Buffalo Tom

Buffalo Tom (10:00 PM)

The Heavenly States (9:00 PM)

Wed, May 18, 2011

8:00 pm


This event is all ages

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Buffalo Tom - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Buffalo Tom
Buffalo Tom is excited to announce that it will be releasing its eighth studio album, Skins, on February 15, 2011. Produced by the band in their hometown of Boston, MA, and mixed by long-time friends Paul Q. Kolderie (who produced the band’s breakout third album, 1992’s Let Me Come Over) and Tom Polce, Skins is the follow up to 2007’s acclaimed Three Easy Pieces, which brought Buffalo Tom back into the spotlight after a nine-year hiatus. Skins is the first release on the band’s own Scrawny Records via a worldwide partnership with The Orchard, and features guest Tanya Donnelly of Belly, Breeders and Throwing Muses fame singing on the song “Don’t Forget Me.” Besides the standard CD, a deluxe edition will be available with demos and b-sides, as well as a vinyl version with a download card featuring the additional songs. The first song from the album, “Arise, Watch,” debuted this week on Stereogum and can be found HERE.

Skins is everything you want from a Buffalo Tom album – its rock pummels and its ballads ache -- and reminds you why they hold such a strong place in so many people’s hearts, including Jon Stewart, who had the band play on the final airing of his late-night syndicated talk show in the late 90s. Still comprised of the original trio of Bill Janovitz (guitars and vocals), Chris Colbourn (bass and vocals) and Tom Maginnis (drums), the song writing is as sharp and poignant today as it ever was. From the signature interplay of Janovitz and Colbourn’s vocals to the scorching guitars and rolling thunderous drum arrangements, few other bands have been able to master depth and sensitivity at such volumes.

Writer/actor Mike O’Malley, whose star has recently risen higher as a result of his work on Glee, loves the band so much that he asked to write the bio for Skins. In it, he writes of the moment he discovered the band when they released 1994’s Big Red Letter Day:

“Here were men my age making music about things that mattered — how we navigate our lives amidst the messes we get handed and the messes we’ve made -- and they were doing it with an authentic sound that had heft, texture and drive. They did what we want our rock and roll to do -- distill potent observations about life and disguise any sentimentality — eliminate it -- by backing up the observations with guitars and drums.”

He continues:

“And for those who fell for the Buffalo Tom of “Taillights Fade,” “Soda Jerk,” “Tree House” and “Summer,” this document exists, in part to proclaim that Buffalo Tom’s new album Skins is worthy of your attention. It has all the things that Buffalo Tom does well. Songs about situations and subjects that the average human can relate to — with all the gravity you’d expect from a band that still has something to say. Throughout Skins, Buffalo Tom is unafraid to go deeper than the surface layer, and they spend much of this record bringing forth warnings, laments and admonishments.”
The Heavenly States - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
The Heavenly States
The Heavenly States came together in 2002, united by a shared passion for complex and cathartic rock bursting with literate, provocative lyricism. A series of acclaimed albums and a seeming endless capacity for touring – including a landmark 2005 trek to Egypt and Libya – confirmed their status as one of America’s premiere indie outfits, flying the flag for self-determination and intelligent, energetic rock ‘n’ roll.
Oui Camera Oui – the Bay Area-based band’s first release on the new Hippies Are Dead label – follows their highly praised 2008 album, Delayer. After spending much of the year on tour following that record’s release, the band pondered their next move, wondering how best to follow such an ambitious collection. The inspiration struck to attempt an EP, in the tradition of band favorites like Margin Walker, Metal Circus, and oh yes, Magical Mystery Tour.
“We started thinking about the death of the record,” says singer/guitarist Ted Nesseth. “People are broke, their attention spans are waning. We have all these ideas so we thought, let’s just rock out five or six songs, give the EP a rebirth.”
“We’re never short on concepts or ideas,” singer/multi-instrumentalist Genevieve Gagon adds, “so we thought the EP could be a great medium for us – a handful of songs that just fit together. This could be something we carry into the future, releasing a series of EPs instead of writing these epic novels.”
In the fall of 2009, the band headed for Los Angeles, where they produced the record alongside Bill Lefler (Meg & Dia, Low Vs. Diamond, Dashboard Confessional) at his Deathstar Studio. Having fewer songs to record gave them a chance to invest more time on each track, crafting a carefully orchestrated sound enabled drummer Jeremy Gagon to experiment with an array of percussion – including triangle, vibraphone, and other instruments – while Ted and Genevieve were focused on detailed arrangements and intricate vocal tracks.
“We’ve never had the luxury – or the cash – to really try to capture vocal performances,” she says. “We wanted to make it so you can hear all the elements. When things get really orchestral, you can’t always hear everything that’s going on, so we wanted to try and create a kind of clarity.”
After the sessions wrapped, Nesseth flew to Brooklyn to mix the record with John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., The Hold Steady, Kurt Vile), who had previously worked with the band on 2005’s “King Epiphany” single. While in BK, Nesseth arranged for comedian Eugene Mirman to record the EP’s comic epilogue. The States had previously encountered Mirman – beloved for his Sub Pop stand-up collections as well as his recurring role on Flight of the Conchords – while playing a comedy/indie rock double bill in of all places, Fargo, North Dakota.
“I just thought he was ridiculously funny,” Nesseth says, “and made it my mission to become his friend.”
Mission accomplished, Mirman agreed to appear on Oui Camera Oui, offering to record a recitation of the band’s less positive reviews. The result is a somewhat scathing indictment of the sorry state of rock criticism in the blog age, as well as a classically Mirman-esque bit of hilarity.
“He basically embellished what was already there,” Nesseth says. “The reviewer never actually said that we ‘fuck baby wolves.’ That was Eugene.”
Also joining The Heavenly States on Oui Camera Oui is avowed fan Britt Daniel of Spoon, who lends his distinctive vocal stylings to “Berlin Wall.” The band met the Spoon frontman after a 2008 show at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge with The Minus 5, whereupon a rather inebriated Nesseth got up the dutch courage to present Daniel with a copy of Delayer. The following day the band was surprised to receive a message on their Facebook page.
“Britt literally said, ‘I can’t stop listening to this record,’” Gagon says. “And then he invited us to open for Spoon, three nights at The Fillmore. It was like this incredible gift. After that Ted asked him, ‘Do you want to do something on our next record?’ and he said ‘Yeah.’”
Daniel recorded vocal tracks at his home studio, which were then mixed into “Berlin Wall” at fellow Spoon member Jim Eno’s Public Hi-Fi Studio in Austin, Texas. Despite the high-profile guest stars, Oui Camera Oui is very much The Heavenly States’ show. Songs like “Model Son” and “Monster” capture the band’s very essence, an eclectic, multi-faceted approach easily identified by Nesseth and Gagon’s bifurcated harmonies, crafty melodic structures, and a satisfying sense of musical motion marked by wit, intensity, and endless possibility. Nesseth likens the EP as the band’s “‘Theresa’s Sound-world’ moment,” referring to the Sonic Youth track from the 1992 classic, Dirty.
“I don’t know if it’s because I was really stoned in high school,” Nesseth says, “but I thought that song was just the most concise statement of who Sonic Youth were, like, this is the thing that they’d been trying to say forever. They just hit it on the head. I feel like that’s what we did with Oui Camera Oui, only across a group of songs, not just the one.”
Beneath their ebullient hooks, the songs of Oui Camera Oui offer a pragmatic perspective of 21st Century America as a dystopian society on the precipice of moral and economic collapse. Like any protest singers worth their salt, Gagon and Nesseth are loath to pen explicitly obvious lyrics, preferring a more indirect approach encompassing metaphor, cultural critique, and perhaps the greatest weapon in any revolutionary artist’s arsenal, sarcasm. Gagon feels songs like “Monarchia” or the anthemic title track serve an essential purpose in these difficult times, offering a kind of alternative news source to the corporate-owned status quo.
“We’ve played with Mike Watt many times,” Gagon says, “and he often talks about, ‘Why do we keep doing this?’ Well, for us, one motivating factor is trying to be a voice in all this mess.”
In the year since recording Oui Camera Oui, The Heavenly States have kept busy in a variety of ways. In addition to writing songs with Nesseth for the next EP, Gagon has been hard at work penning a screenplay loosely based on the band’s trip to the Middle East, a narrative detailing “what it’s like to be us, in a band, in this landscape. Libya and Egypt figure into it in that I’m distilling the meaning of those experiences, without it being a literal representation of what happened.”
Of course, The Heavenly States’ true passion remains writing, recording, and rocking the road. They plan to tour hard behind Oui Camera Oui, while still finding time to cut another EP’s worth of what Gagon calls “sister songs and responses, the baroque counterpart to this more classical collection of songs.” Having taken their sweet time releasing Oui Camera Oui, the band has adopted a self-imposed deadline, committing themselves to getting the next installment in their continuing series of American songs out before year’s end.
“We don’t do expository, didactic political songs,” Gagon says, “but there is a temporal element to what we do, so it’s important to get it out there when it’s still kind of relevant. I mean, what if Bob Dylan had to wait three years before putting out his records? What would’ve happened to the movement?”

Ted’s Oakland apartment had become a halfway house for fellow Minnesota refugees, but the nest was empty and he was looking for a roommate on Craig’s List. When Jeremy showed up to see the place, Ted and a friend had ordered Chinese food for delivery that they couldn’t pay for, so Jeremy picked up the tab. The rest was history.

It was not the likeliest of pairings, as Ted and Jeremy came from completely different worlds. Ted plays his guitar upside down and backwards because he taught himself to play on his right-handed friends' guitars. Music was an anchor for Ted, who had been drifting and living by his wits and huge personality on the edge of the law and sobriety. Though he didn’t know much about Jeremy when he moved in, Ted was inspired by Jeremy’s drive and musicianship. Jeremy is a multi-instrumentalist who grew up in an offbeat, highly edited version of the "military family" in Virginia and Georgia with his sister and bandmate, Genevieve Gagon.

After a renaming and some line-up changes, THE HEAVENLY STATES’ core formula was finally solidified, with Genevieve sharing lyrical duties with Ted and lending her violin and keyboard skills to the cause. Ted asked Gen to join the band when she had a broken leg. “It was like running down a faun,” he explains. A month into the relationship, they wrote three solid songs together and the music kept coming. Three months in, Ted was cleaned up and the band felt they had a future. Ted and Gen’s musical relationship eventually became a personal relationship and the two were married at a civil ceremony in December of 2006.

With a rotating cast of bassists, THE HEAVENLY STATES released a self-titled full length, followed by another LP entitled “Black Comet” along with a CD single to benefit Moveon.org and a 3-way split 7” with Coldplay and Postal Service.

In between full lengths, THE HEAVENLY STATES, with the help of an iPod for a bassist and a guide named Abdul, became the first rock band to play Libya after Muammar Khadafi and the United States lifted a 30-year travel ban to the country. Still, western music and the band’s proposed tour remained controversial. Local security authorities in Libya tried to intimidate the band out of performing, and they were threatened with deportation. Libyan bureaucrats wanted the band to forego their smaller, public, underground shows for a big UN sponsored show to take place “at another time” courtesy of the Khadafi family but the band didn’t want to participate in a state sponsored censorable event. They were finally able to perform a tsunami relief benefit in the basement of a British diplomat’s home with the necessary cover of the Clash’s “Rock The Casbah.” Word of the tour spread like wildfire and was documented by the likes of Newsweek, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle and many more. The world might soon hear more about this trip, as Libyan-American producer, Jawal Nga, asked the band if he could base a film on the band’s story. “Bruce Willis, Khadafi, 100,000 tons of TNT, a helicopter and an American flag. Can anyone say box office gold?” jokes the iPod bassist’s replacement, Masanori Mark Christianson. Masanori, a Japanese-Korean immigrant who dabbles in cooking and the visual arts, was raised in the same southeastern Minnesota town as Ted, his Mexican-American bandmate, and often wonders how they all ended up together, contributing to a project that was once unimaginable.

Now with the Libyan stint as well as countless US tours and trips to Egypt, Australia and Europe under their belt, the four musicians who make up THE HEAVENLY STATES have entered the studio and have emerged with a new LP entitled, Delayer. For this album, THE HEAVENLY STATES have decided to use their collective studio experience to produce the record themselves, unlike their earlier albums, which were produced by such big names as Jeff Saltzman (The Killers, Two Gallants), Paul Oldham (Will Oldham’s brother and main producer), and John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr, The Hold Steady). Delayer is thick with sonic layers and, as Rolling Stone says of their prior album, “delivers equal parts patchouli-soaked violin and Superchunk-worthy melodies.” Perhaps the band’s hook-laden wall of sound - an approach that shatters the typical indie rock formula - stems from the chemistry sparked by four individuals from completely different backgrounds who have traveled the world and made music together. “This ain’t no pick up band with a leader and hired guns,” says Genevieve, “None of us ever wanted to be a part of something we weren’t really a part of.”

With the release of Delayer, THE HEAVENLY STATES will be doing more of what they know best – hitting the road. “Touring is a great challenge for your body,” proclaims Genevieve, “We’ve done it enough now so that the romance of separation from everyday life has grown up into a permanent veil or some stinky dream that doesn’t wash off. We’ve used our music to get to people and places we wouldn’t have reached otherwise.” Only time will tell what adventures are in store for this “roommate wanted” ad turned energetic rock group.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change