Generationals

The Echo Presents

Generationals

Races, Francisco The Man

Wed, November 14, 2012

8:30 pm

The Echo

Los Angeles, California

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 18 and over

Generationals
Generationals
Since releasing their debut full-length Con Law in 2009, Generationals have consistently delivered pop hooks shone through a melancholic prism. 2013's Heza brings the band to Polyvinyl and along with the label change, comes a subtle but significant sonic shift.

Recorded in phases at Jim Eno's Public Hifi in Austin, producer Daniel Black's Bent Black studio in D.C., and the band's hometown of New Orleans, Heza finds Generationals more satisfied in writing songs that breathe and grow over time. These songs show restraint, with hooks developing in the spaces between sounds. The attention to rhythms and textures reveals a more patient band -- one willing to dig for deeper gems than in their previous work. Tracks like "You Got Me" and "Put a Light On" use minimalist electronic frameworks to match the intensity of more straightforward guitarwork on "Spinoza" and "I Never Know," all of them paying more attention to layers and textures than to forcing the hook. On Heza, Generationals aren't so much shedding their old skin as growing more comfortable in the one they've always inhabited.

Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer struck up a friendship as high school freshmen in New Orleans, LA. While attending Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, the two formed The Eames Era with three classmates in 2003. The dissolution of that group in 2007 led to a return to New Orleans where Joyner and Widmer started writing songs as Generationals. Baton Rouge-native and Eames Era producer Daniel Black (The Oranges Band) invited them to record their debut LP, Con Law, at his Washington, D.C. studio, Bent Black in 2008, where incessant coverage of the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain, and the issues dividing the candidates' viewpoints, gave rise to the band's name.

New Orleans-based label Park The Van (Dr. Dog, The Spinto Band) released Con Law in 2009. Its retro vibe clearly bore the influence of Phil Spector's mid-century pop, but Generationals' influences always ran the gamut, with pieces of Brit-pop, dance and electronic poking through the trumpet stabs and Abbey Road compression on their analog 24-track recordings.

The band maintained their obsession with tape recording on 2010's Trust EP, produced in Austin, TX by freak- folk mastermind Bill Baird (Sunset, Sound Team). Trust saw the band drift away from the Brill Building origins of Con Law in favor of a new wave sound that owed more to The Sugarcubes and The Stone Roses than the Ronettes. 2011's sophomore LP Actor-Caster revealed a band zeroing in on their strong suit: dynamic pop songwriting. All ten of its taut, bright songs found their way into the band's setlists as they hit their stride with a live confidence earned by relentless touring.

The band's latest endeavor, Heza, brought them to Polyvinyl Records, which will release the album on CD, LP, cassette, and mp3 on April 2, 2013.
Races
Races
RACES exists as a result of artistic rebirth and personal rediscovery, but it all starts at a point in Wade Ryff's life where motivation was at its most scarce. Disillusioned with music, beset with the bitter ending of a relationship with a real life witch and faced with the overwhelming stagnation of being a 23-year old in the sleepy suburban outpost of Van Nuys, during that time, Ryff wrote the pleading lyrics of "Big Broom" in the bathroom of his parents house. He explains the song's message as "accepting that every ending is a new beginning, and even if we may have no control over when things are given or taken from us, we can always choose how to respond."

Whether he realized it or not at the time, it would serve as a mission statement for a handful of musicians in the area who were also idling through their 20's and desperate for a new beginning. Breanna Wood, Lucas Ventura, Devon Lee and Oliver Hild knew each other prior to RACES' first show, played in bands together, and oh yeah, either had dated or were currently dating each other. Still, nothing could anticipate it all coming together for Year Of The Witch, a life-affirming document forged from the pain of a time when life feels most uncertain and coming out of it renewed.

In regards to their evocative band name, Ryff explains: "I relate to the name in the sense that it seems like there is always something to be up against, and strong desire to overcome whatever it is." Ryff had been quietly working on solo material, and in 2009, a friend asked him to open for a show he was booking. And he was up against the daunting task of stepping out of the sidelines as a bass player and putting his own untrained vocals to the fore. More than any singer, Ryff found his inspiration as a lyricist in the works of early 20th-century authors. But his musical heroes that were well-chosen too: Leonard Cohen's Death of a Ladies Man for its integration of Brill Building sophistication and as a template for RACES' use of backup singers and keyboards; Television for Ryff and Herberg's ingenious, yet subtle guitar interplay which permeates Year Of The Witch.

In a mad dash, Ryff and Herberg got in touch with some of their old friends and bandmates and assembled a "dream team," five additional musicians from around the area he admired, including Hild on bass, Herberg on guitar, Wood on keyboards, and Lee on vocals and percussion. Ventura would play drums for the second RACES show and they'd lose a backup vocalist who went to focus on her solo project (Ryff empathizes), but otherwise, RACES has remained exactly the same since that very first gig.

What sunk in was the effortlessness of it all: RACES never had to hustle to book their own shows despite living in Van Nuys, a twenty minute drive from Los Angeles that often feels hours removed from it all. Above all else was a chemistry that just couldn't be faked or brainstormed during "band business meetings." They attribute their work ethic to their humble surroundings, spending entire days honing their material in a Chatsworth studio because, well, what else are you supposed to do in the Valley? For the most part, RACES didn't even see themselves as a "serious band" until local boutique imprint JAXART felt their demos were simply too good for a limited release, and label interest spread rapidly. The fit with New York's venerated Frenchkiss Records was perfect – indeed, with RACES' ability to derive such resonant and instantly ingratiating pop out of the relatable emotional turmoil of your mid-20's, it's no wonder the same label that houses Passion Pit, Dodos and Antlers were such ardent supporters.

At its core, there are plenty of sad songs and waltzes – "The Knife," "Walk Through The Fire" and "All For You" all have a melodic and lyrical directness befitting their origins as Ryff's solo work. But as Ryff admits, "I didn't want to play music that's just a sappy guy on an acoustic guitar," and RACES flesh them out to swoon with dramatic grandeur and earthen rusticity behind Ryff's plaintive words. It's a startling show of sophistication from a band who has only been together for less than two years. The ornate orchestration and vocal arrangements on the female-led counterpoint "Don't Be Cruel" in particular owe their origins to Herberg's background as a composer – he's the one who brings Ryff's Leonard Cohen fantasies to fruition. Quoth Ryff, "he's our Brian Jones."

But even with the speed at which RACES are going forward, they haven't gotten complacent in the slightest – they're already working out new material for their next album, which they hope will integrate more of the electronic textures they've been experimenting with and won't be so much "about a girl," as Ryff jokes. But their goals are still modest – maybe playing the Bowery Ballroom in New York, getting better as musicians, the sort of things deemed worthy to a band that isn't looking to piggyback on any sort of hype cycle. But what do they hope for most of all? Ryff puts it best: "I'd rather get dropped and start back at the beginning than not have fun with these guys." It's a fitting mission statement for a band for whom every show feels as exciting as that very first one.
Francisco The Man
Francisco The Man
Born amidst the 7-Elevens and white trash comradery of Southern California's suburban desert, Los Angelenos Francisco the Man grew up the way bands used to grow up. Huddled in the corners of their parents' garages. In church halls. In basements. Passing cheap beer, pissing each other off, and dreaming of the day they might continue to do the same without a dead end day job.

Francisco the Man is indeed a real band from the days of yore, yet their sound is anything but dated: locomotive Crazy Horse jams with squalling feedback, the punky spirit of 1977 New York, sunburnt shoegaze hymnals, and chunky Motown grooves, all saturated in rose-hued California power pop.

The guys latest release is just as sweet. Right when the band's euphoric crests have you shaking off goosebumps, Francisco the Man pulls the plug at the most dramatic moment to send you floating dreamily down a river of ambience reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. It's perfect, really. The only thing left is to drift off and tune in to the earnest, idiosyncratic vocals of singer Scotty Cantino, who stands out from his peers as one of the few true innovators of modern guitar pop. Evocative of a young Doug Martsch, Cantino's sanguine and nostalgic lyricism hearkens back to those early memories of suburban paradise, with all the heart and pluck of a wisened street child who never forgot where he came from.

Their new 7" drops August 7th via Small Plates Records.

"psychedelic guitars, fuzzed out melodies and a deep love for the wall of sound" - YVYNYL

'music transcribing heavy influences of psychedelic rock alongside hints of post-punk, manifesting a gauntlet of wavering sing-alongs and power chords.' - Indie Ball

"Francisco The Man play a type of sunny, post-punk guitar rock that's all been all but absent from the indie rock scene since the early/mid-2000′s... Broken Arrows" won me over immediately with it's hook-filled, shoegaze-y guitar riffs and exuberant melody. The last half of the song is absolute bliss, indulging in nearly four minutes of some seriously enthusiastic guitar jamming" - Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good

"Broken Arrows is pure energy" - I Guess I'm Floating

"L.A.-based Francisco The Man makes reverb-drenched, ebullient indie rock." - Gold Soundz

"[Francisco the Man's came] just in time for the warming temperatures as it would make a great passenger for a destination-less cruise along the PCH" - Good For Your Ears
"Surfer aesthetic paired with sixties AM makes it something of a perfect jam..." - Friends With Both Arms
Venue Information:
The Echo
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California, 90026
http://www.theecho.com