Xylos, Cultfever, Modern Rivals

Late Show



Modern Rivals

I Am Lightyear

Fri, December 7, 2012

Doors: 9:00 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY


This event is 21 and over

Xylos - (Set time: 12:00 AM)
"Xylos, a five-piece band from Brooklyn, makes stylish electro-pop, gesturing toward sensuality but also holding it at arm’s length for appraisal. That policy plays out clearly in “Not Enough,” the first single from the group’s self-titled full-length debut. With twinkling arpeggios fortified by bubbly rhythm, the song presents what seems at first blush like a pickup anthem, an ode to blithe submission.

Monika Heidemann has a warmly soothing voice, succulent even at its most ethereal. A transplant from jazz and experimental-rock circles, she sings with arresting projection, intense even in stages of repose. On the album’s inviting opener, “Darling Dearest,” her murmured reassurances suggest a riff on Sade. Attacking the brighter cadence of “Second Order,” she evokes a young Morrissey.

Despite all the synthetic elements here, you hear the rattle of hand percussion, the light scrape of fingers on a fret board. For Xylos, sound is one more thing to adjust, just so."

-New York Times
Cultfever - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
The Brooklyn duo Cultfever creates cinematic music in Technicolor. Its sound comes through in 35mm and Dolby-surround, sweeping wide shots, urgent dissolves and auteuristic composition, reminiscent of the brooding, surreal worlds of Almodovar, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and Tim Burton. You don't just hear Cultfever; its music plays out before you like a moving picture, helmed by its dual directors, Tamara Jafar and Joe Durniak. The experience is hyper-sensory, with Jafar and Durniak communicating ideas and motifs to one another using an image-based vocabulary, sharing references and visual cues that build towards grand, anthemic emotions. The result is an abstract visual landscape, a road map of how their songs are designed to make you feel. The pair formed the band quickly after meeting in 2010, sensing an immediate chemistry, and released a self-titled full-length in 2011 as well as the Animals EP in 2013. Playing SXSW, CMJ, Northside, and other leading industry festivals, Cultfever earned praise for both its fiery live show (which includes Ignacio Rivas Bixio on drums and Jafar and Durniak on a combination of vocals, synths, and guitar) and the recordings, with singles "Knewyouwell" and "Collector" propelling the band into the CMJ Radio Top 200. Writing and recording together in their personal studio, Jafar and Durniak share an obvious bond, describing their relationship as "chosen family." Their creative process is malleable, a shared vision that ebbs and flows organically, weaving in each member's ideas to create a cohesive aesthetic. Cultfever extends that reciprocal energy and focus to its live show, Jafar and Durniak's unique connection undeniable and infectious. Now, putting the finishing touches on the second album, the band is releasing the new single, "Gloria," a riveting, beat-driven pop anthem that bursts with dark overtones and moments of blissful synthetic light. Listen, and you can see and feel just as much as you hear; colors swirl, nights fall, suns rise, the spotlight reveals, shadows pervade. The conceptual and sonic density of Cultfever's music rewards repeated listening, like discovering something new in a film you've seen dozens of times. You listen in stereo but you perceive in 3D, synapses firing, roulette wheel spinning, urging you into its world.
Modern Rivals - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Modern Rivals
Brooklyn quintet Modern Rivals seems somewhat fittingly named for their transcendent psychedelic pop that both evokes antique 60s mod optimism, while also sounding defiantly current with their experimental edge.

Modern Rivals ethereal and dextrous songs share the buttoned-up charm of 60s psych-pop bands, mixed with more technically crafty contemporary composition. Then, all of the elements are given the Nigel Godrich dreamscape approach in which no single sound is exactly what it seems. There is a delicate warmth to Modern Rivals songs emanating from every meticulously placed note.

Their debut full-length album, Cemetery Dares, will be available on LP, CD and download on April 22, 2014. The album was produced by Kyle "Slick" Johnson (Wavves, Cymbals Eat Guitars). The lead single "Pins and Stitches" has already gained positive reactions from the likes of Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound.
I Am Lightyear - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
I Am Lightyear
The ability to reinvent yourself takes talent, without a doubt, both because it requires enough skill to remake your persona and enough courage to let go of who you were before. Lightyear, the brand new electro-pop baby of Lauren Zettler, is the product of such talent in action. Lightyear combines stark, popping electronics, warm, bouncing basslines and Zettler’s own airy vocals, to create a sound that’s both human and intangible—filled with space and feeling. It’s strong music
that addresses vulnerability while revering strength, in the great tradition of Emily Haines and Patty Griffin.

“It Beats” is a song about how even when you know you need everything to be different, you can rely on the fact that your heart can be trusted and will keep on beating. It might seem like a tried and true theme—trust yourself, everything will be okay—and it is. Zettler draws her songwriting
inspiration from such classic pop composers as Billy Joel and Elton John, neither of whom were strangers to themes of the heart, but her lush instrumentation makes the tunes more than just love songs. “Home” is another such example. Zettler once again takes the form—the break-up song—and adds her own twist, both through a driving guitar line and swirling keyboards and through her philosophical look at something so sad and simple as being absent and present at the same time, disappearing from someone’s life but knowing you’re still there.

Lightyear is true to its name. The songs are filled with space and sound that’s bright as light, and they all take on a shape that’s much larger than just their lyrics and arrangements. They pull from themes of change and heartbreak that are without a doubt familiar to everyone, and tap into that
feeling you always forget about until you’re in it again. The feeling that everything is open and your life seems to be made of nothing and capable of everything at once.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002