Eytan And The Embassy, PYYRAMIDS

Late Show

Eytan And The Embassy


Mon, May 7, 2012

Doors: 8:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

This event is 21 and over

Eytan And The Embassy - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Eytan And The Embassy
His reputation for crafting sticky hooks in any genre has made Oren a secret weapon in the entertainment
industry. His compositions can be heard on everything from a pair of 2011 MasterCard spots to the jazzy
soundtrack for the 2005 Chinese hit drama Beauty Remains to a trio of parody videos to virally promote the 2010
MTV Movie Awards. Of the latter, he says, “I wrote four songs in a day and a half for that.”
While paying the rent with these jobs, the prodigious musician nurtured his most fertile creative outlet since
2009: Eytan & the Embassy. Joined by a four-piece live band, Oren has earned comparisons to Ben Folds for his
dexterous use of the piano, and Mark Ronson for his love of brass. Word of mouth about his buoyant live shows
has also won him slots on the Summerfest and Isle of Wight lineups, plus gigs opening for the Old 97s and the
Hold Steady. And in October 2010, Eytan & the Embassy embarked on its first-ever tour, opening for OK Go.
Never one to slack, Oren subsequently created the Musician’s Energy Conservation Alliance (joinmeca.org), a
charity that helps facilitate green touring practices.
A gifted student, Oren was reared by his journalist dad and landscape-architect mom on an aural diet of Bob
Dylan and The Beatles. He started taking piano lessons at age 6 and spent his formidable years in Westchester,
NY, before heading to Columbia University. There, he majored in music. “My parents have always been almost
too supportive,” he says. “My grandmother was like, ‘Don’t get him a guitar on his birthday! One day he’ll be
hanging out in bars with people who do drugs and smoke.’ And I do.”
Radiohead, in particular, proved a potent influence. “I went from being obsessive about Springsteen to kind of
flipping into Radiohead. I probably saw Radiohead 10 times in college,” he says. “That was definitely the band
that got me excited about playing.” He joined mostly guitar-centric indie-rock bands, such as The Diamond Club
(with future OK Go member Andy Ross), and the pop-punk band Fuzzy Suzy—“a good band for what it was,”
he quips, “only what it was, was not good.”
Then in 2008, Oren rediscovered soul, which lent heart to his work. “Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’
had the biggest impact on me. I listened to it over and over,” he says. “It was such a huge creative leap from his
earlier songs and so powerful on both a personal and cultural level. He was also such an amazing songwriter,
entertainer, activist, and businessman. I would like to be that type of guy.”
He’s off to an enticing start. The Perfect Breakup, featuring appearances from OK Go’s Ross and members of
Locksley, is collection of piano-and-horn-driven pop songs that focus on the sunny side of bummers. The
Strokes-turned-Elton John banger “No Reason to Cry” begins as a consolation until exploding into a dance song.
Meanwhile, the minor-keyed “Good Morning Marilyn” muses on interfaith dating while finding a blissful mean
between the late-Beatles sound and ’90s guitar pop. The future is looking up, too: Oren’s forthcoming single (not
on Breakup), the percussive “Everything Changes” boasts sunny vocals from old friend Nicole Atkins and is, he
says tellingly, “about having the guts to reinvent yourself.”
Indeed, ever the music omnivore, Oren has already been plotting to switch up his sound by tinkering with a
Chinese violin called an erhu. The plan: to write pop songs using the old-timey instrument. No, he’s not
masochistic—just ambitious. “I’m always thinking about what hasn’t been done, what might be interesting on a
larger level than a chord change,” Oren says. “My favorite artists—Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Radiohead—all
share one common theme: They constantly experiment, take risks, evolve.”
PYYRAMIDS - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
From the mystical, unGoogleable beyond comes PYYRAMIDS, a new collaboration by OK Go's Tim Nordwind and singer Drea Smith. Living in the dark, atmospheric grotto midway between the dance floor and the mopey teenage bedroom of the mind, PYYRAMIDS' six-song debut will be available on October 31st from Paracadute, the full-service 21st century record label OK Go founded on their 2010 parting from Capitol. Befitting the band's cross of banging beats with underground pop, PYYRAMIDS arrives on that most idiosyncratic of formats, 10-inch vinyl.

PYYRAMIDS comes as a reinvention for both players and steps into new, wild territory. For Nordwind, the guy with the bass, beard, and glasses in OK Go, PYYRAMIDS' expansive textures find him far from the bright indie pop and all-inclusive videos that have made OK Go one of the most recognizable - not to mention most-watched - acts of the digital age. (Though that doesn't mean PYYRAMIDS won't try their hand at videos.) For Smith, formerly the saucy half of the electro-pop duo He Say She Say - and a stint with Lupe Fiasco - it brings her songwriting into a place of bold new maturity without sacrificing the force of her singular presence. For both, it is an unlikely partnership entirely befitting of the new age.

Connected by a mutual friend in Chicago two years ago, the pair struck up an email correspondence that, by the magic of the internet, soon transformed into a small torrent of music. Bonding first over dark British pop from the early '80s like The Smiths and Joy Division, and stranger more modern fare like Micachu and the Shapes, Nordwind and Smith were natural collaborators. An inveterate home recorder with piles of songs, beats, and sketches leftover from OK Go writing work, his People project, and a fairly unceasing productivity, Nordwind first passed along beats that Smith layered vocals over in GarageBand. Only meeting in person for the first time months later, the cyber collaboration transformed when Smith visited Nordwind in Los Angeles, where they polished off a half-dozen tracks working face-to-face, and where Smith was soon to relocate to work on PYYRAMIDS and other projects.

In addition to the four-song vinyl, Human Beings comes in digital form, too, featuring a remix of "Human Beings" by Nordwind's OK Go bandmate Dan Konopka (as DMK.) Between the alt-rock tensions of "That Ain't Right" and heavy riffage and cooing chorus of "Animal," PYYRAMIDS' beyond is an inviting one indeed, a long-promised map back to the buried valley of the dance-rock hook.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002