The Bowery Presents
Maximo Park

Maximo Park

Zambri, Stagnant Pools

Thu, September 13, 2012

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

Webster Hall

New York, NY


This event is 18 and over

Maximo Park
Maximo Park
Status updates, tweets, memes, constant communication: seeing through the data smog is harder every day. Through all the neon flash and white noise, however, there are transmissions that slash straight through all the static and cut to the quick. Maximo Park’s fifth album Too Much Information is one such record, that hooks out life’s critical moments from the dizzying ebb and flow and brings them into HD-sharp focus. It’s the work of a band who, despite their compelling development since 2005’s febrile debut A Certain Trigger, have never confused consistency with give-the-people-what-they-want reliability. “After five records you want to make a statement to the world and say ‘this is us and if you don’t like it, unlucky – we’re not going to change for you,’” says singer Paul Smith.
The band’s last release was the incendiary barricade-building of 2012 The National Health, a record that lit the oil-soaked rag on what Smith calls a “hot streak” for the band. In December 2012, the band headed to the Sunderland studio of their friends David and Peter Brewis, the brothers behind Field Music, to work on an EP and capitalise on the impetus built up behind The National Health. The plan quickly changed, however. “We are not depressed Nietzschean characters but we still take it very seriously - an album is a grand statement of the time, but with an
EP you feel you can let go a bit, like we do with our B-sides,” explains Smith. “Once we’d done this supposed EP, though, we thought, ‘this is pretty good, if we carry on down this road, we’ve got a record.’” Heading to their own studio, they completed the album with guitarist Duncan Lloyd doing the bulk of the recording. "It was all very DIY - that's how we started," explains Lloyd, who utilised studio techniques derived from such disparate sources as Jim O’Rourke and Motown's Hitsville USA. This independent approach also led to the liberating sense of possibility that infuses the album.
Too Much Information is a remarkable creation for a band five albums in: a collection of songs that pulses with life and intent and reveals that while Maximo Park have lost none of their restless energy since their formation in Newcastle in 2000, their ability to startle and provoke has deepened. “The title of the record reflects that the songs are quite diverse, “ says Smith. “It still sounds like us all the way through but there is a lot of information there for people to get hold of. A lot of the time our songs are more emotional than people want to hear if they are into exclusively cool music where there’s a lot of detachment and reserve. That’s not really present in our music - it’s for times when you are feeling more emotionally tender or you want to give yourself to an emotion which could be complete exuberance or something more melancholy and reflective. The title felt to me like a nice way of saying that’s the kind of band we are.”
Too Much Information is a collection of snapshots of different states of mind, a reflection of life in all its fractured, scattered forms. Lyrically and musically, these are songs that capture the rush and gallop of a functioning - sometimes malfunctioning - set of human feelings and thoughts. “Our songs are fragmentary moments in time that you have to grip on to, keep in mind that they are something fragile, something ephemeral, “ says Smith. “That’s the balance we’re trying to strike. One of the albums we’ve really liked recently was Deerhunter’s Monomania because it felt raw and higgledy-piggledy and really powerful.” (Too Much Information was mixed by Monomania co-producer Nicolas Vernhes, Skyping the process in “forensic detail” to the band from New York.)
These songs are bright, brilliantly lit snapshots, vivid as paint slashed across a wall. Her Name Was Audre is “a Minutemen punk song” about African-American
feminist poet Audre Lorde, who worked as librarian in New York City until her death in 1992; Give, Get, Take is a “simple pop song with a twist in there”; Brain Cells was dreamt up under the influence of Karin Dreijer Andersson’s Fever Ray project, while Where We’re Going aims for a “Modern Lovers feel”.
There are overarching themes, admits Smith: “nocturnal activity”, for example, inspires My Bloody Mind - “a longing for something that you already have on an evening or a night out” - or the woozy synth-pop shudder of Brain Cells, deftly recreating the sensation of “being driven to a city centre to go to some all night club, the working week ending with some strange paranoid event.” (To help create Brain Cells's light-night, electro feel the band worked with The Invisible's Dave Okumu, known for his atmospheric work with Jessie Ware.)
“I didn’t live through rave or anything,” laughs Smith. “I probably would have been too scared to go even if I had the opportunity to do so – but I’ve tried to let the songs go their own way and tell a different story from my own using my experiences as a springboard.”
Smith’s love of literature also comes out in this approach. The deeply moving Her Name Was Audre bears witness not only to the poet but also Smith’s own debt to his local library in his home town of Billingham. Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry was fed by Smith’s reading of the short stories of American author Lydia Davis. The hectic fever-dream of I Recognise the Light, meanwhile, comes with an eerie chorus - “I’ve never been to Mexico City but I recognise the light / I’ve never been to Santiago / Its history keeps me up at night” - inspired by the work of the late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, writer of 2666. “I was very interested in Chile’s history.” says Smith. “It seems very disconnected – almost a secret history, people disappearing, people informing behind each other’s backs. We don’t hear much about these things in England and reading these books gives you a key into this world.”
Opening the locks on all this human experience is part of Maximo Park’s free-spirited, emotionally literate approach. Too Much Information, despite its title, leaves you wanting more - a desire that keeps Maximo Park on the move, too. “At this stage in the game you see bands who get worse and I want to get better,” says
Smith. “If you’ve still got the same zeal you should be learning from your mistakes, you should be accumulating experience and trying to refract all that through your music. It sounds exciting. It feels right to keep doing things our way."
VS – Nov 2013
‘Too Much Information’ is released on 3rd February 2014 through Daylighting.
New York City duo, Zambri (aka Jessica and Cristi Jo), create a magnetic sound which many have coined, "apocalyptic pop". The Fader says "They've reached this Kate Bush level of top-of-the-mountain, sing-into-the-sun gothic atmosphere…", and The Guardian sums it up with, "They invoke a sense of doom as well as its mirror image, mood… The raw material is ravishing…sublimely weird rock n' roll."
Stagnant Pools
Stagnant Pools
Stagnant Pools are a two-piece band from Bloomington, Indiana comprised of brothers Bryan and Doug Enas. Bryan is 22 and plays guitar and sings. Doug is 20 and plays the drum set. Their first full-length album, Temporary Room, will be released in 2012.
Venue Information:
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY, 10003