Wolf Eyes, Eartheater, Twig Harper Saturday April 22, 8 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $13
Wow, what a whirlwind couple of years these must have been for Wolf Eyes– and this #blessed bestowance is well deserved for the band, which started out making noise, then moved toward not-noise-at-all noise that really was noise, until they transcended noise altogether. The comeuppance has meant, among other things, a new record label to call their own, a music festival in their honor (Trip Metal Fest will be back this year for a second go-round), a stream of sold-out shows in places that are just slightly above the underground and well beyond the borders of Metro Detroit, and now Undertow, a new album hot on the pup paws of 2015’s I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces.
A ghostly woman covered in white moves slowly, shaking. A man with long hair wails and plucks a guitar. A harmonium drones. Puppets emerge to the tunes of a flute and the beat of a drum, and a whimsical world is created that feels like a fairytale set to song, sometimes melancholy and sometimes full of life.
This is just a typical performance from the Brooklyn band Cookie Tongue, a “freaky folky family” currently in the throes of raising funds to record their latest album, Orphan Arms.
Cookie Tongue sprang from the brain of musician and visual artist Omer Gal in 2011. Upon their East Coast rebirth about a year ago, the band is now additionally comprised of Jacquelyn Marie Shannon, Chris Carlone, Brandon Perdomo, and Liza Pavlovna. Similar to Omer, all the other members also make their own art, from Butoh dance and theater to textile art and videography.
“My first band was with an ex-girlfriend in Israel. She was really into theater and fantastical worlds,” explains Omer. “When I moved to San Francisco, I moved alone, so that mixed with being in a new place created new songs. I was doing my MFA, there was a bunch of other artists there. Through jamming with them, I started writing songs that I felt were good enough to call Cookie Tongue.”
He adds that the first Cookie Tongue included yet another ex-girlfriend, who was the group’s violinist. “I can’t play music with someone who isn’t family,” he explains.
Upon his move to New York, Omer left the woman and the former iteration of the group behind yet again, but had already met his next partner in art and life.
“I met Omer at a Cookie Tongue show in San Francisco,” said Jacquelyn. “I went to a couple of shows and [it was] a super blown-away, I can’t believe this exists kind of thing. I just remember how transportive it was. I felt like I was in a book or another world.”
Omer and Jacquelyn (image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)
Jacquelyn, who initially joined the band as a Butoh dancer and now also plays an assortment of instruments, moved to New York from San Francisco around the time Omer did to study Butoh under the instructor Vangeline. There, she met Chris Carlone and Brandon Perdomo, other core members of the band.
Omer met the band’s newest member Liza on the street selling what he calls “Shithead shirts,” hand-painted t-shirts he makes bearing grotesque (yet somehow endearing) faces. These shirts are also available as rewards for donating to the band’s Kickstarter.
The uniquely fantastical nature of Cookie Tongue allows the members, especially Omer, to bring more than just interesting instruments and surreal sounds to the project. The focus is never just on music, but creating an entire world through their performances, whether this be through puppets, storytelling, dance, animation, or something else entirely.
Omer Gal’s art and some of the rewards available on their Kickstarter (image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)
“When I thought the music wasn’t good enough in the beginning, I added the art to it to make it feel like even though I’m not completely sure about this, I have the art, which I know is good,” Omer explains.
“We were talking about the theatrics of our shows, but how does that translate to an album? And so that’s one of the fun challenges, how we capture that theatrical experience in a soundscape,” adds Jacquelyn. “This is what we look like, this is what we feel like, and the challenge of translating that into sound. There’s a lot going on besides the music.”
Orphan Arms isn’t Cookie Tongue’s first album– that was 2014’s Biotic Rituals, a selection of songs sporting similar vibes but more indie-rock peppiness. But that was recorded with the San Francisco iteration, and they are starting fresh. Well, maybe not so fresh, per se.
“I think this album is gonna be a little more, sort of soggy dust. Gravelly, brownish, grayish texture,” Omer says when I inquire about it. “Grainy. And kind of a little bit desaturated.”
Omer and Jacquelyn explain that the “witchiness” of their surrounding community (they consider Bushwick’s Tarot Society a “home base”) has also impacted the band’s sound and image.
“I think what we’re seeing especially right now is this kind of renaissance in the idea of magic,” says Jacquelyn. “Looking for magic, looking to a fairy tale and figuring out what that means to us.”
As many bands do, they’re using Kickstarter to raise funds for their album, with a reach goal of $5,000 to record the songs and press them onto vinyl. They saw the video pitch element of crowdfunding as an opportunity to make what is essentially a short film that manifests the spirit of Cookie Tongue, feeling more like a piece of art than the familiar “here’s why you should donate” spiel.
And even that’s a bit different. Omer and Jacquelyn talk at length to me about the importance of family and community, whether in the band or beyond. Cookie Tongue’s previous iterations were more casual, Omer says, but this one truly feels like a family. He recounts seeing Devendra Banhart play a show in Tel Aviv and being affected by the band, how each member got to be in the spotlight and even the audience was invited to be a part of it.
“When I saw them walk out of the club I thought, I want a band like that,” he recalls. “I want a band that’s like a family.”
“We are really into knowing who wants to be a part of the community,” says Jacquelyn. “It’s not just donate because it’s a good thing to do, but because we want you to be part of this thing that we’re building.”
Cookie Tongue will be having a fundraiser dinner and performance at a secret location this Sunday, February 19. Find out more by contacting them through their Facebook page. Their Kickstarter concludes on February 22.
“Flickering” (Album art courtesy of Sexy Neighbors)
As if you were’t titillated enough by “Livin’ Wavy”, the Sexy Neighbors single we dropped back in December, the Bushwick-centric band is back for more with another boom-worthy single off their new EP, LIHC (out January 31 on Kings Highway Records). “Flickering,” which we’re premiering here, offers something of a departure from the “post-grunge” stylings running through the former and hints toward a new direction, thanks in part to a fresh lineup.
(Flyer by Brendan Winick, via Sunnyvale, Facebook)
White Rope, Fruit and Flowers, Sweet Baby Jesus, Grim River Tuesday December 20, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10
You’d be crazy to leave your apartment tonight, but if you’ve found a way to wear lipstick and keep your nose warm at the same time, then go for it. If you do so, you’ll be rewarded with some solid rock n’ roll vibes, possibly your last chance to get your fix before the holiday lockdown on all things happy and fun ensues.
If you’re a dedicated visitor of spots like Shea Stadium and Alphaville, you’ve inevitably seen or heard Sexy Neighbors. Going on seven years of recording together as a psychedelic post-punk do-whatever-we-want garage band, the odds that they’ve caught your attention are on their side, even if they’ve dwelled comfortably underground.
Pinc Louds may describe themselves as an “imaginary band,” but the type of imagination to dream such a group up is one that is incredibly memorable. Formed about one year ago, the trio consists of Claudi Ausbury, Ofer Bear, and Rai Mundo, and together they play songs that are a magical, whimsical blend of anti-folk, rock, punk, and something wild and theatrical. Though their rather outlandish and colorful appearance could lead some to see them as just a fun concept, their “hardcore acoustic doowop” music is equally transformative, seamlessly going from kind falsetto ballads to a shrieking, raucous number and back again, all while providing fantastical lyrics, and interesting stories.
The Last Punk Gig: Aspects of War, Warthog, Indignation, Porvenir Oscuro Friday, July 8, 8 pm at the Acheron: $15.
In honor of the Acheron and the punk scene it has put up with, fed/clothed, and sated for the last six years, the East Williamsburg venue (which is closing due to a struggle with their insurance company) is gathering up its biddies and besties to bid farewell to its hallowed walls. As the venue’s co-owner Bill Dozer promised, they’re filling up the last stretch with a bunch of benefits, including their very last night of business which is dedicated to the family of Brandon Ferrell (former drummer for Municipal Waste), a local musician and friend of everyone, apparently. All profits and bar sales from the show are going to the family, so you can feel good about getting super, super sloshed at the Acheron’s last hurrah.
What’s being billed as a “16 hour fully immersive,internationally inspired” music and visual art event is coming to a yet-to-be disclosed location near the Jefferson stop, joining Northside and Out in the Streets on the growing list of festivals happening in and around Bushwick this summer. Variance, however, is situated somewhere between Brooklyn’s answer to SXSW and the super-local chill fest known for bringing DIY regulars out of their usual dank, cavernous confines and onto the grassy grounds of Onderdonk House.
When I first locked eyes with The Teen Age, I wrote that once the band’s music “gets stuck in your head, you’re screwed.” And truly, the Brooklyn band’s concoction of vibey, stoned doo-wop, cut with surf-rock and steeped in pop, hasn’t left my innards since. Theirs is the kind of pop music that seeps into your bones, made up of individual ditties that, after your first dose, can cause foot spasms and whistle symphonies for months on end.
Honey, The Men, Foster Care, JJ Doll Friday May 6, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8 in advance/ $10 at the door
The season of leisure is (sorta, almost) upon us, but before you can pull out your pastel polos and Adidas flip flops n’ white socks (predicting that a health-goths-in-hot-weather with ’80s Beverly Hills golf club vibe will dominate Riis Park Beach Bazaar this summer), you gotta ease into that seasonable mindset of giving very few fucks. Without the zen attitude, you’re just another banker boy who spills mustard on his Comme des Garcons tennis shoes and makes his French bulldog Daisy pay the consequences. In my opinion, the best way to avoid wanton animal abuse is to eliminate all possible stress factors– that means lining up your go-to tunes for the summer far in advance so that when it comes to making an all-day playlist on the fly, you’ll be ready to go.
Interviewing Samara Davis and Sophia Cleary about their punk band is an exercise in willpower. It felt like no matter the topic we discussed, it was always punctuated by a double entendre and followed by a long guffaw or a hearty snort. How can you not acknowledge the elephant in the room — er, in this case the giant dong in the room — when you’re discussing a band called Penis?
Legendary skuzz rock duo Royal Trux are getting back together, if only for a moment. The former bandmates are set to play at Webster Hall on December 19 for the second time since their one-show reunion back in August. Until then, Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema, once a power couple in romance and rock n’ roll, hadn’t seen each other in 13 years. “But when he walked in the door it was like everything was the same,” Herrema told us. “It all just went back to the same thing — the chemistry, everything. It was as if no time had passed.”
We caught up with the perpetually-imitated, never-repeated Jennifer Herrema– who’s been based in LA for a while now– about what precipitated the reunion part deux, and how Royal Trux may be broken up, but a new fan seems to be born every day.