Crooked Fingers, John Vanderslice

R5 Presents

Crooked Fingers

John Vanderslice

Thu, November 1, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:15 pm


This event is 21 and over

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

Crooked Fingers - (Set time: 10:30 PM)
Crooked Fingers
Eric Bachmann lives in Athens, Georgia, these days, where he recorded Breaks in the Armor at The Bakery with Matt Yelton (live sound engineer for the Pixies) throughout the winter of 2010/2011, enlisting the help of Liz Durrett on backing vocals. It's a cohesive and diverse set of songs with less adorned and more direct and affecting arrangements. Beautifully understated, artfully phrased, and ultimately a paean to perseverance, the album seems to suggest that the breaks in the armor are more important than the armor itself.
"You come and go alone / You don't stand a chance"
That's from the track "Went to the City" from Breaks in the Armor, and though, short of directly asking him (which, in narrowing the possibilities, would sort of ruin the fun), there's really, and happily, no telling what the precise, intended meaning of that line is, it does get at what Bachmann found missing and has rediscovered. There's an undeniable sense of community he's regained in returning to writing and performing as Crooked Fingers, working with Archers of Loaf and Merge Records again, and moving back to the southeast. In 2011, Archers of Loaf reunited, toured the US, and played on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and with the August 2011 reissue of their debut album Icky Mettle, Merge will begin a series of expanded re-mastered reissues of the band's four studio albums. Over the course of the coming year, Bachmann will alternate between touring as Crooked Fingers and with Archers of Loaf, making the most of two distinct and rewarding modes of expression and performance. All of which seems to be exactly where he should be again.
You come and go alone, and it's in between these things where you find the people and experiences and art that matter, that make the difference. You don't stand a chance, but that's exactly why you should try, right?
Eric Bachmann enjoys walks on the beach, movies (though he's not a big horror fan), art, good food, and stimulating conversation. He can currently bench press about 240, and his personal best was somewhere in the 275-285 range. Breaks in the Armor is his sixth full-length record as Crooked Fingers (seventh if you count the Eric Bachmann one).
John Vanderslice - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
John Vanderslice
A few words about Dagger Beach
While it's true I did endure a terrible break-up at the beginning of writing this record, this is not a break up record. Dagger Beach is a put-me-the-fuck-back-together record.
The break up came in late 2011, after endless months of White Wilderness touring. I returned home to an empty house, and, as that's pretty unbearable when you're not quite right in the head, I decided to set out walking. I hiked the Lost Coast (36 miles of off-the-grid splendor in Southern Humboldt County), I hiked the entire 150-mile trail system of Pt. Reyes, I hiked for days, deep, deep in the woods, usually alone.
As I walked and walked, listening to records on repeat, I started obsessing about music again. Three records found their way into my psyche and inspired much of this new record: Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me, Silver Jews' The Natural Bridge, and Radiohead's King Of Limbs. I don't think you'll find traces of these records in Dagger Beach, but their spirit and fearlessness deeply affected me. (Hence the shout-out on the record to one of my lifelong heroes, David Berman.)
The first two reminded me how crucial great lyrics can be, how your experience of a record can evolve and change as you slowly decode complex and thoughtful writing. King Of Limbs showed me how powerful linear songwriting can be, when subtle changes in form and repeating motifs slowly shift into something else entirely (just try to follow "Morning Mr. Magpie" on headphones). There are many songs on Dagger Beach that take this approach: "Damage Control" and "Gaslight" were both written to drum patterns played by Jason Slota, my long-time partner. Jason played drums alone, without music, and I adapted to his structures and rhythms. Doing this keeps me from relying on my usual tricks and structures and forces me into brand new territory.
This strange experience, the endless hiking and backcountry camping off the grid, it completely changed the songwriting process for me. I edited lyrics while walking, I worked out songs in my head. It didn't come easy: the first time I camped alone (I was deep inside the million-acre Mendocino National Forest) I freaked out, ended my trip early, and wrote "Raw Wood" the next day. By the end of 2012, I could stay out for a week on my own.
As the experience changed me, it changed the record. Dagger Beach is looser, weirder, and more free because of it.
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125