Grouplove

Grouplove

Smallpools, Ms Mr

Tue, April 22, 2014

7:00 pm

The Glass House

Pomona, CA

$25.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Grouplove
Grouplove
When the members of Grouplove met it was like a dream. The setting was a remote artist colony on the exotic, mysterious Greek island of Crete. Drummer/producer Ryan Rabin and his childhood friend and former bandmate, guitarist Andrew Wessen came from California, guitarist Christian Zucconi and keyboarist Hannah Hooper traveled from New York, and bassist Sean Gadd was the lone Brit. Each member went to Greece for their own independent reasons but over time they gravitated towards each other and discovered the sound that unified them: a merging of richly narrated, intricate songs with anthemic classic pop production. It took the band the better part of a year to reunite after they left the island, but as they prepare to release their debut album Never Trust A Happy Song, they're starting to realize what began as a fantasy has now become very real.

The story begins in the grimy, grey urbanscape of New York City. Hannah was a painter living in a tiny apartment in Chinatown. Christian was living in Brooklyn, realizing the band he'd been in for several years was coming to its natural end. Forty-eight hours after they met the couple decided to abandon the going-nowhere struggle of city life for the idyllic restfulness of Greece. "When we first got there we didn't know what to make of it," Christian remembers, laughing. "We were sharing a single bed and there was no real shower. It took a few days to adjust." They soon settled into a rhythm – Christian wrote songs and Hannah painted, but eventually they started mingling with the other residents. "To begin with, we just sat around on the beach or in caves, playing each other songs," Sean recalls. "I thought Christian and Hannah were very eccentric and very artistic. I liked their style. And right away we were all very supportive of each other's music and really enjoyed being together. That was the beginning of Grouplove, we just didn't know it then."


The colony, which Andrew's brother founded, allowed the members of Grouplove to step outside their comfort zones. "We spent our days together at a secluded beach far from the tourist traps, passing around the guitar or ukulele and sharing our songs with each other," Andrew remembers. "At night, we would spend time in the town or the zen garden, continuing to hang out. The fact that we met as individual artists and songwriters is a dynamic that has remained to this day." The individuality factor was huge. "In New York you're limited to what you've defined yourself as," Hannah laments. For the affirmed visual artist, this was a particularly powerful revelation. "I'd been surrounded by the same people for so long, which at a certain point becomes stifling," she explains. "Even though I was bright red the first few times I sang, it became an immediate way to be creative with the people around me. We were making something together."

It wasn't just the unusual circumstances that set these artists free, it was also each other's company. "We are all so different," Hannah explains. "Sean is the traditional rock and roller. He's got humor and style." "And he's the guy you want in your corner," Christian seconds. "Andrew is the free-spirit, blonde, California surfer boy," Hannah says fondly. "And the ambassador of the band – he's very social," Christian adds. "Ryan seems serious at first but he's actually really funny and weird and has an exceptional ear," Hannah says. When it comes to describing each other, the couple keep it short but sweet. "Christian writes the purest songs I've ever heard," Hannah says. "She's the real rockstar of the band," Christian responds.

It's one thing to play around with a new art project from the comfort of a supportive community, and quite another to transport that delicate synergy to the real world. Ryan, who'd come to Greece after attending an exchange program in the Czech Republic, went back to LA, thinking of Crete as nothing more than the cherry on top of an eye-opening year abroad. Sean went back to play with bands he'd been with, but just like with Christian, it became clear those projects had run their course. And Andrew, a surfer, went home to California where he picked up the chirango and ukulele, adding to his repertoire of stringed instruments. "We kept in touch in a summer camp way," Hannah recalls. "But people started getting back to their lives working their crappy jobs. Christian and I just really didn't want Greece to become just a memory." After an impromptu reunion in LA, during which they all stayed at Andrew's place in Venice and Ryan's garage recording studio, jamming for a few days, it became clear this was something special. "We just cancelled our flights back to NY," Christian remembers. "That was it."

Never Trust A Happy Song is a brawny, ecstatic album filled with ambitious, varied, expansive, tunes underscored by crisp percussion and killer harmonies. "The variety in the musical taste and writing styles of each member really makes each of our songs unique," Ryan explains. "The honest, open-minded process we go through in rehearsal and in the studio brings the songs home and gives them the 'Grouplove' sound." Under the Grouplove banner, "Colours," became a delicate but powerful slow/fast jam. "Itchin On A Photograph" is a soaring epic propelled by spacey guitar licks and vigorous handclaps. And "Tongue Tied," is an electronic infused dance anthem that showcases the band's obsession with careening harmonies. In keeping with the progressive context of their meeting, Hannah, Andrew, and Sean all share vocal duties and take their turn fronting the band - though Christian sings lead on most songs – Ryan produces all of their material, and all five bandmembers receive songwriting credit on every tune: Grouplove is a true collaboration.

The album's title initially seems ironic: On the surface the band's vibe comes off as happy, the songs soar with a kind of shimmering, youthful exuberance. But just beneath that sunny sheen, there is a reservoir of longing and melancholy. The Grouplove signature is blending those two pillars of life: sorrow and joy. Hannah explains, "As individuals we are heavier, darker, but when we are together we bring the love."

This show is general admission standing room only: No seating guaranteed for event. There are seats available in balcony on a first come, first serve basis.
Smallpools
Los Angeles' foursome Smallpools consists of Sean (vocals/keys), Mike (guitar), Joe (bass) and Beau (drums). Their self-titled debut EP was released this summer and gained them critical acclaim as the first single "Dreaming" shot to #1 of Hype Machine within its first 3 days and is currently climbing the alternative radio charts. To support the EP, the band went on tour with Australia's San Cisco and will head out next with Two Door Cinema Club followed by Walk The Moon in October and Twenty One Pilots in November.

When asked how to describe their vibe, the band said: Smallpools are a group of brothers with ADD working in their dad's factory on an assembly line. Everybody has their roll, but sometimes one will wander into another's department, to help or to frustrate. And every now and again everybody just stops production and plays a game of street fighter.

The working relationship in the band is really unique. Sean and Mike, both from the East Coast, have been friends and toured in various bands for years. While Beau and Joe, of Portland, OR, came to Los Angels to pursue music and within weeks stumbled upon Sean and Mike. The East Coasters definitely bring a different attitude and personality to the music compared to the laid-back "rational rhythm" team, and compliment each other really well, all being a vital part to the sound and dynamic of the band - on and off stage.

"("Mason Jar")...a sepia splash of power-pop that crystallizes into a starscraping smash before the verse even kicks in, as stadium-sized Of Monsters And Men gang vocals ride high on the buoyant flair of Smallpools' youthful, Two Door-esque ebullience." Neon Gold

Smallpool's self-titled debut EP is out now via RCA Records and the band is currently in the studio recording their full length, which will come out early 2014.
Ms Mr
Ms Mr
The mysterious New York City-based musical duo MS MR (Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow) emerged to make their imprint on 2012 with "Hurricane," an introspective alt-pop masterpiece heralding the arrival of a new band, a new sound and a new approach to pop. An unofficial video for the track popped up on YouTube in May 2012 and has since garnered more than 1.5 million views. Awarded 'Best New Track' on Pitchfork, the duo's single quickly rose to number one on Hype Machine.

"We're interested in exploring the nature of mixed media and collage," says Lizzy, "and how music transcends all these various platforms." Chief among them is MS MR's lively—if thoroughly mystifying—Tumblr page, which they used unprecedentedly to debut their EP, the critically lauded Candy Bar Creep Show. "Hurricane" joined "Bones," "Dark Doo Wop," and "Ash Tree Lane" on the self-released EP, which they released in the fall of 2012.

Mainstream and underground press on both sides of the Atlantic soon took notice and before long MS MR's songs were popping up everywhere, including "Bones" on the trailer for Game of Thrones Season 3 and "Hurricane" on catwalks everywhere during Fashion Week. "Prepare to be blown away," predicted the Guardian. KCRW praised the pair's "brilliantly produced cinematic pop" while the NME marveled, "There's a spark of innovation to New York newcomers MS MR that doesn't come so soon with new bands." Soon after the release of their EP, the duo signed a deal with Columbia Records for the worldwide release of their debut album.

In the beginning of 2013 MS MR released "Fantasy," the first track off of their upcoming album Secondhand Rapture. For the full-length Lizzy and Max initially wrote and recorded all the tracks in Max's home studio in Brooklyn. Composed over the course of a year and produced by Max, the duo then brought in Tom Elmhirst (Adele, Amy Winehouse), to mix the full-length and add some additional production at the legendary Electric Lady Studios. "It was a big leap from the glorified closet where we recorded our demos to our first real studio," says Max, "but it was an amazing opportunity for us to augment the tracks with some live instrumentation and to work with Tom, one of our musical heroes."

Secondhand Rapture is an intriguing aural Jenga that combines humbled ballads ("Dark Doo Wop"), experimental epics ("Head is not My Home"), and pure pop belters ("Think of You") alike. It expands on what Candy Bar Creep Show sketched out, seamlessly referencing everything from '80s new wave to '90s pop, doo-wop to country. "We both listen to a lot of different music from all different genres and time periods," says Lizzy. "We wanted to create an environment that was cinematic and grandiose but also self-aware and playful. It wasn't until we finished writing that we found the sonic threads that tied certain tracks together. These ultimately became the album."

"We both realized we found an emotional narrative more through the music and melodies than the lyrics," says Max, "so the album title was inspired more by the environment we wrote in than lyrical themes." Secondhand Rapture touches on the pair's relationship to media and the weather: "'Secondhand' refers to the mediated way in which we relate to each other and the world around us," says Lizzy, "We're fascinated by how technology gives us access to a vast new universe that feels incredibly intimate despite being once removed." For both, "rapture" felt like an accurate description of this feeling, euphoric with a dark underbelly, and was a nod to the climactic unrest of 2012, which they found inspiring.

It's a stroke of serendipity that Lizzy and Max are even making music together. They may giggle uncontrollably and complete each other's thoughts, but these Vassar alums hardly knew each other during college. Lizzy was a media-studies major, releasing records under her burgeoning imprint Neon Gold. (She's gone on to release records by artists such as Passion Pit and Ellie Goulding.) Max was an urban-studies major with a concentration in modern dance, and started composing music for his choreographies. It wasn't until after graduation that they connected - Max was studying at the Martha Graham School for Dance and was looking for a singer to collaborate with while Lizzy needed an unbiased sounding board for the songs she was starting to write in private. "There was an element of throwing caution to the wind. Send someone an email, hope for the best," explains Max.

They connected in person three months later in December 2010. To find their footing as collaborators, they recorded a sweeping cover of Patrick Wolf's "Time of My Life." Curious to see where else the music could take them, they decided to try their hands at composing some original material. This led to the swelling, mercurial tune we know now as "Bones." "It definitely set a tone for the band," says Lizzy. "In person, we're quite upbeat and bubbly, but the music allowed us to tap into the most extreme elements of our personality." Max adds, "From the beginning we knew we had a really unique musical chemistry. We continued to write as much as possible and didn't really think of ourselves as a band until we'd collected a body of material."

"We wrote in secret around both of our day jobs so our intensely personal friendship developed alongside our musical relationship, as we wrote the album," says Max. Their collaborations evolved into a inter-reliant process: "We share the earliest kernel of an idea and extensively cross edit each other so that our process becomes completely intertwined."

Translating the recorded tracks to a live stage was a challenge the duo hadn't considered while writing, but support tours with Marina and the Diamonds, GROUPLOVE, and Jessie Ware gave them time to develop into an act the Village Voice called "intoxicating" and voted one of the best shows of the summer. MS MR will be touring extensively throughout 2013, playing headline shows and many festivals around the world including Glastonbury in the UK, Lollapolloza in Chicago, and Splendour in the Grass in Australia.

Secondhard Rapture tracklisting:

1 Hurricane
2 Bones
3 Ash Tree Lane
4 Fantasy
5 Dark Doo Wop
6 Head Is Not My Home
7 Salty Sweet
8 Think Of You
9 Twenty Seven
10 BTSK
11 No Trace
12 This Isn't Control

Facebook comments:

Venue Information:
The Glass House
200 W. Second St
Pomona, CA, 91766
http://www.theglasshouse.us/