November 16, 2009
All of the Fire
2009 | Terrible Records
Acrylics are pleasant. The Brooklyn quintet’s debut EP, All of the Fire (released October 28 on Terrible Records) features clean production, charming boy-girl harmonies, and light songwriting. Characters cross county lines, sail across oceans, and miss their subway stops, all in the name of adventure and introspection. The adorably cathartic opener, “Lil Ivy,” rides a gentle guitar line, a careful drum roll, and near-spoken verses about a female protagonist who heads out to California and whose interests include “skinny dipping with a bottle of wine.” It’s sort of like that Shawn Mullins song from 1998 (please pardon the awful advertisement.)
While their lyrics may rely on tried-and-true topics, Acrylics’ (for the most part) understated delivery keeps the songs catchy. On “Lil Ivy,” guitarist/vocalist Jason Klauber rhymes “messenger sack” with “never looked back” and it actually works. But when he belts it out over a wobbly guitar and plodding drums on “Conselyea,” Klauber no longer sounds modest; he comes off as desperate and self-pitying. Listening feels like the sort of chore that Lil Ivy ran away from home to avoid.
The band’s other guitarist/vocalist, Molly Shea, sounds best when she isn’t singing backup. Her slight drawl on the title track is so confident it doesn’t matter that what she’s saying doesn’t really mean anything (“He who sails the ocean/ Is he who fails to drown”).
Acrylics do manage to move out of their comfort zone on the closing track, “Honest Aims.” The messy garage jam is a much-needed release to a pretty prim record. Not that there’s anything wrong with a band being polite; it doesn’t stop Acrylics from being enjoyable. But it does get in the way of them being memorable.
You can stream “Honest Aims” below, and read our interview with Acrylics here.
by Kyle McGovern
October 26, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC
It’s hard to find peace and quiet in the Lower East Side on Friday night, period. But during the CMJ showcase put on by much-talked about Terrible Records, and with Brooklyn band Acrylics – extra busy since their upcoming EP has been underscored by a steadily increasing media buzz – it’s an especially difficult task. After much wriggling through the weekend crowd and slinking through corridors, I managed to hide away in the basement office of Pianos with Jason Klauber and Molly Shea, both guitarists and vocalists for Acrylics. (Travis Rosenberg, who plays keyboard and pedal steel, snuck in a little while later.) Acrylics’ upcoming EP, All of the Fire, (out October 28) is one of the first releases from Terrible Records, the brand new label founded by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor and Lust Boys’ Ethan Silverman. We talked about what it was like to work with Taylor as producer, how Acrylics in its current incarnation came to be, and about Jason’s not-so secret love of 1960s free jazz.
JM.com: Will you guys tell me how you got started?
Jason: Molly and I met in college a while back and we immediately started playing music together.
Molly: Had a couple of different bands over the past seven or eight years.
Jason: At a certain point those bands dissolved and at a certain point we just looked at each other and said, “Let’s just do this on our own.” We did it on our own for some time and then we realized that we needed a band again.
Molly: Cause we were writing songs at the time.
Jason: So after recording a lot of tracks together and looking for what kind of sound we were going to be moving towards, we targeted the right band. We played with a lot of different people, had a lot of excellent experiences, but ended up with the band we have now, which is Sam [Ubl] on drums and Travis on pedal steel – and that was very essential having someone who could do pedal steel and keyboard. So Travis Rosenberg came in and did that. He was like a godsend. And Jake [Aron] and Sam were already friends and had been playing together – Jake’s our bass player. So we all knew each other from around the way, had crossed paths before.
Molly: We had a bunch of songs and we decided to record them so we went into the studio, and we had a bunch of friends come in and play with us and we eventually said we wanted to get a live band together so we’ve been playing together for like a year now with these guys.
More on Acrylics
October 18, 2009
THIS WEEK IN SHOWS
It’s time for CMJ again, which means the same New York bands you can see all the time in will be playing alongside some touring bands – who would’ve all come to New York at some point anyway – in marathon-length shows full of semi-interested badge-holders and grumpy photographers who get angry when you accidentally bump into them while rocking out in the front row. (Except our photographers, who are very cool and friendly.) We tend to complain about CMJ, but since it’s here, we might as well embrace it. It IS really fun to see ten of your favorite bands in one night, and, exhausting as it may be, it’s fun to do that five nights in a row! As usual, these are my totally subjective and incomplete recommendations for the coming week. You can flesh this out by telling us who you’re going to see… Send us some photos if you go. Or boycott CMJ; that’s totally respectable too. As for us, we’re just excited for a reason to shirk our other responsibilities for a week and rock out in the name of journalism.
TUES, OCT. 20
PANACHE/NEW YORK NIGHT TRAIN CMJ SHOWCASE
Upstairs: Heavy Trash, Golden Triangle, Lovvers, Harlem, Surfer Blood, K-Holes
Downstairs: The Stalkers, Unnatural Helpers, Flexions Dinowalrus, Julianna Barwick, SCREENS
Santos Party House
7:00 PM, $10/$12, 18+
It seems that every other show I get excited about is somehow connected to Panache Booking or New York Night Train (or both), and Tuesday night’s bigass blowout is no exception – just check out the lineup!!! I just need to figure out how to be upstairs and downstairs at the same time. I’ve yet to see Heavy Trash, though I’ve heard good things about their show, but Stalkers deserve some props too. They don’t seem to get much press, but they’re one of my favorite live bands: their songs are totally fun and anthemic, and besides, I’ve seen them throw cymbals, get naked, dribble vomit, and last time I caught their show, lead singer Andy Animal was tossing firecrackers into the crowd with a menacing glee. Alright!
More on This Week In Shows: CMJ EDITION!
Watch New Girls Video For Girls Highlight “Laura,” Which Is Like a Really Hip, Joyous Version of the Opening to The Brady Bunch…Only With More Tattoos (Maybe; They Rarely Took of Their Shirts on That Show) [NME]
Dancey Portland Band Starfucker (Who, You May Remember, Was Unhappy With Their NSFW Band Name) Changes Name to PYRAMID; Elsewhere (Specifically in North Carolina), There Is Already a Band Called Pyramid [Brooklyn Vegan]
Brooding UK Indie Band Editors Launch Their Own Version of Google Street View, With Specific Locations Playing Songs From Their New Album, In This Light and On This Evening — This Is Probably A Lot Cooler For Someone Even Remotely Familiar With London’s Geography [NME]
Weezer Frontman Rivers Cuomo To Sit Down and Write Songs With Katy Perry Next Week; Possible Results: “I Kissed a God Damn Half-Japanese Girl,” “Only In Ur Dreams,” “Waking Up In The Garage (If You Want To Destroy My Career)” [Pitchfork]
Courtney Love Owes Over $300,000 In Back Taxes, Shuts Down Her Twitter Account – Two Stories Unrelated, As Twitter Is Free Service [Prefix]
New Zealand Innocuously Good Indie Poppers The Ruby Suns Announce New Album; Fight Softly Released March, 2010 [You Ain’t No Picasso]
Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox To Release Bonus EP With Atlas Sound LP Logos When Ordered From Rough Trade; I Haven’t Looked Into Yet, But Knowing Cox’s Security Practices, EP Probably Leaked Before It Was Even Recorded [Pitchfork]
Guard Arrested For Assaulting a Fan Taking Pictures at House of Blues Chicago; Weirdly, Assault Took Place at Hanson Concert – And What Else Is There To Do When Seeing Hanson, Except Twittering Pictures of Hanson, Still In Disbelief They Have Songs Other Than “Mmmbop” [Idolator]
Baritone California Mope-Folker Mark Everett, AKA Eels, AKA Mr. E, AKA E, To Release Basement Tapes Album; End Times Released January 18 [NME]
compiled by Max Sebela