Genre Archives: Concerts

COM TRUISE / NOSAJ THING

COM TRUISE

Com Truise is the nom de guerre of producer and designer Seth Haley, born-and-raised in upstate New York and currently working out of Los Angeles. His synth- and sci-fi-obsessed records are as infectious as they are expansive. From 2011’s Galactic Melt LP to its long-awaited follow-up, Iteration, Com Truise has refined his singular style of melodic beat music. Each piece ties together his ideas of “synth-wave” and “slow-motion funk” amidst a glowing backdrop of rich, nostalgic pathos.

Haleys been making music for over 15 years, dabbling as a DJ and with a number of aliases before locking into Com Truise. Though undoubtedly influenced by his parents’ record collections and old, faded product design, the Com Truise project doesn’t only pull from the past. Hints of Joy Division, New Order, and Cocteau Twins bubble up in every prismatic piece, but it’s as if they’re processed through a waterlogged game consolewarped, cybernetic, and high-definition. Somehow, Com Truise sounds both familiar and uncanny, and always beautifully handmade.

The first Com Truise release was the Cyanide Sisters EP, where mellow zone-outs were juxtaposed with IDM bangers and bumpy, trippy synth-funk. Once Haley joined the Ghostly roster, his tale of the character “Com Truise”, the first robot astronaut, took flight on his debut album, the critically acclaimed Galactic Melt. Multiple EPs and 2012’s In Decay, a collection of B-sides and rarities, expanded the backstory and narrative, taking the AI protagonist through unknown galaxies and war-torn planets. He even finds love and wrestles with heartbreakof course, only in the ways a sophisticated android can.

Six years after this saga began, Iteration finally wraps up Haley’s sprawling narrative, doing so with the most refined music of his career. The album illustrates the last moments Com Truise spends on the perilous planet Wave 1, before he and his love escape its clutches to live in peace. It’s also the most personal record Haley has written to date, as the story mirrors his personal struggles of moving across the country and overcoming creative burnout. But Iteration is ultimately a story of triumph and self-realization, told by the singular, emotionally resonant sound of a man and his machines.

NOSAJ THING

Los Angeles producer Jason Chung crafts stately, ethereal synth-based instrumental hip-hop, with influences that range from Boards of Canada and DJ Shadow to Danny Elfman and Erik Satie. An L.A. native, Chung was inspired at an early age by the hip-hop radio stations that the bus driver would play on his way to elementary school, and particularly by the Beat Junkies’ turntablism on Power 106. In high school, while delving into the sounds of drum’n’bass and the rave scene and playing quad toms in the school drum line, he figured out how to use his father’s old PC to start programming beats of his own. Further along, Chung was motivated to move in more experimental directions by the D.I.Y. rock scene at L.A.’s underground venue The Smell, where he made his live debut as Nosaj Thing in 2004. Through online and in-person networking, on message boards and, eventually, at the more beat-oriented music spot Low End Theory, Chung came into contact with likeminded Angelenos including Flying LotusNobodyDaedelus, and local legends (and personal heroes) like D-Styles and Daddy Kev. Following the self-released Views/Octopus EP in 2006 (whose track “Aquarium” was later used by rapper Kid Cudi as the basis of his “Man on the Moon”), he signed with Kev’s Alpha Pup imprint for his full-length debut, Drift, in 2009. Chung has also contributed beats to MCs Busdriver and Nocando, and made remixes for Flying Lotus, The xx, Daedelus, Radiohead, and Smell staples Health.

His debut album Drift was released by Alpha Pup in June 2009 to unanimous global acclaim. Pitchfork awarded an excellent 7.9 rating, calling the album “gorgeously haunted… sonic Easter Eggs for a thousand listens.” The album peaked at 5 on the iTunes Electronic chart, and went all the way to 1 on Bleep and Boomkat. The success of Drift led to Nosaj Thing being featured in magazines such as Spin, Fader, XLR8R, The New Yorker, Nylon and URB. He has received regular airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Los Angeles’ KCRW, while his engaging live set has made him a staple of the worldwide underground touring circuit.

Pigpen Theatre Co.

For fans of John Mark Nelson, The Oh Hellos, Bombadil, River Whyless

PigPen Theatre Co. began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. Their debut album, “Bremen”, was named #10 album of the year in The Huffington Post’s 2012 Grammy preview sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, “The Way I’m Running”, in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. In 2015 PigPen released their sophomore album, “Whole Sun”, performed at Mumford & Sons’ return to the Gentlemen of the Road Festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme’s “Ricki and the Flash” starring Meryl Streep. They are currently writing their debut children’s novel and performing Shakespeare’s Pericles directed by Sir Trevor Nunn at Theatre For A New Audience in Brooklyn, NY.

 

SHEER MAG

A tear in the firmament.
Beyond the noxious haze of our national nightmare – as structures of social justice and global progress topple in our midst – there lies a faint but undeniable glow in the distance.
What is it?
Like so many before us we are drawn to the beacon.  But only by the bootstraps of our indignation do we go so boldly into the dark to find it.
And so Sheer Mag has let the sparks fly since their outset, with an axe to grind against all that clouds the way.  A caustic war cry, seething in solidarity with all those that suffer the brunt of ignorance and injustice in an imbalanced system.
Both brazen and discrete, loud yet precise, familiar but never quite like this – SHEER MAG crept up from Philadelphia cloaked in bold insignia to channel our social and political moment with grit and groove.  Cautious but full of purpose.
What is it?
By making a music both painfully urgent and spiritually timeworn, SHEER MAG speak to a modern pain: to a people that too feel their flame on the verge of being extinguished, yet choose to burn a bit brighter in spite of that threat.

With their debut LP, the cloak has been lifted.  It is time to reclaim something that has been taken from us.  Here the band rolls up their sleeves, takes to the streets, and demands recompense for a tradition of inequity that’s poisoned our world. However, it is in our ability to love – our primal human right to give and receive love – that the damage of such toxicity is newly explored.
Love is a choice we make.  We ought not obscure, neglect, or deny that choice. Through the tumult and the pain, the camaraderie and the cause, the band continues to burn a path into that great beyond.
But where are we headed?
On NEED TO FEEL YOUR LOVE, they makes their first full-length declaration of light seen just beyond our darkness.  Spoken plainly, without shame:
It is love.
This – is SHEER MAG.

Zola Jesus

For fans of Perfume Genius

For over a decade, Nika Roza Danilova has been recording music as Zola Jesus. She’s been on Sacred Bones Records for most of that time, and Okovi marks her reunion with the label.

Fittingly, the 11 electronics-driven songs on Okovi share musical DNA with her early work on Sacred Bones. The music was written in pure catharsis, and as a result, the sonics are heavy, dark, and exploratory. In addition to the contributions of Danilova’s longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer/musician WIFE, cellist/noise-maker Shannon Kennedy from Pedestrian Deposit, and percussionist Ted Byrnes all helped build Okovi’s textural universe.

With OkoviZola Jesus has crafted a profound meditation on loss and reconciliation that stands tall alongside the major works of its genre. The album peaks of tragedy with great wisdom and clarity. Its songs plumb dark depths, but they reflect light as well.

 

An Evening With Over the Rhine

For fans of The Innocence Mission, Patty Griffin, Lori McKenna

When you listen to Over the Rhine, the supremely talented wife-husband duo of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, you quickly fall under the spell of Karin’s compelling voice, ethereal and earthy at once, and then you notice their subtle, satisfying arrangements, all the instruments so exquisitely balanced, and finally the lines of the songs start hitting you. Paste Magazine praises their “lovely, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting musical mosaic.” The Washington Post applauds their “understated, country-tinged charm.” The Wall Street Journal describes their album, Meet Me at the Edge of the World, as “subtle and elegant, with airy musical arrangements and breathtaking vocal harmonies that fit the title of the album.”

 

Martin Sexton Trio

An intimate seated show.


Welcomed by Isthmus


“The real thing, people.” – Billboard

For fans of Jackie Greene, Bob Schneider, The Wood Brothers, Colin Hay

In 2017 American singer-songwriter Martin Sexton extends touring in support of his ninth studio release, Mixtape of the Open Road. The Wall Street Journal and CMT premiered tracks from the album that since garnered much critical acclaim.

“Outstanding taste in songwriting as well as a soul-marinated voice.” – Rolling Stone

Syracuse native Sexton got his start singing in the streets and subways of Boston in the early ’90s. Still fiercely independent and headlining venues from The Fillmore to Carnegie Hall, he has influenced a generation of contemporary artists. His songs have appeared in television series such as “Scrubs,” “Parenthood,” and “Masters of Sex” as well as numerous films, though it’s his incendiary live show, honest lyrics, and vocal prowess that keep fans coming back for more.

THUNDERCAT

THUNDERCAT is the alter ego of virtuosic bassist/singer Stephen Bruner. The South Los Angeles-native has released two critically acclaimed full length albums on Brainfeeder Records since 2011, and last year saw the release of widely praised mini-album The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam. The album features appearances from the legendary Herbie Hancock, fellow Brainfeeder family members Kamasi Washington, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Mono/Poly and production work from Brainfeeder head, Flying Lotus. 2015 also saw Thundercat make outstanding contributions to landmark albums by Kamasi Washington (The Epic) and Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp A Butterfly). His work on Lamar’s recently netted him his first Grammy.

Bruner found his instrument at the age of 4. That made him a late-bloomer in the house of Ronald, Sr., who drummed with the Temptations among others. His first bass was a black Harmony, and he practiced to the Ninja Turtles soundtrack until pops played him Jaco Pastorius. He joined thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies as a teenager, and spent road and studio time with everyone from Stanley Clarke to Snoop Dogg to Erykah Badu. Eventually the name Thundercat stuck, a reference to the cartoon he’s loved since childhood and an extension of Bruner’s wide-eyed, vibrant, often superhuman approach to his craft.

ROD TUFFCURLS & THE BENCH PRESS

 “Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press is like the cover band that’s never seen a cover band.” – Said a smart, observant man.

Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press is an exciting cover band from Chicago, entertaining crowds at clubs, festivals, weddings, and other events all across the Midwest since 2008.  Their unique song repertoire include hits ranging from Hall & Oates to Taylor Swift, Queen to The Beatles, and Wilson Phillips to Elton John!  You may even hear some of our off-the-wall choices from Les Miserables, The Golden Girls, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and classic Disney movies!

Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press combine excellent musicianship, bone-crushing 3-part vocal harmonies, and a contagious stage energy that will keep you dancing!

With their vast array of experiences, Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press are prepared to handle any venue, and are happy to work with production managers, wedding planners, and events planners to make sure that every detail goes smoothly, regardless if it’s a festival for thousands, or an intimate wedding for a hundred.

w/ DJ Tanner

Part of the Miller High Life Concert Series

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