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Phantogram, STRFKR, Com Truise, Jessie Frye, Kaela Sinclair, TOMKAT
Sat, November 18, 2017
Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pmThe Bomb Factory
This event is all ages
1 ticket gets you in Trees, Canton Hall and The Bomb Factory! First come first serve, ticket does not guarantee entry if the venue is at capacity. Get there early!
Individual venue tickets now available!
For more info on the festival, visit https://www.oaktopia.com/https://www.thebombfactory.com/event/1568514/
Three represents a new creative peak that Phantogram has been building towards for nearly a decade. Carter and Barthel first broke out in 2009 with the cinematic Eyelid Movies (Barsuk) – recorded in a barn in Saratoga Springs, NY (a stone’s throw from their hometown of Greenwich) – and after a buzz-building EP (Nightlife, Barsuk) and much touring, Phantogram opted for a change of scenery by recording their expansive second LP, 2014’s Voices (Republic),in Los Angeles with co-producer John Hill (M.I.A., Santigold).
In between Voices (which spawned the hits “Fall In Love” and “Black Out Days”) and Three, Phantogram have certainly kept busy. They contributed to The Flaming Lips’ The Terror, A-Trak’s “Parallel Lines,”and Miley Cyrus’ Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, remixed Charli XCX, and were sampled by Kanye West and A$AP Rocky… not to mention their fruitful collaboration project Big Grams with OutKast’s Big Boi. Following the release of a critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album in late 2015, Big Grams has proved to be a festival mainstay in 2016 – entertaining huge audiences with compelling sets riddled with Big Grams’ psychedelic hip-hop, and rounded out with the two acts’ mashups of each other’s hit songs.
Despite the full schedule, Carter and Barthel find themselves far from creatively tapped-out. Recent collaborations pushed them musically and Three displays a surging energy and appealing experimentation, effectively showcasing a band reaching for and achieving new aesthetic heights.
The album was recorded over the past year at co-producer Ricky Reed’s Echo Park-based studio. Finding inspiration in unlikely places for a band increasingly heard on commercial alternative and pop radio, Carter found fresh perspective in AfroBeat and ‘60’s R&B when creating the steady beats that form the foundation of the album. Despite the new influences and a strong experimental motivation, Three still unmistakably sounds like Phantogram, with plenty of thick, buzzing beats and snaking melodic lines to sink your teeth into.
Three is a triumphant record, but it also bears the mark of personal tragedy. During the recording process, the band suffered a devastating loss when Barthel’s sister (and Carter’s close friend since childhood) Becky passed away of suicide. Work on music stopped immediately, but then as the duo slowly returned to the studio the aftermath of their personal loss (compounded by the deaths of David Bowie and Prince, two of Phantogram’s greatest musical heroes and inspirations) began to reverberate throughout the process, imbuing the album with varied shades of complicated, human emotion that Carter refers to as “Finding the beauty within tragedy.”
“It’s about heartbreak, and having to push forward and move on—and how challenging that is,” Barthel states. “It’s made us the people we really are, and it’s a huge part of what this record means to us.”
Along with exploring new emotional territory, Three also finds Phantogram breaking new sonic ground. The album’s eclectic, bold songs swerve from pop-inflected bangers (like lead single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” and album-closer “Calling All”) to the skipping melancholia of “Answer,” which strikes a perfect balance between loping hip-hop rhythms, understated balladry, and gauzy indie-rock. Meanwhile, more experimental, psych-influenced pieces like “Run Run Blood,” the harrowing Steve Reich-sample-driven “Barking Dog,” and “Funeral Pyre” (a re-working of longtime live staple “Intro” that, fittingly, opens the album) somehow are perfectly at ease alongside the darkly beautiful, cathartic ballad “Destroyer,” all capturing themes of heartbreak, anguish and perseverance; second single “Same Old Blues,” the smoky, menacing duet “You’re Mine,” and the icy determination of “Cruel World” bring listeners back to the sample-heavy, synth-driven Phantogram sound that has found them an extensive, dedicated fan base.
An iridescent record that glows with warmth even as it explores the desolation of personal pain, Three is the latest chapter in Phantogram’s impressive ascent to the forefront of alternative pop—as well as proof that nothing, at this point, can hold them back.
The album opens on “Tape Machine,” and the difference is readily apparent. On 2013’s Miracle Mile, STRFKR refined a full-band sound, but this doubles down on and completely reimagines the project’s electronic and pop roots. The initial synths could fuel a rave, and the ensuing groove could score a Drive sequel, but the song is richer still, with cosmic effects flying overhead and a psych-folk earthiness below. It isn’t that the band sat this LP out—drummer (etc.) Keil Corcoran penned the thick astral disco of “In the End,” and he and bassist (etc.) Shawn Glassford both pitch in throughout. But Being No One, Going Nowhere was born in Joshua Tree after Hodges packed up his Los Angeles apartment and moved to that tiny Mojave outpost under the great big sky. “It came together for me in the desert,” he says. “Out there, it’s easy to feel small and slow.”
When Hodges started STRFKR in 2007, it was designed to be success-proof. The name was both unfit for radio and a jab at fame-chasers. But the project was also meant to be bright, playful and brimming with energy. He stumbled upon a winning juxtaposition that’s a STRFKR staple to this day: dark (or heavy) lyrics set to happy music. Hodges credits that to Elliott Smith’s influence, although Being No One, Going Nowhere has closer sonic kin in Italo-disco, kosmische musik and Tony Hoffer’s work with Phoenix, Beck and M83. English thinker/writer Alan Watts, a scholar of Eastern philosophy, was another muse for Hodges—his voice appears on nearly every STRFKR release, including this one. That’s him on “interspace,” talking about sloughing off preconceived identity to find one’s place in the universe, which is the story of Hodges’ eventual career: stop trying—no, start not trying—and succeed.
This album’s name actually paraphrases the title of a book by Ayya Khema, a Buddhist nun, but the concept came to Hodges in a less chaste setting. “I had an experience at a BDSM club that was really freeing,” he says. “I realized that the appeal is letting go of your mind and stress. You can be super present with the pain, and then the pain isn’t even pain. It’s a gateway to freedom.” In a way, each song on Being No One, Going Nowhere seeks that end. There’s the reality-refracting fantasy of “Never Ever,” the hard truths about addiction’s ravages on “Tape Machine,” a death-defying coming of age tale on “Open Your Eyes,” and references to Hermann Hesse’s 1919 novel of self-realization, Demian, on “When I’m With You.” If the words don’t set you free, the music— exuberant, enveloping, incredibly catchy—should do so handily.
None of which is to imply that STRFKR is drifting along aimlessly. To the contrary, Hodges crafted this album’s dance bent with the stage in mind. The live setup these days includes a custom-made LED wall and a homemade light show that syncs with the rhythm of the songs (also, the occasional crowd-surfing astronaut and band-in drag). Plus, he camped out at the house of producer Jeffrey Brodsky (Yacht, RAC) for a week and a half, working all hours to ensure Being No One, Going Nowhere sounds as crisply booming over PAs as it does in headphones. Even if Hodges is too busy pushing the future of indie dance-pop forward to possibly attain his goal of unplugging, his aspiration is everything: “Existing is it. This moment is enough.”
Haley’s been making music on the side for roughly a decade—going through pseudonyms like toothbrushes (Sarin Sunday, SYSTM, Airliner)—first as a DJ, and currently, as an excavator of softer, window-fogging synth-wave.
While subliminally informed by both parental record collections and hints of faded electronics product design, Haley’s Com Truise project isn’t just nostalgia capitalization. There are fragments (read:
DNA strands) of Joy Division, New Order, and the Cocteau Twins, but it’s like you’re hearing them through the motherboard of a waterlogged Xbox—demented and modern. He’s got a way of making familiar things sound beautifully hand-smeared.
The first Com Truise release was the Cyanide Sisters EP—distributed for free on the AMdiscs label—where mellow stone-outs like “Sundriped” and “Slow Peels” sat next to harder IDM bangers (“BASF Ace” and “IWYWAW”) and bumpy alt-funk trips (“Norkuy” and “Komputer”). After that came a single “Pyragony/Trypyra,” and a series of eclectic podcast mixes titled “Komputer Cast.” Now comfortably situated amidst the Ghostly roster, he’s prepping his next warped pillage, and hopefully not changing that name again.
Drawing widespread praise from critics and press on both sides of the Atlantic, including CMJ and Paste Magazine and with a full US Tour planned for the new year, you can expect to be hearing a lot more about Kaela Sinclair in 2016.
Hailing from the ever-expanding music scene of Denton, Texas, TOMKAT offer a fresh take on modern popular music. The band is comprised of four graduates of the University of North Texas' music program, each with a unique and varied musical background. Though they had played music together for other projects, TOMKAT formed from a desire to find a more unique and creative musical outlet for their passion. Their unique blend of electronic elements with rock, pop, and R&B was born from the diverse musical backgrounds of its members.
At it's core, the group's sense of strong songwriting lays the unshakable foundation for the airy, dreamlike textures soaring from instruments both electronic and acoustic that make TOMKAT's sound stand apart from pop music's latest offerings. Unique tones and soundscapes from the electric bass and guitars are driven by polyrhythmic drums and powerful vocals that demand your attention and make TOMKAT's sound stand apart from pop music's latest offerings. When playing live, each member-- including the vocalist and drummer-- employ the use of various pedals, effects processors and loop stations to create a unique, danceable, and sometimes cinematic sound.
TOMKAT's debut EP, "Big Love," offers an impressively large array of expression, sending the listener through the thoughtful, and at times chilling, human experience of the individual, as one travels through love, and loss, addiction, and pain, and most importantly, self-renewal.
The band has played many up-and-coming music festivals, including 35Denton, Thin Line Fest and Springboard South, and enjoys hearing their single, "Say Nothing" on radio stations all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. They are looking forward to playing SXSW this spring.
The Bomb Factory
2713 Canton Street
Dallas, TX, 75226