The Good Life

The Good Life (10:10 PM)

Big Harp (9:15 PM)

Francisco The Man (8:30 PM)

Wed, November 18, 2015

8:00 pm

$15.00

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The Good Life - (Set time: 10:10 PM)
The Good Life
Omaha, NE’s The Good Life returns this summer with their first album in eight years, Everybody’s Coming Down. Call it a soundtrack to Man’s 21st century existential angst, the album poses cosmic queries, contemplates regrets, questions self-worth, and examines the possibility of living in the moment, when memories are all that we truly take with us. And in some ways, that’s the sweet spot front man and lyricist Tim Kasher inhabits: trying to make sense of this world of ours, and how and why we navigate it the way we do.

Everybody’s Coming Down moves in a new direction musically and, in contrast to The Good Life’s earlier releases, is very much a rock record. It is also the first that truly embodies the band as a whole, more so than any previous album. In blending elements of drummer Roger L. Lewis’s love of classic rock, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fox’s chaotic approach to melody, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney’s propulsive yet tuneful bass parts, and Kasher’s deft, complementary song writing, the band sparked a vibrant evolution in sound. The gentler, folk-driven pop/rock for which the band is beloved remains (sonic sister album bookends “7 In The Morning” and “Midnight Is Upon Us;” “The Troubadour’s Green Room”), but it is now mixed amongst guitars lines that unspool in a blaze across songs that hit harder and more viscerally (“Everybody,” “Holy Shit”), as well as moments of distorted psychedelia and moody ambience (“Flotsam Locked Into A Groove,” “Diving Bell,” “How Small We Are”).

The Good Life have never been afraid to switch up their sound, refusing to be ascribed as one thing or another. 2000’s Novena On A Nocturn – recorded essentially as a solo project by Kasher as an outlet for quieter songs that didn’t quite fit with his long-standing band Cursive – was spacious and stirring, glistening with occasional electronic flourishes. 2002’s Black Out saw The Good Life grow into a full band, telling tales of drunken nights and capricious lovers over an evocative blend of electronic and traditional instrumentation. 2004’s Album Of The Year was the first recorded with the now longtime core band of Kasher, Drootin-Senseney, Fox, and Lewis. Hailed by Pitchfork, Alternative Press, NYLON, SPIN, and Time Out New York, among others, this album left behind any electronic touches as it chronicled 12 months of a doomed relationship – and the attendant complex feelings – through strains of soaring pop. 2007’s Help Wanted Nights, conceived as the soundtrack to a screenplay, was a more musically stripped-down affair and presented a bare look at human emotions through characters in a small-town bar.

Following a tour supporting Help Wanted Nights, and save for a handful of June 2010 shows, the band’s four members quietly moved on to other projects without officially saying goodbye, but with the confident assumption that they’d come back together again. Then life, as it does, took over: Kasher moved around the US, eventually settled in Chicago, and released two Cursive albums as well as two solo albums. Drootin-Senseney relocated to Los Angeles with her husband Chris, where they had a couple of kids and formed the band Big Harp, which released two albums. Fox moved to Portland, OR, worked on solo material, recorded with label-mate Jake Bellows, and started a tape label, Majestic Litter. Lewis stayed put in Omaha – The Good Life gleaned its name from Nebraska’s displaced state slogan – and played with bands Conduits and Oquoa.

Kasher began writing songs for a new album in October 2013, and the quartet – balancing their busy lives and multiple projects – reconvened from July to December 2014 to finish writing what became Everybody’s Coming Down. With the help of Ben Brodin in Omaha’s ARC Studios, The Good Life started recording in January of this year and finished the album in their respective homes. The band then turned to John Congleton (St. Vincent, Baroness, Angel Olsen, Cloud Nothings) to mix the album at his Elmwood Recording in Dallas, TX, looking to his experienced hand and uninhibited style to maintain and further realize the album’s untempered, vital sound.

And vital it is: Everybody’s Coming Down might not crack the ever-elusive code to our universal wonderings, but it’ll make you think, illuminate a new or alternative perspective, perhaps salve a lonely ache of isolation. Because we are, ultimately, all in this together – forever coming down.
Big Harp - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
Big Harp
Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (The Good Life, Bright Eyes, She & Him) formed Big Harp in December 2010, after a three-year whirlwind that saw the two meet, have a baby, move halfway across the country, get married, move halfway across the country again, and have another baby. When the dust settled, they holed up in Stefanie's parents' spare bedroom, practiced for a week, and recorded their debut album White Hat, a collection of dusty, low-key folk-rock laced with subtle irony and dark humor.

Understandably for a band that had only existed for a week before recording their first album, and had never played a show, their sound began to change almost immediately. They packed up the kids and hit the road, earning high praise for their surprisingly energetic live shows, where the intimate acoustic-based arrangements they'd recorded gave way to something increasingly complex, ragged and dirty.

In March, 2012, only six months after the release of their debut, Big Harp began working on their follow-up, Chain Letters, bringing in old friend John Voris to play drums. The album finds them moving away from the rustic, pastoral sound of their first album and towards a truer union of their L.A.-meets-isolated-cow-town backgrounds. Built on a foundation of crackling fuzz bass and angular electric guitars and keyboards, the songs on Chain Letters play like a series of character sketches with characters caught between escape and surrender, or poised at that edge where the two become indistinguishable.

Big Harp
Chris Senseney (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (bass, vocals)
Francisco The Man - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Francisco The Man
It took roughly seven years, a teenage instrumental rock band, a debut EP, additions and subtractions, a roller rick and a near death experience to arrive at Francisco The Man. Following a two-year hiatus beginning in 2008, the band relocated from Riverside to Los Angeles, CA, bringing along a new addition, guitarist Brock Woolsey. With the help of Small Plates Records, they released two 7"s, In the Corners and Tiger.



Their debut LP, Loose Ends (released on October 27 via Fat Possum and Small Plates Records) gives the audience a more encompassing look at Francisco the Man. With each song, more and more honesty permeates through the lyrics. "I think the LP shows a broader, more realized, version of Francisco The Man," Scotty Cantino explains. "You can't do that with a single".

From the beginning of the first track, questions and anxieties are the substance. With each subsequent verse and track, they seem to find the answers in themselves. "Even though I write the songs, we really hash them out… Arrangements and parts are formed on the fly. It's constant improvisation," Scotty says. Each song comes in with a certain message, but with a sound that blends garage rock, new wave, and shoegaze, the message becomes enveloped in something complete different.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change