Active Child

Active Child (10:15 PM)

Lord Huron (9:15 PM)

Annie Stela (8:30 PM)

Thu, May 31, 2012

8:00 pm


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This event is all ages

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Active Child - (Set time: 10:15 PM)
Active Child
For Pat Grossi of Active Child, the last two years have been nothing short of enriching. Musically, Pat has worked within and appropriated a number of styles into his sound, from his early days singing with that heavenly voice as a choir boy to his more recent forays into laptop-assisted indie-pop made in his bedroom, best exemplified on 2010’s acclaimed Curtis Lane EP. His sound is so wide-ranging that he has found himself touring with many notable acts of differing genres, including dubstep producer James Blake, dreamy synth-pop of School of Seven Bells, and the indie-rock bands White Lies and White Rabbits.

Nothing quite prepares you for the leap that Pat has taken with his debut album, You Are All I See, out on August 23rd via Vagrant records. Recently, he has expanded his sonic ambitions and turned the studio into an instrument for a record that sounds cosmically huge and yet intimate all the same.

Of the album title, Pat himself says, “You Are All I See is an attempt to build a bridge between the listener and I, in that, I wrote these songs for you as much as I did for me. And right now when you are listening to my voice, by yourself, it really is just you and I.” In attempting to craft songs that meant something not only to himself but that could be meaningful to others as well, he found himself working with some universally human and fragile themes. “The songs focus primarily on the joy and heartbreak of relationships, love lost and rediscovered, battles with monogamy, battles with identity,” Pat says. “It came out much darker than I had intended, but sometimes you only have so much control.”

The grand, cinematic scope of Pat’s artistic vision is apparent on You Are All I See, which owes as much to his wide array of influences as it does to Pat’s own knack for employing these influences in fresh, forward-thinking ways. With triumphant synths and shimmering, contrapuntal harp lines, songs like the title track and “Hanging On” are reminiscent of Radiohead’s “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” but improve upon that template with layered vocals not far removed from Bon Iver or even James Blake, who Active Child recently opened for on tour. “High Priestess” and “See Thru Eyes” are stunning forays into electronic music territory, littered with samples, drum machines, and keyboards that propel the songs forward while simultaneously seeming weightless and suspended. It is in this tension that You Are All I See lives, breathes, and thrives so magnificently. The album is indebted to the sounds of the 1980s, from New Order’s drums-and-synths to danceable hip-hop beats, and it’s all topped off with soaring r&b melodies. The album’s first single, “Playing House,” features guest vocals from Tom Krell, the crooner of lo-fi r&b project How To Dress Well. Pitchfork Media recently premiered the track, noting “Active Child’s sound now seems positively ahead of its time.”

Reflecting on the album’s finished product, Pat says “I think more than anything, I see this debut release as a bridge towards something bigger and truer. Something I can look back on and think, ‘damn, you really did it’.” When you finally hear You Are All I See you’ll think the very same thing.
Lord Huron - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
Lord Huron
In the spring of 2010 Ben Schneider traveled easterly from Los Angeles to Northern Michigan. He spent a week at the site of his childhood retreats: the shores of Lake Huron. It was there he set to work developing a batch of songs and a week later, the first Lord Huron EP was complete. He named the recording, Into the Sun.

Upon his return to L.A., Ben set to work putting a band together. He called on his percussion-playing childhood friend Mark, who was in Nashville after performing for a time in the Caribbean. Mark swiftly packed up his drums and other gadgets and drove across country to California. The boys then recruited the rest of the Mighty Band, each of whom hail from Michigan.

Lord Huron's music is an auditory travelogue. Evocative of many places, but tied to none in particular. Lush harmonies inspired by Calypso singers, folk traditions and the American frontier fuse with modern experimentation to create the distinctive sound.
Annie Stela - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Annie Stela
I can still remember when my parents brought a newly-born Annie home from the hospital. I stood above her, gazing down at her in her crib. And, briefly… oh so briefly… the thought crossed my mind to take the pillow from behind her head and smother her with it.

Boy, am I glad I didn't! Because then the world would have been robbed of some seriously sweet tunes.

As a child, Annie was always singing, always writing, always creating. She wore out her copy of Really Rosie. Seriously, no young girl growing up in the late '80s should be that obsessed with Carole King and Billy Joel. It was a little... weird. And as her older brother, it was up to me to constantly remind her of her weirdness.

Years later, every day after school, while I'm in the family room trying to get my Sega Genesis on, there she is banging away at the piano. Or off in her room, writing poetry. Which I made fun of, obviously, feeling honor-bound to do so. In high school and early college, she was always performing, always in bands, pushing out there, finding her voice. It was immediately apparent she should be the lead singer - that her songs should be the ones the band was playing. And making fun of her…it just wasn't what it used to be. Maybe I was starting to be a bit impressed, not that I would ever have let on.

At the age of 22, Annie moved to Los Angeles and promptly got a deal at Capitol Records. I started thinking maybe I'd been playing this all wrong.

Shortly after signing with Capitol, Annie came to New York, where I lived, to play a show. Having not seen her play in a couple years, this was a revelation for me. The leap had been made. This was no longer a young girl writing her journal into song form. This was a songwriter. Who was this person? This adult who was so good at her craft, with such clarity of expression, writing about heartbreak and growth. Where was my little sister? Clearly, I had not been paying attention.

After recording her debut album Fool, Capitol Records went through a difficult merger. Seeing the storm clouds gathering, Annie left Capitol, taking her LP Fool with her, and releasing it independently and on iTunes. Leaving Capitol was of course a blow though in important ways it was a gift. It gave her the freedom to develop as an artist on her own terms. The result was music that was stripped down, more elemental, while still retaining that classic pop sound.

Our mother once told me three of the hardest things to go through in life are a relationship ending, moving, and losing your job. Annie writes often about two out of three of these (she's never had a real job). Annie's music is very much concerned with growing up. Not from the perspective of a teenager going through it, but from the perspective of an adult who has survived it and still bears the scars. That's what makes the music so universal. If you're a teenager going through this stuff, you feel comforted. If you're an adult, you listen and the feelings come flooding back. She's always been an old soul. I can only assume this is due to the torment I put her through during the early years of her life. Yeah, I'll take the credit.

After the release of two successful EP's (Hard City/Little House) of original music last year, Annie was chosen by Macy's as the inaugural artist in their American Rag series supporting independent and emerging musicians. Macy's combined the two EPs into one album and distributed physical copies of the album to customers in their stores this past summer.

Next, Annie set out to do a covers album. The idea was to do an EP of songs by artists with the same first name. Naturally, she settled on the name 'Gary.' After a couple hours of realizing there are no good musicians named Gary, she moved on to her second choice 'William.' Ah, so much better. Billy Idol, Billy Joel, Billy Squier and, of course, Willie Nelson. The collection of covers does what good covers are supposed to do. You hear these songs in a new way, filtered through a new voice. She devours the originals, chews them up and spits them out new. They come out sounding like Annie Stela songs, through and through. And you have never heard Billy Idol like this.

The days of me becoming Annie's "business manager" and embezzling huge chunks of money from her are so close I can taste them.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change