Viva Brother

Viva Brother

Motopony, The Lonely Forest, The Upwelling

Mon, October 17, 2011

7:00 pm

The Middle East Downstairs

Cambridge, MA

This event is all ages

Tickets available via TICKETWEB.COM

Viva Brother
Viva Brother
Motopony
Motopony
Throughout history, individuals have been playing with the delicate balance between polarities. Often, the combination of two opposites makes for a harmony previously unknown, a sum greater than its parts. Motopony is the embodiment of this notion – a band built on a bedrock of contrasts and the gorgeous alchemy of seemingly conflicted sounds, and the feelings mapped over them. Guided by soulful machines Daniel Blue and Buddy Ross along with guitarist Brantley Cady and drummer Forrest Mauvais, there is a warm efficiency to the hard-soul/glitch-folk contained on the quartet’s self-titled debut.

But then, that was always the idea for lead singer and songwriter Daniel Blue. “A lot of people run from machines into nature, and a lot of people run from nature into machines. Somewhere in there, there has to be a balance,” explains Blue. The origins of Motopony certainly reflect this duality. The band’s beginnings are intrinsically tied to Blue’s – they both begin at the bottom of a waterfall, then traipse through the southwestern states before sweeping up into the Pacific northwest. It was there that Blue picked up the guitar at age 27, after years of expressing himself through the design label he began years previously, but has since put on hiatus to pursue music. The impetus to pick up the guitar was less a choice than a necessity, and it’s remained that way ever since. “I freaked out. I was alone in my warehouse where I made clothes and had parties. I grabbed this guitar I’d bought ten years earlier, and started playing this song.” Blue’s foray into music happened to be the five-year anniversary of his mother’s death, and the nascent stages of Blue’s songwriting were consumed by this loss – his grief the lens through which everything refracted.

In the intervening four years, the depth of Blue’s songwriting has deepened and grown, and is only complemented by Ross’s tempered arrangements. Motopony’s debut is steeped in thought and burnished by longing – for another person, a lost time, an unnamed cause. Romantic relationships are the engine of the four-time-engaged (but never married) Blue’s art, but there is a great deal else on the album. Blue’s twang on lead single “King of Diamonds” seamlessly weaves through Ross’ disarming pace, drums chugging and xylophone tones brightly harmonizing with Blue’s voice as he tells the story of searching for something he realizes he already has. The anxiously beautiful picking on “Wake Up” gives way to an honest look at the state of the world and one’s self in it. Despite its darker tone, Blue considers it a “callout of darkness,” not into it. The stark and solemn tone sets the track apart from its warmer counterparts, as Blue’s universally relatable anxieties unfurl across the song. Another stand-out track is “Seer” – a composition that recounts of the mythology of Motopony, a type of theme song that tells the tale of Blue’s origins. Piano lines spike the bridge as Blue’s tunings wind around his voice, which dwells in a register that demands attention. Blue’s vocals delive rboth boasts and character flaws with the same swagger, before taking aim at an unknown you. Motopony does quiet and plaintive as well as loud and raucous, as on the hushed acoustics of “Wait for Me,” a heart-rending vision with a fair amount of confession. Eerie, atmospheric sounds echo in the background as a searing string ushers gorgeous female backing vocals that drift in and out throughout the song.

But before Motopony could create their stunning debut, they had to meet. A fateful dinner party in the spring of 2009 would bring together the much-needed other piece of Motopony: multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Buddy Ross. After orbiting each other in the music scene for years, the two were brought together at a songwriter’s dinner in Tacoma, WA. “I had never heard him sing before,” says Ross. “He was a unique character – I didn’t expect him to sound the way he did. I was taken aback by it.” Blue had been impressed with Ross years earlier when they’d intersected while working on someone else’s album. “It was clear he was a genius,” says Blue. A month later, the partnership was formed, and Blue began sending Ross the first set of songs that would eventually comprise the Motopony debut. Blue’s bizarre tunings – three E-strings, spaced out in an odd pattern – were the perfect marriage to Ross’s modern, anchoring cadences. Ross was initially reluctant to form a band, but was ultimately swayed by the strength of the music. “The songs are really captivating – and there’s so much space for me to fill it up with what I do,” explains Ross. With pre-production done at a remove, Blue began trekking to Seattle a few times a week for practice, and ultimately moved there to make the band work.

While the band may count Seattle as their home now, a natural current runs deeply through the band’s music, and Ross and Blue contend they would not sound the way they do were it not for their Pacific Northwest roots. “We’re not place specific, but I do think our music is born out of eight months of rain in a year and the love of nature because it’s so damn green. There are lots of open spaces. I really love our place, and I think that shows up in what I’m trying to do.” When Blue talks about the nature Motopony holds dear, he might as well be talking about his music. “A lot of the harmony I see in nature is that strange juxtaposition of worlds that don’t seem like they should collide, that effortlessly seem to be happening in tandem and you can’t take out one piece. You can’t run from it.”
The Lonely Forest
The Lonely Forest
Set between ancient forest and the forest-green waters of Puget Sound at the very edge of the continental US, Anacortes, Washington, population 17,000 sees a lot come and go. Ferries docked here delivers thousands of itinerant hippies, millionaires, and sightseers to farms and mansions dotting the remote San Juan Islands while Navy bombers and helicopters based nearby perform ear-splitting flyovers. Through all the coming and going, the local DIY community remains remarkably consistent and strong; an expression of defiant, end-of-the-line creativity. From that community come The Lonely Forest, a rock band of four Anacortes natives with no intention of leaving.
From the outset The Lonely Forest -singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen, guitarist Tony Ruland, drummer Braydn Krueger, and bassist Eric Sturgeon- has been about inclusion. In 2005, a raucous garage session inspired the guys (Braydn, Tony, and Eric) to join forces with Van Deusen's piano-pop. The newly formed entity, now called The Lonely Forest, played their first show while two band members were still in high school (the other two having recently graduated). Since that show, The Lonely Forest have racked up miles; steadily becoming heroes of the Northwest all-ages scene through relentless gigging around the region. From their first show at the Department of Safety, center of Anacortes' all-ages DIY scene, to their high-profile appearance at Bumbershoot 2009, a sold-out concert at the Showbox in Seattle last fall and a coveted spot on 2010's Sasquatch Festival, the accolades for The Lonely Forest have grown along with their fanbase.
As grows their fanbase, The Lonely Forest 's music is continually expanding and evolving. At its core, the music features Van Deusen's soaring vocals and keyboard melodies wrapped tightly around Ruland's expansive guitar anchored by a heavy yet nimble rhythm section. The contrast of brilliant pop songs featuring lyrics about spiritual longing wedded to an almost prog-rock sensibility appeals to broad swath of listeners, from wide-eyed teenagers to jaded scenesters. As always, inclusion is important to these guys!
The Lonely Forest will continue their steady climb to prominence from modest Northwest roots with the March 22nd release of their new album, Arrows, for Chris Walla's label imprint, Trans Records. Walla, guitarist and producer for Grammy-nominated rock band Death Cab for Cutie, made The Lonely Forest his first signing when he launched Trans with the support of Death Cab for Cutie's major label home, Atlantic Records. Trans and The Lonely Forest will be released through ILG, Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. In addition to his role as label head, Walla produced and mixed Arrows at Sound City studio in Los Angeles, Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and his own, Portland-based studio, Alberta Court. He also mixed three tracks - "Be Everything," "Turn Off This Song" and "Live There." The rest of the album was mixed by John Goodmanson (Girls, Nada Surf, Owl City).
The Upwelling
The Upwelling
Venue Information:
The Middle East Downstairs
472 Massachussetts Ave
Cambridge, MA, 02139
http://www.mideastclub.com/