Doldrums, Strange Talk, Hundred Waters, Duologue, Mozart's Sister, High Highs, DIANA

CMJ Windish Showcase

Doldrums, Strange Talk, Hundred Waters, Duologue, Mozart's Sister, High Highs, DIANA

Wed, October 17, 2012

Doors: 6:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY


This event is 21 and over

Doldrums (DJ Set) - (Set time: 1:00 AM)
A hypnotic mixture of beat-laden trance, sensuous pop, sample collage and noise experimentalism, Doldrums come to us by way of Toronto, with numerous cult favorite releases, including a split with Portishead on XL, three 7" records on We Are Busy Bodies, and a VHS split with Parrot Talk.
Strange Talk - (Set time: 12:00 AM)
Strange Talk
It's fair to say Strange Talk is passionate about pop, right down to the lyrics tattooed across the forearms of singer Stephen Docker. You can hear this passion and precision in their debut single 'Climbing Walls', a song that took them from a bedroom studio in Melbourne to shooting a film clip on a over-sized chess board in the middle of the Mojave desert.

Strange Talk is Stephen Docker, a former classical violinist from the Australian Youth Orchestra, and Gerard Sidhu, a DJ/Producer. At a house party in Melbourne, drunken bonding over pop heroes Michael Jackson and Queen – as well as new production outfits like Justice and Starsmith – inspired them to combine their musical abilities towards a sound that was classic in its approach but forward thinking in its production. The spark that flew was the track 'Climbing Walls'. This revved up dance pop track delivers what Neon Gold calls "an unwavering refusal to settle for mediocrity… with vocal chops that will set hearts on fire" – being the first melody ever written by Stephen, and his debut singing behind a microphone!

'Climbing Walls' hit No.1 on the Billboard's Uncharted Charts, No.1 most popular on Hype Machine, airplay on Radio 1, Triple J and Nova (as well as being Unearthed by Triple J), and receiving over half a million views on YouTube.
Hundred Waters - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Hundred Waters
Duologue - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
In today’s fast-paced world time is precious. Some bands deserve your time, and this is one of them. Duologue are the antithesis of pop music’s current disposable cultural impasse. Their debut album is an immersive experience intended to be absorbed and cherished with repeated listens, not to be heard once on laptop speakers and disregarded. Much like a great novel, this one is hard to put down and will stay with you forever.

The London five-piece are a product of the modern world and its easy access to music. Bonding over a mixture of the best in electronica and guitar-based music, they’ve fused this eclecticism into a truly inimitable sound of their own. “You could pick some songs and we’d be likened to a folk act, another few and we’d be called dubstep,” explains front man Tim Digby-Bell. How many bands can you say that about? Their cerebral experimentation may not be mainstream, but it’s fast becoming a favourite among the cognoscenti. The journey began with two original members – Tim Digby-Bell and Toby Leeming (vocals/live programming and beats) – producing on a computer whilst at Edinburgh University. Both realised what they were creating was too big for just a couple of people to play. Seb Dilleyston was brought in to add emotive atmospheres on violin having previously trained with world renowned violinist Maria Eitler. Toby Lee was next on guitar, and then bassist Ross Stone completed the line-up.

Early gigs in their nascent career were explosive in more ways than one. Aside from gaining a scintillating live reputation they were also becoming known for having things blow up onstage. A show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush saw the lights shatter above their heads as soon as the set began, and at The Barfly in Camden Town there was an electrical fire halfway through their performance. Whether or not the crowd thought these mishaps were all part of a unique live show will remain a mystery but one thing is for certain, their status on the road grew exponentially and support slots for everyone from Matthew Dear to Clock Opera have followed.

What makes the band so compelling is that they are just that, a band. Refusing to rely too heavily on programmed elements, each layer comes to life in the live arena. “We wanted to have moments where we can strip it down to the bare essentials, really intimate moments, and then to build up to these epic electronic parts too. It needs to feel like a real journey,” says Tim. Their debut album is the culmination of a year’s preparation honing and self editing their eclectic sound and huge catalog of demos in preparation to record. Having already self-produced and released two EP’s showcasing their ability to encompass a wide range of sounds and references the final piece of the puzzle came with the introduction of producer Jim Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Ladytron). In 2012 the band and Jim holed up in a Chatham studio and began work – with many of the parts already formed and recorded, Jim took on a co-production role, intuitively helping them further enhance their sonic make-up. Digital synths were replaced by richer analogue gear, real strings replaced programmed ones, and even the inclusion of a church organ. “The church was really chilled. I slightly lied. I said we’d dropped £15 in the collection box,” laughs Toby. Nonetheless they’ve been blessed with a great collection of songs from the process.

‘Push It’ is the lynchpin. A four-four dance beat gives structure to a hauntingly atmospheric six minute epic of lyrical self-doubt. Soaring strings and guitar melodies combine in the pinnacle which sees the guys playing to the limit, giving their all in a song replete with daedal rhythms. ‘Escape Artist’ shows they’re equally adept at the other end of the scale. At their most stripped back, this one is rooted in simple harmonies combining live vocals and looped brass samples, yet carries as much emotive weight as the more layered moments. ‘Gift Horse’ is a beautiful lullaby mixing swooning strings with electronic glitches in a contrasting way that will leave audiences rapt. It’s a debut showing courage, refusing to take one path or another, daring to avoid being pigeon-holed yet cohesive enough to stand firmly as an impressive body of work.

Tim’s powerful voice ties all the diversity together, a rich falsetto, he floats effortlessly amid an ever changing backdrop of beats, synths, and strings, molding his own melodies on a patchwork sound-mosaic already replete with creativity. ‘Constant’ sees his melismatic vocal style delicately accompanied by lilting guitar picking in a real highlight.

Out now, this record is the culmination of a journey, yet it’s just the beginning of one too for an intelligent group of musicians intent on longevity. Such experimentation, bold self-belief, skillful songwriting, and unique fusing of musical genres are incredibly rare, and this is only the first album…

Duologue are:

Tim Digby-Bell (Vocals), Toby Leeming (Live programming & beats),

Seb Dilleyston (Violin), Toby Lee (guitars),

Ross Stone (Bass).
Mozart's Sister - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Mozart's Sister
Mozart’s Sister - the solo project of Montreal’s Caila Thompson-Hannant  - delights in making glittering, celebratory pop with an underlying strain of brittle, claustrophobic energy.  Field of Love, her new album is the follow up to her 2014 critically acclaimed debut Being. 

She began writing for Field of Love in early 2015.  Reliving her childhood love of 90’s dance pop she wanted to capture the spirit of that era of pop song.  Colourful, cartoonish, goofy but always earnest.  The aim was to make something that everyone was invited to and maintain only one rule: follow through on every musical desire she had.  The critique could happen later once the fun was finished.

“I wrote Field of Love at a point when I truly did feel I was floating in a field of love. Once I got going the song-writing process happened very easily. As the songs came I realized: oh I really like these. There was a naivety to them and I felt like I could really cut loose when writing”.

Field of Love came out February 17th 2017 via Arbutus Records worldwide.
High Highs - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
High Highs
Cascades, the title of the second record from the Brooklyn group High Highs, could be read in a number of ways. It could be taken as a nod to the group’s hometown—the coastal Australian city of Sydney, which rests against the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean. Or it could be a nod to the record’s sound, which retains the broad scope of the group’s debut, Open Season, but feels bigger, and grander – sheets of sound, raining down softly. In reality, though, the title is a memory – a moment Jack Milas and Oli Chang remember while driving through the Cascade Mountains on tour. The song it comes from, also called, “Cascades,” is bright and expansive, silver threads of guitar laced through soft layers of synths. It builds softly and steadily, Milas’s voice swooping up to an aching falsetto on the chorus, synths pooling gently beneath him. More than anything else, the song is an indication of how far the group has come in a short period of time – from working together in a recording studio in Australia to opening for Sky Ferreira and Vampire Weekend. Cascades is a portrait of a band in ascent, making music grand enough to carry them along the way.

“The first album was intimate,” Chang says. “We were piecing together ideas in a small space with guitar and voice. With this record, we wanted to make songs that were fuller, that would fill a bigger room.” Milas puts the same sentiment more succinctly: “We wanted to have a bit more fun.” That sense of freedom rings throughout the record. On “How Could You Know,” guitars streak across the background like shooting stars as Milas employs an elegant falsetto to convey longing and hope. In “Movement,” vocal harmonies ripple and sway over hymnlike synths; and “Fastnet” is a slinking, synthetic soul song, high, beckoning vocals gliding across tiny apostrophes of guitar. Cascades is the sound of a band stretching out, writing songs that feel purposeful, effortlessly melodic and full of grace and beauty.

It’s also a record that’s representative of their backgrounds. “We wanted to make an ‘Australian’ record,” Milas says. “We’ve been living in New York, but Australia is always home.” Chang agrees. “If you go to Australia, it’s a beach country,” he says. “You have year-round summer, basically. That really influences the music.” But the way it influenced them was almost counterintuitive. The group wrote and recorded much of Cascades in upstate New York, even if their mind was elsewhere. “When you’re in New York, you write a record about somewhere else,” Milas says. “We were in upstate New York, writing a record about Australia. It’s like when Steely Dan wrote Aja in LA, but they were writing about New York.” They also drew inspiration from the music of their youth – like the Australian synthpop band Icehouse and John Farnham’s booming arena-pop anthem “You’re the Voice.” “We were connecting with a lot of ‘80s Australian bands while we were making the record,” Chang explains. “Some of the songs come from that connection.”

They refracted those influences to create something uniquely their own. Working with a drummer for the first time, Sean Hutchinson, the songs became sweeping and cinematic. “We would work with Sean to get the basic rhythmic idea,” says Milas, “then Oli would take it and make it weird.” That’s evident in the slowly-rolling “Boxing,” where the drums are a blip on the radar, and in “Catch the Wind,” where they trickle and pop. Beneath the song’s soft musical sheen are lyrics that are abstract and striking – fragments of memories, glimpses of far-off places, unfinished conversations. All of them read like poetry on the page, as open and nuanced as the music itself. “We were just trying to distill a specific emotional feeling,” Chang says. “If you look at the page of lyrics, a lot of the syllables draw out and become part of the landscape. We treated the voice as if it was another instrument.”

All of these elements combine to make music that is soothing and soaring, reflecting the group’s love of club culture, but better suited to unwinding after the party than getting lost in the thick of it. “We just tried to make the record beautiful,” Chang says. “We weren’t trying to be edgy or difficult – we were striving to make it as epically beautiful as we possibly could. Hopefully when people hear it, it will make them think of something that’s important to them.” Drawn equally from High Highs’ past and present, Cascades is the record that points the way to their future.
DIANA - (Set time: 7:00 PM)
…”Now’s the time for believing..” begins the chorus of “Born Again”, the first single from DIANA. On a surface level, the song floats by on a cloud, the bass keeping you buoyed while the synths elevate youinto an opiated trance. Digging deeper into the lyrics however, we find a story of struggle in a small town, small-minded animosity, and the joy of triumph over adversity. With lush sounds and strong melodies, these songs entice the listener into a world that is deeper than its surface lets on.

DIANA is Joseph Shabason, Kieran Adams, and Carmen Elle. Paul Mathew has since joined to round out the live show. Shabason and Adams spent endless hours making music together since meeting at music school and used what was left of their time lending their saxophone and drumming skills, respectively, to many bands in their native Canada, including Shabason’s recent contributions to Destroyer’s Kaputt album and subsequent touring.

Taking demos that they had written on a late August trip to a lakeside cottage, the two went into the studio with co?producer Roger Leavens. Carmen Elle came in to sing on a track. Both Kieran and Joseph had seen Elle perform in different groups and thought that her voice would add something special to the songs, a massive underestimation. Regardless of who wrote these lyrics and melodies, the songs belonged to Elle the second they left her mouth, each nuance of phrasing and melody deepening the sentiments put forth. With Elle’s lush vocals in place it felt right to give the project a life beyond the studio. DIANA was born.

There is something looming in the corners these songs, a pop sensibility is undeniably present, but never overwhelming. There is always enough room left for the imagination to complete the picture. Though you might hear echoes from times past, this music is definitely of a new school. DIANA comparisons defy eras; from Roxy Music to Toro Y Moi, from Style Council to Nite Jewel, from Sade to Twin Sister. This makes sense; though they’re happy to be in this good company, for DIANA the point is pushing forward, and that they do.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002