A Benefit For The ACLU w/ Pickwick

The Crocodile Presents:

Sold Out: A Benefit For The ACLU w/ Pickwick

Beat Connection, Telekinesis, Erik Blood, Sassy Black, Porter Ray, Grand Hallway, Jason Dodson

Sun, February 26, 2017

8:00 pm

The Crocodile

Seattle, WA

$20 Adv.

This event is 21 and over

Pickwick
Pickwick
To hear Pickwick tell it, their popular Myths 7-inch series was merely a group of rough sketches they'd been developing over the previous two years put to wax. That a CD collection of those "demos" held their hometown Seattle's Sonic Boom Records #1 sales spot for a period of weeks in 2011 shows those six songs amounted to something more than tossed off basement recordings. With a successful year of festival invites and an ever larger string of hometown sell-outs behind them in 2012 the band refocused on recording and have a year later emerged with Can't Talk Medicine. Upgrading from the basement used for Myths and setting up shop in their living room, the band's own multi-instrumentalist Kory Kruckenberg served as engineer. The 13 finished tracks include three re-recorded and fully realized Myths cuts and a collaboration with Sharon Van Etten on lead single "Lady Luck."
"A cool thing about this record," says Kruckenberg, "this house has made its way onto the record. We've tried to include the quirks of living here." Guitarist Michael Parker wryly spins the situation differently saying "our record doesn't sound like a lot of other records because it was recorded in this living room." The choice of a carpeted location may have been a double-edged sword, but the use of this unconventional space was fully compatible with the band's own grittier leanings and desire to establish a unique musical aesthetic. By recording to 1/2 inch tape on an 8 track and incorporating found sounds, Kruckenberg was additionally using a canvas that provided for an intentionally different dynamic than a modern digital effort. Why tape? "It's about dirtiness," Kruckenberg explains referring to the distortion that the taping process itself can imbue on a recorded sound. He reports his final results with a grin, "It's raw."
An audiophile's full attention to every detail shows in the final mix: voices and instruments have the space to assert their full identity and tones shimmer in lengthy decay. The percussive clang of the piano hammers in lead track "Halls of Columbia" are incorporated instead of hidden away. The organ drone in "Window Sill" is elevated from dissonant psych clutter to an eerie foundational element. The harmonies of Parker, keyboardist Cassady Lillstrom, and guest Kaylee Cole are at turns sweet, unsettling and epiphanic. It's all orchestrated to support frontman Galen Disston's gospel growl and build on the mood of his words.
"There is a layer to our songs that I don't think very many people have picked up on," says Disston, who prefers listeners delve into their own imagination with his words over providing a literal history of every lyric. What he will relate is that Can't Talk Medicine mines themes of mental illness. "It's about art making you go crazy," he reveals. "We idolize and value that insanity when it's in the name of art." But as his lyrics also imagine it, life in creative overdrive can be nervous, desperate and grotesque. The refrain in "Window Sill" speaks of planning a defiant suicide and Myths crowd favorite "Hacienda Motel" recounts a risque homicide.
Many of the deeper answers about influences and a preference for mystery can be traced to the band's own voracious interest in music that's mired in obscurity. Reissues from Designer Records, the seminal output of the Black Ark. Robert Pete Williams, Alan Lomax, the Walkmen, The Sonics, and Abner Jay are among the diverse list of names referred to with reverence in the living room. 'Famous L. Renfroe as The Flying Sweet Angel of Joy' is a current well of inspiration for Disston who, like his idol Bob Dylan, has through his own deep exploration of American roots music developed a signature vocal delivery.
Pickwick's DIY history of making & distributing their own records continues into 2013 with the Spring self-release Can't Talk Medicine, initially available digitally via iTunes and on CD at your local CIMS-affiliated independent record shop. The Cold War Kids' Matt Maust is guilty of the album's cover design. The band travels to SXSW in March before embarking on a headlining tour of the continental U.S. in April.
Beat Connection
Beat Connection
Beat Connection is Reed Juenger, Tom Eddy, Jarred Katz and Mark Hunter. Formed in 2010, Beat Connection has undergone numerous changes, finally stabilizing in its current form. The band has already shared the stage with Jungle, Toro y Moi, STRFKR, Washed Out, Holy Ghost! & ODESZA; and has garnered positive looks from Pitchfork, The Fader and The Guardian. With performances scheduled this year at ACL & CHBP, Beat Connection now looks to the future to focus on constantly bringing something new to their audience by bridging the gap between the mundane and the transcendent, the pop and the avant-garde. Expect something new at every turn.
Telekinesis
Telekinesis
No one ever talks about the fourth record.

We've all heard plenty about the astonishing debut and the "difficult" sophomore release. But let's pause for a moment to consider the role of album four in rock and roll history. A few key examples: Radiohead – Kid A, R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant, Talking Heads – Remain in Light, Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, David Bowie – Hunky Dory … you see where we're going with this. Album four is an opportunity for artists to reinvent, and frequently revitalize, themselves. The willingness to abandon familiar work habits and signature sounds can be risky, but it's often the difference between a safe, predictable career and a bold transformation that signals the beginning (to quote another pretty amazing fourth LP) of a new age for artist and audience alike.

When it came time to make the fourth Telekinesis album, drummer/songwriter/principal architect Michael Lerner found himself in a predicament that will sound familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in the lore of rock bands. In just under five years, he had released three fantastic records—Telekinesis! (2009), 12 Desperate Straight Lines (2011), and Dormarion (2013)—each more ambitious than the last. He had toured all over the world, shared stages with great bands (Death Cab for Cutie, Portugal. The Man, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo's The Both), and enthralled fans of his infectious, ebullient power pop. Newly married and happily ensconced in the home studio he'd assembled in his West Seattle basement, Lerner found himself asking the question that has haunted modestly successful bands down the ages: What do you do after the rock and roll dreams you had when you were 19 have come true? The obvious answer was to make another Telekinesis record—that was his job, after all, and he was grateful for it. So he got to work. It didn't go well. At least not at first.

"I went down to the basement," Lerner recalls, "and started playing the same chords I always play… I just felt like I'd exhausted everything I knew. I was not excited at all. I just could not make another power-pop album."

He sought inspiration in music that bore little relation to the familiar Telekinesis sound, and soon found it in the swooning, synth-driven pop of early '80s UK bands like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Glasgow's The Blue Nile (whose 1982 debut album, A Walk Across the Rooftops, Lerner had been given by Merge honcho Mac McCaughan), as well as more up-tempo numbers like Donna
Summer and Giorgio Moroder's 1977 disco master class "I Feel Love" and, even further afield, Drake's 2013 summer jam "Hold On, We're Going Home." Though Lerner is a drummer with a strong affinity for loud electric guitars, he found himself irresistibly attracted to the powerful atmospheres stirred up by the gorgeously inorganic sounds and simple arrangements of these wildly disparate inspirations. A new idea began to take shape, as did a somewhat obsessive collection of old synthesizers and drum machines.

Lerner dedicated himself to learning the intricacies of antiquated keyboards with names like the Roland JX-10 (the very model Angelo Badalamenti used to compose the music for Twin Peaks), the Teenage Engineering OP-1, the Moog Sub Phatty, the Elektron Octatrack, and even a Speak & Spell. "If you buy a guitar," observes Lerner, "people always say 'oh, there's a song in that guitar.' That's how it was for every piece of equipment I acquired over the last two years." Finding the songs was one thing; making sense of the elaborate technical requirements that would allow him to sync the multiple generations of machinery with digital recording software was another. There were plenty of easier ways to go about the process, sending MIDI versions of the vintage sounds and letting a computer do the heavy lifting, but that would have missed the point. There was joy in getting his hands dirty; part of the process was to invent the process. It took months of diligent effort ("pulling my hair out, for real"), but when the literal and figurative dust settled, what emerged looked and sounded like a legitimate breakthrough. The previous three Telekinesis LPs had been recorded fast, on tape, in professional studios with accomplished producers—Chris Walla on the first two, Jim Eno on the third—at the helm. This new one had been painstakingly assembled by Lerner alone, working without a map, using an entirely unfamiliar palette of sounds, and discovering an entirely different tonal vocabulary in the process. And though the total running time is a tidy 33 minutes, it had taken what seemed like forever to get there (hence the album title).

And yet, for all the new methodology and instrumentation, the DNA of
Ad Infinitum is oddly familiar. The melodic hooks that have endeared Telekinesis to the world of pop music aficionados are flagrantly front and center. The pinging pong of an instrumental figure on album opener "Falling (In Dreams)" sounds
almost like a permission slip for Lerner to let loose with a soaring head voice in the chorus. It's a chilling entrance to an album that soon veers into the much faster new-wave thrills of "Sylvia," the ironically technology-averse retrofuturism of "In a Future World" (which sounds like the missing link between Speak & Spell-era
Depeche Mode and the birth of Erasure), and onward. The hyperactive gem
"Courtesy Phone" proves that no matter how many stylistic obstacles he places in his own path, Lerner's knack for perfect power pop is irrepressible. But the high-
energy dance rhythms of "It's Not Yr Fault" and the gorgeous, McCartney II-esque
polyphony of "Ad Infinitum Pt. 1" are totally unprecedented in the Telekinesis
oeuvre. The whole album is a relentless marriage of old and new, memory and imagination, deconstruction and rediscovery.

While artists like M83 and Blood Orange (among many, many others) have
made fruitful use of vintage sounds and production techniques in recent years,
Ad Infinitum is a different animal. It's less like a time capsule and more like a time machine. In the movie version of the story, Lerner would stumble on his way down the stairs, hit his head, and wake up in 1983, and the only way he could get back to the present day would be to make a record using available instruments. Then he'd wake in 2015 to discover he'd been in his basement studio all along. And the record he'd made in that strange dream state would turn out to be Ad Infinitum, the most ambitious and assured Telekinesis release to date.
Erik Blood
Erik Blood
Erik Blood is a Seattle-based producer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter. His production work and collaborations with some of the Northwest’s favorite artists (TheeSatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Moondoggies, The Lights, The Turn-Ons among others) have garnered praise from music journalists and fans alike.

In May 2009, Erik Blood released his first solo album “The Way We Live”. The album debuted at number one on KEXP’s variety chart and was hailed by The Stranger upon it’s release: “Crafted with care and expertly produced, The Way We Live seems destined to attain pop-classic status.”

Erik next released "Music From the Center of Gravity" - a full-length film soundtrack, his first. Mixing dreamy ambient soundscapes, textured synths, and anchored by three lush pop songs - the score serves as the backdrop to the moody Sao Paolo set film "Centro de Gravidade". Directed by Steven Richter, the film premiered at the Sao Paulo Film Festival in Fall 2011.

After a busy period of producing, mixing, and engineering a variety of projects for artists like Crypts and Stephanie, Erik returned with his second LP "Touch Screens" in 2012. The twelve tracks of "Touch Screens" explore pornography from the points of view of the participants, viewers and creators. Ranging from "blistering shoegazer psych-rock to hazy dream-pop" (Don Yates - KEXP) on "Touch Screens" Erik Blood again demonstrates his formidable skills as a songwriter and a producer.

Erik has recently completed work on Shabazz Palaces highly anticipated follow-up "Lese Majesty" - due out July 29th on Sub Pop, as well as a brand new LP from TheeSatisfaction due out later this year on SubPop. Erik is currently finalizing completion of another film score, as well cooking up another batch of his own material that he is currently previewing in live shows in the Seattle area.
Sassy Black
Sassy Black
SassyBlack is a space aged singer, songwriter & producer. This Goddess of “electronic psychedelic soul” & “hologram funk” explores the concepts of sound through deep compositions. With roots in classical & jazz, her voice is often compared to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Erykah Badu & Georgia Anne Muldrow.

She has gained attention from Okayplayer, Exclaim!, Afropunk, Pitchfork & more. less
Porter Ray
Porter Ray
By society’s account, Porter Ray Sullivan should be elsewhere. If the statistics were correct, a coffin, or prison would seem to be his most likely destination. A high school dropout, who watched his hoop dreams evaporate after enduring a series of well-documented tragedies. His coping mechanisms temporarily diverted his attention, leading him down a seemingly never-ending path of overindulgence.

But perception isn’t always reality, and time heals some of the most painful wounds. Avoiding complete self-destruction, Sullivan chose to reinvent himself through penmanship. The results? Porter Ray, a gifted young scribe from Seattle’s Central District, who has effectively turned his poetry into beautiful music.
Ray’s perspective on life in the Emerald City’s famed neighborhood is vividly described through intricate tales of everyday street-life. By articulating the thoughts and feelings of his generation, Porter Ray effortlessly paints realistic images of what growing up in Seattle as man of African-American decent actually means.

Porter Ray’s future is bright. With a 4-project catalogue in his portfolio, Porter recently partnered with Seattle’s legendary Sub Pop Records through Ishmael Butler [Shabazz Palaces] to tell his story on a broader platform. With his official album debuting mid 2016, a series of interesting show dates and projects scheduled previous to its release, Ray seems destined to take his rightful place in music’s international conversation.
Grand Hallway
Grand Hallway
Grand Hallway is an eight piece orchestral pop band from Seattle featuring singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama and members of local favorites Voyager One, the Maldives, Sleepy Eyes of Death, Widower, and Shenandoah Davis. Grand Hallway's debut album, "Yes Is The Answer" was released in 2007 in Japan on Sideout Records (home to Bright Eyes, Cursive, Two Gallants, The Velvet Teen), and self-released by the band in the United States. A follow-up EP, "We Flew Ephemera", was released in early 2008. Tours include time on the West Coast, a tour of Japan with Arthur and Yu and Shugo Tokumaru, and festivals including Sasquatch and Bumbershoot. Grand Hallway's second album, "Promenade", was released on September 15, 2009. For the record release party, the band performed with a full orchestra and a children's choir to a sold out crowd. "Promenade" received heavy airplay on college stations nationwide, placed 29 on KEXP's Year-end List, and was named 2 on NPR's Best New Discoveries of 2009.


Grand Hallway have shared the stage with: Shearwater, Damien Jurado, Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), The Thermals, Cave Singers, Helio Sequence, Jesse Sykes, Throw Me the Statue, Noah and the Whale, Loney,Dear, Headlights, Shugo Tokumaru, Arthur and Yu, Moondoggies, Pica Beats, Laura Gibson, Manuok, Loch Lomond, and many more.
Jason Dodson
Jason Dodson
In the great Northwest, The Maldives are more than a band, they are an institution. With a history that goes back more than a decade (their friendships considerably longer), they've played every kind of gig imaginable - from backwoods festival on the back of a flatbed truck to the inauguration of Seattle's musically minded mayor. They have overflowed the stages at SXSW, CMJ, Capitol Hill Block Party, Sasquatch, and Bumbershoot. They were featured on MTV's $5 Cover series which spotlighted the best of Seattle's music scene. The band's frontman Jason Dodson brings us some of their soulful country-rock.
Venue Information:
The Crocodile
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
http://www.thecrocodile.com/