Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dead Leaf Echo's LG Galleon talks Beyond.Desire and the evolution of the band


Dead Leaf Echo, photo by Drew Reynolds (courtesy of LG Galleon)
Brooklyn shoegazers Dead Leaf Echo have much to show for the work they’ve put in this year, with their latest full length Beyond.Desire and its supporting tour attracting scores of new followers for the quartet. Though they tend to maintain a forward-looking disposition, the sheer hype that has built up toward the band’s events this year has given them reason enough to reflect fondly on the album’s pre-release period. As such, Dead Leaf Echo’s LG Galleon and Square Cotton Candy have devised an experiment to travel back to the early autumn and once again look forward to the launch of one of 2017’s top LP’s, Beyond.Desire.
                                                                                                                       

SCC: Beyond.Desire is the first full-length with Dead Leaf Echo’s current, longest standing lineup. Did your tenure playing together make for a smoother or more memorable studio experience than with Thought and Language?

LG: Both Studio experiences were very long and taxing periods of my life that took well over 2+ years. Producing it myself is always challenging. Working with Charlie Nieland on the demos and Al Carlson for the final tracking was very easy, and they make our world of recording much smoother and easier to be in. Also, Beyond.Desire's was quicker for takes (we could usually nail it in 2 or 3) because of our past experiences and [the] current lineup is at its best yet. ​The problem really was finding the right people for the right songs in terms of mixing. Some people seem to deliver different results for different songs and that also made the mastering a very difficult challenge when you have different mixes coming from different platforms and people. 

SCC: The intermittent releases have shown you as a multi-dimensional act, with faster-paced, ethereal A-sides like “Strawberry Skin”, “I Will DoAnything”, and “True Deep Sleeper” backed by a range of dub and industrial tracks. Can listeners expect to hear this dynamic continue on the new album?

LG: The industrial and dub material serves best as one-off b-sides. There's no exploration of that on this full length LP in order to maintain a consistence throughout the album. That doesn't mean that we won't do a full dub or industrial album in the future ;) ​


SCC: What new songs have you felt the best audience response from so far?​ 

LG: All the singles have hit the audience's response. "Temple", Strawberry.Skin" and "Lemonheart" But also that because they have been released to the public so they can sing along and expect them in the setlist. Once the album comes out I'm looking forward to seeing people call out for other songs. ​
Dead Leaf Echo live at Ortlieb's, Philadelphia PA 12/3/16 (Photo by Tom Faix)

SCC: You’ve maintained a rather athletic touring schedule, and yet it seems like there are quite a few additions to the setlist each time you come around. Do you write new material while on the road or just prolifically during the downtime?

LG: Ideally we work on new songs and then we are able to work that into the setlist on the road where we can hone it over time and find out what works best for both us and the audience. ​ I've never understood a band that can write on the road unless they are at some 1% level where every single aspect of you day is taken care of and you could actually function like you are at home. Most of the time we're are running around to get to the next city, eat, soundcheck and catching up with old friends. 

SCC: PaperCup Music is releasing Beyond.Desire after a stint with Moon Sounds Records, who handled the advance singles. What brought you to change labels? Is this a multi-album commitment?

LG: Actually the album is a split between both labels. With Moon Sounds handling the physical side and PaperCup the digital. We are super happy to be with them ​and [to have] their support. 

SCC: With the new album around the corner and your second European tour behind you, your following is now approaching critical mass. At this point, your back catalog consists largely of out of print EPs and singles that are sonically consistent enough to make a listenable compilation. Do you have any interest in taking this approach after listeners soak in Beyond.Desire and start wishing for more?

LG: I really prefer the LP format, but they are so laborious and very taxing budget wise. Releasing EP's and Singles [is] very satisfying because you can turn them around much more quickly and you can relate to this frame of mine or emotional state that you were in because of the shorter time period between creation and release. ​


SCC: The tracklisting of Beyond.Desire is a bit more concise than Thought and Language's. What went into the decisions to narrow down the new material into the final program?

LG: It's a conscious attempt to achieve something under 60 minutes of material for the listener. Doing a double album was a little overzealous especially for a debut. So now that we got that out of our system just trying to do our first standard LP. Lyrical content (themes of desire, want, needs) and musical arcs (tempos and song length) were the decisions made in bringing this material together. 

SCC: How did Dead Leaf Echo come together in its current form?​ 

LG: We have all played in previous bands that were on past bills together over the years in the scene here in NY and Brooklyn. Ana and I have been together for over 10 years thru her previous band Mahogany. Kevin had contacted me about a rehearsal space and also finding a new band. We had recently parted ways with our first drummer so the timing was very on point. ​Steve used to throw these parties in the hood called Fantastic Planet that were so great and that's how we met. 

SCC: At your DJ gigs, do you notice much of an overlap in the crowds with those at your full live sets? How does the pre-show feeling compare?

LG: When we DJ for the most part it's at smaller clubs and bars in comparison to what we play at with the live band. The DJ sets are a way for Ana and I to play the music that we like for our friends and a way to go and promote the band without a lot of work. . It's how we bonded in the first place really, over great music that we both have in common. ​


Dead Leaf Echo will join their peers The Silence Kit, The Morelings, and Hidden Lights on December 9 at PhilaMOCA for this year's touring epilogue.





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Drop Nineteens: An oral history as told by four alumni

Three former Drop Nineteens meet up for the first time in many years 9/20/17
L-R: Pete Koeplin, Steve Zimmerman, Justin Crosby

Hi readers,

This article has been updated with Paula Kelley’s input, more photos, and an interactive map on Boston Hassle. Check back on Square Cotton Candy for some non-Boston related reading at some point after you read the revised and expanded Drop Nineteens story.

-Tom Faix

10/1/18



From the archive: 311's P-Nut talks Transistor

311 in 2011, courtesy of Raspler Management
After breaking into the mainstream with their 1995 self-titled album, 311 “braved on with experimentation” with their dub-heavy follow-up, Transistor, which turned 20 this year. In celebration of this anniversary (or to catch up with a previously promoted goal from their 25th anniversary campaign), Transistor was finally reissued on vinyl after being out of print for decades. In fact, this 2017 release marks the first vinyl pressing of the album in it’s entirely, including the not universally compatible with CD players intro, but their priority this year has been  touring behind their impressive summer smash Mosaic LP, largely produced by Transistor’s Scotch Ralston.

Though, no Transistor live shows took place this year, their 22 song masterpiece was performed in its entirety at their one-off Pow Wow Festival in 2011. The festival was held at Spirit of Suwannee Lake Park in Live Oak, FL at the culmination of their summer tour that otherwise promoted their then-new almost-full length Universal Pulse, which was also performed at the festival. In the build-up to the festival, Square Cotton Candy’s Tom spoke with bassist P- Nut about the making and then-upcoming performance of Transistor. After a few years of being skipped over by the Wayback Machine, SCC is pleased to present this interview originally published in July 2011 on the now-defunct examiner.com.

SCC: Transistor contains your first solo composition on a 311 record, “Creature Feature.”

P-Nut: My only.

SCC: How did you feel during the initial process of bringing your own song to the band, as opposed to collaborating?

P-Nut: Obviously it was a little bit of an exercise in futility. I don’t really like relying on my kind of…If it’s just me writing music it’s either gonna’ be too weird or too simple. I so much prefer, and my career shows it, to collaborate. It’s so much more interesting. It’s so much more satisfying. I know what I’ll come up with. That doesn’t do anything for me, but to bounce ideas off of the rest of the guys in the band…and I stretch them out. I think Nick especially. When he and I work together he wrangles me in, makes me a sane person, and I make him a little more crazy than he normally acts, and I think it really works out well. I think we have a pretty good track record of writing really damn good songs together and what is cool is they end up being on the radio most of the time. I love it.

SCC: Some of the songs from Transistor were not performed until many years after it was released. How does it come together at rehearsal when you go over seldom played songs?

P-Nut: Well, there’s a song on Transistor, called “Tune In”, that we’ve never played live, so…it’s a trip. “Tune In” is a dictionary of riffs and it’s so much fun to play, and it’s very difficult, so I think those things just fell out of the loop. Never got into the mix…we have so many other songs to play. It’s hard to find ones. Some songs get buried and that one has never seen the light of day, unfortunately, which is really a trip.

SCC: How much of a process do you have to go through to get it to sound like you’re ready to bring it on stage?

P-Nut: Two or three rehearsals, just running through it, and then time on your own running through it four or five times. Any song that we took to the studio and pre-produced and perfected in our non-perfect way...it’s still in there. It only takes you a quarter of a second to remember songs for the rest of your life, and as touring musicians, memory is a real kind of an unsung asset that you’ve gotta' have on stage, so it’s in there. It’s really not all that difficult. It’s a little bit of a struggle and people make too big of a deal out of...you know what, I play basketball and jam my finger and people are like, “Oh my God! You use your hands for your living,” and I’m like, “What do you use? Do you use your nose?” We all use our hands…I’m just a guy. My machine I use is an electric bass and I’m lucky enough to play in front of lots of people but, you know, it’s funny. We’re spoiled. We’re totally spoiled and I like calling us out on it.

SCC: Staying humble.

P-Nut: Gotta' try. It’s a struggle. People don’t want you to be, but it’s who I am. It’s who I’ll always be.

SCC: What lyric, on [Transistor], do you feel best represents your personal outlook?

P-Nut: I love the line, it’s in “Jupiter”, Nick says, “I gotta’ say before sales dive, be positive and love your life.” Cause we knew we were making an album that wasn’t gonna’ be a commercial success compared to the blue album. It’s a completely different beast and I think that what’s allowed us to stick around for so long. If we had just made three and a half minute pop songs and filled up albums with that from our career past Transistor in ’97 it wouldn’t be very exciting. It certainly doesn’t seem like it would be as exciting as it is for us now. We can do whatever we want. We can do ballads and super-long, drawn-out songs, and we can do rockers, and we can do funk, and it’s just great. Transistor was our big middle-finger to the people who thought we were gonna’ make blue album number two…we don’t regret it for a second. Longevity is so much more sexy than burning out real quick.

SCC: What were some considerations made deciding to cut Transistor down to a single disc?
P-Nut: Well we wanted to make as much music as people could cram onto one disc and not have to pay for two; like have it be a double album but you only pay for the regular amount of music. It’s a love letter to the people that we knew were gonna’ support us years afterwards, even though it was a musical curve-ball.

SCC: Has a compilation of the unheard Transistor and Soundsystem outtakes been considered?

P-Nut: We’ve got a library of tons of unfinished songs. Yeah, that’s always being considered. I think It’d be cool for the fans to hear the evolution, even if…something got stopped in the making of a song from a classic period of the band, if that is considered a classic period of the band. Yeah, I mean it’ll happen eventually. It’s just a matter of time. [Editor’s note: This materialized with 2015’s Archive boxed set.]

SCC: Now with Universal Pulse, you’re on your own imprint, 311 Records. Would that allow anymore liberty in making that happen, or are those masters controlled by Volcano now?
P-Nut: Those masters are controlled by Volcano as far as I know. The great thing about us being on our own imprint is that live shows from this point on and other little stupid things that we wanna' do, we’ve got a lot more freedom to release music, so look forward to that in the future.

SCC: What caused you to choose Transistor to perform at [Pow Wow Festival]? I know you’ve performed Music, Grassroots, and blue all the way through before. Is it just a natural choice?

P-Nut: Yeah. For me, when the specific came to “we’re gonna’ play another album”, it was we’re gonna’ do Transistor next, because it’s the fans’ favorite. If we’re gonna’ ask them to come out to the middle of nowhere in Florida and hang out for a couple of days in a tent, we better be playing them their favorite music, so it was pretty easy decision to make.

SCC: Any surprises up your sleeves?             

P-Nut: Yes. (laughs)

SCC: Bustin’ out “Damn” finally?

P-Nut: Right, no, no. I think a lot of those really old Omaha songs probably will never get played. I mean, chances are…those have been retired. We played ‘em so much back in Omaha, and we’re such a different band now that it would be hard to reprise some of those. There’s things that are really close to our heart that we’ll get in and out every once in a while, but something like “Damn” or “Push It Away”; those are probably gone.

SCC: You’ve been playing 311 Day for about 10 years now, and now you have the cruise and the Pow Wow. It seems like you guys keep raising the bar of what you’re gonna’ surprise [the fans] with.

P-Nut: Our fans just push us into it. They support us so much…playing something special for them is just great. It’s just so much fun. I think our fans really get into it and our fans are at an age that some of them can afford to, if they’ve got money saved up for a vacation, they can come out on a cruise with us and have the time of their lives, and be with their favorite band…it’s great. I’m so happy that Third Man approached us and said that we had the right fame for it. Man, they were right. We broke records…for alcohol sales on our cruise. It was so much fun…we’re definitely gonna’ do it again.

SCC: Since Transistor there seems to be a pattern of putting out an album with an “er” suffix every six years: Transistor, Evolver, Uplifter. Is that intentional or just a product of what you happened to feel at the time?

P-Nut: It’s just the way the language works. We really like singular word titles most of the time, so for one word to be the descriptive of all this information and all this music it’s gonna' have to take on the suffix of one who does, like farmer: one who farms. It has its own kind of identity like that. You’re making me read way too far into this and I’ve never heard that before. That’s a real good observation. The old one was every other album had a song that was the title of the album and we broke that cycle this time through, which I think is cool. Traditions are meant to be broken.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Noel Gallagher's scissors player has a name and she's brilliant

Le Volume Courbe at New York's Roseland Ballroom, 9/22/08
In the aftermath of a recent Later with Jools Holland taping, avant-pop visionary Charlotte Marionneau has been thrust into the center of a dilated public eye. Her contribution as the scissors player for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds has become a viral sensation, inspiring cheeky Facebook events and providing new fodder to the legendary feud between the Gallagher brothers. However, all the fanfare has inexplicably neglected to mention the brilliant body of work on which she stands, let alone her name. As such, Square Cotton Candy is more than happy to fill in some of the gaps left by other rags.

A recent addition to the former Oasis songwriter and Celebrity Deathmatch contender’s ensemble, French expat Marionneau has spent many years cementing her own legacy as frontwoman and main creative force behind London based group Le Volume Courbe.  Their sound colors outside of the lines drawn by a deep pool of influences ranging from Nico to Cornelius, blending strings, electronics, and acoustic guitar accompaniment in such a way that evokes images of bustling downtown streets and snowy rural expanses within a span of minutes.

In the nearly two decades of their existence, Le Volume Courbe has gone through various iterations featuring such notable talents as Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, The Clientele’s Mel Draisey, as well as My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O’Ciossig and Kevin Shields. The endorsement from the latter arguably served to expand Le Volume Courbe’s audience more effectively than EMI’s lukewarm distribution of their 2005 debut LP I Killed My Best Friend ever did. Indeed, the disc more or less became a cutout bin rarity by the time they were tapped to support My Bloody Valentine on their first American voyage of the 21st century back in 2008.

For all of her brilliance, however, Marionneau isn’t exactly the most prolific auteur. Though a cover of folk standard Freight Train made it to vinyl via UK label Trouble Records in 2007, behind the scenes shuffling resulted in considerable delays for the follow-up Theodaurus Rex EP. Initially cancelled by Trouble and finally released in 2011 via Pickpocket Records (a joint venture between Shields and Marrioneau), the EP essentially served as a teaser for the group’s sophomore LP, 2015’s I Wish Dee Dee Ramone Was HereWith Me.


For their second album cycle, US distribution was picked up by LA based Ring the Alarm Records, though Marionneau and company have yet to cross the pond again. Still, with all of the praise he’s given, perhaps Gallagher will see fit to invite the rest of Team Courbe to open for his High Flying Birds during their upcoming stateside trek. This is most probably just wishful thinking, but for all of the attention Marionneau is getting as the “scissor sister”, this opportunity for her following to grow would be a terrible shame to waste on failing to mention her name.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Weezer: A Tale of Two Black Albums

Which one should see the light of day first?
With Weezer’s 11th proper studio release, Pacific Daydream, set to drop on October 27, loyal fans who stuck with them long enough to enjoy their redemption over the course of the last two albums might find a handful of reasons to scratch their heads at things that shouldn’t be all that surprising.  On the most basic level, listeners who became complacent with the marked increase in quality of Weezer’s recent records may wonder how the bottom could once again drop out with lead singles “Feels Like Summer” and “Mexican Fender”. However, this becomes less of a shock when one takes into account how few artists successfully recover from a mid-career slump and actually give justification to the music press’ obligatory comparisons to their classic period.  Indeed, when adding the latest single “Beach Boys” to the mix, the most surprising thing about the band’s return to vanilla becomes the fact that it’s taken them this long to explicitly glorify the Hawthorne, CA legends in one of their songs.   That being said, the rise and fall of Weezer had already become a tired narrative by the time 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End showed that they could still win over some of the “Matt Sharp or bust” crowd.  As such, an aspect of this album cycle worth paying more attention to is the non-release of a previously hyped Black Album.
Building up to Pacific Daydream’s announcement, leader Rivers Cuomo had mentioned the forthcoming Black Album a handful of times in the press. Speaking to DIY Magazine in April 2016, he predicted the follow up would be “less summer day and more winter night” than the then-newly released White Album. While darker, more mature themes and coarser language were projected, the band ultimately scrapped this pursuit in favor of what became Pacific Daydream. Clear details regarding the quantity of abandoned material, or whether any of it carried over to the official product have yet to surface, but this change of direction should also not surprise longtime fans of the band. After all, a wealth of unused material has been the band’s calling card since at least as far back as when the demoed concept album Songs From the Black Hole was pushed aside in favor of 1996’s now-acclaimed Pinkerton.  A few years later, over 60 songs would be rejected before 2001’s Green Album’s 28 minute program was finalized, with the self-bootleg Summer Songs 2000 representing some discarded highlights that had seen the stage. In a similar fashion, 2005’s platinum Make Believe arose from a stockpile of more songs than Weezer had released to date. Though the sheer quantity of tracks left behind even halfway through their career is staggering,  the group’s productivity still grew to excess even past the 20 year mark, with approximately 250 contenders that didn’t make it past pre-production for their White Album. Clearly, Weezer is a prolific rock band who keep completionists hungry by the change of their moods, but even if they’ve built a brand on color-coding identically titled albums, it is still somewhat baffling why they would begin work on a second Black Album before even releasing the first.
Yes, between the Green Album and 2002’s Maladroit, another Black Album neared completion. At this point in their career, though they had just lost bassist Mikey Welsh (to what were long mysterious circumstances), Weezer was riding high on their first of many comebacks, and were creative as ever. With a heavy touring schedule sandwiching their studio dates,  new material was tested out on the road, like Black Album tracks “So Low” and “We Go Together", as heard on their occasionally bootlegged October 2001 HBO Reverb special. Having momentum on their side, work continued until November 2001, when a tentative 12 song sequence was assembled.  Perhaps the group was unsatisfied with the performances or expected that better songs would appear in short order, but for whatever still yet-to-be-explained reasons, this album made it no further than this step in production. Soon after, in December 2001, work on what would become Maladroit commenced. A majority of the original Black Album songs were also attempted during these sessions, but only two (“Fall Together” and “Do You Want Me To Stay”) would make it onto the released disc.  Fortunately for hungry fans, Maladroit-era Cuomo took great interest how the then-recent popular adoption of the internet could help bridge the gap between the band and their followers, and several work-in-progress demos were leaked from the man himself, including new versions of songs featured on the Black Album. However, by the time Maladroit was released in May 2002, the abandoned Black Album faded into obscurity for good.
Enough time has passed since then for many fans to reappraise Maladroit as a worthy successor to the Green Album and a hidden gem in the storied band’s cannon, though Weezer’s increasingly greatest-hits oriented concerts currently leave all but minor hits “Dope Nose” and “Keep Fishin’” off the stage. The intervening years have also treated listeners to variety of long-lost tunes, including some of Make Believe’s “Fallen Soldiers” on 2010’s Death To False Metal, and a complete (albeit discontinuous) release of Songs From the Black Hole via Cuomo’s Alone series of demo compilations. It’s a testament to how low of a priority for the band the original Black Album is that it wasn’t revisited on the above archival releases, and that no questions were raised when a second Black Album was hinted at in 2016 speaks volumes of the press’ commitment to research on the matter. With enough motivation, listeners today can approximate what the lost record may have sounded like via circulating demos, but between Weezer’s continued productivity and how overdue the deluxe edition of the Green Album is, a proper release of 2001’s Black Album doesn’t seem to stand a chance in the foreseeable future.

Black Album (2001) : 11/3/01 work in progress track list (courtesy of weezerpedia.com)

1. My Weakness
2. Change The World
3. The Dawn
4. Ain't Got Much Time
5. We Go Together
6. Fall Together*
7. Diamond Rings
8. Your Room
9. Living Without You#
10. So Low
11. Faith in the Light
12. Do You Want Me to Stay (a.k.a. Love Explosion)*

*remade and released on Maladroit
#remade and released on the Japanese release of Maladroit



Monday, February 13, 2017

Artist watch: Philly shoegazer's The Virgouts




At Sunday night’s benefit show for the American Civil Liberties Union at Northern Liberties’ Ortlieb’s, Francisville-turned-Fishtown shoegazers The Virgouts finally found their match, opening for fellow Philly-gazers Starterjacket. Formed in Spring of 2016, The Virgouts, up until this point, were more or less an outlier on their bills, having shared the stage with a disparate variety of acts including switchboard electronica at The Fire, and their placement on Saturday night’s skatepunk showcase at south Philly spot The Pharmacy.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Rashad Rastam, bassist Nick Schon, and drummer Ryan Lohbauer, The Virgouts combine a rather unworn list of ingredients to set their brand of shoegaze apart. For one, Rastams’ethereal guitar washes are starkly contrasted by Schon’s surging, fingerpicked basslines that employ no effects. On Schon’s contributions, which display a slick, jazzy influence uncommon in shoegaze at large, Rastam assessed that, “I’m pretty sure that like if it wasn’t for like the basslines we’d be fucked.” Lohbauer also showed awareness for the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, recalling that “[The Virgouts have sometimes] been practicing [when] Nick’s not around, and it’s like ‘what is this?'” Adding to the sense that no cookie-cutters were used in the making of this music are the vocals, as Rastam opts for a raw, punk-seasoned delivery that helps one imagine what it would be like if Sick of It All were not so sick of it all. On stage, the sound-synergy becomes immediately evident, with set opener “Oversized” likely to induce closed eye visuals of a cyberpunk thriller’s obligatory, deleted snowboarding scene.



Still, although their stage act is power-packed, for the time being The Virgouts are among the countless artists whose available recordings leave the energy of their live show substantially uncaptured, making it imperative to see them live for the full effect. Fortunately, this should soon be remedied, as two new releases are on the way for 2017, including their Deaded EP and a yet to be titled full length album. Regarding Deaded, Rastam shares, “it’s gonna’ be a six song EP for sure. The songs that [we played] tonight are going to be on the EP. We recorded it last year, then I moved to Queens so it got a little tied up, but we’re gonna’ put it out this year for sure.” Though it will be directly preceding the album, the EP is slated to contain entirely separate material from the full-length, adding value for listeners. “Our new record’s like gonna’ be 10 to 12 songs. It’s 50% done. We wanna’ put out the EP first though”, elaborated Rastam on the forthcoming releases.


Having just found their way into the Philly’s thriving shoegaze scene, the trio has yet to gain much of a following, but 2017 looks promising with all that is in store, and showgoers owe it to themselves to see The Virgouts while they can still get to the front with ease.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New York's Flower Shows-Off Bouquet of Fresh Tracks at Union Pool

Flower 2/10/17 at Union Pool, Brooklyn, NY (L-R: Ian James, Ed Baluyut, Richard Baluyut)
When bands take the stage after decades of absence, they tend to face a spectrum of polarized opinions. On the open-minded end, loyal fans who simply want to press rewind often crave authenticity in the form of an original lineup and familiar material. Opposite that are the hardliners who will eschew nostalgic retreads to the point that they would rather stand on the roof of the carwash playing washtub bass than attend any comeback show. Fortunately for those who arrived fashionably early to Brooklyn’s Union Pool on Friday night, New York college-rock gems Flower proved that both sides can be met in the middle while still staying far away from the middle of the road.

Flower’s appearance preceded that of The Jason LowensteinBand, whose leader has also performed with Sebadoh and The Fiery Furnaces, and +/- (Plus/Minus) ,who, like Flower, have a noticeable lineup overlap with the more widely recognized Versus. Such billing made it all the more easy for showgoers to mistake themselves for contestants on Guess Who’s Coming to Chickfactor, as within the audience also stood a veritable Who’s Who from the golden age of indie-rock, including Simple MachinesRecords/Tsunami co-founders Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thompson, as well as illustrator Tae Won Yu, formerly of the New York duo Kicking Giant.

For this show, Flower’s original lineup of Ian James (bass, vocals), brothers Richard (guitar, vocals) and Ed Baluyut (guitar), and Andrew Borwdin (drums) played a rather unconventional reunion set, consisting almost entirely of new tracks from their forthcoming album. In fact, the sole representative of their back catalog, Memorial Day (from 1990’s Hologram Sky LP),  came only as something of a favor to a superfan. R. Baluyut explained, “[Lowenstein] was a huge Flower fan as a kid, but he never got to see us ‘cause he was too young. We played with him before, like Versus, but [Flower] wanted to play with him, because I knew he was a fan. Sadly, I forgot that , oh, we should probably play some old songs that he knows, so we did one at the end, Memorial Day, just for him.”

"I think a show is when you’re always moving forward."
-Richard Baluyut

Still, even with 45 minutes of principally unfamiliar material, the Union Pool crowd was in for a pleasant surprise, as the new tracks avoided the pitfalls of most artists entering their second act . “We just recorded them and most of them don’t have words yet, so I wrote words this week, but everyone knows them by the number. We played 6, 2, 8, 9, 14, 17, 5, 20, its all like that”, elaborated R. Baluyut on the fresh songs that evince a natural continuity from where they left off 27 years ago, without the staleness or seemingly forced updating so prevalent in long standing artists’ new work. “It’s  just a project that was kinda’ like a what if: what would happen if we sat in the same room and tried to write new songs, cause it’s like we had this thing years ago but let’s see if we still have it, and we discovered that we do, and then all of these new songs appeared, kinda’ out of thin air”, reflected Borwdin.




Concerning the new record, patience is still very much a virtue, as vocals and other overdubs have yet to be completed, but a true sense of renewal has taken the members of Flower since reforming and, as far as they’re concerned, this is just the beginning. As Bordwin put it, “ we played a few kind of like reunion shows. We played at the Knitting Factory, we played at the Bell House, and we played at the Cake Shop, and that was just kinda’ like looking backwards, and this is all about looking forwards. We wanna’ play more shows, and we wanna’ find a home for this record at some point. We gotta’ finish it first, but it’s kinda’ about rediscovering something, and you know, it’s kind of an experiment, and everybody’s along for the ride.”