Music Hall of Williamsburg
Ex Hex

Part of Northside Festival

Ex Hex

Spider Bags, Slothrust

Fri, June 12, 2015

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

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$13 advance / $15 day of show

Sold Out

This event is 18 and over

Ex Hex
Ex Hex
Ex Hex is Mary Timony, Laura Harris, and Betsy Wright. They are a power trio hailing from Washington, DC, making the music you’ve been waiting for. Drums, bass, guitar, P90s, searing leads—this is unapologetic rock ’n’ roll spat out in the discipline’s mother tongue.

Mary found Laura Harris (The Aquarium, Benjy Ferree) and they hit it off immediately. Laura is a monster on drums: intuitive, solid, and just a bit rough around the edges. The pair played together for a couple of months in a tiny carpet-lined practice space shared with half a dozen hardcore bands and what appeared to be the better part of a B.C. Rich Mockingbird.

In walked Betsy Wright from the wilds of Virginia. She and Mary have similar tendencies, both defaulting to denim and The Voidoids. Betsy is a performer and an ace piano player, and before long, she was slinging a cherry SG as the third member of Ex Hex.

The group played a handful of shows and a couple of months later, in the spring of 2014, headed into the studio. Working furiously, they recorded over the span of two weeks in North Carolina with Mitch Easter (Let’s Active) and in the basement of Mary’s home with frequent collaborator Jonah Takagi. Bobby Harlow (The Go, Conspiracy of Owls) was tapped to mix because of his unique take on making rock records.

What results is Ex Hex Rips, twelve songs about underdogs, guys stealing your wallet, schoolyard brawls, and getting bent. The record happens pretty quickly, so don’t blink.
Spider Bags
Between 2006 and 2011, Chapel Hill's Spider Bags toured the U.S. in a countless crisscross, sharing stages with Reigning Sound, King Khan BBQ Show, The Golden Boys, and Titus Andronicus to name just a few. After releasing two excellent full lengths for San Francisco's Birdman records (A Celebration of Hunger, 2007 & Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, 2009), the boys had hit a crossroads.

A heavy touring schedule saw members dropping like flies, with only mainstays/lifers Dan McGee (songwriter, guitar, vocals) and Gregg Levy (guitar, bass) left standing. But invigorated with a batch of brand new songs, they completed the current quartet lineup with mighty Rock Forbes on drums and Steve Oliva on bass.

The quartet packed up a few essentials into a mini-van and headed to their spiritual home of Memphis, TN. They set up shop in the home of engineer and musician Andrew McCalla. In a matter of only three days, the Spider Bags recording session became a non-stop party and impromptu "happening". The band played an in-store at legendary Goner records, a frenetic live show to a capacity audience, and all the while managed to record Shake My Head, sleep be damned. This record is a document of a true rock-n-roll party, where members of Memphis bands and luminaries like Jack Oblivian and Harlan T. Bobo wandered in and out of the sessions to either lay down some guitar or backing vocals or just drink a beer and have a good time. And a good time was had, as you can actually hear on the record itself.

For Shake My Head, Spider Bags have let go- kicking off the proverbial shoes, just going in for the pure fun of it. The result is a phenomenal blend of Beefheartian weirdness, gang vocals, and enough guitars and riffs to make any Reigning Sound, Royal Trux, or Ty Segall fan plenty happy. The songs themselves pull together a schizoid melding of Stax-style-R&B (Simona La Ramona), Brill Building melodies (Friday Night), west coast psychedelia (Shape I Was In ) and 'down on the street' swagger (Quetzalcoatl Love Song). These are the new "nuggets" for the freaks and heads of our technologically muddled/fucked world. Rejoice, brothers and sisters - for rock an roll is alive and well!
Slothrust
Slothrust
With their long-awaited third album Everyone Else, Slothrust deliver ten riveting anthems that reward repeated listens. The songs grab the ear and pierce the psyche with complex arrangements and lyrical depth intensified by guitarist/vocalist Leah Wellbaum’s penetrating vocal delivery.

Slothrust is Wellbaum, Kyle Bann (bass), and Will Gorin (drums). The trio first staked out their unique strain of jazz- and blues-afflicted rock as students at Sarah Lawrence College. The band’s 2012 debut Feels Your Pain, and its successor 2014’s Of Course You Do, established the band as a breed apart, serving up deceptively clever epics that veer satisfyingly between incandescent riffing and pop hooks, winsome anxiety and powerful heft.

“People have always had trouble comparing us to other bands, but someone recently described us as Nirvana meets Wynton Marsalis, and I loved that,” says Wellbaum. Even the band’s name inspires a beat of thoughtful consideration as the eyes take in the letters and the brain makes its snap judgement: Slo Thrust? Slot Rust? Slo Trust? Sloth-Rust.

We all studied jazz and blues, so I often use chords and voicings that aren’t quite as conventional for contemporary rock,” she continues. “Certain harmonic movement can get stale, so I try to incorporate colorful notes to give it more depth. The improvisational spirit of blues music is also something we try to always keep with us, even in more composed playing. I am drawn to musicians a bit further outside of the rock tradition, such as John Fahey, Elizabeth Cotten, D'Angelo, and Portishead. Growing up I listened to a lot of R&B and classical music. And musicals."

While Everyone Else clearly shows Wellbaum fulfilling her early promise as a singer, it’s where she hits her stride as a lyricist: Pulling the listener under the surface to explore a submerged world brimming with exotic creatures. Water motifs abound, detailing oddly off-kilter observations about floating, submerging and drowning that are anything but morose. Instead, they contort and reflect worldly truths about life on dry land.

Nowhere is this vision clearer than on the slow burn of the album’s centerpiece track “Horseshoe Crab.” Here, with storm cloud riffs and Will Gorin and Kyle Bann’s perfectly calibrated rhythmic undercurrent, Slothrust’s erupts in a geyser of emotional and spatial distance, as Wellbaum observes, “I don’t have anything in common with myself, except that I came from the sea, like everyone else did.”

“Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone" opens like some bizzarro world lullaby dispensing sage advice: “Drink seltzer, smoke weed when you can’t sleep. Think about shooting birds, everyone has got a violent streak.” Then, as the guitars explode, the rhythm section dials into stylish, disciplined groove to set up an expansive instrumental break that gently floats to a close with Wellbaum, at peace: “Hold me under the water. My lungs are filling with plankton. But the lake is not lonely. No need for you to come with me.”

Above all the overriding ethos of Everyone Else is its sense of inclusiveness: all people, every feeling, quiet, loud, any time signature. With a snap of the neck the band launches into the hyper-adrenalized “Rotten Pumpkin” with Wellbaum singing in a rapid-fire vomit burst, “I’ll make you sick because I’m soft water. Reach inside of me, and scoop out my seeds.” This midpoint between grunge and art rock is the aesthetic Slothrust elevates: sharp-eyed individualism, serious musicianship, humble intelligence, controlled abandon.

slothrust.com
dangerbirdrecords.com
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/