Photography by Eleanor Petry
Photography by Eleanor Petry
Photography by Cara Robbins
Despite lineup changes and stylistic shifts, Cold Beat stays true to its name. Over the course of three full-lengths, the band has never abandoned its signature icy coldwave jaggedness and sensuous pulse, illuminated by Hannah Lew's celestial vocals. On the band's latest effort, Chaos By Invitation, Lew establishes herself as a gracefully multifaceted songwriter, combining emotive lyricism, affecting guitar work, and electronic flourishes. Before she and a new touring band unleash a muscly, fleshed-out incarnation of the new record on September 21 at The Park Church Co-op, Lew spoke to AdHoc about the importance of connecting with one's emotions in a time of crisis—both personal and political—and resisting commodification.
AdHoc: Chaos By Invitation showcases real stylistic fluidity, both within the record and in comparison to your previous releases. What other artists or genres have helped facilitate this shift?
Hannah Lew: When I’m in a writing zone, I tend to only listen to what I’m making. I get really insular and I almost don’t even listen to music while I’m recording. But I think that the process is what really led the songs to the more singular style. I was just writing a lot at home with a computer. It made for a more solitary process, in which I was zoning out in a computer program a lot more—and then fleshing it out from there. It was a tunnel-vision way of doing things.
Actually, one of the songs, “Strawberry Moon,” my husband Andrew helped me write, just at home. I was like, “I’m struggling with this song!” and he helped me finish it. We then toured with it as a band and added things to it. It’s been an interesting process: I recorded things at home and brought the sessions into the studio [from there]. At a point, I didn’t really have a band. One of my bandmates was having a baby, and the other one was in five bands, and it was a lull. [Cold Beat guitarist] Kyle [King] was half-in, half-out; he came to the recording session for a day or two, but, for the most part, I was just sort of in there. I did some post-production stuff with Mikey Young [of Australian post-punk outfit Total Control]. But, for the most part, it was an in-the-computer process.
Since the formation of the [touring] band, there’s been so much fleshing out, and people have brought so much of themselves to it, that it’s like the live version is its own incarnation. For that reason, we’re bringing this exclusive tour tape with us on the trip—that’s the Part Time Punks sessions that we’ve done that are different versions of the songs. The album is kind of like the demo, and the Part Time Punks versions are the band playing the songs.
How has this more electronic approach changed your relationship to your songs in a live setting?
The live set has definitely changed. The songs were written, and then they really came to life when people brought so much to them. There’s even new parts on the album that we played live—I’m like, “Damn, I wish that we’d played these for years before I wrote the album.” But it’s just it’s own thing. But it’s definitely what makes it worth seeing us play live. The people in the band right now make us the best lineup.
Evan Zierk's new album on Atlantic Rhythms dissects our understanding of time and perception, the tones vibrate a space within. Zierk's skillfully blends together a minimal palette of sonic textures to create a vibrant world that swirls around your skull. Drifting/Bending simulates a loss of gravity, akin to an out of body experience, hovering as an observer. Zierk's gliding arpeggios dance from ear to ear, their pulse moving like a newly formed organism. Evan Zierk is joined by longtime collaborator Nate Mendelsohn playing alto saxophone, whose presence further adds to the feeling of drift, “Bending” causes an awareness of the complexities of perception and sensation. Spatial cognition is left behind, these deeply transfixing and spiritual tones drown out any other input.
Though she relocated to Austin, TX, a few years ago, Lou Rebecca’s hometown of Paris—not the one of Wim Wenders’ notoriety—is never too far away. Rebecca sings in both English and her native tongue, and in the self-directed video for “Fantôme,” first single from her upcoming debut EP, she pirouettes, sings, and broods through several archetypal environments: austere living quarters, a hard wood floor adorned with golden flowers, a dim red performance space. Each shot, each location, every action is striking, and finely-orchestrated to boot. As in her songwriting, Rebecca's directorial style and visual cues build from a foundation of poise and grace. The entire program feels like a dance routine, and I don’t just mean the parts where there’s, you know, actual dancing—the wavering space between physical bodies and the places they inhabit provides weight. It’s largely responsible for the video’s emotional tension and suspense, and makes “Fantôme” a joy to watch time and again.
Lou Rebecca is out January 12 on Holodeck Records.
Photography by Fana Feng
There's something singularly sublime about the goosebump. The way it prickles, nesting in the skin, all the while retaining a trace of the otherworldly. Byron Westbrook's latest piece, "What We Mean When We Say Body Language," off his upcoming Body Consonance LP for Hands in the Dark, not only elicits the goosebump but also plays with it, interrogating the uncanny connection it makes between the physical and the immaterial. Working to enhance and exploit the binaural qualities of stereo production—that is, the auditory illusion of a third tone produced when two slightly dissimilar tones pass through each ear—Westbrook fashions a horizon of dynamics, timbre, and feeling that shimmies and shimmers as the song swells across time. So close to each other, the binaural tones seem to skid against one another, against the ear, against the neurons. This dalliance, tense but generative, delivers a trace, a phantasmagoric residue that glows between two palpitating poles. And, though illusory, the binaural trace makes its mark on the body—as a fugitive cognition, an unthinkable body language that only exists in a fleeting excursion into the auditory cortex. Between the droning digeridoo and the brimming drum line, Westbrook cathects this sublime third dimension, one beyond the binarisms of anatomy and sound and fixable identity, into one that coagulates, consummates, consonates with the body. Good luck getting through it without a shiver.
Photo by Nikki Sneakers
Zoe Burke’s first release as Sapphogeist, a self-titled affair on the inimitable No Rent Records, was a sea change. After a tenure shrieking in power electronics provocateurs Reverse Baptism, the transition was profound, but well done and oh-so-satisfying. Songs like “Ultramortal” and “A Lie” boasted finely-barbed, sharp, unmissable hooks, transfiguring the listener into something like Frank at the end of Hellraiser. Though bookended by pop bangers, Sapphogeist still had extended passages of avant-garde, noisy instrumentation. On her Bank Records follow up, Mar A Lago, Zoe maintains an ethos of experimentation, but plunges fully into the realm of industrial-soaked R&B. “Holding On,” track two of Mar A Lago, originally a Bernard Herman composition, moves through evolving electronic textures. Beginning with an austere vocal pattern and simple synth section, the track warps into utter revelation as it crescendos and breaks about two-thirds in. The tracks on Mar A Lago show maturation and elegance, making for another essential grab.
Mar A Lago is available to purchase on Bank Records.
Photography by Nick Karp
On Monday, Mount Eerie—aka Phil Elverum—graced Murmrr Theater's stage for the first of two nights, playing songs from his latest record, the singularly sparse and haunting A Crow Looked At Me. The ever-gracious Nick Karp was on hand to take photos—check them out below.
Photography by Ebru Yildiz
Beverly makes indie rock lucid in all senses of the word—from their ebullient guitar work, to their limpid lyricism, to the hyperrealist art adorning The Blue Swell, their latest record for Kanine. Distilling the sounds of their forebears—including My Bloody Valentine and The Breeders—and the thrum of the New York scene, the Brooklyn-based rockers concoct a radiant mélange of melody and reverb. Ahead of the band's show September 12 at The Park Church Co-op, vocalist and guitarist Drew Citron spoke with AdHoc about the interconnected processes of sound engineering and live performance, as well as the role of the artist in this time of crisis.
AdHoc: You’ve been a band for about three years now. In that time, Beverly has gone through a lot of changes, including parting ways with Frankie Rose and gaining Scott Rosenthal. Do you feel like you have a firm grasp on what music and art you want to make through Beverly? How has that changed or stayed the same over time?
Drew Citron: Yeah, I mean I have always had a pretty firm grasp on the music because 90% of the songs are written by me. So in that sense, it's stayed the same. If anything, the direction of the band has become more focused over time, as I've gotten more confident with writing, singing, recording and performing.