The Road to the Empty Bottle for Doldrums and Moon King began way back in early April up in the Canada. Since then it feels like they’ve been almost everywhere. Still they somehow manage to bring “nonstop energy” to each night’s performance.
(everybody’s gotta take a turn driving with this crew)
Montreal’s DOLDRUMS is rooted in the mind of Airick Woodhead, who began releasing material under this name in 2011, making waves with his first single, an official remix for PORTISHEAD. Since, DOLDRUMS has been signed to a little record label out of Seattle called, Sup Pop. Sharpening their live performances through tireless touring, Doldrums has matured into a full band. Incessant live practice has allowed them to get creative with their performances, often setting up in the middle of the crowd and willing their audience to dance with them or be left behind.
Having just released ‘The Air Conditioned Nightmare’, the follow up to their 2013 debut album ‘Lesser Evil’, DOLDRUMS has marked their ground along the famed lineup of Montreal born artists, including GRIMES, PURITY RING, & MAJICAL CLOUDZ. The album’s concept draws on themes that carried Henry Miller’s 1945 collection of short stories of the same name. Primarily: his dystopian descriptions of American culture, anxieties and inner conflict.
The sound of ‘The Air Conditioned Nightmare’ is one of tastefully calculated chaos and rhythm; with a more sonically cleaned up approach than their previous releases.
The album begins, and immediately the growl of HOTFOOT’s stuttering bass dances in parallel to the tantalizingly repetitious drums. Before you even realize it, you’re swinging to the beat that builds and breaks in just enough layers, while maintaining the same groove that you’re just never quite ready to break out of.
One of our favorite tracks, ‘Funeral for Lightning’ begins with an uplifting, borderline childish, brassy sounding synth melody, and sinks into a hypnotic and slightly unsettling groove. Throughout the pulsebeats there is a moment of quiet serenity when the rhythm breaks, and Woodhead’s teetering melody croons back and forth in a seemingly optimistic way, though the contents of his message are less rose-colored. Using death as a parallel to the loss of art, he offers “..a drink for every, every forgotten dream. Let’s rate the dead 1 through 10, hoping they enjoy the peace.” The song functions as a sonic distillation of the unique sound DOLDRUMS has cultivated.
‘Video Hostage’ also offers striking perspective on modern existence illuminating the mundane repetition and disconnected trance that our culture has become entangled in thanks to our fixation on success. The track snags on itself in yet another repetitive anxiety, which finds it’s flow once Woodhead offers his smooth melodies to tie it all together.
Toronto based duo MOON KING, comprised of Maddy Wilde and Daniel Benjamin, who joined DOLDRUMS on a cross country US tour throughout April and May. Their new LP ‘Secret Life’ is a blend between a classic take on fuzzy, washed out shoegaze, with psychedelic elements that take the genre in a new and exciting direction. The bright and upbeat vibe of the album is balanced out by the subtly more dark lyrical content. The recording of the album was done in a little cottage in the depths of the Canadian wilderness surrounded by snow, which seems fitting, as the whispery vocals of Maddy Wilde in combination with the twangy destroyed guitar sounds give one the impression of walking through a blindingly white blizzard.
Opening track ‘Roswell’ incorporates a whompy, fizzy synth that carries the track, as bright sporadic synths compliment the slow moving, trippy progressions of the guiding melody.
‘Hexe’ is a high energy track whose frenzied drums are tied to a gently tapping piano melody, and as Benjamin’s vocals come howling in, the track sails through the clouds. While the sound of the song is elating, the lyrics pull you back down to earth as the duo sings to the theme of loss: “Hate yourself for what you’re thinking, there’s nothing you’re left here all alone. Why’d I waste my time and breath, you’re a face that I’ll forget, you know.”
Moon King gives us a taste of the sun in their track ‘Apocalypse’, whose gorgeous guitar melody loops, peacefully at first, until it tenses up into a frenzied repetition and finally explodes into a buzzing, loud, and full take on the riff that allows the melody to repeat itself endlessly without ever losing its hypnotizing effect.
MOON KING and DOLDRUMS play the last show of their collective tour with us at the Empty Bottle this Saturday before heading to Europe. They’re joined by exciting young locals DEEP BREATH and the boys from WHITNEY will be slinging tunes from our piano DJ booth all night.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Get yours now and save money for “other stuff”.