Music Hall of Williamsburg
Crystal Fighters, Is Tropical

Crystal Fighters

Is Tropical

Icky Blossoms

Wed, May 23, 2012

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

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$15 advance / $18 day of show

Sold Out

This event is 18 and over

Crystal Fighters
Crystal Fighters
If you’d spent the last few years of your life wrapped up in an album like Star Of Love, you’d go looking for a little respite, too. Crystal Fighters’ debut was the product of minds made manic by a deluge of fresh experience, both in the studio and on the road. It was inspired by an opera written by a man whose sanity disintegrated before he could finish it. It seemed to be influenced just as much by traditional Basque music from the 18th century as it was modern-day clubland, and contained residual traces of every genre, scene, style or party that had existed in-between.

But if album one was the sound of haywire electronic loops frantically kept spinning like plates on sticks, then album two is the story of Crystal Fighters mastering control of those rave repetitions, withdrawing from the chaos of the club to carve their music into the shape of songs.

To write the album, Crystal Fighters retreated to the Basque hills that they consider to be their spiritual home. Their music has always born traces of the local sound –traditional instruments like txalapartas and txistus vying in the mix with razor’s edge guitars and percolating techno synths – but the purpose of this mission was different. Immersed in their creative cradle, they wanted to tap into something beyond their immediate experience, to uproot themselves from temporal bounds in order to write timeless songs.

These methods proved to be spectacularly successful – Crystal Fighters wrote Cave Rave in its entirety during this two-month spell. There followed a quick detour to Los Angeles to produce the tracks, but after this it was still the songs written in the Basque country that remained most audible – only now the melodies found there had been sharpened into hooks, songs exploded into towering anthems. This revelatory process also exposed the band to a new way of thinking: a realisation that even the cultures they considered traditional are comparatively new. The album draws deeper into universal, history-permeating themes of love, death, insanity and hope; using Basque culture as a stepping stone backward to the spiritual and primal.

The musical influences have widened too. Star Of Love was a manic, genre picking rush yet Cave Rave expands the sound palette even further. The beating hearts of Hispanic and African dance and Mexican electronic music 3bal now sit alongside folk and psychedelia, each artfully interpreted and united by the band’s unconfined vision.

If Crystal Fighters have surrendered to the power of the song, they haven’t run up the white flag in terms of energy. What’s here is still an adrenal rush, and there is an awful lot here: the grandstanding of American road rock, the sweat of disco, the fervent initiative of punk, the house of Iberian twilights that anticipates everything coming very soon, all at once. What’s changed is Crystal Fighters’ ability to control those surges – and as such Cave Rave feels a considerably more thoughtful and contemplative album than its predecessor.

Nevertheless, it has at its heart the same tension that provides all great records their emotional traction. Sebastian Pringle, Gilbert Vierich, and Graham Dickson are the three core members of Crystal Fighters, around whom a larger cadre of vocalists and instrumentalists revolve. They’re the kind of people whose brains seem to be bubbling pots, all intensely preoccupied with anthropology, time travel, spirituality and their place in the universe, even as they’re attempting to create the kind of cohesive sonic pieces that really connect and move people. They seem passionate about creating music that can make people dance, but that is equally adept at finding its way beneath a listener’s skin.

With Cave Rave, they Pringle, Vierich and Dickson have managed just that. The melodies, hooks and refrains of the album are so compelling it’s almost as if Crystal Fighters had to devise them simply to navigate a way across the landscapes of their own avid genrelessness, to remain as masters of music that itself seems to be a disputed territory. Here you have a band hell-bent on locating their own musical heaven, a place beyond petty genre parameters, where all that remains, finally, is song, rhythm and sentiment, bursting in vivid colour from the dark of the silent Basque night.
Icky Blossoms
Icky Blossoms
Hailing from America's center, Omaha-based Icky Blossoms formed in the blizzard of 2011 through friendship, trials and a mutual desire to make art and new music. A brainchild born from the boredom of sitting still. Guitarist and vocalist Derek Pressnall met Icky Blossoms vocalist Sarah Bohling and lead guitarist Nik Fackler in the vibrant Omaha art scene and invited them to play in his band Flowers Forever. Enchanted by endless nights in clubs and inspired with a desire to program dance music with instantaneous grooves and depth, Pressnall, an acclaimed visual artist, and Fackler, a spirit-award nominated filmmaker, combined with Bohling's mesmerizing voice and formed Icky Blossoms.

Icky Blossoms combine bass-heavy electronic grooves, pop structure, and a rock & roll swagger to pioneer a sound on the audio vanguard: music that is simultaneously avant garde, catchy and danceable. Their music spans from the anthemic to the introverted, chronicling the twists and turns of the human condition. Nodding to great sub-genres of the past, while creating songs firmly propelled into the future. Each band member arrives at the group from distinct musical backgrounds and collectively cite varied influences including contemporary pop, electronic, hip hop, experimental, no wave and world music. When Derek, Sarah, and Nik each input their particular inspirations they create a final product that is not only wholly unexpected, but greater than the sum of its parts.

Icky Blossoms' sound and explosive live shows caught the attention of Omaha's distinguished Saddle Creek, which has since signed the trio to release their debut LP. The self-titled album, produced by Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio, is slated for a July 17, 2012 release and features tracks that range from "Perfect Vision," an experiment based around trunk thumping low end and chainsaw guitars, to "Babes," which was lauded by Rolling Stone as a "girl-power dance anthem." Other standout tracks include "Heat Lightning," with its hypnotic arpeggiated synths, electro pulse and sirenesque vocals; the more raucous "Sex to the Devil," featuring futuristic synth lines and esoteric lyrics; or "Temporary Freakout," a classic pop song within an unconventional structure.

With a strong emphasis on DIY, the trio plans to integrate all their artistic abilities into the band, able then to better connect with those who choose to follow their creations or attend their live shows. Imbued with a celebratory atmosphere, their concerts have grown to be conduits for personal expression and individual creativity for everyone in the room. Loud, sweaty and out of control, the edge of their music and personalities combine with the hooks of their pop songs, creating a show which is one side dance party, one side mosh pit.

By brazenly denying to be subservient to a single genre or medium, Icky Blossoms is set to garner the attention of a truly diverse audience and make a lasting impact on music to come.
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/