Music Hall of Williamsburg
Caveman, Frankie Rose

BrooklynVegan Showcase

Caveman

Frankie Rose

Fort Lean, Hume

Fri, June 15, 2012

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

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$15

This event is 18 and over

Part of Northside Festival

Caveman
Caveman
You can only go so far on cool points alone. Since Caveman first formed in 2010 they’ve claimed a spot for themselves at the center of the New York music scene, become in-demand DJs, toured the world (sharing stages with The War on Drugs Jeff Tweedy, and Weezer), and gotten love from everyone from Pitchfork to the New York Times. Now the band–Matthew Iwanusa, lead guitarist James Carbonetti, bassist Jeff Berrall, keyboardist Sam Hopkins and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Prescott Clark–is aiming higher.

Caveman is done being an indie rock band playing for indie rock fans alone. They have their sights set on bigger goals, so on their third time around they made their biggest-sounding album yet.

Otero War was created over the course of three years, completely inverting the ramshackle methods used to make 2011’s CoCo Beware and their 2013 self-titled LP. This time frontman Matthew Iwanusa has taken the wheel of the creative process, bringing to it a level of patience, precision, and quality that exceeds anything he’s ever done before. Iwanusa wrote most of these songs in the back of tour vans with a laptop and a portable keyboard, then spent years rewriting, examining every part to make sure it was exactly right, and eventually abandoning an album’s worth of insufficiently killer songs before hitting the studio with the band. There the group refined the songs even further, filling them out with arrangements that bring together their distinctive musical personalities into one united whole, showing off the seemingly effortless collaborative energy that only comes with years of hard work.

It was more work, but worth it. The result is a whole new Caveman: The songs are stronger and more spacious, with carefully constructed melodies and a more judicious use of folksy four-part harmonies and washes of synthesizer pads, leaving more room for Iwanusa’s instantly memorable vocal parts. Iwanusa’s lyrics have also evolved from vaguely sketching a typical twenty-something’s romantic frustrations to examining larger, more broadly existential matters, like figuring out your place in the world.

While Iwanusa’s stepped further out front as a songwriter, arranger, and singer, Otero War is still a group effort made with contributions from the band’s entire unofficial extended family. Albert Di Fiore, who engineered their last album, returns with an expanded role to produce. Iwanusa’s father contributes string arrangements. Longtime friend and New York punk-scene legend Johnny T, who over the years has employed members as bartenders and DJ’s at his bars, helped the band get signed as the first rock act on Cinematic Music Group, home to rappers Joey Bada$$, G Herbo and Cam’ron.

Otero War is clearly the most mature album the band has created, but that doesn’t mean it’s a drag–in fact it could be the most fun music they’ve made so far. Iwanusa’s singular vision of blending Springsteen and Wilco’s polished roots rock with the soaring emotional drama of Tears for Fears and the Human League has never seemed clearer, or stronger. From the buoyant vocal melodies that make the opening track “Never Going Back” take flight, to the hip-shaking rhythms that hold up “Life Or Just Living” (which Matt calls his best song yet), to the contagious, triumphant mood on standout cut “Lean On You,” the album overflows with the joyous energy of a songwriter and a band finding their stride and flexing their newfound power for the first time. You can hear them enjoying the freedom from the confines of the expectations that have surrounded them until now, and looking out at a much bigger world to conquer.
Frankie Rose
Frankie Rose
After spending years as a major presence in Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, Frankie Rose relocated to her familial home of Los Angeles for 18 months with the intention of establishing yet another moment in her storied indie rock métier. Gradually, she found herself short on sleep, funds and optimism. "I moved to LA, drama ensued and I ended up on a catering truck. I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music. I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done."

Through sleepless nights of listening to broadcaster Art Bell’s paranormal-themed archives, Frankie’s thoughts had turned to "who am I, I’m not cut out for this business, it’s not for me." She continues, "I was literally in my room in L.A., not knowing how I was going to get out. But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do – regardless of the outcome."

Towards the end of her time spent in Los Angeles, Frankie reached out to Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, Violens) and began sketching what became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. Then, rather fortuitously, Frankie ended up back in Brooklyn with the realization that "in the end, I’m on my own. I have to do these things on my own."

The months that ensued meant basically working with no budget and finding ways to record in-between days. This time enabled Frankie to experiment musically with a variety of people that ultimately changed the way she worked. "I got a lot of input from people like Dave Harrington (Darkside), who was helpful reconstructing the songs, adding dynamics and changing up the rhythms."

The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. "My references aren’t just music," says Frankie, "I love old sci-fi. They Live is one of my favorite movies ever, same with Suspiria. 80’s sci-fi movies with a John Carpenter soundtrack, with silly synths – that makes it into my file, to the point that I’ll write lyrics incorporating that kind of stuff. It’s in there."

Beginning with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets," the song’s refrain of "a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time" immediately alludes to those darker circumstances that led to the creative origins of Cage Tropical."It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn," says Frankie. "Misery turned into something good. The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made"

"I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst-case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record."
Fort Lean
Fort Lean
A voice that sounds as pepperminty as it probably smells is the initial reel for Fort Lean, but their urgent riffs and persistent groove make their take on pop laced with Americana totally infectious.
Hume
Hume
Hume is an experimental vibe band from Washington, DC. In full form Hume kicked off in 2008, the constantly metamorphosing product of guitarist/bassist/composer Britton Powell's high school philosophy class daydreams and basement-recording sessions. In these early days, Hume was hard to pin down. One minute it was a solo-project, the next it was a group of free-form improvisers, then a string quartet, and finally a full-fledged band performing expansive art-rock in a giant 12 foot octopus-shaped sculpture. One touring line-up of the group featured two drummers, two basses, and three saxophones performing a single 30-minute through composed piece that Powell wrote during a six-month trip to India. Whatever was going on, it was always interesting. Now settled into a quartet, the group is inspired in equal parts by James Brown's touring band and the art rock titans of yesteryear. After a year of cloistering themselves in a group house basement for rigorous practice sessions—the quartet has found the balance between composition and spontaneity, riding knotty prog-riffs and heavy minimalism into deep transplendent bliss-outs. Every band dreams big, but Hume dreams bigger.
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/