Deafheaven, This Will Destroy You, Emma Ruth Rundle
On Monday, March 27, the Community Center for the Performing Arts and Univrsity of Oregon Campus Radio 88.1 FM KWVA proudly welcome to the WOW Hall Deafheaven, This Will Destroy You and Emma Ruth Rundle.
Deafheaven is a California-based act that has garnered acclaim for their signature hybrid sound of black metal, shoegaze and post-rock. The band is touring in support of their latest release on ANTI-, New Bermuda.
George Clarke (vocals), Kerry McCoy (guitar), Dan Tracy (drums), Stephen Lee Clark (bass) and Shiv Mehra (guitar) recorded New Bermuda live to tape at 25th Street Recording in Oakland, CA and Atomic Garden Recording in East Palo Alto, CA in April 2015. It was produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley -- who has worked with the band on their previous releases. Clarke says that he came up with the idea of “New Bermuda” to describe a new destination in life, a nebulous point of arrival, and an unknown future where things get swallowed up and dragged into darkness. The album artwork for New Bermuda is an oil painting -- dense in brush strokes of darker tones and deep blues -- by Allison Schulnik. The layout was designed by art director Nick Steinhardt.
Formed in 2010 in San Francisco, California, Deafheaven has released two studio albums on Deathwish; Roads to Judah in 2011 and their lauded Sunbather in 2013. Sunbather received accolades from NPR on their Favorite Albums of 2013 list, a coveted Best New Music at Pitchfork, the Best Metal Album of 2013 per Rolling Stone, a 9/10 star review from Decibel Magazine, and it was the highest rated album of 2013 according to Metacritic.
Deafheaven have spent the last two years touring extensively nationally and around the world with shows in Australia, Japan, Asia, Europe, Russia, the UK and Canada, with festival appearances at Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Primavera, Roskilde, Fun Fun Fun, FYF Fest, SXSW, Basilica Sound Scape 14, Corona Capital and ATP Iceland, amongst others.
THIS WILL DESTROY YOU
Since 2004, This Will Destroy You has been forging some of the world's most brutal, dynamic and precariously visceral instrumental rock. In addition to a vigorous tour schedule, their celebrated discography and critically renowned soundtrack work for feature films and documentaries has earned them a sizable and fervent international following.
Another Language, TWDY's fourth full length LP, marks their euphonious return from a prolonged vacuous dark period that threatened to break both the band and the members themselves. Rather than be stifled by their experience, TWDY were atomized and subsequently made anew, emerging with a revived energy and reinforced sense of solidarity. As a result, Another Language captures the band at its most potent, honed, and utterly powerful form yet, displaying an edified unity and graduated sense of song-writing, tonal complexity, and studio prowess.
TWDY's new found clarity of vision would come after a state of near dissolution that ensued after the massive success of their 2006 debut Young Mountain and 2008's eponymous follow up. Personal struggles, growing pains, the loss of band members, and a series of close, untimely tragedies set the tone for what would be the band's darkest and most introspective album yet, 2011's Tunnel Blanket.
The following two years stress tested the band to the point of ruin; consecutive continent-hopping tours as well as the pressures of matching their previous two albums' accomplishments took a nearly unbearable toll. TWDY's spirits were lifted when both independent filmmakers and Hollywood began to eye their discography for prominent placement in several critically acclaimed films, including the Oscar-winning Moneyball. The arrival of 2013's Live in Reykjavik triple LP was warmly received by fans and critics alike, further rejuvenating the band after years of relentless, grinding tours.
In October of 2013 TWDY returned to Elmwood Recording, once again working with engineer John Congleton, fully prepared to construct their next work from the inside out. From the opening moments of Another Language it is clear that the band has achieved its aim. The reflective opening dialogue of guitar, choral-like organ, and shimmering Rhodes on New Topia float over nuanced warbling swells of tape before being completely disintegrated by a shock wave of blistering guitars, bass, and locomotive poly-rhythms. These peaks and valleys of emotive dynamism are expertly guided by the dexterous drum work of Alex Bhore, who offers up droves of ghost-notes and compounded cadences that energize the album with a fully realized freedom of movement. The band's frequency spectrum now extends to new heights via adornments of tubular bells, microcassette manipulations, and washes of tuned feedback by guitarists Christopher King and Jeremy Galindo while bassist Donovan Jones ensures that the band's roots dig deep into the netherworld of sub-frequencies.
Forced to redefine themselves as individuals, artists, and as a unit, TWDY's Another Language exudes a corporeal sense of the formidable journey, which was overcome in order to arrive at their newly galvanized state of confidence and artistry.
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
It isn’t unusual for artists to glean inspiration from emotional upheaval, transcending pain through a kind of mental osmosis, so that the turmoil in their lives provides the fuel for their artistic fire. Only some, however, lay bare the open nerves of their suffering, inviting the listener to experience raw emotion with them, in real time. By exposing vulnerabilities within themselves so fragile that their music itself somehow embodies their own personal discomfort, they create an auditory experience verging on total catharsis, for artist and audience alike.
Emma Ruth Rundle is just such a musician. Her second solo album, Marked for Death, mines feelings of loss, defeat, heartache and self-destructiveness to emerge with the most honest and compelling accomplishment of an already prolific career.
A more adventurous production than 2014’s solo debut Some Heavy Ocean, the eight compositions on Marked for Death emphasize dynamics and vocal melodies, variable tuning, and a dense layering and texturing of guitars. Nevertheless, fear and self-doubt linger in the shadows of Rundle’s mind, providing an incessant counterpoint to her ambitious talent and sultry, albeit de-emphasized, allure.
As she explains, “There is intentionally nothing to hide behind here, but at the same time I’m terrified of revealing myself.”
Clarifying this she continues, “The subject matter is largely about being defeated and shrunken into the base human themes of love and loss. It’s a far cry from high art. It’s very much from the dirt.”
Exemplified by the candid, unglamorous cover portrait, the album makes a persuasive argument for its creator’s utter helplessness in the shadow of defeat. And though a potent dose of dark, hypnotic rock every bit as satisfying as her work with Marriages and Red Sparowes, Marked for Death’s most resonant element is Rundle herself, settling-in to her role as singer/songwriter. Her rich voice, alternately jostled and cradled by the sounds conjured from her guitar, feels more present, perhaps even more deliberate, than ever before.
Written over the space of a few months holed-up at The Farm, Sargent House’s desert outpost/recording studio outside Los Angeles, the songs on Marked for Death reflect the investigative, occasionally improvised nature of writing and, eventually, recording at the site. The studio’s dirty electricity necessitated going direct for most of the guitar tracks.
“Because of the direct input set up,” Rundle explains, “I had a lot more time to get very textural with the electric guitars, so there are many layers.” With unlimited time and space, discovery itself became part of the songwriting process. Complemented by the timeless, cinematic lens of the album’s production, Marked for Death finds Emma Ruth Rundle emerging as a performer of naked intensity. She shapes vast, evocative landscapes of sound, combining them with lyrics of devastating candor. Self-determination and resiliency, disguised in this case as coming to terms with overwhelming defeat, are key aspects of her personality. Transforming pain into works of great beauty makes her the compelling artist she is.
Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door. Doors open at 7:00 pm and showtime is 8:00.