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“Taking Up Space”: Savages at the Catalyst Club 7/27/16

Did you tell me to shut up!”, howls Jehnny Beth, lead singer of UK post-punk group Savages, during the opening song of their punishingly direct hour and a fifteen minute set last Wednesday night at the Catalyst. “Shut Up”, the opening track off of Savages critically acclaimed debut album, Silence Yourself, exists as a thesis statement for a band that has consistently reclaimed spaces dominated by the masculine since the release of that album in 2013. Taking stage at the Catalyst this past Wednesday the band basked in a white glow of stage lights, appearing spectral almost ethereal letting their music take up every inch of space in the room. No one, in the moderately packed Catalyst Club, could escape the hypnotic grooves of bassist Ayse Hassan. Her punchy bass at times called for a sway or a groove, and at times felt like a kick in the gut screaming “come on, motherfu**er, move”. Matched with the tight concise drumming of Fay Milton and the swirling distortion of Gemma Thompson’s guitar melodies, the quartet sonically broke down the barriers between the crowd and themselves. The slow-churning “Adore”, the lead single off their latest album Adore Life, moved along at a creep, “is it human to adore life?”, like a brief rumination during an argument; a space in which the two combatants question their position. Jehnny Beth’s performance started as a whisper, but by the final refrain of “I adore life”, she had become a room sized specter overlooking the crowd with eyes intent on letting no one out alive. The strobing lights only added to the spectacle of it all, the band flashing between the real and unreal sometimes only existing sonically. In a lot of ways that is what that thesis statement on “Shut Up” meant: taking up space when otherwise told not to, to emote and exist in spaces that only men had ruled (here of course, the post-punk genre, the explosive live show, the seedy rock venue). Their final song, and a conclusion paragraph to the opening thesis, “Fuckers” combined the slow-churn of “Adore” with the frantic explosion of sound in “Shut Up” with the chorus, “don’t let the fuckers get you down”, being screamed like a mantra coming from the lips of a banshee. By the end of the set the audience was pummeled into obedience knowing the truth: this is Savages’ space we just get to visit.

Written by Gabe Lopez

Photography by Brandon Oleksy

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Dance with me until I feel all right-A Night with LCD Soundsystem

Who can accurately describe a band like LCD Soundsystem? They have been an emotionally riveting band throughout the early 2000’s all the way to 2010 where they released This is Happening, an album that includes fan favorites such as “I Can Change”, “You Wanted a Hit”, “Dance Yrself Clean”, and “Drunk Girls”. Each album has contained musical masterpieces, especially their first debut studio album that was released in 2005, which obtained a Grammy nomination for the best dance album. This included tracks such as “Daft Punk is Playing at My House”, “Losing my Edge”, and “Yeah”. Each album has touched the souls of many different types of “music listeners”, from kids who enjoy the synth piano in combination with electronic beats, to the ones who enjoy rock from the later 90’s and James Murphy’s melodic, rugged voice. The band’s music connects with multiple generations, and that’s what makes their music so special.

My first encounter with LCD Soundsystem came during my Freshman year of high school, where dreams of living in New York City flourished as I listened to James Murphy cry of the trials and tribulations of living in a city like New York, in “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down”. The album Sound of Silver features a number of thought provoking songs such as “Someone Great”, which remains to be my favorite song of LCD Soundsystem, and one that I was fortunate to see performed live last week at Bonnaroo Music Festival.

James Murphy sings, “I wish that we could talk about it. But there, that’s the problem. With someone new I couldn’t start it. Too late, for beginnings. The little things that made me nervous, are gone, in a moment. I miss the way we used to argue, locked, in your basement”. He continued to sing that with an intensely passionate voice, and he almost looked like he was crying during the performance. (That also could have been the heat, which made every lead musician drip of non-stop sweat during the festival).

 

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He continued to sing, “When someone great is gone, when someone great is gone”.

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James Murphy and his blue tie-dye shirt.

This was one of my favorite bands to see live at Bonnaroo music festival, because not only was the music  incredibly poetic and beautiful, but the amount of intensity and passion that Murphy put into his performance was extremely emotional. When he performed songs such as “Someone Great”, “I Can Change”, and the emotional track such as “All My Friends”, it became a show not just for dancing, but for remembering lost loved ones, lost friendships, and the hardships of growing older. It was as if LCD Soundsystem created a cathartic experience for music lovers and avid concert goers. LCD’s last song was “All My Friends”, a song about friends and how they grow apart with time. The audience sang along with every word, knowing that the lyrics were a sad and grim expression on the limits of time and the separation of friends.

The band’s most recent release was “Christmas Will Break Your Heart” released in December, and fortunately, they are planning a new album release for this year. They will be performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago, and at FYF Fest in L.A. this Summer, as well as many other festivals and venues. They are really amazing live!

 

Sydney Fishman

The Pleasure Routine’s new album, “Sugar Mountain” to be released July 1st

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Psychedelic rock is a crowded field these days, and among all the reverb and vintage

keyboards, it can be difficult to find music that extends beyond pastiche. On their new LP, Sugar

Mountain, The Pleasure Routine use the old school tones and equipment to create their own

unique sound. The album’s nine tracks range from languid ballads to energetic rockers, and the

band pulls off both with confidence and originality. At the center of the music is the vocal

interplay of Kevin Sosfrud and Lauren Kopp, whose respective deliveries recall Calvin

Johnson’s drawl and Fiona Apple’s broken soulfulness. The band’s rich guitar and keyboard

textures provide the perfect background for their affecting tales of lost love and inner turmoil.

Not that the album is mournful or mopey. Rather, Sugar Mountain strikes a satisfying balance

between playfulness and sincerity, heartbreak and hope. The production is a bit rough around

the edges, and the vocals sometimes drift towards sloppiness, but as an album, Sugar Mountain

delivers a thoughtful and original take on psychedelic pop.

-Mark Cieslikowski

 

There will be a record release show at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill on July 1st but if you miss out on that, you can purchase cassettes and download the album that day through The Pleasure Routine’s Bandcamp.

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Jazzy and Bluesy News

Hello KZSC listeners,

Here are some fun videos to get your week started off on a bluesy note…

Check back tomorrow for some jazz and blues charts.

Keep it bluesy y’all.

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WATCH: Kiran Gandhi Keynote at UCRN

Hosting the UC Radio Network Conference at the beginning of April was an honor. We were very grateful to have Kiran Gandhi speak at the event. Check out her keynote discussion with IYNV and dj même:

 

Jazz and Blues Update

Hello all you jazzy and bluesy people. Check out the top 10 of jazz and blues for this week.

 

1 ALLISON MILLER’S BOOM TIC BOOM Otis Was A Polar Bear
2 FROYO MA * Pants – EP
3 GRACE KELLY Trying To Figure It Out
4 KIRSTEN EDKINS Art And Soul
5 MARK ISBELL Encontro
6 ROXY COSS Restless Idealism
7 VARIOUS ARTISTS * Basin Street Blues
8 JACO PASTORIUS JACO PASTORIUS
9 VARIOUS ARTISTS Blue Note Plays Prince
10 ELLA FITZGERALD * All That Jazz!

In the meantime here is a really sweet video of Howlin’ Wolf