Knitting Factory News Volume 1 Issue XX

Knitting Factory News

Welcome to Knitting Factory News, our intermittent (let’s say, twice monthly or fortnightly) bulletin of highlights from inside and outside the Knitting Factory universe. It’s an opinionated guide to featured artists at our California venues, KFE-managed artists on tour, giveaways, ephemera, and…well, things we like, no matter where they came from.

Featured Artists

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Made of Oak is Nicholas Sanborn, the synth half of folk-pop duo Sylvan Esso; he just released his debut solo EP PenumbraTODAY via Partisan Records! Fact Magazine raves, “Removed from his great chemistry with Meath, Made Of Oak finds Sanborn taking on full duty crafting unique melodies while also turning towards a slightly darker atmosphere.” Give the EP a spin and catch him on tour this month as he plays shows in several cities, including Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

Featured Shows

There are a number of exciting live shows happening in California over the next few weeks, including Knitting Factory Management’s Prima Donna headlining legendary punk rock mainstay 924 Gilman in Berkeley. The band just came back from a month in Europe and they released the music video Deathless earlier this Fall.

You also won’t want to miss garage punk duo The Two Tens at The Glass House. Just last week, the band released a track on “Kiss & Makeup,” a collection of Kiss songs performed by female fronted bands. The Two Tens drummer Rikki Styxx takes her first lead vocal on their version of “Strutter.”

Friday, November 6
Made of Oak – The Catalyst Club Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA

Saturday, November 7
Made of Oak – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

Sunday, November 8
Prima Donna – 924 Gilman – Berkeley, CA

Wednesday, November 11
Widowspeak – Bootleg Theater– Los Angeles, CA

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The Two Tens at HiFi Rockfest, Credit: Dyingscene.com

Friday, November 13
The Two Tens – The Glass House – Pomona, CA

Tuesday, November 17
Joe Hill Centenary Concert– Troubadour– Los Angeles, CA

by Saeli Eshelman
The holiday season is upon us–Halloween has just passed, then comes Thanksgiving, then Christmas and before you know it 2015 will be over and the new year will be upon us! And I don’t know about you, but it’s around this time when I start to notice the albums that I have been playing again and again all year, or only for the past couple months.

So as we rush towards 2016, I thought I’d reflect back on some of the most repeatable albums of the year that always keep you coming back wanting more. And as I have a wide variety of genres that I think are worth repeating (some for partying, some for chilling, and some getting really introspective) I’ve decided to order the albums in, approximate, order from high energy to low. Let us proceed!

Disclosure

1) DisclosureCaracal

For most young people, this band needs no introduction but if you’re not up on the EDM (electronic dance music) scene then Disclosure is a pretty universal place to start. This is the sophomore album of Disclosure, comprised of two DJs, and a mainstay of the popular EDM scene, into which they have brought every sort of genre imaginable with their array of samples and featured artists that range from pop-ballad crooner Sam Smith to up-and-coming pop-R&B singer LION BABE. This album is no different in its impressive list of guest artists, including a follow-up collab with Smith and an opener with R&B’s currently rising star The Weeknd (see below for his current album). All-in-all, this album is club hit after club hit and makes a great party or pre-party soundtrack. Basically if you want to party with music that doesn’t go old quickly then you’ll want to check this out first and foremost.

The Weeknd

2) The WeekndBeauty Behind the Madness

As I just mentioned, The Weeknd (the stage name of Abel Tesfaye) is currently the cool guy of the hip-hop/pop scene, bringing sexy and R&B back into the hip hop world. His third album finds the sweet spot between being able to succeed as a radio hit while remaining substantive musically, with impressive production (that includes producers like Kanye West) that brings hard-hitting but generally slow tempo hooks that suck listeners back in over and over again. This is indicated by the smashing success he has had with singles like “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills.” And while he sometimes receives flack for his lyrics that paint a picture of alienation filled with sex and drugs, he is often noted for the sexiness of his work, in part, due to the vulnerability of these jams. These talents combined make this record one that not only can be played at a party, but also in more intimate and mellow settings for some listening with musically inclined friends or significant others.

Tanlines

3) TanlinesHighlights

This is Tanlines’ sophomore album, a followup to Mixed Emotions a favorite album of mine that turned them into a favorite band. Tanlines is a duo that specializes in a sort of electronic rock that has poppy dance moments mixed with indie rockability and lyrics. And this album is no different, being wholly danceable and simultaneously super hip, their guitarist plays a spin-art designed guitar, and what gets more cool than that? Overall though, this album hits that spot between “summer driving with the windows down music” sort of upbeat and “I could be getting ready for a party and need to get pumped” sort of upbeat. I’ll leave the venue decision up to you but highly recommend that if you need some tunes to bump while also seeming really chill then this album is a match.

FKA twigs

4) FKA twigsM3LL15X

FKA twigs is one of the most interesting artists in music currently; she got her start as a backup dancer and now makes a very “her” style of music that combines all sorts of genres, most notably R&B vocals with a slightly house, slightly more mellow form of electronic synth backing. Her music is very chewy, but having seen her at both Coachella and FYF Fest this past year she has begun to make it far more accessible (maybe in part due to her growing success and growing crowds). For the full review of this album, which has been previously featured in Knitting Factory News click here.

Mac Demarco

5) Mac DeMarcoAnother One

Mac DeMarco is millennial hipsters’ resident “slacker” rocker, brining together jangly pop-like melodies with indie rock sound and lyrics, a genre he has self-identified as jizz jazz. Combine this with his IDGAF personality and effortlessly cool outfits and humor and he’ll make any hip teen envious, or jump at the chance to meet him–he left his address and the offer to come share a coffee at the end of this mini-LP and got more than a few visitors. While this album is a bit less varied and a bit more down-tempo than much of his previous work, it is that mellow consistency that makes this record so easy to sink into and having playing the background of pretty much everything. It works when you need a little indie rock and it works well when you need something to lull you to sleep. Like all of his other records, it just works; oh, the wondrous universality of soft indie rock!

Sufjan Stevens

6) Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell

Don’t know how to pronounce his name? That’s okay, your dilemma is referenced on Stevens’ seventh album–albeit in a more sensitive light. While this album may be at the bottom of this list it is most definitely number one on my list of most replayed (and I’m not alone as this album has received critical acclaim!). Stevens is another favorite artist of mine and is generally known for his lush instrumentation and vocals. But this record is rather hushed and understated for him, with achingly beautiful guitar and layered vocals and orchestration. The entire record is tinged with a sense of melancholy and mundanity, which is apt considering Stevens wrote the album in response to his mother, Carrie’s, death, with Lowell being a reference to his stepfather who helped him co-founded his own record company, Asthmatic Kitty, in the late ’90s. Overall, these mellow and relaxing tunes are perfect if you’re looking for something to spin while you’re trying to fall asleep or need a moment of serenity.

New Album Release: The Nervous Wreckord (Part 1) 

TNW Part 1

We’re excited to present the release of “The Nervous Wreckord (Part 1)” by Knitting Factory Management’s own The Nervous Wreckords. Guests on the record alongside frontman Brian Karscig (Louie the XIV, Atlantic Records) include Jake Najor (TV on the Radio), plus Mark Stoermer and Dave Keuning of the Killers.

Catch the premiere on Buzzbands HERE!

Federal Bars

The Knitting Factory’s two Southern California gastropubs—the Federal Bars in North Hollywood and Long Beach—feature a range of resident and one-off shows.

JMcKinley

On November 8th, The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series, will present Jacqueline McKinley’s The Christmas Bitch and other stories at The Federal Bar North Hollywood. Jacqueline McKinley is an up-and-coming African-American television writer/producer, best known for the Emmy-Winning sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show.” McKinley’s position as a woman within this male-dominated genre provides a unique perspective when crafting inspiration for her characters. She captures absurdity and humor, while making audiences laugh and cry all at the same time.

Rx Bandits

Down in Long Beach, The Federal Bar is pleased to present a surprise show by hometown favorites RX Bandits on November 11th. RX Bandits is a four-piece alt-rock band is based in Seal Beach, CA. Over the course of the past twenty years, they’ve managed to stay ahead of the pack with their genre-blurring approach to songwriting, allowing them to seamlessly fit anywhere and everywhere, from the main stage at Bonnaroo and Coachella to Bamboozle and Reading. Their songs have been featured in video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, as well as in the backdrop for ESPN’s X Games. Last year, they released their 7th studio album Gemini, Her Majesty to glowing reviews. All Music raved, “They appear to have evolved into something else altogether, and though some veteran fans might miss the old sound, there’s no denying these guys have the chops to pull off this new and inventive approach.” Alternative Press said Gemini recaptured the “fertile brilliance that rightfully gained Rx Bandits exposure in the early 2000s, recapturing the jubilant mix of styles they deployed with so much fresh aggression and poise.” Louder than War’s Brit chronicler Ian Critchley chalked up his own personal appeal following an RX Bandits show in Manchester to “the almost transcendental feeling I’d experienced watching one the greatest bands around today tear apart the entire venue with music both they and their fans adored.”

***

Of Montreal at The Regent Downtown Los Angeles

Of Montreal 22
Credit: Carl Pocket courtesy of The Regent Theater DTLA

Of Montreal was back in LA for a show at the Regent downtown Los Angeles this week—their second in six months—and delivered on all fans have come to expect: wry, punchy, cynical, up-tempo, beats and riffs, catchy tunes with complicated names, and on-stage theatrics ranging from dazzling to baffling. Bounding onto the stage in an assless red bodysuit, front man Kevin Barnes asked the audience, “when were you happiest last? That’s where I want us to go together. To the place I was happiest last, and the place you were happiest last.” I am sure that’s poorly quoted.

Of Montreal 30
Credit: Carl Pocket courtesy of The Regent Theater DTLA

They worked smartly and tightly through fifteen gender and genre-bending tunes in, say, 100 minutes, including my favorites like “Coquet Coquette” and “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider,” and obscura I wouldn’t recognize (and didn’t). I can see the comparisons to bands like the Talking Heads, but they aren’t as serious or earnest, despite their musicianship.

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The lighting and stage show is of Montreal’s Sixth Man, Fourth Estate, Fifth Column, what have you. It can’t be ignored or overlooked as part of the live experience but one can certainly sit in one’s room and spin their records without visual accompaniment, all the better to enjoy acid lyrics that reward careful listening, as in “He’s the sort of guy who would leave you in a k-hole to go play Halo in the other room.”

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The eyes have it!

They have a particularly clever signature effect using dual projections, where the [dancers?] hold up shapes downstage upon which some of the images are projected, which, combined with the main projections on the stage behind the band, give a very trippy, appealing perspective image. At its best it looks like this:

Of Montreal 32

All the poodle ladies! Credit: Carl Pocket courtesy of The Regent Theater DTLA

As the show progressed, we were treated to:

▪ Poodle-headed Uncle Sam characters who stripped at the end of the song revealing, well, huge fake boobs. This was either for “Suffer for Fashion” or “Beware Our Nubile Miscreants,”
▪ Hordes of dancer/performers in brightly colored skin-tight leotard/tracksuits and matching athletic shoes, this for “The Party’s Crashing Us.” It looked a little like a post-punk version of the Saturday Night Live skit “What’s up with That?”

Of Montreal 1

Eat me! Credit: Carl Pocket courtesy of The Regent Theater DTLA

▪ Large, hulking, beaky creatures, one of whom, before the encore, unabashedly declared his love of the audience: “I love you, each of you. I’d like to eat you. No really. You know when you’re eating someone, and after a while, bits of their teeth end up getting stuck in YOUR teeth? I hate that.” Appropriately, their second encore was appropriately titled “The Past is a Grotesque Animal.”
Coffee 16
Credit: Carl Pocket courtesy of The Regent Theater DTLA

Oh, and sorry Brian Coffee of Foxygen opened and he was great, but as Jimmy Kimmel says, sorry we ran out of time. We’ll throw up a picture of him:

That’s a wrap!

Giveaway

You’ve read all the way down to the bottom. You deserve SOMEthing! This week, we’re giving out five copies of the FINDING FELA! official 2-CD soundtrack.

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Finding Fela is Academy Award winner Alex Gibney’s feature documentary on Fela Kuti. It tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a new musical movement, Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. His influence helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria and promoted Pan Africanist politics to the world.

The first five people to email Sabrina@platformgrp.com by next Friday, November 13th will win a copy of the CD!

That’s it for this week. We’re writing you because you’ve expressed interest in Knitting factory shows, artists or productions. Like us? Want us to consider covering your artists or shows? Please tell us, your humble writer/editors: Henry Eshelman heshelman@platformgrp.com, Sabrina Zeile sabrina@platformgrp.com and Saeli Eshelman saeli@platformgrp.com; we can take it from there.

Hate us? As someone once said, “please confine your comments to compliments only.” But we’ll (regretfully) accept your unsubscribe requests humbly and without question. Thanks for listening!

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