The Bowery Presents
of Montreal

of Montreal

Foxygen, French Horn Rebellion

Tue, December 11, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Webster Hall

New York, NY

$22 advance / $25 day of show

This event is 18 and over

of Montreal
of Montreal
Innocence Reaches begins with a query. "How do you identify?" coos a robotic voice over a strikingly modern mix of bright synthpop and surging rave. The question too feels very of its time—as outdated ideas about gender and attraction are being overturned—but it's also a fair ask whenever of Montreal debuts an album.

The project's 14th LP follows two full decades of mercurial creative mania: swallowing up '60s psych-pop, Prince-ly funk, and glammy prog in turn; morphing freely between full-band affair and cloistered confessional booth; comprising lyrics both painfully personal and absurdly fantastical; and recently drawing site-specific inspiration from culture capitals like San Francisco or New York City. The thread that runs through it all is Athens, GA's Kevin Barnes, and Innocence Reaches finds him at his most light-hearted in years, working a Parisian stint, Top 40 sounds, and his newfound single status into the kaleidoscopic swirl. Even as he continues to sift the sonic and emotional detritus of his past, Barnes sums up his current mood in the opener's title: "let's relate."

The most immediate surprise is the sound. Innocence Reaches is touched by contemporary electronica, indie pop, and EDM. For the first time in his career, Barnes tuned into now. "Forever I've been detached from current music," he says. "I got into this bubble of only being in some other time period. I came up picking apart the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and symphonic pieces. But last year, I was hearing Jack Ü, Chairlift, Arca, and others, thinking about low end and sound collage. It was an extra layer to geek out on."

Paris helped with that. Barnes lived in a friend's studio for two weeks. It was in an apartment complex and, as he prefers to work at night, he couldn't thrash loud instruments for fear of noise complaints from the neighbors. But the in-house arsenal of vintage synthesizers and drum machines was fair game—check the skittering beats of "a sport and a pastime" and thick hum of "chap pilot."

By day, Barnes wandered Père Lachaise Cemetery, sat at cafés and wrote poems, read Jeans Ganet and Cocteau, or eavesdropped on conversations he couldn't translate. "Being in that place where no one looks at me twice and I can't even understand the language was like entering a parallel universe," recalls Barnes. "It was cathartic and inspiring to amputate myself from my normal life and feel like an individual outside of all the baggage and memories."

Enjoying anonymity, he sorted through the inner wreckage left by his divorce two years prior, and took stock of the briefer relationships since. "my fair lady" bids adieu to a familiar figure over sax-streaked disco-funk, but we soon meet Sarah from Detroit on darkwave dream "ambassador bridge," and Gabrielle the Athenian Beach Goth amid the trappy space-glitch of "trashed Exes." In "les chants de maldoror," our hero cooly declares, "We only act nicely when we're ruining hotel beds/I greeted you in a hundred doorways." Innocence Reaches continues of Montreal's recent autobiographical streak, which finds Barnes "fetishizing reality," as he puts it.

But he's concerned with a broader reality as well. "it's different for girls" is an exploration of the "dilemme féminin". Combining Daft Punk's aptitude for groove with LCD Soundsystem's wit—an endlessly quotable track that has Barnes outlining the dangers inherent in binary gendering: "It's different for girls,from when they are children they're de-personalized, aggressively objectified..." and later Barnes sings "It's different for girls, they are mercurial creatures, not a masculine dissonance or sexual currency". The song is less feminine anthem and more pop exegesis of societal codes. "though some women are demons all of them are God". Indeed.

Apropos, Innocence Reaches' cover design was an attempt by a new first-time father—Kevin's brother David—to express his "wonderment for the female anatomy." And the aforementioned "let's relate" was indeed inspired by trans issues, a subject dear to Barnes' heart. "I have a history of gender-bending in performances, but that's also always been a part of my identity as a human," he says. "I'm thankful to have an outlet for that, to express that and not get chased out of town or beat up. I think we're moving in the right direction now." The song is a call to find common ground in simply being human: "I like that you like you/I think that you're great/I want to relate," he sings cheerily.

Innocence Reaches features darker moments to be sure—isolation, anger, indifference, and the feeling that, like a Truffaut film, madness lurks just outside the frame—but as Barnes explains, "Epiphany comes from breakdown. If you can stay open and vulnerable, the nebulous becomes transparent. That's one of the magical aspects of writing from personal life."

Sometimes you've gotta intentionally court a little chaos in order to make one of the best, weirdest, brightest, catchiest, and most inventive albums in your already incredible catalog.
Foxygen
Foxygen
Foxygen and Star Power is the Los Angeles songwriting duo of 24-year-olds Sam France and Jonathan Rado. In May 2011, France and Rado nervously handed off a CD-R of this homemade mini-opus Take the Kids Off Broadway (Jagjaguwar, 2012) to producer and visionary Richard Swift after his performance in a Lower East Side club. The duo, who had just mixed and burned the disc that very night, had been devotees of Swift’s outsider-pop oeuvre since high school, when they first began recording their own pubescent forays into oddball rock n’ roll (At least a dozen records were finished before they graduated high school).

Foxygen left the venue that night unsure whether Swift would truly listen or sling the disc into a dumpster on his way out. You’re reading this right now because Swift did listen. In fact, he fucking flipped for Foxygen’s bugged out, esoteric majesty and called upon them immediately to say as much. Eight months later, Foxygen was holed up for a week-long recording session at Swift’s neo-legendary National Freedom studio, creating what became their breakthrough, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar, 2013), a precocious and cocksure joyride across California psychedelia.

2013 saw the mercurial success of 21st Century, and with it, heightened demands for tour planning, added press days, demands on resources, the sacrifice of personal relationships, and the indefinite delay of recording plans. The quick-fire success made for an altogether turbulent 2013 for the band. Foxygen’s always captivating live performances shifted from eruptive to sometimes frightening — and then, just put on ice altogether. But at the close of 2013, France and Rado found secret sanctuary in their new studio, Dream Star, and holing up in some of LA’s most famous hotels for more recording. Writing music together is what their friendship has always thrived upon. At Dream Star in the northernmost passage of LA’s valley, they reformed as a punk band called Star Power. And the result, the svelte, 82-minute …And Star Power, is a morphing, splice-and-paste journey through soft rock indulgences, psych-ward folk, cartoon fantasia, D&D doomrock, and paranoid bathroom rompers. Foxygen, now expanded into a 9-piece touring machine as Star Power, calls the album “a cinematic, auditory adventure for the speedy freaks, skull krunchers, abductees, and misfits…the radio station you can only hear if you believe.”
French Horn Rebellion
French Horn Rebellion
"French horn is hard to play. Making hot beats is fun. Let’s make a band."

Love Is Dangerous in the big, bad city where late nights always bring out swingers on party patrol, hipster suits in dark alleys, beat-boxers at street corners and Poster Girls with Broken Hearts. It's Friday Night, baby and French Horn Rebellion's dance card is Void and Fancy Free.

FHR is Robert and David Perlick-Molinari, two Brooklyn-based brothers born and bred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2007, while hanging on a heartstring and daydreaming of Beaches and Friends, Robert had been playing French horn in the Chicago Civic Orchestra, got restless and decided to turn all attention to making dance music. After informing his conductor that Mahler isn’t fun anymore, Robert asked bassoon-toting older brother, David, to share this epiphany of self-emancipation. Our sordid tale of French Horn Rebellion's mission to deliver NextJackSwing to The Body Electric begins here.

Explains Robert, "We were trying to think of a way to engage kids who play in orchestra or band, and say, 'Hey. You guys can have fun too and this is how you do it.’ That's when the wheels started turning - we could make music the way we want to, and it’s OK."

David offers, "We realized that we had the power to create something of our own. The rebellion was about accepting wholeheartedly the uniqueness of who we are and using that as a driving force. We had to rebel against the status quo and focus on what drove us internally."

These self-proclaimed band geeks gone wild (BGGW) are often Up All Night crafting witty, hook-laden grooves, making reverent noise or Dancing Out on tour with a program of disco-etched lights, hi-octane special guests and a keg full of party-starter anthems. It's the French Horn Rebellion creed. "Could we really be having This Moment?" The answer is an explosive and resounding "Hell, Yeah!" FHR effortlessly weave between the seams of buzzy indie dance, electro, funk and psychedelia through to visceral new wave, rock and ambitious pop. David and Robert's sly productions, smart songs and giddy live shows manage to infuse their devoted disciples with a compulsive and joyous energy.

As FHR's resident pied piper, Robert concedes this bit of affable insight, "I play French horn really, really loud. That's the number one thing - live and loud! We're running around and ripping off Jimi Hendrix solos on French horn. It’s the equivalent of a pizza party in band class with Teddy Riley on the jukebox."

David's practical wisdom believes "Our rebellion is about getting the true, everyday meaning of being alive and forcing the bull-s**t out!"

French Horn Rebellion fan favorites like "Girls," "Caaalifornia," "Last Summer," "Johnny Smash," "Swing Into It" or the band's inspired cover of The Human League's perennial classic, "Don't You Want Me" continue to cement their NextJackSwing global takeover aspirations in the studio and on the road.

“Next Jack Swing is a genre we’ve created from the ‘New Jack Swing’ or ‘Swing Beat’ tradition of the late 80’s and early 90s, but using today’s technology to make the beats heavier, with funkier bass lines, and of course, putting in our own flair..." begins Robert with a knowing, mischievous tone. David finishes the missive, "...It's New Jack's kid brother seasoned by sweaty, basement dance-rages of eternal groove. It exposes everything we love about dance music!"

FHR traveled 5 continents from Seoul to Caaalifornia in search of the best collaborators and fellow champions of the swing. The group have been fortunate enough to work, play, perform and collaborate with some of the best and most influential artists around, such as MGMT, Of Montreal, Ghost Beach, Cut Copy, Yelle, Savoir Adore, Hot Chip, St. Lucia, Jody Watley, The Drums, Two Door Cinema Club, HAERTS, The Knocks, SebastiAn, Autograf, Viceroy, OMD, The Knocks, MNDR, Ladyhawke and Database. Fueled by the group's bounty of wily beats and superbass, The Perlick-Molinari brothers are also very involved with incorporating inspired art, film and visuals to aid and interpret their sonic assault. FHR sleeve, tour poster, cover art and video clips have featured the work of Flekz, Skip Dolphin Hursh, Ronnie Heart, Michael Komar, Jose-Maria Norton, Kristen Winter, Dress Code, Harry Fellowes, Ally Lindsay, Meredith Dittmar and the guys themselves.

Over the years, French Horn Rebellion's emotive pop singles, illustrious dance e.p.'s, well-tailored remixes and an acclaimed album debut, "The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion" have received high praise, acclaim and obsession by such media hubs as: The Huffington Post, Billboard, BBC Radio 1, Entertainment Weekly, Jay Z's Life & Times, Interview Magazine, Spotify, Rolling Stone, VIBE, The Guardian, Bust, Mashable, Thissongissick, NY Daily News, VEVO, Q Magazine and Time Out. Additionally, FHR have had 10 self-released singles and mixes storm the top of the influential Hype Machine chart.

With their new record label, Ensemble Records enjoying a glorious bow this Summer introducing Slaptop's smash "Sunrise" (in conjunction with +1 Records) and a busy Williamsburg-based production compound and studio, YouTooCanWoo, churning out the hits, The Perlick-Molinari brothers of French Horn Rebellion are living their D.I.Y. manifesto to the fullest, noting the best is yet to come. It's clear that the group's engaging performer, A&R chief and French Horn-toting label honcho, Robert - partnered with David, the introspective studio geek, world domination enthusiast and production perfectionist, are gearing up for an international rebel party coup. FHR know You're All Right and want to assist with a bit of exclusive party intel.

David knowingly states, "A way the world can feel worthwhile is for its individuals to lead the charge. We are all worth the time and energy. This dance party is where we celebrate!"

Robert breaks it down even further, "I equate orchestra players with middle-class workers. You play the music on the page, listen to the conductor and go home. And I think orchestra players aren't appreciated, much like today's working man. That's why it's a rebellion: working guys, rebel!”
Venue Information:
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY, 10003
http://www.websterhall.com/