nyc

Ilithios debuts with Florist LP

Florist fades in on a swell of shimmering voices, followed by a warm, resonant layer of bass and drums, on its opening track “Think B4 U Spk.” Those wraithlike voices are soon swept into a sonic funnel cloud (neat production trick) while over chiming tones a gentle, lullaby-like voice entreats the listener: “We’re going nowhere / it’s cruel weather for days.” The narrative then unfolds something like a 3am phone call with an estranged lover or maybe just with yourself. Hazy voices from the song’s intro weave in and out of the conversation, building up to a brief squall of submerged guitar-freak-out until everything drops away.

Ilithios is the latest project of Manny Nomikos (Catty, Gracie Manson, Coyote Eyes) who in this guise comes off something like a Greco-Korean-American indie-rock Dennis Wilson. Besides the flowing locks you’ll find plenty of raw vocal expression set against blissed-out background vox, pristine musical arrangements, soaring melodies and ambient revieries. The songs are often lush but with a hint of Charles Manson under the surface. “Rattle Your Saber” brings stomping drums and buzzing low-end synthetics to the fore, while tracks like “Florist” and “Is This Our Dance?” recall early-to-mid-aughts NYC with Interpol and James Murphy comparisons not totally unfounded. 

 

From what I wrote in the first paragraph you can tell this album makes me think of the weather: shifting atmospheric systems, banks of fog, shimmering sunlight, jagged squalls and occasional thunderous rhythms. It's is an all-purpose and overused metaphor but here I’d highlight that while weather is most often placid on the surface, you know it can fuck you up. Tranquility and turmoil. Tension and release. Etc. Florist’s opening track advocates self-control in its title but by the penultimate track ("Buttons") you’re being admonished that “I’m no florist / I’m no painter / nobody says what they think anymore” just before a fiercely jagged little guitar break--played by co-producer (on some tracks at least) Jeff Berner--that definitely doesn’t think before it speaks. The weather is a fickle mistress indeed. (Jason Lee)

   

Devil's Dildo unleash "Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker"

To be clear this writer doesn't know a lot about Devil's Dildo but that's ok, here's all you need to know: 1) They livecast a DJ set and new-song-unveiling two nights ago on Baby TV that felt like it was beamed from deep inside the duo's collective unconscious and it was a spooky, sexy, strange place to be. Leading up to the witching-hour the DJ stream cut out periodically--and just as mysteriously resumed--for violating something called "community standards" but I can tell you on my end the violation was quite consensual. I mean what's a little crotch thrusting and foot licking between friends? 2) The DJ set was a perfect teaser for this Devil's Night/All Hallows' Eve weekend. Hearing "There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be" played back-to-back is a pretty magical thing. 3) Judging from their debut single below--named after an early '80s sleazoid shocker that fits the Devil's Dildo like a glove--the duo's aesthetic is in fact not unlike AC/DC-meets-the-B52's. Or maybe just maybe this leather-clad, freak-flag-flying pair is the second cumming of the Cramps but translated to drum machine, bass guitar and sculpted noise. I doubt Lux (R.I.P.) and Ivy would mind the comparison.

Most important of all: Devil's Dildo will appear tonight as part of what looks to be an epic all-covers variety show spectacular featuring the music of the Stooges, TSOL, The Damned, Cocteau Twins, Poison Idea, Void, Ramones, Misfits, Las Vulpes, and more if you ask nicely. The show will broadcast from Greenpoint's very own Saint Vitus in case you had any doubts of its heavitude. Proceeds of the show will benefit Black Trans Femmes In The Arts.

   

Desert Sharks "Don't Know How To Dress for the Apocalypse"

Released in late 2019, when heard today “I Don't Know How To Dress For The Apocalypse” sounds like a warning from our past future present. Over a buzzing rush of power chords the Desert Sharks’ lead yelper and bass player Stephanie Gunther laments “the world's a disaster / our leader wants to get there faster.” Mission accomplished. Fast-forward to October 2020 and the power-trio-plus-one have stayed busy with everything from a Zoom-tastic cover of the Misfits' “Hybrid Moments” to a feature on the queer-friendly Twitch rock 'n' roll hootenanny I Want My HYB hosted by Astoria's own Hell Yeah Babies in benefit of The Okra Project—a charity providing meals to Black Trans people-in-need prepared by Black Trans chefs. (Jason Lee)

   

Dead Tooth & No Surrender "Hate The Precedent”

 A joint effort between underground electro-fusionists No Surrender and psyched-out local supergroup Dead Tooth released earlier this month, “I Hate the Precedent” is the first fruit of an ongoing collaboration. Intro’ed by a slithering bass groove over ominous electronic textures, Dead Tooth vocalist/guitarist Zach James entreats a certain “ol’ blubber leper [to] please spare your rod” (portrayed below wearing what looks like a Michael Myers mask painted orange). Enter the catchy dance-rock hook and lyrical refrain: “I hate the president / and the precedent that he sets.” Following a volley of staccato guitar outbursts the second-verse vocals are taken over by No Surrender's Darius VanSluytman--“my brother’s a stranger / in his very own land”--until all involved ride out the refrain to the end. More succinct and funkier than a filibuster, one hopes this track will inspire more musical crossovers between Brooklyn artists. (Jason Lee

 

   

Lake Ruth/Listening Center warn of "Law & Disorder"

From its opening moments this collabiration between Lake Ruth and Listening Center--released over the summer with proceeds benefitting the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund--immerses the listener in a gauzily seductive yet apprehensive vortex of sound: "Don't sit and wait / there's no hiding here / unsubtle acts / rule the landscape that you know." Here is a song that acknowledges Law and Order are not the synonyms they’re often assumed to be (Allison Brice’s lyrics are clever enough to apply either to relationships or to politics even if the latter is to the fore). In the familiar music-crit parlance of “If You Like X, Why Not Try Y,” fans of Weyes Blood will likely respond to the layers of chiming guitars, wavering synths, and Grimms’ Fairy Tales vocals. But Lake Ruth conjure up a dark cloud of psych-pop perfection all their own. (Jason Lee)