Weyes Blood

Weyes Blood (10:00 PM)

Jackie Cohen (9:00 PM)

Thu, June 13, 2019

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $22.00/ DOS Tix $25.00

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This event is all ages

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Weyes Blood - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Weyes Blood
The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down—there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising (out April 5, 2019 on Sub Pop Records), Weyes Blood (a.k.a. Natalie Mering) has, too, designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she intriguingly plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist.

Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.”

“An album is like a Rubik’s Cube,” she says. “Sometimes you get all the dimensions—the lyrics, the melody, the production—to line up. I try to be futuristic and ancient at once, which is a difficult alchemy. It’s taken a lot of different tries to get it right.” As concept-album as it may sound, it’s also a devoted exercise in realism, albeit occasionally magical. Here, the throwback-cinema grandeur of “A Lot’s Gonna Change” gracefully coexists with the otherworldly title track, an ominous instrumental.

Titanic Rising, written and recorded during the first half of 2018, is the culmination of three albums and years of touring: stronger chops and ballsier decisions. It’s an achievement in transcendent vocals and levitating arrangements—one she could reach only by flying under the radar for so many years. “I used to want to belong,” says the L.A. based musician. “I realized I had to forge my own path. Nobody was going to do that for me. That was liberating. I became a Joan of Arc solo musician.”

The Weyes Blood frontwoman grew up singing in gospel and madrigal choirs. “Classical and Renaissance music really influenced me,” says Mering, who first picked up a guitar at age 8. (Listen closely to Titanic Rising, and you’ll also hear the jazz of Hoagy Carmichael mingle with the artful mysticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the monomyth of scholar Joseph Campbell.) “Something to Believe,” a confessional that makes judicious use of the slide guitar, touches on that cosmological upbringing. “Belief is something all humans need. Shared myths are part of our psychology and survival,” she says. “Now we have a weird mishmash of capitalism and movies and science. There have been moments where I felt very existential and lost.”

As a kid, she filled that void with Titanic. (Yes, the movie.) “It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology,” she explains. Mering also noticed that the blockbuster romance actually offered a story about loss born of man’s hubris. “It’s so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization.” Today, this hubris also extends to the relentless adoption of technology, at the expense of both happiness and attention spans.

The track “Movies” marks another Titanic-related epiphany, “that movies had been brainwashing people and their ideas about romantic love.” To that end, Mering has become an expert at deconstructing intimacy. Sweeping and string-laden, “Andromeda” seems engineered to fibrillate hearts. “It’s about losing your interest in trying to be in love,” she says. “Everybody is their own galaxy, their own separate entity. There is a feeling of needing to be saved, and that’s a lot to ask of people.” Its companion track, “Everyday,” “is about the chaos of modern dating,” she says, “the idea of sailing off onto your ships to nowhere to deal with all your baggage.”

But Weyes Blood isn’t one to stew. Her observations play out in an ethereal saunter: far more meditative than cynical. “I experience reality on a slower, more hypnotic level,” she says. “I’m a more contemplative kind of writer.” To Mering, listening and thinking are concurrent experiences. “There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies,” she says. “In my mind my music feels so big, a true production. I’m not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I’m in the studio. But it’s never taking away from the music. I’m just making a bigger space for myself.”
Jackie Cohen - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Jackie Cohen
Hi, my name is Jackie Cohen and I’ve got a new record. The title is Zagg, a nickname I picked up in high school as some dumb Kerouac-related joke (I actually remember but I don’t want to tell you), and also a word that means “a sharp change of direction.” I chose it for a number of reasons.

First and foremost: it’s gonna look tight on an embroidered hat. As the famous adage goes, “Lead with your merch!” Next: Zagg is me, my name, and this record is my first real, intentional, nearly unabashed step toward being myself confidently out in the world. Here I am! Here are my songs. Finally: making this record was truly a “life zagg” for me. I quit my marketing job. I quit my teaching job. I quit my sausage sampling at the mall job. I started taking my meds as directed. This is my SSNRI record. I’m reflecting instead of spiraling. Got my egg cracked a few times but I’m landing sunny side up. Like the Bridge of Avignon, I am partly destroyed but quickly rebuilt. I’m in cahoots with the Avengers of record-making. Still not perfect, but what’s so sexy about perfect? The intrigue’s in the pockmarks. This record is extremely fun.

Zagg is a Jonathan Rado + Matthew E. White co-production. We played X-Files on mute for the entire two weeks we spent tracking with the Spacebomb House Band. We all got the flu. Two among us came down with foot & mouth disease (won’t name names). The playing and production is bright and beautiful across the whole grab-bag of love songs, laments, self-mortifications, meditations on sunscreen, hammer-anvil jams, and kit v. kit double drum cardio smash-bros looney tunes suicide pursuits. Don’t get me started on Trey Pollard’s freak-of-nature string arrangements.

Here’s my friend Eric Deines describing the record:

“More than one of Jack’s many nicknames, Zagg is also a shout out to her uncanny ability to select an unanticipated word or musical flourish, her disarming poetic acumen, her ability to zoom in and out at lightning speed and spin a phrase into a mantra, or the opposite of a mantra. Each song on this record is its own unique little world, keeping a listener delightfully off-kilter throughout the entire affair. Opening track ‘FMK’ operates likes a sonic thesis statement. For a quiet moment, Jackie’s confessing her recurring mother-in-law dreams and initiating a sudden-death round of Fuck Marry Kill. Then on a dime she somersaults into rocket-pop posture, ready to cut loose and head to the movies with her best boogie-boy: ‘Let’s go to the movies and dance a little…you can share my Twizzler…Let’s go to the movies, you can dance at the movies!!!’ The charging, industrial pop of ‘Get Out’ is augmented with punching strings that are both lovely and foreboding. In the lithe, Rickie Lee Jones-nodding ‘Yesterday’s Baby,’ a giant foot-shaped cloud looms in the mouth-shaped sky and Jackie gets microscopic — ‘Why don’t you just let it burn out/Toss that glass of wine out/Stamp that Camel Light out/Shut your mouth up shut up your mouth.’ After a few more dances, deep diaphragmatic breaths, and Blood on the Tracks winking ballads, knock-out marathon track ‘Keep Runner’ gives it straight to some Wile E. Coyote tomfool who’s out getting his butt blown up again.”

The energy of the record, I think, comes from finding out Patti Smith didn’t make Horses until she was 29. Extremely influential Wiki experience. Oh, and Adam Green, my all-time favorite songwriter and artist, painted me looking like a doctrinal seer peering into a cartoon mirror. If nothing else in my life pans out? Beans! Navy, pinto, and cannellini. I don’t care. Peace has found me. Here’s the record. Listen hard. Read the signs. Pack a lunch. Enjoy.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change