December 7, 2009
The JM.com office just got Keepaway’s debut EP, Baby Style — in case you didn’t know (which we didn’t up until now), the band formerly known as IN has changed their name to Keepaway). A short history: a friend of JM.com stumbled on IN, was absolutely blown away, and we wound up booking them for our September feature show, which subsequently wound up blowing all of us away. Then they wrote a “Musicians on Music” for us…about pizza.
IN was a hilariously cavalier band name. It is an unsearchable term in google, as it appears on nearly every website at least once. Even if you add “band,” you mostly get results about in-band signaling, which sure, is interesting in its own right, but not the obscure Brooklyn psych-band that loves pizza. So IN set themselves up to be relatively undiscoverable, recording demos and melting faces, but leaving people struggling to remember a name. It was their choice, making anyone who wanted to hear them ostensibly unable to.
So why change the name now? Who knows (these guys are fairly goofy, and probably have a reason way over my head…most likely having to do with pizza). But, if I had to take a guess, I’d say the trio realizes that they are sitting on one of the better 2009 Brooklyn rock releases in Baby Style, and probably desperately want people to hear it. Firmly in line with other modern psych bands, like Suckers and Yeasayer, Baby Style moves from a wide range of styles, from flowery pop to industrial electro. It’s got some seriously stunning moments, and you all should buy it immediately.
Here’s highlight “Family of the Son.” It’s a solid introduction to Keepaway: two layered percussion, both electronic and live, pounding through four-minutes of dense vocal harmonies and plucked guitars. It is obviously and possibly obliquely complicated, a technical jam. Somewhere in there, though, there’s a simple saccharine pop tune. It never gets completely unburied, and that’s fine. The emotion stays relatively elusive; the quality of the song doesn’t.
by Max Sebela
September 27, 2009
MUSICIANS ON MUSIC
Musicians On Music is a weekly column in which we feature exactly that: musicians, both local and national, writing about music, the industry, other people’s music, or whatever they feel like writing. This week we feature Mike, Nick, and Frank from In, one of the most exciting – though least internet-searchable – new bands cropping up in Brooklyn. Our writer Drew Citron sat down with In last week, where they talked about trying to understand the ’80s. This week In continues their quest by examining one particular ’80s phenomenon: the Pizza Jam.
For a brief period between the early ’80s and the early ’90s – our childhoods – pizza was the flagship token of the tyke zeitgeist. This was when the mechanics of massive-scale corporate food production and commercial television were in full swing, mostly unchecked and uncriticized. The possibility of a certain kind of instantaneous common experience, minted in movies and proliferated in broadcast TV, had become mundane, elementary. We were getting reamed by the capitalist machine, but we were kids: there’s an honest intimacy to any crucial developmental experience, and a huge portion of ours was spent under the influence of the advertising aesthetics of the day. And so often, we were served pizza, with bright colors, a way-cool demeanor, and a subtly slamming soundtrack. These last – the pizza jams – became a part of our first language, as instrumental as “Uh-oh,” and “Mommy.”
We don’t want to revere pizza in particular – the Ninja Turtles turned it into a godhead, and we’ll leave that kowtowing in the sewer – it’s a useful locus; it’s got its greasy imprint all over late-20th century issues of post-Spockian child-rearing, technology and literacy, gender, violence in the media, the apex of the fast food nation, the rancid dream of free-market economics, and, in retrospect, authorship and the epistemology of art-making. For lots of attentive people of a certain age and demographic, the term “Pizza Jam” barely needs explication. We know it’s that pizza sound that gets kids moving as fast as their legs’ll get them to the nearest Hut. It’s that carefree vibe cut through with visions of gooey cheese and extra pepperoni. No anchovies, no worries. You eat this stuff with your fingers. You put your elbows on the table. You do some armpit farts. Whatever.
More on Pizza Jams: Soundtracking the Fantasy of the Everyday
September 16, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC
It’s always exciting when babes have brains to boot. So it was fun for me to sit down with the members of In, and realize that, after a few beers, we weren’t going to get carried away, but rather, carried inward to a palpable thought-swap on the modern state of music in Brooklyn. And on a Monday night, there are few places states of mind I’d rather visit. Mike, Nick, and Frank’s show last week at Public Assembly piqued my interest for both its experimental merits and its visibly mixed reviews among the crowd; I was curious to hear more, and glad I had a chance to hear it from the source:
JM.com: Let’s get started… where are you guys from?
Frank: I’m from Minnesota.
Nick: We [Mike and I] grew up together in Boston. Arlington, it’s right outside of Boston. It’s funny, it’s never had any claim to fame except that Uncle Sam was born there and Paul Revere rode through there. But in a recent report based on census figures, it’s one of the best places to live as a single person.
Mike: Arlington’s for lovers.
Nick: It’s totally erroneous, because people on the census said they were single and then had a high income. There’s a certain bracket of people who are single and make a lot of money in Arlington, Massachusetts but none of them are ever going to meet and a lot of them are like, widowed.
JM.com: So you met at a singles mixer in high school?
Nick: We met in 5th grade actually when we were making these plastic lizard toys.
Mike: Let’s not get into it.
More on In
September 7, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC
It is surprising that until this August, Afuche had not yet played Zebulon, the Williamsburg bar, restaurant, and music venue known for hosting an eclectic schedule of performances, ranging from jazz to world music to funk to folk, and a wide range of boundary-blurring genres in between. Not unlike this venue, Afuche successfully merges an array of varying musical styles and influences into a singular, form-defying entity. The difficulty in categorizing Afuche’s music of has less to do with their cacophonous and experimental sounds, and more to do with the passionate appreciation of musical expression shared by the band’s members. In Afuche’s distinctive all-instrumental song repertoire are traces of jazz, funk, soul, off-time prog rock beats, and exotic rhythmical and melodic textures born from the music of Latin America.
Performing live, the group pours itself wholly into each moment, fervently sketching and sculpting aural art before the ears of captivated crowds. This music burrows deep – through skin with entrancing melodies, and into bones with penetrating rhythms. A whirlpool of wild, pounding, off-time percussion, inventive, colorfully-toned guitar and keyboard, vivid saxophone harmonies, and impermeable, ground-defining bass build profoundly rich and layered textures; sinister horns crawl and weave, snaking over a locked down rhythm section and buzzing bed of keyboards; melodic interludes lurk and prowl like a mad, stalking giant, accompanied by unison chants and yells, and swerving into crazed breakdowns of tortured, wailing saxophones. Afuche’s palpable onstage energy is key to the unique corner the band has carved for itself in the ever-saturated Brooklyn music scene. Such refreshing music is not accompanied by a shelf life, only an opportunity to blossom.
Before the first of what will undoubtedly not be their last performance at Zebulon, JezebelMusic.com sat down with Ruben Sindo Acosta (drums, keyboards), Zachary Ryalls (guitar), Keith Parker (drums, percussion), Denny Tek (bass), and Jordan Goldstein (saxophone) to talk about the Brooklyn-based band called Afuche.
More on Afuche