Cursive is the longtime trio of Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass), and Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals), with Patrick Newbery (keys) and Cully Symington (drums). I Am Gemini (out February 21, 2012 via Saddle Creek), the band's seventh LP, is the follow-up to 2009's critically praised Mama, I'm Swollen, which caught the attention of publications including Alternative Press, Billboard, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and Time Out New York, among others, and earned the band their network television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman. Cursive has released six full-length albums including the heralded Cursive's Domestica (2000), The Ugly Organ (2003), and Happy Hollow (2006) two EPs, a disc of rarities, and numerous singles since the band's 1995 inception.
The band is also known for their vital, magnetic live show, earning rave reviews from outlets including the Cleveland Scene's C-Note music blog ("[Tim Kasher's] effect on the crowd was chilling last nightCursive was focused and on-spot, composed and gripping"), Nuvo Weekly ("the five-piece slashed through a near-perfect set of songs from their last nine years of albums"), and the Orlando Sentinel's Soundboard blog ("the band still knows how to rock on stage[Cursive] thrashed away with an abandon that heightened the passion of Kasher's dense, emotionally charged wordplay.").
I Am Gemini is the surreal and powerful musical tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head.
Recorded in the summer/fall of 2011 at Omaha, NE's ARC Studios and mixed at Red Room in Seattle, WA with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus The Bear, Isis), I Am Gemini marks the first time front man Tim Kasher, holding the completed story already in mind, wrote album lyrics in a linear fashion, in order, from song 1 to song 13. The result is thirteen singularly cohesive song chapters that blend effortlessly into one unique narrative. The moody and playfully sinister I Am Gemini is Cursive's musically heaviest in years, with alternately muscular and angular guitars, pounding drums and driving bass. From the eerie introductory sounds of epic barnstormer "This House Alive" and the irresistibly catchy, insistent "The Sun and Moon", to the searing "Double Dead" and the split personality prog-pop of "Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton", to the roaring, mournful closing track "Eulogy for No Name", the album is a dynamic, mind-bending, and imaginative ride.
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS
Cymbals Eat Guitars released their debut album Why There Are Mountains in 2009, receiving a response that far exceeded the band's expectations. Two years have gone by since that early hype cycle began, and a lot has changed. Half of the musicians that played on Why There Are Mountains came and went before major touring began, replaced by Brian Hamilton on keys and Matthew Whipple on bass. Hamilton and Whipple joined singer/songwriter/guitarist Joseph D'Agostino and drummer Matt Miller to take the show on the road, finally solidifying the lineup. An official release of Why There Are Mountains on the band's own imprint, extensive US touring with the likes of Bear in Heaven, Los Campesinos!, and The Thermals; European dates with The Flaming Lips and The Hold Steady; and festival performances including Lollapalooza and Glastonbury kept the band quite busy. All the while, they were using whatever free time was afforded to them to write songs for a planned follow-up...
In early 2011, the band settled down in Whipple's basement in New Jersey to finish writing that follow-up. Rehearsing and recording demos in a suburban home allowed for a lot of freedom the band hadn't enjoyed in the past. Shared Brooklyn rehearsal spaces had always meant long commutes, scheduling difficulties, parking tickets. Decamping to the suburbs meant fewer distractions and more time to explore the outer reaches of song structure and melody, and to edit, reign in, and refine those same elements. That refinement and clarity of purpose came in no small part with the guidance of producer John Agnello, and together they set out to craft an album that re-contextualized the band's favored sounds and highlighted underexplored strengths.
Lenses Alien, the result of these collaborative explorations, is a stunning example of a band growing into itself learning to collaborate, becoming more confident. Why There Are Mountains was a record that Joseph D'Agostino made largely on his own, with help from Matt Miller and some other friends and acquaintances that came and went. Lenses Alien is a record that Joseph D'Agostino, Brian Hamilton, Matt Miller, and Matthew Whipple made together, as a band.
At its core, Lenses Alien is a marriage of classic pop forms and ambient haze that makes for a stark, dusky psychedelia. D'Agostino's vocals, now with support from Hamilton and Whipple, sit daringly at the forefront, and his lyrics are dark, strange, and affecting as ever. Miller and Whipple move the songs as a singular, powerful unit while ornate guitars and Hamilton's celestial organ and chiming pianos whirl across the sonic landscape. Songs like 'Definite Darkness' and 'Keep Me Waiting' move with the frenetic urgency of romance that seemingly begins and ends all at once, and 'Secret Family' and 'Wavelengths' combine Motown-esque turns with impressionistic visions of lost youth and the struggle to retain it. A relentlessly complex listen, Lenses Alien strikes a balance between the archaic and the inviting and is as much a document of doubts and contradictions as of irreverent joy. It's a varied collection of songs that feels handmade built from the ground up and it's precisely the album Cymbals Eat Guitars was built to make.
"You could blame it on so many bands being from autophobic NYC, or that the Pacific Northwest gods of indie are still going too strong to already be a primary influence, but neither would explain New York's Cymbals Eat Guitars' Why There Are Mountains. While there's plenty of geographical signifiers on their debut, it's almost topographic in its approach, without hooks and choruses so much as map-like layouts of mountains and sloping valleys." --Pitchfork [Best New Music]
"Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn. Let's give some respect to Staten Island, home of Cymbals Eat Guitars. It's a fledgling indie-rock quartet, but Joseph D'Agostino, its 20-year-old guitarist, singer and principal songwriter, seems like a one-man shop. He fits a lot into his music. The songs on the band's self-released first album, "Why There Are Mountains," which served as the basis for Thursday's set, contain ecstatic passion; wordy, lyrical precision; hazy, drifting instrumental interludes; chiming, mechanistic, clean-toned strumming; wild, dirty, stuttering solos. The sources for his inspiration can be obvious Pavement, Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr. but so are his ambition and passion. And with "Tunguska," a new song played near the end of the set, he's made that most difficult thing in self-consciously smart music: a ballad, one strong enough to make young women near the stage look at him with big eyes. Seeing the band live drove home the full effect of guileless catharsis: Mr. D'Agostino wears himself out for you. (Like a clutch hitter between swings, he ritually composed himself after every song, wiping down his guitar neck, adjusting his capo, taking a deep breath.)" --The New York Times
"Staten Island band Cymbals Eat Guitars came out of seemingly nowhere when, a little under a month ago, their debut album, Why There Are Mountains, was bestowed Pitchfork's "Best New Music" honor. Who were these guys? Staten Island, seriously? They were, of course, four hustling musicians who'd struck gold on the songwriting front, crafting a beastly, obtuse album that sounds a lot like Built To Spill, if Built To Spill actually had some youth on their side and could still throw down in a street fight or get upset over a girl." -- RCRD LBL
"Why There Are Mountains may be one of the best 'indie' (the album is self-released, so, y'know, actually 'indie') albums of the year. And with the major label skyline being obliterated like something out of Independence Day, it's time to batten down the hatches." -- NME
"The most obvious thing about Cymbals Eat Guitars is that their epic, widescreen indie rock bears a striking resemblance to that of Built To Spill and early Modest Mouse. The most impressive thing about them, however, is just how comfortable they sound playing around with a sound those bands defined on albums like The Lonesome Crowded West and Keep It Like A Secret. This isn't just a case of some young band wearing their influences on their sleeves, and offering up a lesser version of their favorite records these are strong, creative players stretching out and finding their own niche within a rich yet largely unmined aesthetic territory." -- Fluxblog
"Guitars, bass, keys, drums, hooks hooks hooks. If you are unashamedly an indie-rocker, then this is the indie-rock you likejust stretched and pulled and relaxed in unfamiliar ways." -- Sound Fix
"Do you know how many cities have been built?" D'Agostino asks. He is followed immediately by some brilliant songwriting that remains both unpredictable and convincingly effective, featuring both stark smatterings of keys and explosive arrays of guitars. His vocal delivery often adjusts accordingly, especially during the song's fiery chorus. That part in particular remains reminiscent of Modest Mouse, but the song's structural genius and melodic excellence appears more indicative of an idolized act in the Wrens." -- Obscure Sound
"I realized I've yet to talk about Cymbals Eat Guitars on here, which I've been spinning all year and is probably my favorite debut album of the year, so I feel obligated to give it a mention. Here's an excerpt of the review on my blog: "The band's sound is hugely ambitious, explosively energetic force of nature that is clearly influenced by a multitude of 90's indie rock classics from Pavement to Built to Spill to Modest Mouse while still achieving something that is forward-looking and unpredictable." --mtvU
"No pressure, no expectations, no big press push just some epic jams that effortlessly encapsulate the last 20 years of indie rock with the ease of dudes that have been "doin' it" forever. The reason why it rules? Because they haven't been." --Detour Mag
"I'll be the first to go on record saying that Cymbals Eat Guitars/Joseph Ferocious will end up indie famous within the year."--Charles Bissel, the Wrens
Conduits, an Omaha band consisting of members of The Good Life, Eagle Seagull, Son Ambulance, Neva Dinova, Cursive, and The Golden Age, was formed in late 2009. Built from an equal love of drone, shoegaze, post rock, early synth, and the 1970's, their sound exists in a world bigger than the sum of its parts: chiming guitars, steady drum beats, analog synths, proggy basslines, and beautiful female vocals that are strong enough to not get lost in the swirling soundscapes.
Though they hail from a town famous for producing singer-songwriters, Conduits' music wouldn't feel right played on an acoustic guitar. These guys know that a perfectly placed drum hit, a thunderous synth bass crescendo, or a squalling guitar can sometimes be just as crushing as any lyric or chord progression. They draw as much from Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine as they do from Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin, and probably land somewhere in the middle. Their live shows have been described as mesmerizing, an often continuous flow of music that transfixes the audience until the last drum beat, feedback loop, or final vocal collapse.
High Noon Saloon (View)
701 E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|