Music Hall of Williamsburg
The Lemon Twigs

The Lemon Twigs

Simon Doom

Thu, June 1, 2017

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

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$18 advance / $20 day of show

This event is 18 and over

The Lemon Twigs
The Lemon Twigs
Once or twice every generation, Long Island introduces the world to artists of such singular originality that they change the very nature of their art: Lou Reed; Jim Brown; Robert Mapplethorpe; Andy Kaufman. With their debut album for 4AD, ‘Do Hollywood,’ The Lemon Twigs have earned themselves a spot on that list.

Fusing tightly constructed pop, sophisticated orchestration, and British invasion melodies into a ten-song masterpiece, the D’Addario brothers—Brian (19) and Michael (17)—are whipping fans and critics alike into an utter frenzy. NPR hailed them as “fabulously weird,” Brooklyn Vegan raved that “they need to be seen to be believed,” and The Line Of Best Fit dubbed their music “near perfect…the best lo-fi rock & roll anthem you’ll hear this decade.” The Guardian, meanwhile, crowned the album “a triumph of detailed richness and sumptuous melody.”

Born into a musical family, Brian and Michael grew up on The Beach Boys and The Beatles, whose albums and films played constantly in their house. As toddlers, they were already harmonizing on “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and soon they were playing drums and mastering whatever instruments they could get their hands on. Ask about their childhood dreams and they’ll tell you that they never aspired to do anything but make music together. It shows.

“Brian and Michael are two of the best musicians I’ve ever met,” says Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, who discovered the duo via Twitter and produced the new album. “As teenagers, they work like studio vets. Brian can play anything you hand him –¬ he played all the strings and horns on the record – and Michael is the most captivating drummer I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing they can’t do.”

Rado proved to be the perfect foil for the wunderkinds, and the resulting album brings together everything from Brian Wilson and David Bowie to Queen and The Association. Their music can soar like a carnival calliope and then swiftly drop down to its knees in the hushed tones of a confessional booth. Their vocals move seamlessly from a cabaret croon to classic la-la-la harmonies. They mine inspiration seemingly from every era of rock, stitching it all together into a baroque-pop quilt of many colors.

It’s an ambitious approach, to say the least, but the album lives up to the hype. ‘Do Hollywood’ opens, appropriately enough, with “I Wanna Prove To You,” which parades out of the gate like a circus arriving into to town. “I wanna prove to you what I can do,” Brian sings as he and his brother proceed to do just that. Bouncing piano and dense harmonies give way to shifting time signatures and mind-bending arrangements. It’s the perfect introduction to The Lemon Twigs, and to ‘Do Hollywood,’ which features the brothers alternating writing credits on each track and liberally swapping instruments, just as they do in their electrifying live performances (they tour with live members Megan Zeankowski on bass and Danny Ayala on keyboards).

Lead single “These Words” builds from a delicate whisper to a rock and roll roar, while “How Lucky Am I?” tugs at the heartstrings, and “As Long As We’re Together” calls to mind the memorable melodies of Big Star and T-Rex. Perhaps no song demonstrates their brotherly democracy better than “Hi+Lo,” the track unfolding in movements like something off of Abbey Road’s Side B medley with Michael singing and playing guitar, drums, and bass, and Brian adding horns and strings to flesh out the orchestral atmosphere.

“We were crafting these songs pretty intricately,” Brian says. “There’s a lot of care in the arrangements. They’re built to get at people who like nice pop songs. But they’re not empty. We put a lot of ourselves into it and the album has a lot of substance.”

It was that substance that caught the attention of the iconic 4AD label and has already earned the band dates with other critical darlings like Foxygen and Car Seat Headrest. With high profile tours and their label debut on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world discovers Long Island’s next great cultural contribution. Get ready to ‘Do Hollywood.’ It’s time to meet The Lemon Twigs.
Simon Doom
Simon Doom
Simon O’Connor, the man behind the Simon Doom moniker, previously worked with Tommy Stinson of The Replacements on a self-titled EP in 2015. He followed that with Negotiate With the Monkey EP the following year (mixed by Ayad Al Adhamy - Passion Pit, Team Spirit). Still, the new Simon Doom record, Babyman, is a bold step in a new direction for O’Connor that feels like a fresh introduction to the world.

Whether it be his role in more prominent bands like Kuroma and Amazing Baby or taking a comical approach to the lyrics, there was always something O’Connor could point to indicating Simon Doom was ‘just a hobby project’ in the past. Then in late 2015, O’Connor had his doomsday clock officially punched when his wife gave birth to their son. Feeling as though it may be his last chance to go all-in on the project, O’Connor fought through what was a year-long creative drought to come up with 10 songs in just over a month. These songs managed to convey a lifetime of musical experiences, from the DIY punk of O’Connor’s teenage years to the psych-rock bands he’d spent his adult life touring with and the 80’s College Rock and Proto-Alternative that he was listening to a lot of while writing, in one cohesive sound. As a collection, Babyman explores sources O’Connor hadn't been able to fully tap into previously while simultaneously cherry-picking the best aspects of the project’s first two EPs. The result is a beautiful rock record that tackles a lot of concepts both sonically and lyrically without straying too far away from what O’Connor’s ambitions were with the album.

While O’Connor’s is undoubtedly the creative force behind Babyman, his co-producers Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser (both of MGMT) also had a profound effect on the record. As did other collaborators, such as Anni Rossi, Cameron Avery (of Tame Impala) and the other members of Simon Doom’s band. Live, he will be joined by the same band that he has played with since their first show at Glasslands back in 2014. This lineup includes Jim Carroll (Clouds, Pure Love) on guitar and William Flynn (formerly of St. Vincent) on bass, both of whom O’Connor has known since guitar camp when they were all 15-years-old, as well as Will Berman (MGMT, Kuroma) and Brandon Collins (Apse) on guitar and drums respectively.

This is Simon O’Connor’s post-baby record much in the way In Utero was for Kurt Cobain or Smoke Rings For My Halo for Kurt Vile. That sort of perspective can either kill an artist or push him to new creative heights. Babyman undoubtedly puts Simon Doom in the latter category. Look for it this May on Votiv Music.

Photo by Ben Rayner
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/