TT the Bear's Place
Iceage

Iceage

White Lung, The Darker Hues

Wed, April 17, 2013

8:30 pm

TT the Bear's Place

Cambridge, MA

This event is 18 and over

Iceage
Iceage
It’s not often that you hear a perfect record. Or a record created with such honesty and energy that it makes you drop absolutely everything, listen intently, and then completely readjust your outlook on music. With an average age of 17, this Copenhagen quartet has somehow managed to redefine our perception entirely, and we love it. Uncontrived, pure – this record is a youthful assault of downer, jaw-dropping, no-wave hardcore, wise beyond it’s years. Dais/What's Your Rupture? Records.
White Lung
White Lung
If you ever get the chance to do karaoke with Mish Way, don’t even hesitate. Just go for it, right away. You really do owe it to yourself. About a year ago I found myself in a Lower East Side karaoke bar with Mish and various New York music gadflies. We’d become fast friends (Way and I, that is. I was already friends with most of said gadflies) after she began regularly contributing smart, open-hearted and often blush-inducing pieces to the Talkhouse, a website I help run, and I’d been a fan of her band since I’d heard White Lung’s 2012 Sorry, a hardcore blitzkrieg that doesn’t even hit the 20-minute-mark. But despite seeing her perform just a day before the karaoke party, it wasn’t until, goaded by peer pressure and an appropriately inappropriate amount of whiskey, Way took the mic for a revelatory rendition of one of the worst songs of this century. I won’t embarrass her by naming it. (Maybe you can get it out of her.) But it was at that moment that I realized “Damn. She can sing. Like, really, really sing. Not just growl. Damn.”

I think a lot of people are going to have that reaction when they hear Deep Fantasy, the third album from White Lung and their first for Domino Records. She is really, really singing here. But don’t worry. She hasn’t gone soft on us or anything. Again working with producer Jesse Gander (who did both Sorry and their 2010 debut It’s the Evil), White Lung are every bit as confrontational as before, but they’ve managed to open their sound up just enough to draw listeners in before kicking them in the face. (In a good way.)

“I wanted it to sound more like a rock record than a punk record. I didn’t want to lose any of the speed and aggression that we have, but I wanted more melodies,” says Way, calling from her new home in Los Angeles. “But it’s still a really hard record.”

After more than a year of touring behind Sorry — which won raves from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Interview —White Lung slimmed down to a three piece in the studio; drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and guitarist Kenneth William would fly in from Vancouver to hash out arrangements with Way in person, often right before it was time to record; the album was made with Gander in two ten day-long sessions at the end of last year and the start of this one. (William handled bass duties on Fantasy; Wax Idols’ Hether Fortune will take up bass and backing vocal duties on tour for the foreseeable future.)

“Kenny would record something in his house on his computer, and send it to me so I could start thinking about it before we all met up, but we got a lot of them done in the studio because that was where it all came together and we could hear all the components,” Way says. “That’s always kind of been the way we’ve written and it stresses us all out so much, but it keeps Kenny from overthinking things because he overthinks so much. He’s such a perfectionist and if he didn’t have a deadline where it was ‘that’s it, it’s done,’ he would work on something until he absolutely got sick of something and threw it away, and it’s probably a brilliant song.”

The near constant touring had turned the trio into an intuitive, locked-in unit, but it also took a toll. After a particular rough run of festival gigs in which she “totally lost my voice,” she sought out a specialist for help. “I always had this idea in my head that I had to be projecting, screaming to get my aggression out, and I realized, ‘No, I can sing and still have the same power,’” Way says. Though she felt “inherently dorky” doing her prescribed vocal exercises, they helped repair the damage and gave her confidence in her natural singing voice. “This album was written in my vocal range and sung in my vocal range. I have to begin to produce stuff that I can reproduce again and again for another two years without completely blowing my voice out.”

White Lung’s approach and line-up have changed since the band started in Vancouver at the end of the aughts, but the ethos and core line-up has remained the same since William, a devotee of Johnny Marr that “plays with the speed of an 80s hardcore dude,” asked Way and Vassiliou if he could join their band after the original guitarist bolted. (Which was a surprising request, since they knew him a drummer. “He came and played and was amazing and we were like ‘how the hell? this guy plays guitar?’”) Simply put, Way doesn’t give a shit what you might think about her, and you can deal with her opinion or you can go listen to one of thousands of other singers that can’t be bothered to have a stance on anything.

Now that she’s embraced her voice, Way is more provocative than ever on Fantasy, surveying addiction (“Drown With the Monster”), body dysmorphia (“Snake Jaw”) and sexual dynamics (“Down It Goes,”) amongst other dinner table topics. “I feel like there’s such a vapidness to lyrics in bands now and that bums me out,” she says. “Like sex for me is one of the most interesting topics to talk about, because as a culture, it’s the one thing we can all do and the one thing we all do enjoy and there’s still so much fear about it. I want to normalize talking about sex and sexual dynamics and all of those things because it’s interesting. And we’re all thinking about it.

“I just think that it’s important to let it all out, and some people won’t get it,” she says. “But I gave up being embarrassed a long time ago.”
The Darker Hues
The Darker Hues
The Darker Hues are Joseph Boo (bass), Morgan Yandow (guitar) and Scott Therrien (drums). The history of the band is steeped in the Burlington, VT music scene. Joseph Boo was in numerous punk/noise bands before settling in Burlington where he was a part of the "Velvet Ovum Band" and then moving on to help create "The Magic is Gone" with long time friends Javen Leonard, Tom Goodale, Colin Clary, and Steven Hazen Williams. Joe eventually moved back to his home state of Massachusetts, and started writing music on his own. Meanwhile, Morgan Yandow was attending college at UVM and he was a long time part of the Burlington, VT music scene. He contributed to collaborations with various musicians in the area, adding guitar noise, synths or drums to numerous side-projects. This is how he first met Joe of "The Magic is Gone." Eventually Morgan happened to move right down the street from Joe in Belmont, MA, only a 5 minute walk away. It was clearly fate that the two be reunited, and they began writing songs together. Morgan met Scott Therrien in the later part of the 20th century via a mutual friend while Scott was performing mixing duties with the Burlington based band "Sandoze". Scott later formed the Boston based band "Cloud Art" with two of the members of "Sandoze," this time perched behind the drum kit. This later morphed into a follow-up project "The Code Green." In the summer of 2007 Morgan contacted Scott and threw at him some demos that he and Joe had been working on. It didn't take long before the drum machine was retired and The Darker Hues officially formed. The Darker Hues blend styles of 90's era indie and post hardcore with a hint of garage overtones; influenced by groups such as Cursive, At The Drive-In, Fugazi and Mission of Burma to name a few. Their first LP "We Are The Darker Hues" was self released in 2009. Their second release "Nothing Tastes Like Failure" was released in 2012 with the track "Steadfast" receiving airplay on WFNX Boston Accents. They have also contributed to the "Things You Comprehend" compilation by Orbis Tertius Records and the "Friends" compilation assembled by Abram Taber. The trio is currently playing shows throughout New England and working on songs for a new EP.
Venue Information:
TT the Bear's Place
10 Brookline St
Cambridge, MA, 02139
http://www.ttthebears.com/