The Bowery Presents


Cut Worms, Sam Evian, Reverberation Radio

Sat, January 20, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Brooklyn Steel

Brooklyn, NY

$22 advance / $25 day of show

This event is 16 and over

If you drive past the 200 block of South La Brea, there is a lamp shop, a pet shop, and a little glass door that says “Casting Agency” above it. Inside you’ll find one of LA’s most stereotypical rituals, where men & women from all walks of life vie for the attention and popularity of the Hollywood producer. It’s a dream factory for some of them. It’s also a place where Los Angeles outsiders learn what the city is really like, beyond the sun and surf and celebrities, where every brightly-lit surface eventually faces a cloud.

Indeed, the lessons learned by the Allah-Las – guitarists Miles Michaud and Pedrum Siadatian, bassist Spencer Dunham, drummer Matthew Correia – since their auspicious formation in 2008 have been tempered with experience. Now, with their third album Calico Review (their first for Mexican Summer), their experience transforms once more, this time into wisdom. The band’s trajectory, formed around mutual appreciation for the same kinds of music and a host of shared experiences, focuses on both the outer trappings of their home and surroundings, and the through line of darkness that suffuses life in LA county.

Where the Allah-Las display their insight, and what really shines across the 12 songs that comprise Calico Review, is the way that the group has pivoted from specific influences and nods to the music they love, to crafting the feelings of freedom, grit, and melancholy in their music. That feeling – the peerless capture of music long in the tradition and mood of California pop, the sound that’s captured the essence of the LA experience - aligns with their stylistic technique and their experience in the studio environment to create their strongest album to date, one which showcases their developments in songwriting and arrangements.

The process began with their self-titled debut, which captured the Allah-Las’ live set circa 2012 and continued onward with 2014’s Worship the Sun, where they began to experiment with overdubs and writing songs individually instead of as a band. Now, Calico Review showcases a band that’s grown confident in its own style to reflect the perspectives of each member, to craft an album that changes up the approach from song-to-song, while retaining their abilities as a cohesive unit.

Audiences familiar with the band will recognize the levels of nuance and steadiness the Allah-Las have grown into throughout Calico Review. It’s immediate, the first thing you recognize about the band in the opening moves of “Strange Heat,” in the amount of control and character burning off of the band’s knack for restraint. Songs like “Famous Phone Figure” cradle character sketches over delicate strains of violin, organ, and Mellotron, Correia’s drumming carefully underlining a three-note theme that casts a phantom sadness over the proceedings, the group exerting a touch both light and steady enough to bring your mood to theirs.

“Could Be You” works off a steady percussive gallop, guitarist Miles Michaud waxing reflexively on second chances while the band focuses on forward motion. “Roadside Memorial” applies the Bo Diddley beat to the open road, Pedrum Siadatian stepping up on vocals, and finding new ways to match his talents to propulsive musical ends. Elsewhere, “High & Dry,” featuring drummer Matthew Correia on lead vocals, focuses on the Allah-Las most quintessential and peerless quality: writing emotionally resonant pop, at once direct and detached, casual and knowing, and instantly memorable. The dream factory itself gets called out in the fun, surf-stung number “200 South La Brea,” its carnival-like atmosphere reflecting the excitement and anxiety of those who await their judgment.

In between releases, the Allah-Las have toured around the world, and will continue that journey in support of Calico Review. The experience of traveling and idle time on tour inspired the group in different ways, and provided the pathways by which the band transports its listeners to a different place, be that wherever they are, and where the band has been.

What the Allah-Las present is not necessarily crossing the L.A. River, coin in mouth, on the Riverboat Styx. It’s not Raymond Chandler and it’s not Raymond Carver. But the band’s four members are aware of the pitfalls that stack against the idyllic notion of southern California life that forms from outside of the city. It’s a siren call to the hopeful, and it’s a successful town for tempering dreams into wakeful reality. Even with over 8,000 people per square mile, there is room for everyone, and then some, to be completely alone, by choice or otherwise.

Calico Review bears the mark of four students becoming the teachers, sharing the sentiments of the town they call home. Join them. There’s a lot to learn.
Cut Worms
Cut Worms
Cut worms is a command; if you say so - got a knife?

Cut worms is a crime scene; my god, who would do such a thing? Cover your eyes!

Cut worms is a gardening hazard; they feed at night! Treat with diatomaceous earth before they affect your beans.

Cut worms can mean many things, but today, most likely, Cut Worms means Max Clarke, singing up a storm for you on his new nightcrawler of an EP, “Alien Sunset.”

Some say, if there’s anything in the world you could be doing other than music, please god go do that thing. Well, Max Clarke could have done a number of things; after going to school for illustration, steering toward a career in graphic design, and taking some handy-man type jobs, he realized that songwriting, a pastime since he was twelve years old, was the only type of work that didn’t feel like just work. Writing and finishing songs had never been an effortless task for Max, more like a trip “through heaven and hell,” but he wanted to spend his mid-20s energy on something important and personal- and hey, a little hellfire is good for the complexion.

“Alien Sunset” is a collection of home-recorded “demos” from Max’s time living in Chicago (Side A) and New York City (Side B), written in spurts, like little designated creative coffee breaks. Following the example of a prolific roommate who had endeavored to write a song a day for a year and did so for FOUR years, Max decided to dedicate his daily hour of free-time after work to mindful musical regimen. He challenged himself to record two songs a month and release them online - for better or for worse, praise or criticism. Expecting little more than a few constructive comments regarding his 8-track fidelity, he was surprised by the positive reactions to his antique sound, classic voice, and Everly Brothers style close harmonies.

Each song on “Alien Sunset” has a sturdy, four-legged American quality, but also contains a gentleness and sense of stolen privacy. The arrangements are both dense and airy, decadent without sacrificing an ounce of effervescence. For sure, something about “Alien Sunset” looks back over time’s shoulder, but it isn’t really “retro” music - it just glitters in a way you don’t often hear these days.

If this collection can be said to have any sort through-line, a whiff of motif, it revolves around the obvious delight Max takes in singing his heart out, despite variegated agony. The lyrical work moves from simple, diary-like musings, self-consciousness on the dance floor and general lust problems, to illuminated text. As a lyricist, Max draws upon the Romantics and Symbolists of the rock and roll poet tradition; “Song of the Highest Tower” was written the day Lou Reed died and is an adaptation of a poem from Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell.” The moniker itself, Cut Worms, borrows its striking and ambiguous imagery from a line in a William Blake poem: “The cut worm forgives the plow.”

For Max, making music is free passage back to the realm of ecstatic teenage feelings, and “Alien Sunset” is full of that intense, feels-so-good-to-feel-so-bad energy. Even when the lyrical content broods, the spirit sparkles, and Max’s emotive vocal performances bubble over with the tipsy dancing and diaphramic laughter of a writer lover fool who, having his wrestled his demons, hit his head upon a multitude of dead ends, and failed thrice and half times at self-immolation, has nowhere left to go but relief.
Sam Evian
Sam Evian
Sam Evian, (born Sam Griffin Owens) is a New York-based songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Premium, Sam’s debut on Saddle Creek records, won audience and critical notice for songs that included the first single and video “Sleep Easy” ( Premium’s release saw Sam Evian (Brian Betancourt on bass, Austin Vaughn on drums, and Adam Brisbin on guitar – often joined by Hannah Cohen for additional vocals) touring throughout the year with Whitney, Big Thief, Teenage Fanclub, Lucius, Rubblebucket and Luna, as well as headlining around the east coast.

Sam Evian returns with a new track, “I Need You,” a collaboration with Chris Cohen, whose solo and band records with Deerhoof and The Curtains were early inspirations for Sam. The musical dialogue took place over five days in Cohen’s garage studio as they tracked together with Sam on guitar and Chris on drums, and then shared overdubs. The resulting three songs will appear throughout the year, and herald a return to writing and recording for the next Sam Evian full-length album.

When not on the road, Sam is often found producing and engineering at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 studio, where he collaborates with artists such as Cass McCombs, Blonde Redhead, Deerhoof, Sam Amidon, Shahzad Ismaily, and many others. Saddle Creek recently released Sam’s production of the Wilder Maker single, “New Streets” (
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Steel
319 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11222