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“Honest, life-affirming and infectious, and it’s that rare concentration of directness and simplicity that makes Fang Island so uniquely and wonderfully inclusive.” Best New Music — Pitchfork
“Fang Island are simply killer fun, a proper gang who sing collectively and pummel their guitars without recourse to errant soloing.” Four Stars — MOJO
Brooklyn’s beloved guitar-anthem optimists Fang Island return with an album befitting its title: Major.
Like the painstakingly chiseled marble of the album artwork, Major is hefty, solid, monolithic and regal. Whereas Fang Island described their celebrated 2010 self-titled Sargent House debut as, “everyone high-fiving everyone,” Major is evermore confident, triumphant and brimming with infectious enthusiasm. Its warm harmonies are given proper berth with more expansive dynamics and focused pop song craft.
“One of our core ideas has always been that our songs would be all of your favorite parts of the song that other bands make you wait 8 minutes to get to,” explains guitarist/vocalist Jason Bartell. “We wanted to be the band that’s nothing but your favorite hooks back to back.” Major shows Fang Island deftly achieving that aim.
Kicking off with the overlapping neoclassical piano pirouette and chiming harmonized guitars of album opener “Kindergarten”, Fang Island makes it clear from the outset that this is an album of musical and sonic growth, while at the same time a chorus of voices repeat the mantra, “all I know/ I learned in / kindergarten.” It’s that same unabashed embracing of childlike wonder filtered through visionary artistic sophistication that gives Fang Island its unique charm and sets the tone for this (ahem) major step forward for Bartell, guitarist/vocalist Chris Georges and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. Without a moment’s rest, the definitive summer pop jam “Sisterly” launches the album skyward, led by the thick hook of a wah-wah pedal “chunka-chunka-chunka” riff that’s guaranteed to have listeners busting out their air guitar moves. “Never Understand” revisits the classic Fang Island guitar harmony dogpile while what sounds like a cheery mob repeatedly intones, “I hope I never understand.” Elsewhere, the rollicking anthem “Asunder” quickly builds momentum like a rolling snowball that eventually careens into a summertime BBQ — the explosive payoff as the elements collide is pure pop bliss.
Throughout, Major highlights the band’s endeavor to elevate positivity as an art form. “It’s kind of similar to writing songs about being sad,” Bartell says. “It can come across as simplistic, or easy. Positive songs often run the risk of sounding shallow, but we feel there are a lot of shades and depths to positivity that can be explored.” That exploration becomes clear from the first notes of Major.
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Imagine it’s 1985 and you’re making a movie that takes place in 2011. You picture myriad technological devices that simplify our lives — every mundane activity can be accomplished with the push of a button — freeing us to travel the globe, living a life of total awesomeness. The anthemic optimism of your era, you assume, will eventually enrich the entire world and create a global new form of music. This Is the Second Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank is just the type of futuristic-utopian sound of a parallel 2011 universe breaking through the time-space continuum to guide us all to perfection.
The Wexford, Ireland trio deftly merges the triumphant guitar harmonies of Fang Island with the mathematic precision of Battles, the genre-surfing playfulness of Daft Punk and churning intensity of HEALTH. But it’s much more than the sum of those parts, it’s a sound befitting of the retrofuturism we’ve come to love about old films where archaic technology collide with far more further-reaching ideas. To wit, the album cover depicting two zebras galloping across a Tron-style neon landscape perfectly embodies the transcendent intersection of triumphant guitars and rollicking drums with vintage synthesizers, marimbas, horns, vocoder, synthesizers, ensemble percussion and musical instruments we’re not sure have even been invented yet.
Adebisi Shank has been doted on by Irish, European and UK press since its 2007 debut EP, 2008 full length and the 2010 Irish release of This Is the Second Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank — which topped countless Year-End Best of 2010 lists and named by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper one of the Top Five Best New Irish Bands. US label and management company Sargent House has signed Adebisi Shank for worldwide management and will release the album in North America on March 15th, 2011. The album was previously issued in Ireland/UK by equally likeminded and groundbreaking DIY Irish label Richter Collective (co-founded and co-operated by Adebisi Shank drummer, Mick Roe) in 2010.
This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank features contributions from Mercury Prize nominated Villagers frontman Conor J O’Brien and Ireland’s Choice Prize winner Richie “Jape” Egan among others. The album was recorded and produced by the band and Stephen J. Caffrey in various locations around Ireland and mixed and mastered by TJ Lipple at his home in Washington DC. The trio’s debut full length, This is the Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank was produced by legendary musician (Jawbox, Government Issue) and producer (Jawbreaker, Dismemberment Plan) J. Robbins.
“On the first album, our mission was get in, tear it up, get out,” explains bassist Vin. “The whole thing is over in about 24 minutes, which is really cool, but this time we wanted to make something that you could really spend a bit of time with, get a bit lost in. This one’s 40 minutes, which might not sound a lot, but to us that is almost like a double album. There’s a real sense of geography to the songs, you can really feel the places we’ve been and to an extent, the people we’ve met as we’ve travelled around. It seemed to make sense to bring in as many of our friends as we could to give the album the party vibe we felt it deserved.” He continues, “It’s a big glorious mess.”
Adebisi Shank have gained considerable reputation for their explosive and energetic live performances; NME describing it as,”baffling, terrifying and utterly riveting” and Rock Sound exclaiming the band are “one of the most exciting live bands in Ireland right now.”
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Wooden Toothe creates a sincere and raw, yet finely-tuned brand of rock and roll. The Asheville, NC band’s music has been described as ‘a soundtrack to the city itself… blending country style wistfulness with punk beats and simple driving guitar riffs.’* Live they deliver a high-energy show that fans connect with, keeping them loyal and appreciative. The four-piece’s new release ‘Pachyderm’ showcases their ability to harness a sense of urgency and to craft songs incorporating elements of rock, punk, and country into their own original material and sound.
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