The Bowery Presents
Fucked Up, Wavves

Fucked Up

Wavves

Sat, September 24, 2011

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Webster Hall

New York, NY

$18.00 advance, $20.00 day of show

This event is 18 and over

Fucked Up
Fucked Up
Fucked Up are a punk band. They were a punk band when they started in Toronto more than a decade ago, and they've remained a punk band even as they've ascended to career heights that their younger selves never could've imagined. But how do you remain a punk band when you're on magazine covers, or sharing stadium stages with the Foo Fighters? How do you stay true to your 15-year-old self when you've got a career to maintain, and families to support? Those are the questions that Fucked Up asks on Glass Boys. And they ask those questions in the form of a blazing, titanic, ultimately triumphant rock album.

The last two Fucked Up albums were sweeping, defining, monolithic gestures. On 2008's The Chemistry Of Common Life, they tested hardcore's capacity for stylistic innovation, for seven-minute songs and unconventional arrangements, and they won Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize in the process. With 2011's David Comes To Life, they offered up a full-blown rock opera, coming with one larger-than-life hook after another, and that made them even bigger, and further away from the Toronto hardcore scene that nurtured them. Glass Boys isn't a retrenchment or a back-to-basics move; it's too ambitious and complex for that. But after those last two albums, it's tight and concise and direct, an album of real and direct sentiment rather than artifice.

Musically, Glass Boys carries echoes of some of the more ragged and adventurous bands from America's punk past (Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr.), but it also has some of the anthemic charge of the Who and the guttural intensity of Negative Approach. Singer Damian Abraham still growls like a demon, but he's found more range and depth in his bark. Drummer Jonah Falco does something innovative on the LP, adding two separate drum tracks, one of them in half-time, adding a psychedelic, disorienting feel. (A limited vinyl edition of the album includes a bonus version that only features Falco's half-time drums.) The triple-guitar battalion of Mike Haliechuk, Ben Cook, and Josh Zucker still builds symphonies out of feedback and power-chords, but this time around, there's less emphasis on world-crushing riffs and more on world-creating textures. Bassist Sandy Miranda is now even more a part of that storm, her instrument blurring in with that overwhelming guitar roar.

And if the album's lyrics concern the quest to stay true to your younger self, the music pulls off the trick beautifully. "Echo Boomer," like "Son The Father" and "Let Her Rest" before it, makes for a powerful album opener, a surge of catharsis that gives a strong idea of what's to come. "Sun Glass" builds from acoustic strumming to bleary pummel and stays pretty the whole time. "DET" has one of those world-annihilating choruses that demands a full-room singalong. And the album-closing title track is a blast of epic catharsis as grand and forceful as anything this band has ever done. After two monumental concept-driven concept albums, Fucked Up have made another heart-expanding, life-affirming piece of work, and this time, they've done it by shooting straight from the heart.
Wavves
Wavves
Wavves - V

Inspired by their personal experiences with agoraphobia, sleepwalking, teeth grinding, time wasting, night terrors, toxic relationships, Web MD, and fucking up while trying to be better people, Wavves' fifth full length studio album V sees the fuzzy LA noise pop outfit move into more mature, slightly hopeful territory, as they recognize that the momentary nihilism caused by their wicked hangover will soon end, thereby creating room for more and hopefully less wicked hangovers. "It's not happy music, not at all," singer Nathan Williams assures, "but it's inspired by learning to be happy about the shittiest lows, trying to express a realistic optimism in the knowledge that nothing is ever going to be perfect, and there will always be some fucked up shit in your life...but you can have a positive outlook on it, if you want." Hook-heavy and scrappy as ever, V is watershed album for Wavves on both a personal and musical level, wearing its bruised -- but humbled -- heart very much on its sleeve.

Featuring the previously released "Way Too Much" and "Flamezesz", the 11-track LP was recorded in Los Angeles with the help of producer Woody Jackson (Daniel Johnston, Primal Scream, Tenacious D, Money Mark and Beck), who took the band's trademark distorted no-fi into crisper, even more visceral territory while still remaining true to their 90s influenced roots, which stem back to 2008 when Williams created two albums' worth of work using '80s Tascam cassette recorder and Garage Band software. The last seven years saw Wavves grow from bedroom experiment into Billboard Top 100 ranking four piece featuring Alex Gates (guitar, backing vocals), Stephen Pope (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Brian Hill (drums), all of whom contributed to the writing of V, which is set for an October 2nd release through Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros. V marks the high point in an exceptionally busy year for the band-2015 has seen an LP collaboration with Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi, a GZA collab with Williams' side project Sweet Valley called "Planetary Energy", and releases by Courtney Love and Spirit Club (his side project with brother Joel Williams and Jeans Wilder) on Williams' Ghost Ramp label.

The band's first solo album since 2013's Afraid of Heights, the songs on V were inspired by a dark and epic Waiting for Godot-esque idle stretch of around eight months that occurred in between the end of the Afraid of Heights tour and the recording of V. Caught in a creative and emotional stasis, the band had "way too much time on their hands", leading to the kind of bored, compulsive partying that was no longer about having fun, but about "just drinking, straight drinking," with 100 beers and two bottles of Jameson the per night band norm. Bassist Stephen Pope developed a mild agoraphobia, and became scared to leave his bedroom. "I would order pizza almost everyday and hide in my room and pee in a bottle like in 'The Aviator'".

Williams tried to cut back on his drug and alcohol consumption, but fewer beers per day resulted in night terrors, as he adjusted to not being drunk every night. "I get a two day hangover if I do drugs now, and you have to think 'is this worth it?' I feel like that romanticized druggie alcoholism lifestyle is a sham." Then came the paranoia about his health. "You can just ruin your own life by spending too much time on Web MD, convincing yourself you have cancer," he said.

On top of all that, he was going through a breakup-no surprise, failed relationships are a major theme on the record. The song Heart Attack, for instance, is about "doing anything for a girl, making decisions that you probably wouldn't normally make in an almost masochistic way. It's like putting yourself in harm's way, which I tend to do physically and emotionally. Sometimes that means I find it hard to think the best of people, although I am softening more over time." All The Same is about a loose series of negative events that occurred in Williams' life and acknowledging that sometimes "shit doesn't work out, but in the end the people that you love around you are what's the important part". Pony's chorus, "it gets better and better", reiterates the 'light at the end of the tunnel' narrative that emerges, perhaps for the first time in Wavves career, in V.

By the time they got into the studio, the band members had gone through so much personal upheaval that it was a relief to start working again. The energy of the sessions was "a lot lighter and not as drunk" as on prior records, as V became something of a conduit for the kinds of feels that they wouldn't usually feel comfortable talking about. The album artwork -- the five of cups, the Tarot card of greatest loss -- sums it up, the cloaked figure mourning the three spilled cups, while two are still full behind him. The message is clear: don't cry over spilled beer, because there are two more right behind you. "We've never talked about this stuff in front of each other, outside the music," admits Williams. "'Cause guys are afraid to talk. It's not like we say "Dude, I'm feeling sad today." You know? That's lame, dude."


V officially hits stores October 2 via Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros., and will be supported with a North American tour.
Venue Information:
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY, 10003
http://www.websterhall.com/