Air Waves, GROOMS, Drawing Boards, Annie Hart (of Au Revoir Simone)

Air Waves

GROOMS

Drawing Boards

Annie Hart (of Au Revoir Simone)

Fri, January 8, 2016

Doors: 7:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$10

This event is 21 and over

Air Waves - (Set time: 10:30 PM)
Air Waves
While attending Purchase College Nicole Schneit aka Air Waves met Dan Deacon, a friend and former collaborator who once described her comforting songs as something akin to “a favorite blanket wrapped around you.” Though she played in several bands in college (including the noise jam band Ferrari with Deacon) she eventually shifted her focus to writing and recording intimate pop songs under the name Air Waves, a moniker inspired by the title of a Guided by Voices song.

In 2010 Schneit released Dungeon Dots, an album which Aquarius Records called “…pretty much perfect pop music.” After extensive touring in support of that album, she took some time off from writing. “It was crucial for my creative process to take a step back from making music. Part of being a performer is having confidence to just be vulnerable. I needed to regain that confidence to make an album again after Dungeon Dots,“ says Schneit. The vulnerability she speaks of is part of what makes her music as Air Waves so compelling. Even her fictional narratives employ an almost preternatural honesty that feels emotionally naked, exposed, and ultimately relatable.

She initially recorded her new album Parting Glances as cheaply as possible, but unsatisfied with the results Schneit enlisted long-time friend Jarvis Taveniere of the band Woods to help rerecord the entire album (selling her tour van in the process, to help cover the studio time). Working with Taveniere in the studio, she took a great deal of care to ensure that each song felt exactly right. As she explains, “Every song feels complete and structured without losing the warmness that I strive for. I wanted them to sound tight and full without sounding overproduced. Jarvis was the guy that helped make that happen.“ In addition to Taveniere, Schneit enlisted other friends from Brooklyn's music community to contribute to the record, including JB Townsend of Crystal Stilts, Becca Kauffman and Felicia Douglas from Ava Luna, and Brian Betancourt from Hospitality. Additionally, Jana Hunter contributes vocals to album standouts “Horse Race“ and “Thunder”.

The album's title comes from the 1986 film Parting Glances in which Steve Buscemi portrays a gay man navigating the difficulties of being in a relationship in Reagan-era New York. “I've never seen a film with Steve Buscemi in it that I didn't love,” says Schneit. More than just identifying with the story, she's interested in the in the lasting effect of the parting glances we share with strangers in our everyday encounters. She explains “You see all sorts of physical and emotional traits on the train. From people puking, making out, screaming, crying, laughing, dancing, grooming, etc. We encounter each other in the thick of our complex lives by simply looking at each other all the time. These glances are mundane and fleeting but also powerfully intimate.” The lingering impact of those brief moments seeps into the details and imagery she delivers through her lyrics on Parting Glances. With energizing hooks and a disarming lack of pretense, the songs on Parting Glances burn with ebullient energy and an emotionally engaging core from beginning to end.
GROOMS - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
GROOMS
Having lived, worked, and created in the ever evolving Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn for over a decade, native Texan Travis Johnson has felt the direct impact of the growth and dissolution that comes with rapid gentrification. His band Grooms practiced, and recorded at Brooklyn's Death By Audio for seven years (first as Muggabears, then as Grooms) before they were forced out of their spiritual and literal home in November 2014 when DBA shut its doors. A little over a year before, with the band's income not providing enough money to support any of it's members, bass player and co-writer Emily Ambruso went on hiatus from the band, leaving Johnson as the only original member. Despite these unfortunate blows, Johnson soldiered on, soon recruiting Jay Heiselmann on bass, and actor/comedian Steve Levine on drums.

Travis Johnson's relentless perseverance isn't a central theme, but it's worth keeping in mind when listening to the 11 songs that comprise the new Grooms album Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, an album which marks a clear aesthetic and thematic departure from the group's previous efforts. After months of experimenting with sound collages, samples, and electronic beats, the band recorded an obsessively detailed and melodically complex album, with a heavy focus on mood and texture. Unlike their previous album Infinity Caller (which Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis called "...an exercise in explosion and restraint hallmarked by sweeping guitars, stuttery drums, and cryptic, airy vocals...") many of the songs on Comb... bring the band's rhythm section to the fore, and Johnson's trademark guitar stylings often take a backseat to his psychedelic sample-collages and ambient electronics. Fortunately the new approach works, balancing pop structures with masterful experimental production that shifts in tone and color in harmony with Johnson's tales of acceptance, loneliness, and impotent violence.

On Comb..., that violence is most evident on "Something Wild", a song about destroying the high-priced waterfront condos that contribute to the rising cost of living in neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and then feeling conflicted about it. Love is the subject matter on "Bed Version" (a song which Johnson describes as "a fantasy about seeing the joy in my girlfriend's face as she realizes she's not cosmically alone."), and the album becomes wistful on "Cross Off" (a remembrance and longing for the good old days when Ambruso was still an active member of the band), but even on these songs Levine's alternately Krautrock and Elvin Jones-inspired drums, and Heiselmann's propulsive bass help to maintain the album's intense atmosphere. Album standouts like "Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair" and "Doctor M" deliver head-bobbing pop hooks as Johnson ponders his long-term struggle with addiction, while other songs, "Savage Seminar," "Will the Boys?," and "Grenadine Scene from Inside," explore the thoughts, and feelings of fictional characters in the films Magnolia, Lost Boys, and Steel Magnolias, respectively.

Whether singing from a fictional or personal perspective, Johnson's songs on Comb... are all loosely about letting go of bitterness and resentment. Like the Brooklyn neighborhood where he lives and works, his internal real estate is constantly being reevaluated, razed, and rebuilt. Fortunately his internal growth has yielded an album that attentive listeners will find relatable and consistently rewarding.
Drawing Boards - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Drawing Boards
New band hailing from Ridgewood, Queens, featuring former members of Sisters, Dirty on Purpose and TEEN.
Annie Hart (of Au Revoir Simone) - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Annie Hart (of Au Revoir Simone)
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002
http://mercuryloungenyc.com