Black Lips and Deerhunter
Fri March 7, 2014
Doors: 7:30pm / Show: 8:30 pm
About the Event:
Black Lips and Deerhunter co-headlining in Atlanta on a Friday night? Yes, and it will be great.
What do you do when you’re sixteen and in deep shit? You’re looking out at the world from the strip-mall and the detention hall, from the basement and the cul-de-sac and it just looks like there is a wall around you. Everybody tells you and your friends that you’re going nowhere, that your lives are already ruined. What the fuck do you do?.
You hang around and smash stuff and get high and try to be a bad-ass, that’s what you do. You steal and drink and smash up the car your mom gave you and pull your pee-pee out in public. You work at sandwich shops and fast-food joints and try to screw private school girls because they think your tough and the girls at your school think your gay because you pretended to give your friend a blowjob at the junior prom. You fuck it all up as ugly and as dirty as you can because, why the fuck not?
Your parents and teachers and sandwich-shop supervisors look at you and think, “What happened to the kid? He has all the advantages in the world and he has chucked it all in the shitter. Doesn’t he believe in the inherent goodness of our enlightened society? Doesn’t he believe in any thing at all?”
It is this question, the question of belief, nay, the question of faith, that is the crux of the matter. It is this question that was asked of the Black Lips. And the Black Lips have answered it. They have answered it in their songs and in their actions. They have answered it for every shit-assed, burned-out brat that staggers out of the suburbs. They have answered it resoundingly and continue to answer it.
“Where is their answer?” you may ask. Do those psychedelic swamp guitar drones bear witness to a faith of some kind? Does the quasi-violent sexual comedy of their stage show underscore a deeply held belief system? Does their commingling of Deep South, big-tent revival rhetoric with hoary-throated, drug-haze mumble truly mean anything, to them or to anyone else?
You bet your ass it means something to them. How would they have persevered through all the drudgery and threats of doom if it didn’t mean a goddamn thing to them? Their adversaries have been formidable and numerous, and they have bested them all. Why, even in their earliest days, death itself reared its ugly head to attempt to halt their progress, and was dismissed directly. How, without faith, could the Black Lips have carried their message forth into the four corners of the earth?
A host of influences have passed through their gullet and provided the sustenance to keep their faith alive. The dusts of a southern back road and the big-city gutter puke crackle in the grooves of this record as it did in the previous ones. The shouts and moans and static continue to bear witness.
“But faith in what?” the fathers, mayors and captains of industry might continue to ask. Well, if you’ve never been one of those shit-assed brats looking out into a world you were already excluded from, a world that sickened you, but for which there was no alternative, then you may not understand. But, through the eyes of one whom, like them, was a go-nowhere from the get-go, the Black Lips represent the faith that it takes to reject that world of sterile, futile, servile, silliness and forge your own world based on bravery and bad-ass-ness. They have carried to fruition the plan that has been hatched, and will continue to be hatched in the minds of dizzy, dumb and desperate youth the world over. Now they carry their message of faith to the world. FEAR NOT! BE BRAVE AND TAKE HEART! THE WORLD IS YOURS IF YOU ACCEPT THE POWER OF FAITH!!!
(As I record these words a purple and orange fog engulfs the bay below me. The gin gimlets glide down my throat and I ponder the freedom that I, myself, have wrenched from the “enlightened society’ that once oppressed me. It is good and right that we should live free. I know this, the Black Lips know this, and the gulls in the bay below know this. Take this knowledge and go in faith.)
Baby Gusty Accra, Ghana
From Atlanta, Georgia, the origins of Deerhunter can be traced back to when frontman Bradford Cox first met guitarist Lockett Pundt at high school. Years later Bradford and Moses Archuleta began making music together, and the seeds of what would become Deerhunter were sown. Other contributors to Deerhunter since its establishment in 2001 include Josh Fauver, Colin Mee and Whitney Petty. The current incarnation consists of Cox, Pundt and Archuleta plus bassist Josh Mckay and guitarist Frankie Broyles.
Deerhunter’s first album was a lo-fi experiment not initially intended for the wider world, but appeared in 2005 on a local Atlanta label, Stickfigure. Although officially untitled, it has since become known as Turn It Up, Faggot; a phrase that doesn’t actually appear on the sleeve but is an insult that Cox claimed was often thrown at the band during their early gigs. Their next album, Cryptograms (2006), was generally considered to be their real debut and as such things started to get serious for the band. They had moved to fêted Chicago indie, Kranky (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Low, Stars Of The Lid), and the world outside was starting to pay attention.
Then in mid-2008, Deerhunter and Kranky signed a deal with 4AD, allowing them to finally release music outside the US and the band’s next move was to prove epic in more than just musical terms. Recorded over the course of a week at the Rare Book Studios in Brooklyn, NY, the Can and Wire-inspired Microcastle (2008) was to propel them to further heights. However, the album leaked four months before release, leading the band back to the studio to record Weird Era Cont., an album in its own right added as a bonus disc to make Microcastle a 25-track colossus. Not content with such prolificacy, the band announced a new five track EP, Rainwater Cassette Exchange, in 2009 and that its release would coincide with the band’s extensive European, Japanese and Australian tour in May and June.
Displaying few signs of slowing down, Halcyon Digest, the band’s fourth studio album was released in September 2010. Remaining in their native Georgia to piece together the album, Halcyon Digest took just a few weeks to complete. The recording sessions took place at Chase Park Transduction in Athens with Ben H. Allen helping to co-produce the album, while final track, ‘He Would Have Laughed’, was recorded separately by Bradford Cox at NOTOWN SOUND in Marietta. To announce the release, the band fully embraced the DIY mindset of their New Wave heroes from the 70’s and 80’s with a Cox-designed, cut-and-paste Xeroxed flyer. It’s with these kind of approaches that Deerhunter continue to widen their sphere of influence and impress with each subsequent release.
After a brief hiatus, during which time Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt released their own albums as Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza respectively, a new Deerhunter line-up (with additions of bassist Josh Mckay and guitarist Frankie Broyles) reconvened in January 2013 at Rare Book Studio in Brooklyn, New York. Produced by Nicholas Vernhes and Bradford Cox and recorded in the dead of night, Deerhunter’s new longplayer Monomania will be released in May. Monomania finds the group recalling its scrappy punk aesthetic; a perfect nocturnal garage rock album full of the layered and hazy vintage guitar sounds that define them.
Lonnie Holley was born on February 10, 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama. From the age of five, Holley worked various jobs: picking up trash at a drive-in movie theatre, washing dishes, and cooking. He lived in a whiskey house, on the state fairgrounds, and in several foster homes. His early life was chaotic and Holley was never afforded the pleasure of a real childhood.
Since 1979, Holley has devoted his life to the practice of improvisational creativity. His art and music, born out of struggle, hardship, but perhaps more importantly, out of furious curiosity and biological necessity, has manifested itself in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and sound. Holley’s sculptures are constructed from found materials in the oldest tradition of African American sculpture. Objects, already imbued with cultural and artistic metaphor, are combined into narrative sculptures that commemorate places, people, and events.
Holley did not start making and performing music in a studio nor does his creative process mirror that of the typical musician. His music and lyrics are improvised on the spot and morph and evolve with every event, concert, and recording. In Holley’s original art environment, he would construct and deconstruct his visual works, repurposing their elements for new pieces. This often led to the transfer of individual narratives into the new work creating a cumulative composite image that has depth and purpose beyond its original singular meaning. The layers of sound in Holley’s music, likewise, are the result of decades of evolving experimentation.
In the early 2000s, Holley’s music caught the attention of Matt Arnett, the son of art collector Bill Arnett, who has been collecting Holley’s art since the 1980s. In 2010, Matt set up an impromptu performance by Holley at his home for Dust-to-Digital founder, Lance Ledbetter. Deeply moved by Holley’s keyboard playing and singing, Ledbetter insisted on getting Holley into a recording studio as soon as possible. The result was the album Just Before Music, which features Holley’s first studio recordings made in 2010 and 2011. More recordings are continuing to be made to celebrate and to document one of America’s most compelling musicians.