Yumi Zouma

Johnny Brenda's Presents

Yumi Zouma

She-Devils

Mon, October 23, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00

This event is 21 and over

All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission

Yumi Zouma - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Yumi Zouma
Few artists find a committed fanbase without having ever played live, but in 2014, Yumi Zouma endeared themselves to listeners before their first band practice. Following a four-song EP that immediately caught people’s attention, the act’s inbox filled with requests from publicists and booking agents, long before they saw themselves as a real band. Everything they’d created had been online, passing files back and forth between Christchurch, Paris and New York. Thrust into the spotlight, their first live performances were in sold-out Australian theatres supporting Chet Faker, after which they headed back to New Zealand to open for Lorde on her post-Grammy winning homecoming tour.

Buoyed by the response to EP I and much positive coverage of lead single ‘The Brae’, which Pitchfork described as “an effortless cascade of echoing riffs and enchanting harmonies converging into a mirage of dream-pop purity,” the band released a second EP and went to work on Yoncalla – their wistful full-length debut.

With Yoncalla, Yumi Zouma took their first steps towards becoming a proper band, collaborating and completing songs together on the road. The result was both cathartic and confessional, winning praise from critics for being “beautiful but curiously detached,” and “pop that shimmers and grabs you when you’re least expecting it to.” In addition to the album’s three singles, tracks ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Text From Sweden’ became fan favourites, helping the Yumis sell out shows in Tokyo, London, Paris and New York. The Yoncalla campaign saw the band tour extensively and begin to hone a live show that’s become one of their vital assets.

A year later, the members of Yumi Zouma settled on a plan to head home for the New Zealand summer and record their sophomore album, Willowbank, their latest offering. To complete what would become their first significant work written and recorded entirely in their home country, they rented a studio in Christchurch’s semi-demolished CBD, on one of the few remaining blocks that still characterises the city from before it was destroyed by a series of earthquakes.

Guitarist, keyboard player and vocalist Josh Burgess says, “it was as though there was a brief pause in all of our lives and we finally felt like a band from New Zealand. We were on home turf and creating from a place that felt fundamentally natural.” That sensation was further underscored by Willowbank’s recording sessions falling over the cherished holiday season, during which the Yumis were surrounded by family. Burgess credits some of the small, often mundane Kiwi traditions of the time for influencing their mindset. “New Zealand has a distinct feel from Christmas to the end of January. Things shut down. It has a calming presence, it’s very peaceful.” That sense of holiday can be heard on lead single ‘December’ where the melodies float and stir themselves into a series of swelling refrains that culminate in horns and handclaps. Similarly on ‘Half Hour’, a pensive ballad that’s imbued with pulsing choruses that seem to signal a spiritual shift taking place in its creators.

When you know it’s there, the feeling of rootedness is undeniable on Willowbank. Being connected to their origins on the bottom of the earth allowed the band’s members, Christie Simpson, Charlie Ryder, Josh Burgess and Sam Perry to craft another essential chapter in the Yumi Zouma storybook. Willowbank is set for launch on October 6, 2017 by the band’s longtime label home Cascine, and will be complemented by a worldwide tour this fall.
She-Devils - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
She-Devils
“I’ve always believed in the idea that if you visualize or summon something, it will come true,” explains She-Devils vocalist Audrey Ann Boucher.
Alongside her friend and bandmate Kyle Jukka, she has summoned ‘She-Devils’: a channel through which Audrey Ann and Kyle explore the sensory world, actualize aesthetic fantasies and alchemize pieces of history into entirely new sensations.
Through primitive electronic gear, hypnotist vocals, and an “amusement park of sounds”, the duo’s album constructs a fun-house world of beautiful chaos. The music is built from original sonics inspired by everything from Iggy Pop to Madonna to T-Rex to Can, as well as the romantic longing of ‘60s yé-yé.
The pair met four years ago while living at a music rehearsal space in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood of Montreal. “We were like wild animals, kind of fearful and just surviving,” recalls Kyle, “But we had certain obsessions and needed to build something out of them, to transcend our lives and express our visions and inspirations.” In this state, Kyle and Audrey formed a friendship based on a love of the dreamy and the beautiful. “She-Devils is a ship we built to sail us away to a better place,” says Audrey.

The band played gigs for about eight months though they did not record right away. Making music together meant following their own rules and taking things one step at a time. “I never sang before starting She-Devils,” says Audrey. “I have to learn just by doing it, through intuition. I learned vocal warm-ups I found online so I could train the reflexes of my body, since it’s kind of like training my body’s ability to respond to intuition.” Following instinct is a crucial part of She-Devils’ identity.
Striving to make music that feels “as visual as possible,” the band hopes to strap listeners into a rollercoaster ride “with Audrey’s voice as the centrepiece to cling to.” The duo are inspired by the cinema and art of Gregg Araki, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, John Waters and Quentin Tarantino. They direct their own videos. Audrey creates the artwork that accompanies the music. Her self-taught style evolved by watching hours of Disney movies, The Simpsons and Powerpuff Girls. “Those influences are very present in my drawings and paintings,” she says.

Audrey is also musically self-taught. In fact, she had never even played music before forming She-Devils. “I’ve always seen music from the perspective of an artist or music lover rather than that of a musician,” she explains. “When I sing over a loop, I don’t feel like I’m in control of what I do, or that I am cerebrally engaged with making music, it’s more like my subconscious is completely taking over my mind and it just comes out of my dreams.”

You only have to listen to the album to understand what Audrey’s saying. Dig a little into her lyrics and this entrancing quality becomes even more palpable. “There’s a place where we can go / Right here if you let me take you in / I know that this is for real / I saw the look in your eyes,” she croons on ‘Never Let Me Go,’ over Kyle’s woozy, layered guitars.

Elsewhere on the album, standout tracks include ‘How Do You Feel’ - a swirling fantasia about adolescent love - ‘You Don’t Know’, with its trebly jangle-pop, and ’The World Laughs,’ which hits a high of creepy rock ‘n roll psychedelia.
Kyle and Audrey think they fit together perfectly. “I try to use my ears to travel, and like a traveller I want to feel sonic emotions and hear things I haven’t before, that’s the excitement of it,” says Kyle, “The challenge is to make that into a cohesive work, but Audrey makes it so easy because she has this vibe as a singer that immediately connected with my imagination.” The connection of these two friends—their tensions, harmonies and oppositions—is probably the most crucial part of all. Their debut self-titled album arrives this May.
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
http://www.johnnybrendas.com/