!!! & Sinkane
with The Mad Alchemy Light Show
Thu Sep 26
!!! & Sinkane
with The Mad Alchemy Light Show
|Age:||Ages 21+ Only|
Dance-punk group, !!!, just announced their new album will be out August 30th, releasing the first single, "Serbia Drums" today! Jazzy, Afro-pop rocker, Sinkane, is celebrating the release of his new album, Dépaysé, out now!Buy Tickets
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Genre: rock / indie rock
Ticket Price: $20 advanced / $22 day of show / $35 reserved loft seating (loft seating is available over the phone or in person at our box office)
Doesn't it seem like everyone's freaking out lately? !!! know the feeling well. The NYC dance-punk lifers have been chronicling the perpetual meltdown that is American society for nearly 20 years now, from the clattering full-band thrust of their instantly iconic 2003 single "Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)" to the dark disco of 2017's wonderfully eclectic Shake the Shudder.
Their eighth full-length, Wallop, follows in the band's grand tradition of plugging straight into our collective nervous system and sending funky, rubbery shock waves through the body politic. If you've found yourself rubbing your temples while contemplating the collapse of everything around us? Well, !!! are bringing the soundtrack to your next nervous breakdown.
Like an apocalyptic jukebox, Wallop is jam-packed with various sounds and styles from dance music's rich history—from the pie-eyed psychedelia of Madchester-era English dance-rock to tunnel-vision techno and the flashy, bomb-dropping sound of UK grime. The candy-coated sounds of '90s rave loom large in Wallop's playful darkness, a callback to another era when everything felt like it was just about ready to fall apart. Diving into '90s retro nostalgia is good for us," frontman Nic Offer explains while discussing the sonic rediscovery at the beating heart of Wallop. "I know all the '80s stuff already, so it's like, 'What did happen in the '90s?' Because in the '90s, we were just listening to James Brown."
Wallop was recorded over the past year in Offer's Brooklyn apartment—a first for the band, as !!!'s latest was rife with experimentation throughout the creative gestation: "Our process was to get loose and get into uncharted territory," he puts it succinctly. This meant messing around with gear they didn't quite understand, conjuring new sounds and bringing in familiar friends to contribute vocals—including Liars frontman Angus Andrew, Maria Uzor of British dance aesthetes Sink Ya Teeth, and Glasser's synth-pop wizard Cameron Mesirow, who all join Offer and !!! co-vocalist Meah Pace on this barn-burning party of a record.
"We were sitting on these instrumentals that we liked, so we started sending them around to random people," Offer states while discussing the collaborative process streaked across Wallop. "We overwrite and overrecord, and send them out to our friends to vote. We don't know what we're making until it's done. This record could've been completely dark or completely pop."
"We're not the kind of band that sits down and says, 'Let's make a record now,'" producer and multi-instrumentalist Rafael Cohen continues. "We just keep going, which is good because it leads to less of a narrative for each album." With an array of producers lending a hand—including Cole M.G.N. (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Julia Holter), Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck), and longtime collaborator Patrick Ford—Wallop was eventually stitched together to reflect the colorful, body-moving tapestry that its end result represents.
Work on Wallop took place in understandably different sociopolitical circumstances than what surrounded Shake the Shudder—but addressing those circumstances head-on was initially harder than Offer and Cohen thought. "Every political song we wrote kind of sucked," the former admits, while explaining that the wide-eyed societal paranoia embedded within the record was naturally occuring. "When we stepped away from politics, it seeped its way back into the music.”
Indeed, Wallop chronicles these strange times through !!!’s personal lens, capturing the mere act of existing amidst so many shifting paradigms; the skipping IDM of “Domino” zooms in on the conflicting emotions that come with experiencing gentrification first-hand, while
"UR Paranoid" throbs with the type of intensity reserved for existential spiraling and late-night k-holes alike—an urgency that also speaks to !!!'s admiration for club music. "We're always trying to make pure club stuff—that's where we get our sonics," Cohen states, while Offer elaborates, "We're very much classic songwriters, but the music that turns it on is club music. It's always moving, and it's a good well for us."
Meanwhile, "Off the Grid" ripples and pulses in a way not unlike XTRMNTR-era Primal Scream, “Slow Motion” dives headlong into the ecstatic energy of 1990s UK trip-hop and beat-driven rock, “This Is the Door” radiates crisp and effervescent disco, and “Couldn’t Have Known” is pure urban clatter topped off by Cohen’s soothed-out vocals. The splashy beat of "Serbia Drums" in particular comes from a surprising source: an iPhone recording that drummer Chris Egan captured while the band was touring in Serbia. "Chris is from D.C. and so am I, and that groove is so go-go," Cohen marvels on the song's propulsive sound.
Overall, Wallop is a testament not only to the rocky, worldly times it reflects, but !!!'s artistic lifeblood—a constantly-creating ethos that's kept the band going for so long and enables them to constantly innovate their sound. "We just work really hard and try to make the best records we can," Offer proclaims. "We have a strict policy of challenging ourselves—'What haven't we done?'" And if that sense of self-discovery resulted in Wallop's jam-packed, kaleidoscope world of sound, let's hope !!! never stop challenging themselves.
Sinkane music -- every note of it -- comes straight out of a generosity of spirit. Never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the uplifting new album Life & Livin' It. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard.
By the time they finished touring for their acclaimed Mean Love album in late 2015, Ahmed Gallab and the band had spread the gospel of Sinkane to the world, playing 166 shows in 20 countries. During the same period, he had also led The Atomic Bomb Band -- the highly celebrated 15-piece outfit that played the music of elusive Nigerian electro-funk maestro William Onyeabor. The band included David Byrne, Damon Albarn, members of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Jamie Lidell and legendary jazz musicians Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, and they played all over the planet, including making their TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. "Those 14 months really changed my life," Ahmed says. "Not only did I learn how to put on a bigger show, but all that touring brought Sinkane closer as a band."
As Ahmed got into the depths of writing for Life & Livin' It, he had a clear goal; to conjure the ups and downs of a universal experience, and have fun while doing it. "I would listen to my favorite records, like Funkadelic's America Eats Its Young, and realize how great they made me feel. That carefree, light and fun feeling I was getting while writing this record is what I want everyone to feel when they listen to it."
Ahmed soon brought the band in to help with the material, testing the songs at a four-show residency of sold-out shows at Union Pool in Brooklyn where the audience's reception fed the creative process. They toured throughout the summer before setting up shop at Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas. Once again produced by Ahmed with lyrics and help from longtime collaborator Greg Lofaro, the album draws from the best elements of Sinkane's previous records: the slinky funk and soul grooves are there, so are the sparkling melodies with roots in sub-Saharan Africa. With basic tracking played together live, the fun and immediacy of Sinkane's live show is a central feeling of the recordings. Each one of the four members of Sinkane -- bassist Ish Montgomery, drummer Jason Trammell, guitarist Jonny Lam and Ahmed -- sing and contribute additional parts on the album, with Trammell contributing lyrics to "Theme from Life & Livin' It," and Lam helping with arrangements. Jas Walton and Jordan MacLean of Daptone recording artists Antibalas contributed horns.
In making a record that feels like this, Ahmed's primary intention was to make music that is joyous, but also socially conscious when you scratch beneath the surface. The songs "U'Huh" and "Theme from Life & Livin' It" conjure up the simple pleasures of hanging with friends, but there are heavier vibes in there. Ahmed says, "I remember listening to Bob Marley as a child. Dancing with my family in our living room and then my mother telling me what issues he was addressing, and that it was important to remember those things while listening. It made the music even better because it became about something more."
"Favorite Song" came about from Ahmed's experiences DJ'ing in New York. "As a DJ you're always paying attention to the collective energy in the club. When you play a song that everyone knows, everybody is connected, lost in the music." That song, along with "U'Huh," has lyrics sung in Arabic, Ahmed's native tongue. "Kulu shi tamaam!" means "everything is great!" while "ya zol ya zain!" is a Sudanese term of endearment meaning "my beautiful friend." "It's really easy to understand the tone of those words," Ahmed adds. "They just feel good, you don't have to know what they mean. It's kind of like listening to Caetano Veloso or Jorge Ben -- you don't have to know Portuguese to feel what they're saying."
True to its name, Life & Livin' It is an album about all kinds of experiences. When Ahmed Gallab sings, he sounds unafraid yet vulnerable. But while he once sang of feeling like he was on the planet Mars, Ahmed is now firmly grounded on Earth. He's no longer searching for his home -- he has created a home for himself. There's a party there, and Life & Livin' It is playing on the stereo. You are invited.