The Babies and Grass Widow

The Echo & Oh My Rockness Present

The Babies and Grass Widow

Wet Ilustrated

Sun, December 9, 2012

8:30 pm

The Echo

Los Angeles, California

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 18 and over

The Babies
The Babies
After their first full length album on Shrimper Records, a demos EP on New Images, and scores of singles on U.S. and international record labels, The Babies second album Our House On The Hillis their Woodsist Records debut and the first with new bassist, Brian Schleyer.

While the band was originally conceived as a side-project outlet for Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone – along with drummer Justin Sullivan – to trade song ideas and play house parties, 2011 saw the project grow into a full time affair. The band spent much of the year touring the U.S. and abroad, all the while writing new material, both in their home of Brooklyn and during a two-month sojourn in Los Angeles.

In February 2012, the band swapped their usual environs of Brooklyn’s Rear House recording studio and spent two weeks in Los Angeles working with Producer Rob Barbato (Darker My Love, The Fall, Cass McCombs). The increased time and focus allowed them to explore musical directions only hinted at on their first album. Thus, Our House On The Hill features hushed dirges, melancholic traveling odes and squealing rave-ups, all made cohesive by Kevin and Cassie’s captivating songwriting and lyrical themes. Organ, piano, saxophone and even strings play a supporting role in enhancing the aural atmosphere, which finds the band finally realizing a sound that can be called their own. Simple yet thoughtful; familiar yet haunting. Sweet but somber.

“The set opener, “Alligator,” is conversational in tone and acts to disarm the hardened listener with its pop confection and curve ball time change signatures on a check of solid Gang of Four gold. “Yo, I dig your hair, I gotta tell you about these holes in my pants, I would rather not hold yer hand. You get the drift.”

Cassie evokes Anna Karina if she were in The Shangri-La’s instead of Godard films in “See the Country” and then married throughout the entire record are those otherworldly harmonized “oohs” & “aahs” by Kevin & Cassie that’ll make the stubble on your spine take notice if you are still one of them folks in need of oxygen to breathe. The switchblade knives & butterfly stitches that paint the heartache and conflict throughout this long player will sharpen you for your next lovelorn argument, stumbling bar brawl between you & a reflection of your 17 year old self in the face of a tinfoil plated locket or for the working stiffs, that 3am Saturday drive home from the bad side of the tracks back to the sad side.

Put the needle on the flip and throw that break up layer of tears away: we got a ride to catch to that house on the hill.” – Dennis Callaci
Grass Widow
Grass Widow
From the beginning, the members of Grass Widow have maintained an objective of playing financially accessible, age-inclusive and gender-inclusive shows. As the band has continued to grow and share their post-punk influenced, intricately woven songs to larger communities through their latest release with Kill Rock Stars, their aim has been to challenge old paradigms of the music industry and confront the tired methods of categorizing music by paving a new path. "We believe in the value of music itself and promote a community in which musicians are treated with respect regardless of their pitchfork rating, their label or representation. The value assigned to a band by these forces is a manufactured concept supported by a music industry that thrives on advertising, objectification and reducing bands to "trends" and "fads" via the Internet. We want to bring the sense of integrity and accountability that is fostered in the D.I.Y. community we come from to this arena and inspire others to do the same."

Bassist/vocalist, Hannah Lew, drummer/vocalist, Lillian Maring and guitarist/vocalist, Raven Mahon chose the name Grass Widow for their San Francisco-based three-piece as a way to represent the approach they take to writing music. The phrase is rooted in 17th century literature; commonly referring to a woman whose husband is away at sea, but the visual associations of each word also provides an opportunity to interpret meaning on multiple levels. "For me," says Maring, "it's about a state of solitude when you realize parts of you may be missing." Lew adds: "The name Grass Widow refers to elements of the unknown or the subconscious, things not in plain sight."

Grass Widow approaches lyrical content in much the same way, using metaphor to express complicated, intimate themes. Inspired by the personal, they use myth and allegory to synthesize ideas and create new landscapes wherein listeners can draw their own meaning.

"We write lyrics about very personal and often dark subjects, but present the ideas in a way that disguises the content within metaphor and upbeat instrumentation," says Mahon. "Although we chose the name early on, it has evolved with us as our process has become refined."

Grass Widow formed in 2007 and quickly received attention within the Bay Area as well as national underground press via publications like Yeti. Influenced by similarly all-female punk and post-punk acts like The Neo Boys and Kleenex, they also note Roy Wood's The Move and The Kinks as a major source of inspiration, which can be heard in their three-part harmonies, complex arrangements and odd chord progressions.

In addition to these musical influences, Grass Widow is inspired by a legacy of women who have paved the way through their music and politics. Their collaborative songwriting process, the fact that they don't have a front person and that they all equally contribute to the work of the band speaks to this philosophy. In addition, they take the opportunity as an all female band to bring attention to the roles of spectacle and spectator in their scene and make a conscious effort to play shows where women are involved.
Wet Ilustrated
Wet Ilustrated
If you look at them from a certain angle, the San Francisco trio Wet Illustrated fit right in with the analog-gear retro-garage boom that’s happening in their city right now. After all, they’re a sometimes-jangly, sometimes-riffy guitar-rock band who know their way around a chorus hook and who record on gear that sounds older than the actual dudes in the band. But Wet Illustrated also take a ton of cues from the artier, further-out edges of late-’70s British postpunk. There’s a playful edge to this band; their riffs are jaunty, and their vocals edge toward the yippy more often than not; they’ve clearly spent some time watching and learning from Robyn Hitchcock. 1x1x1, their debut album, is a jumpy, jittery, and overall fun ride — like the Fresh And Onlys, if someone put Pixie Stix in their acid

1x1x1 is out 10/25 on True Panther. Below, check out the tracklist and the collage-happy video for their song “Satellite Kids,” directed by drummer/vocalist Robbie Simon.
-Sterogum
Venue Information:
The Echo
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California, 90026
http://www.theecho.com