Unwed Sailor

Early Show

Unwed Sailor

Brian Bonz

Sun, April 23, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY


This event is 21 and over

Unwed Sailor - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Unwed Sailor
Born in Seattle in 1998 at the tender age of intent, Unwed Sailor is helmed by Oklahoma-born songwriter Johnathon Ford. The basis for the instrumental project came into being while Ford was still writing with Seattle luminaries Roadside Monument. Pulling towards a bass guitar-oriented sound, the songs he had begun to craft did not fully feel right for Roadside Monument, thus the unbeknownst predestined forming of Unwed Sailor. Not aiming for Unwed Sailor to fall into the regular confines of a typical band, Ford's ever evolving cast and crew has been tirelessly composed over the years of good friends and company. Throughout the past 20 years, Unwed Sailor has shared the stage with the likes of Pedro the Lion, Mary Timony, Low, The Danielson Famile, Sufjan Stevens, Early Day Miners, Minus the Bear, The Advantage, The Starlight Mints, Battles, Mates of State, and Beach House. The band has since been relocated and based out of cities across the United States, including Chicago, Seattle, Washington D.C., Jackson MS, Little Rock, AR, Lawrence, KS, New Orleans, LA and most recently Tulsa, OK. With numerous tours in the U.S. and Europe, the band has traveled almost as much as it has evolved.

From their 1998 debut ep release, Firecracker(featuring Dave Bazan from Pedro the Lion, and Casey Wescott from Fleet Foxes, The Vogue, & Seldom) to their 2001 full length release The Faithful Anchor(engineered by Dan Burton/Early Day Miners), the band strived to create side door studies into the pictures behind sound, while opening multiple avenues in the creation of reflective, legitimate, sometimes instrumental music. In 2002, these studies also produced two short film soundtracks for independent film maker Chris Bennett - Stateless (a musical collaboration with Early Day Miners), and For Jonathan, a multi-genre compilation featuring artists as varied as The Album Leaf and Mikael Jorgensen to Jessica Bailiff and Her Space Holiday.

In 2003, the shape of Unwed Sailor changed dramatically as the sound became less a standard suite of instrumental rock songs, developing instead into a full scale storybook tale presented through classical baroque and nursery rhyme melodies, overlayed with organic/toy like percussion. The resulting album was recorded and released as The Marionette and the Music Box; music set to tell the painted "story-book" story of a lonely little marionette in search of a cherished, lost music box. With this change in musical direction, Unwed Sailor composed pieces just as suited for concert halls as they were the hot, impassioned stages of dark night clubs.

In 2006 the band introduced two brand new recordings with Dan Burton(Early Day Miners) once again behind the soundboard, the ambient/Eno-esque EP "Circles", and the atmospheric and brooding full length "The White Ox". These two releases ushered Unwed Sailor's sound into a dark, minimalistic world of Native American imagery, and soothing meditative moods.
These releases were supported by national tours with Me Without You, Murder By Death, and The Appleseed Cast, as well as an extensive 5 week tour throughout Europe.

In 2008, Unwed Sailor combined its instrumental rock roots, with the experimental/ambient sounds from its recent previous releases to create Little Wars. Little Wars features energetic and highly melodic instrumental rock songs, gently colored with layered synth keyboards and percussion. The album moves along steadily with danceable rhythms, melodic distortion, and delicate ambience. Little Wars is truly a unique, progressive, and challenging, addition to instrumental music. In the years since the release of Little Wars, Unwed Sailor has toured consistently throughout Europe and the U.S. promoting the release.

On March 17, 2017 Unwed Sailor will release the Take A Minute EP.
U.S. and European tours will follow the release....
Brian Bonz - (Set time: 6:30 PM)
Brian Bonz
Misophonia, meaning a "hatred of sound", is a rare neurological disorder involving varied
emotional reactions triggered by a range of sound.

It's also the title of Brian Bonz & The Major Crimes' new record.

Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, and their third long player to date, Misophonia
is a kaleidoscopic pinwheel of unchained ambition and creative agency. It is both a return to the past and a pointed nod to the future. The record's depth and scope recall the expansive
arrangements and ebullient spirit of their debut, From Sumi to Japan. Yet for Misophonia, Bonz and guitarist/composer Michael Strandberg aimed to go beyond their comfort zone. Resourcefully producing the album themselves, they enlisted producer/mixer Chris Bracco (who produced From Sumi) to join rank. The process was quite different for their second record The Triborough Odyssey.

Assisted by label support from Triple Crown Records, Triborough was recorded and mixed by indie rock luminary John McEntire at Soma Studios in Chicago. "Making Misophonia was definitely an about-face from how Triborough was produced, which was more or less the traditional model of 'block out a month and get everything done in that time frame'", says Strandberg. "With Misophonia, the challenge was learning programs like Ableton and
Native Instruments ourselves, cueing up disparate pieces of music at sessions, and
writing/recording as we went along." "With the help of Kickstarter", says Bonz, "we were able to make the record we wanted to make."

The band toured with Kevin Devine, Miniature Tigers, Jesse Lacey, The Get Up Kids, Person
L, and Nightmare of You (amongst others) in support of both records, finally taking a hiatus in
2013. As new material began to coalesce, Bonz booked time at Sunset 7, hidden in a quiet,
industrial section of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, with Dave Hollinghurst engineering. Only a handful of songs were tracked live; the majority of Misophonia was sketched and recorded over the course of the following year and a half. The album's overall character, however, came into its own during post-production. Bonz and Strandberg gave Bracco creative license to build its sonic world, leading to an unhinged and truly inspired collection of music. "Hollinghurst allowed us to feel really comfortable while we hashed out arrangements and shot ideas at one another, and Chris has such a keen and tasteful ear; we've trusted his instincts from Day One."

Misophonia was originally drawn from music Bonz scored for a PBS special on NYC subway
art, from which Bonz and Strandberg built actual songs. As for the record's title, "it came to mind while exporting files during the Sunset 7 sessions", says Bonz. "We'd continually be interrupted by passing forklifts on the street and would have to wait until they stopped. One day I decided to quickly open a window and I held out a mic to capture the aggravated sound of the machinery; we

wound up manipulating it and included it on the record... for this record, I wanted to do things the 'wrong' way - methods that weren't perfect and didn't follow certain rules audio professionals swearby."

Misophonia links that off-putting agitation he'd felt from the forklift to some of the album's
themes, such as the cognitive dissonant realization that your emotions can revolt against you in a fight-or-flight circumstance. On "Eisenberg's Ghost Bike", Bonz surmises a poisonous what-if scenario based on a real-life run-in with actor/writer Jesse Eisenberg, who while cycling almost knocked Bonz onto a Manhattan street. And back in 2010, Bonz and Strandberg were on tour playing keys and bass, respectively, in Kevin Devine's Goddamn Band; during the encore, an intoxicated, belligerent fan approached the stage and pushed Bonz's microphone forward, barely missing his face. He drew from the experience on "The Man From Munich."

The album also embraces confident forays into hip-hop ("Hustling From Every Edge of the
City", featuring Wu Tang Clan's Parental Advisory Unit); reptilian skronk laced with
somnambulant ghost grooves ("Midnight at Poppies"); a forlorn, lo-fi duet with Miniature Tigers' Charlie Brand ("Prom Queen Drunk"); and orchestral songs that steer clear of cluttered over-ambition or affected sentimentality ("Refractions of a Dangerous Mind" and "Moonstruck"). The music is altogether anchored by Bonz's singular lyricism and rapt ear for melody.

“I think as an artist, if you're not reaching for new sounds and testing elements outside of your immediate frame of reference, you’ll never learn how well you work in different contexts. As production for Misophonia wound to a close, the process has left me even more excited to finish ongoing collaborations with other producers and continue working on new material.”
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002