STRFKR

STRFKR

Com Truise, Small Black

Sat, September 7, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

This event is all ages

STRFKR
STRFKR
It’s hard to say exactly when it happened.

It could’ve been during one of the 100+ shows STRFKR played over the past two years—ecstatic sold-out dance parties that started in tiny, sweaty rooms before word of mouth spread and forced a move to larger (and even sweatier) venues.

It might’ve been when touring guitarist Patrick Morris officially became a full-time member in late 2011, rounding out a line-up that included multi-instrumentalists Josh Hodges, Shawn Glassford, and Keil Corcoran.

Most likely, though, there wasn’t a single defining moment when the change occurred. With evolution there rarely is.

Instead, progression happens naturally and steadily—each step leading inevitably to the next until you reach a point when you realize how far you’ve come without even being fully aware of how you got there.

In early 2012, during a rare break in the group’s touring schedule, Hodges retreated to secluded Astoria, Oregon. But this time, rather than completely isolating himself to work on new material (as had always been the case in the past), Hodges invited the other members to visit often and truly collaborate in the process of writing STRFKR’s third full-length, Miracle Mile.

And so it was that STRFKR became a band.

As a result, whether participating in all-night lyric writing sessions, fleshing out song skeletons originally conceived during European soundchecks (“Malmo”) and long van rides (“Leave It All Behind”), or completing half-finished ideas kicking around Hodges’ brain and hard drive, there isn’t a single song on Miracle Mile that every member of STRFKR didn’t contribute to and ultimately improve.

For proof, look no further than first single and opening track “While I’m Alive,” a song that bursts out of the gate with what can only be described as swagger. Not overconfidence or false bravado, but the undeniable sound of a band that knows exactly who they are: swirling keyboards that take you up, down, and all around, rhythmic guitars, irresistible basslines, and drums that keep an unrelenting beat.

Disco-y standout “Atlantis” is the paragon of this formula, with vocal and musical hooks seemingly custom fitted to a spot so deep inside your eardrums they’ll never dislodge.

But upbeat isn’t Miracle Mile’s only tempo.

In fact, it’s in quieter moments like “Isea,” which briefly slows down the album’s pulse with gentle “oh-oh-ohs” over acoustic guitar, that the record truly coalesces as a complete whole that couldn’t have come together any other way.

Just like STRFKR.
Com Truise
Com Truise
Com Truise is one of the many personas of producer and designer Seth Haley, born and raised in upstate New York and operating out of a 12'-overrun apartment in Princeton, New Jersey. An admitted synth obsessive, Com Truise is the maker of an experimental and bottom heavy style he calls "mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk".

Haley's been making music on the side for roughly a decade—going through pseudonyms like toothbrushes (Sarin Sunday, SYSTM, Airliner)—first as a DJ, and currently, as an excavator of softer, window-fogging synth-wave.
Small Black
Small Black
The cover of Brooklyn-based Small Black's second LP, Limits of Desire, features a photo of a man and a woman embracing on either side of a ladder, completely naked, divided by its triangular arc. They're close, but they can't get any closer. It's a moving depiction of connectivity and interaction in the 21st century and it serves as a sort of source code for the record.

Limits of Desire is Small Black's most accomplished album yet. It's a crystalline realization of a sound they've been building toward since their self-titled EP in 2009. Now a full-time four piece, Josh Hayden Kolenik (keys, vocals), Ryan Heyner (guitar, keys, vocals), Juan Pieczanski (bass, guitar) and Jeff Curtin (drums, percussion), the band have moved way beyond the hazy home recorded sound of their previous releases toward a full-fledged, but still self-produced, clear approach. Where 2010’s New Chain was a lesson in maximalist pop, Limits of Desire finds the band trimming their sound to the essentials, yet hitting new and unexpected heights with the addition of live drums, electric guitar and trumpet to the existing Small Black palette.

Tonally the songs sweep and glide over lush keys, bolstered by lyrics that illustrate the semi-abstract moments of lost opportunities and misread signs, hinted at by the cover image. The title track whirls softly, and channels luminaries Tears for Fears and The Blue Nile, anchored by Pieczanski's punchy bass as Kolenik sings: "Other lives droned/ far from the grass where I lay/ each eye stared out the opposite way." As much as the record is about looking for deeper connections, it's also about avoiding real life, if only for a moment—getting out of your own head just long enough to calm down and find perspective.

“Free At Dawn” and “No Stranger” do what fans have come to love Small Black for, only better. They’re smart pop bangers tinged with a specific brand of melancholy that slowly build to night-affirming climaxes. While "Breathless” ups the tempo, over synth stabs, with lyrics that tackle apathy and uncertainty with catchy grace: "I'm standing in tomorrow's way/ future's fine/least it seems okay." It paints a concise portrait of a generation struggling with unlimited freedom and malaise.

The band builds on a rich history of synth pop by making a thoroughly modern album, on both the front and back end. One that seeks out cohesion, connection and calm in a world that won’t sit still. Limits of Desire doesn't attempt to provide any solutions, but coming to terms with not finding the answers feels infinitely more fruitful.
Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019
http://www.terminal5nyc.com/