Doors @ 9PM ★ $6 Adv – $8 Door
Brooklyn-based genre-undefining hyper weirdos making beautiful sights and sounds with little concern for personal health.
Starlight Girls recently collaborated with Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart to make a brand new 7" that was released in October of 2013. A significant departure and natural progression for a band unhindered by the confines of genre, the 7" is a tasty treat to hold the hungry children over until the 2014 release of the full-length LP.
Twenty-plus years of stories, twenty-plus years of perfecting music's craft, Ski Lodge's Big Heart is exactly what a debut record should be: the culmination of a creative force's life on this planet. Andrew Marr, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter behind Ski Lodge, has created a deeply personal record that overflows with lush melodies and insatiably catchy choruses. His songs occasionally deal with dark matters—infidelity, painful break-ups, loneliness, disjointed father-son dynamics—but Marr bathes them in a blissful light ripe for sing-alongs.
"I try to write songs honestly, and a lot of the things going on in my head that I struggle with might be deemed 'dark,' but I don't think that means I can't sing about them in a way that is musically upbeat or poppy," Marr says, from his home in New York City. It's a dichotomy that also translates to Marr's choice for musical moniker. He explains the name Ski Lodge "evoked an image of being warm by a fire, alone or with friends, while outside exists the cold and cruel winter."
Big Heart, Ski Lodge's debut full-length, out on Dovecote Records, is Marr's fullest realization of this hot and cold split. Marr wrote all of the lyrics and music, and played nearly every sound that ended up on the record. However, this was the first time the 26-year-old worked in a professional studio with a producer, the indelible Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Fool's Gold), over several weeks in Los Angeles. The combination of Marr's intrinsic songwriting and Pesacov's LA-defining production skills resulted in music with fuller breadth and scope than Ski Lodge's previous release without losing any of the wry innocence that made 2011's self-titled debut EP so much fun.
The one exception is the lead single "Just To Be Like You," which was recorded with the full band in Upstate New York using producer Kevin McMahon (Walkmen, Real Estate). Prefix Mag called the track "sugary sweet pop," while Pitchfork warned its readers not to "be deceived by the energetic, hopscotching riff" before lauding the single's dark depths. The song and its accompanying video of cult imagery are an exploration of contrast that fits in perfectly with both the album and Ski Lodge as a whole: deeply affecting and unmistakably danceable.
Led by the hypnotic vocals of Andrea Lo, The Belle Game take intricate guitar and keyboard lines, anchored by dark pop rhythms, and weave them into gorgeous, graceful melodies. . . the end result still retaining the rawness of a boozy confessional. Canadian indie authority Exclaim! describes their music as “…indie-rock at its best: texturally layered, with echoing guitars, infectious rhythms and horns, and lavished in hooks”.
The Belle Game’s debut album, Ritual Tradition Habit, begins with bashful guitars, a soft wave of cymbals, and a pair of ambiguous phrases. “Ritual”, a sweetly haunting soundscape, lasts only a few moments before fleshing out a procession of wild and witchy tunes, full of melancholy, mythology and symphonic power.
Ritual Tradition Habit is a journey through 12 beautifully layered tracks, interrupted by the occasional chant, hymn and instrumental rumbling. Among them the spooky blues ballad, ‘River’, a song Pitchfork deemed “best new track” and referred to as a “show stopping, extroverted piece of musical theatre”.