Snowden

Johnny Brenda's Presents

Snowden

Busses (Record Release), Belgrade

Wed, February 20, 2013

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

$10.00

This event is 21 and over

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

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Snowden - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Snowden
Southern by birth and rearing, northern by political disposition and weather preference, Jordan Jeffares is no stranger to oscillation. In the six years that passed since the release of his band Snowden’s first full-length, Anti-Anti (Jade Tree), Jeffares has shifted his base of operation from Atlanta to Chicago, then back, up to Brooklyn, and then down to Austin. When you throw in touring the U.S. and Europe, the scenery changed a lot around Jeffares in recent years.Through all the tumult of relocating, Jeffares has been crafting (and re-crafting) Anti-Anti’s follow-up, ironically titled, given its auteur’s dedication and perseverance, No One in Control. The album will be released by Serpents and Snakes, the Nashville label formed in 2009 by the Kings of Leon, who tapped Snowden to support them on a 2007 tour. The label’s mission is to support hard-working bands it believes in. With Jeffares, the imprint has found a kindred spirit who exemplifies its ideals. Jeffares tracked most of the record on his own in Atlanta and New York, before trekking to western Michigan to join forces with producer Bill Skibbe (The Kills) and build out the sound in the studio. Skibbe mixed the record, and Alan Douches (Kurt Vile, The Twilight Sad) handled the mastering.
Perhaps due to its extended incubation period, No One in Control diverges from the Lower East Side Britpop dance party motif of its predecessor. It also moves away from the wryly observant, barfly narrator, opting for a guide occupying a more mature, plaintive, and, at times, existentialist headspace. It’s a bit of a taking stock record. Anti-Anti’s tracks begged to be remixed, emphasizing pulsating rhythms that undergirded Jeffares strident assertions about the pointlessness of hipster ideals or the evocative nightlife scenes. In contrast, No One in Control stays truer to the genesis of all Snowden’s output—the seemingly hermetically sealed cocoon that Jeffares escapes to when doggedly transforming an abstract concept into a piece of music. It’s headphone music for the creative class.

To call the contents of No One in Control “bedroom songs” is to be reductive. Like Bon Iver, Jeffares is a master of creating the singular mood of a man alone with his thoughts. While both evoke the snowy cold that Jeffares prefers as the ambience to his writing sessions, the landscape that Snowden’s music scores is decidedly boots-on-ground urban compared to Justin Vernon’s ear-muffed pastoralism. Snowden’s latest arrangements are a swirl of textures that waft and then envelope the percussion and rhythms at their core, as exemplified best by the ethereal “Anemone Arms.” The epic title track acclimates the listener to the gauzy chamber pop featured in much of the rest of the record before exploding into a synth-encrusted rock gem that Snowden’s fans will recognize as the band’s calling card. At the heart of the doubled vocals and studio accouterments that add depth to “Don’t Want to Know Me” is a song that seems to have had its start as a jangly ballad reminiscent of The Clientele’s oeuvre.

While roots have been pulled and replanted over the past six years, band lineups have gone through several iterations, and labels have come and gone, Jeffares has managed to keep his focus. He credits his stalwart supporter and earliest patron, his brother Preston, for keeping him focused in moments of frustration. With his older sibling’s sage stewardship, Jeffares has put together, while not the most club-friendly set, the most sonically sophisticated collection of tracks he’s penned and constructed to date—effectively moving beyond influences such as Interpol, The Zombies, and The Clientele to carve a niche of his own in the post punk landscape.
Busses (Record Release) - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Busses (Record Release)
Direction. Motion. Progress. These words aren’t typically used to describe a rock band, but it’s the best way to break down Wizard of the Eye, the new album from Busses. The Philadelphia trio’s latest expands on the genre-slashing ambitions of its debut, charting new destinations on the post-rock spectrum. Dave Brett, Jason Bachman and Nick Apice continue to hone their collective gift for writing complex yet concise arrangements. Paint-pealing guitars and cavernous drums remain trademarks, but a heightened attention to dynamics defines these songs, and a reflective haze softens the edges.

It’s tempting to say Busses is experimenting with different textures, but the 10 tracks on Wizard of the Eye don’t sound like experiments. Decisive shifts in mood provide a kaleidoscopic backdrop for harmonies that are rich and layered. Even the most fragmented compositions feel meticulously plotted and carefully arranged, yet never overlabored. Nautical themes are folded into a jagged frame on “Bubbles,” which opens with restless bass-driven post-punk streaked with ear-splitting howls before simmering into gentle chords spread over a soothing rustle. “Rain” and “Big Surprise” are underpinned by lush horns that thicken and elevate the melodies, broadening the group’s tonal palette.

At the helm is singer-guitarist Brett, whose elastic voice reflects the band’s range. On the drifting, weightless reverie “Overload,” he works in a delicate, tentative whisper, a giant leap from the ecstatic release he delivers on the powerful title track. Thick and intricate countermelody comes from bassist and keyboardist Bachman, who locks in effortlessly with Apice’s polyrhythmic drumming, rooted in an unwavering pulse that also breathes organically. Busses wring multi-faceted ideas from a few key components, but ultimately this is music to get lost in. Brett sums it up best on the terrestrial drone of “Radio”: “These are the words, and here are the chords/This is how it goes.”

-Areif Sless-Kitain, July 2014
Belgrade - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Belgrade
With liquid-like intros and outros, Belgrade's fleshy songs are sure to spur a variety of emotions. Daring themselves a slap in the face with the glove of simplicity, Belgrade keep things subversively straightforward. While embracing more than healthy doses of echo, the air between meaty ideas is apparent and fluid. Belgrade offers layers of cycling guitar, nimble bass lines, snappy dynamic drums and floating vocals as they teeter from an understated warm twang to a groaning twisted reverb-fest.

Urging you into a heap of head-tossing joy while never letting things fully explode in your face. The name of this game is restraint, boys and girls. Everybody can, and has, played loud and bombastic - but lets see who can best vibrate the wavy line between blissful, breezy melodies with purposeful energetic sharpness. Internal rebellion never sounded so endearing. Let's cloak those catchy pop smarts under blankets of reverberated echoes bounced off last night's full moon - still ringing in the squinty-eyed hangover morning. Let the sound shimmer and swoon forward and back like a chorus for the night time, to be consumed during the day. Anthems to prep for that cloudy nocturnal courage.
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
http://www.johnnybrendas.com/