guess bass playing from Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, new album Who Sold My Generation goes beyond merely being a retreading of well-worn garage / R&B path. Instead it offers a contemporary take on the psychedelic experience, a heady set of hoodoo voodoo songs. Mordant and corrosive opener ‘Celebration #1' sets the tone with its wailing guitar jams and Messiah-like monologue, while ‘No Cops' makes like the imaginary soundtrack to an orgiastic party somewhere in the LA hills as the summer of love gave way to an era of greed and paranoia. ‘Sunday Mourning' is the sound of blood dripping on the twitching remains of a generation's super ego and with a rockabilly strut, ‘Egypt Berry' chases the White Rabbit down into a cosmic underworld while shaking its burning tail feathers
With new Who Sold My Generation, Night Beats have not only painted it black, they've torched the fucker and driven it off the cliff, crashing and burning into the arid canyon below.
In its afterglow only the lone howl of a solitary coyote remains.
Ben Myers. October 2015.
Deap Vally landed in ‘2013' with their rock debut ‘Sistrionix'. The LA duo bombed down the Transatlantic speedway, lighting psych-blues fires throughout the US and Europe. Lindsey Troy's whiskey-soaked vocals and killer guitar riffs were chaotic, but found a degree of order in the heat of Julie Edwards' drumming. After several loops around the world, they returned from their travels and decided it was time for a gear shift. The change was inspired by the pair's need to create their vision on their own terms, without label input. Lindsey and Julie needed to be able to operate in a way that didn't suck the living joy out of their creations, otherwise that blues synergy of rock'n'roll (forged between them at a knitting club in Echo Park some five years ago) would simply not be able to reach its pinnacle.
So the two-piece took a risk, parted ways with their label (amicably so), and wielded the time they needed to reassess matters by themselves, even doing short stints as touring bass players: Lindsey in White Lung and Julie in JJUUJJUU. "We were given this gift of time to make the record," explains Julie, optimistically. "We kept writing, recording, exploring all these flavours. It was a real luxury."
It's a luxury many bands don't get, and it's strengthened their identity, which has now become an "ism": specifically ‘Femejism'. That's the name of the second record. "We don't ever wanna do what people expect of us, we always want to do the opposite of that," says Lindsey, ever the rebel. "Like after a break-up when you cut your hair, dye it, and just explore being free on so many levels." Julie intercepts, "But, y'know, within the confines of guitar and drums." Their new labels - Cooking Vinyl and Nevado Records - have put their faith in the ladies' vision entirely.
‘Femejism' has been two years in the making. "This is what we wanted: total freedom," says Julie. The pair explored new territory at recording studios in Downtown LA and the San Fernando Valley. They had a third character in the mix, too, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, who lent key production skills to the pair's own chemistry. "He's pushed our songwriting a lot," says Lindsey. The pair also explored new territory at recording studios in Downtown LA and the San Fernando Valley, this time honing their producing skills too. The track ‘Julian', for instance, was produced entirely by them. Both ladies insist that theirs is a love/hate relationship they're incapable of explaining. "It's a mystery that neither of us understand," says Julie, the yogic yin to Lindsey's dramatic yang. "We're giving ourselves to an alchemy we don't control but it creates art. It's raw, hot and loud, you know?"
The duo always keep their cards close to their chests when it comes to offering explanations. "What do you think it means?'" defers Julie on the subject of titles, lyrics, etc. Although they take what they do seriously, Deap Vally try not to take themselves too seriously. There's a sense of humour that catches you off guard. The only thing they do offer is that true crime and historical characters have inspired some songs. Maybe the self-produced ‘Julian' or ‘Little Baby Beauty Queen', but who knows? They both kick like a mule regardless.
"I always want there to be some philosophical endgame," adds Julie. "They're personal songs and they're universal. Nothing's too mired in emotion." Lindsey agrees. "We wanna give people music they deserve." Take ‘Teenage Queen', which comes over like an Alex Turner anthem. //I'm gonna live forever, Snapchat, sex and cigarettes, life is but a dream for a teenage queen// hollers Lindsey. It's a feverish poke at societal ills, without getting too preachy. In ‘Critic' there's a stripped-back grunge vibe as Lindsey drawls //everyone is a fucking critic, a fucking cynic// in a way that's so blasé as to be positively liberating. The song is sonically the "biggest departure" for them.
"It was hard sitting on this record for so long, not knowing what was gonna happen," says Lindsey. But that waiting made the pair even more ambitious. Julie went ahead and had a baby. "The baby came out, then we found the perfect partners. It was like it had to happen that way," Julie muses. Lindsey adds, brazenly, "Now that we have a home I just wanna put out a tonne of records."
Formed in 2013 in Los Angeles, Froth first garnered attention with their debut LP, "Patterns." Originally intended as a small-run cassette release, the album quickly became an underground sensation in the Southern California music scene, catapulting the band to local fame and prompting a vinyl re-release in 2014.
2015 saw the release of the band's sophomore album, "Bleak." A more dynamic, adventurous effort, the record matches lush shoegaze soundscapes with driving krautrock beats. Froth toured extensively across the U.S. and Europe in support of the album, opening for acts such as The Drums, Tamaryn, Pond and Craft Spells.
After signing with Wichita Records in 2016, Froth is set to share their third album, "Outside (briefly)," on 2/10/2017. This time around, the band has dialed back the noise, revealing delicately beautiful melodies, intricately arranged instrumentals and some of their most experimental songwriting to date.
JJUUJJUU is an astral union, an arcane ritual, and above all, a conversation.
Harnessing an unspoken energy, the duo have exponentially blossomed from a sonic experiment to a forceful, telepathic dialogue of distinct-but-aligned vibrations. Releasing this dynamic on an expanding spiral of planned and impromptu live shows in the American southwest, the magnetism of the duo only continues to grow, along with its devoted, traveling coterie of entranced acolytes. - S.M. 2012