Monday, August 9, 2010

Manic Productions and Ampeater Music Present: Twin Sister and Memoryhouse

This post syndicated from Ampeater Music
On August 10th, Ampeater Music is teaming up with Manic Productions to bring Twin Sister and Memoryhouse to New Haven, CT. While Ampeater was conceived in New York City, our writers are scattered across the 5 boroughs and around the world--South Korea, Philadelphia, and even Connecticut (that's me). My biggest concern in making the move from the big city out to what in comparison seemed like a provincial community of subsistence farmers, was whether I'd be able to continue seeing live music with the same frequency as I had in New York. As it turns out, not only is there plenty of good music to be had, but concertgoing is actually more enjoyable up here than it ever was in New York. Since the market for promising independent music isn't completely over-saturated, the listening public actually gets excited about shows. The venues are smaller and more intimate, which means that I don't need to show up an hour early to secure a decent spot. Plus, the artists usually hang around and chat up fans, which as a music writer is pretty convenient. The reason this all exists is largely thanks to a fellow named Mark Nussbaum, or "Manic Mark," who runs the best local booking and promotion agency, Manic Productions. Their goal is to "help the best local and regional acts into a brighter spotlight, while proving to national acts that Connecticut is a legitimate and important tour stop by running well organized and promoted, and therefore well attended, shows." That first bit sounds an awful lot like Ampeater's mission to help underexposed artists, and so we got a-talkin' with Manic about doing something in CT. Next thing we knew, we're throwing a bash on August 10th at Cafe Nine in New Haven with Twin Sister, Memoryhouse, and a killer local band (TBA). Sweet!

You all remember November 11th 2009 as an important date, right? Well, that's the date we released Twin Sister's Ampeater 7-inch, which is still available as a free download right here. You might also remember January 8th as a slightly less important date--well, maybe not. That's when the giants over at Pitchfork caught on to Twin Sister and featured their first Forkcast track, which happened to be the B-side of Twin Sister's Ampeater 7-inch. Coincidence? Yes, probably, but we still got there first [basks in warm glow of self-satisfaction]. Ahh, that's the stuff. In his review, Ampeater writer emeritus Jacob Brunner wrote, "Twin Sister are a true pop band’s pop band. There may not be any overt innovations in their music, but it’s so well conceived, so well crafted and, most importantly, so well executed that you’d be foolish not to give their music a serious listen. A-side “Ginger” is a crash-course on everything the band does well. It starts off with a wave of texture so simultaneously diaphanous and huge it feels like U2 hallucinating in a cathedral. Insistent drums pound out a simple rhythm on toms and snare, a tinny acoustic guitar creeps stealthily in the left headphone, a beautifully cheap keyboard holds down the bass line. It’s the element of restraint that makes the track so successful. The marriage of sophisticated textures with streamlined structures makes for an irresistible hypnotic thrust. By the time the guitar stabs creep in towards the end of the verse, you’re almost paralyzed by bliss. Finally the curtain draws back, revealing a chorus like a wave of melodic reverb. At times it sounds like bouncy guitar pop of the Smiths slowed down to the speed of a slow-moving liquid. In a word: heavenly. They wisely ride out the chorus to victory, throwing in a beautiful guitar solo and a goosebump-inducing harmony of the words “I love you.” If it sounds corny on paper, get thee to a listening station and revel in great pop’s transformation of the familiar into the unfamiliar." That listening station would be right here.

With Twin Sister come Memoryhouse, the recently dubbed king and queen of the burgeoning dreamwave/chillwave movement. It's appropriately named--this is music to sit to, to think to, to dream to, and it bodes to be a great pairing with Twin Sister, whose textural approach to pop music is refreshing if not revelatory. The best description of Memoryhouse I've heard to date comes courtesy of Coke Machine Glow, and describes their sound as "a [Brian] Eno vinyl so deep in dust you could mow it." I actually have a couple Eno records with the requisite amount of dust, and the statement above pretty much holds true. This is the kind of show that encourages listeners to tune in and drop out, to let the music work its magic and patch things up from the inside out.

For those of you who call New York City home, New Haven's just an hour and 40 minute ride on the Metro North, and this show's a great chance to escape the summer heat and get out for a bit. I officially offer anyone who needs it a bed/couch/floor at my place and a ride to/from the train station. Seriously.

Ben Heller

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT
$8 - 9:00PM - 21+

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