(Sandy) Alex G

Collective Concerts Presents

(Sandy) Alex G

Japanese Breakfast, Cende

Sun, July 2, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm

Velvet Underground

Toronto, ON

$20.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

(Sandy) Alex G - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
(Sandy) Alex G
"It has the potential to be one of the defining American indie records" -The Quietus

Though only 21 years of age, and recently a student at Philadelphia's Temple University, DSU is Alex G's fifth album. "I have been making music for as long as I can remember. My older brother is a talented musician and, as a kid, I would take after him by playing the keyboard. I always preferred writing my own music to learning other people's work," says Alex, which may go some way to explaining the volume of original material that exists. All recorded at home, almost exclusively solo, and, until recently, all self-released and available only via Bandcamp; the volume of his work online - combined with its vitality - has helped build a fervent cult fan base, resulting in two sell out US-only pressings of DSU via the esteemed Brooklyn bedroom label Orchid Tapes.

Wise beyond his years, Alex's lyrics draw upon personal experiences whilst conveying something universal as if touching upon topics with a world-weary authority: the frustration that comes with dealing with reprobate friends, self-centred drug-use and the stinging loneliness of an unreciprocated affection all feature prominently. Like classic alternative artists Neil Young and Alex Chilton, Alex's songs are refreshingly robust and rapturous, with enough lo-fi grit to ground them in a sparse, impressionistic space.

Sonically, his palette fluctuates from the rolling rhythms of album opener 'After Ur Gone' to the distorted atmospherics of 'Hollow'; a shift that makes more sense when you realise Alex counts Silver Jews, Aphex Twin, Lucinda Williams and Boards of Canada amongst his diverse musical reference points. Everything is tied together by the ever present winding open spaces of his languid acoustic strums and the meandering melodies of that classic indie aesthetic. Lyrically each track on DSU - from the more intricate narrative of addictive highlight 'Harvey' to the overtly questioning elements of album closer 'Boy' -  reveals just enough to embolden the listener to explore beneath its surface - making what they will of Alex's introspective musings.

Much like his closest musical forebear, Elliot Smith, Alex's music offers a complimentary sense of cathartic comfort in its moodiness. DSU is evidence of Alex G's pliable sound – one which has whole crowds singing his own words back to him with voracious intent. In the US the album has already been ecstatically received, earning Alex the accolade of "the Internet's Secret Best Songwriter" from The Fader while Rolling Stone named him "a bright new talent".

Though Alex seems to gel with other musicians - "The Philadelphia scene has a few bands that I really like. Orchid Tapes is cool. Everyone in the scene is very supportive"- in many ways, he is even an outsider in a scene of outsiders; determined to succeed on his own artistic terms. As the furore for him grows internationally, the clearest and "the most magical thing about Alex G is that everyone who comes into contact with him seems to fall in love" -The 405.
Japanese Breakfast - (Set time: 8:45 PM)
Japanese Breakfast
“The title Soft Sounds From Another Planet alludes to the promise of something that may or may not be there. Like a hope in something more. The songs are about human resilience and the strength it takes to claw out of the darkest of spaces.”
Michelle Zauner wrote the debut Japanese Breakfast album in the weeks after her mother died of cancer, thinking she would quit music entirely once it was done. That wasn’t the case. When Psychopomp was released to acclaim in 2016, she was forced to confront her grief. Zauner would find find herself reliving traumatic memories multiple times a day during interviews, trying to remain composed while discussing the most painful experience of her life. Her sophomore album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, is a transmutation of mourning, a reflection that turns back on the cosmos in search of healing.
“I want to be a woman of regimen,” Zauner sings over a burbling synth on the album’s opening track “Diving Woman.” This serves as Zauner’s mission statement: stick to the routine lest you get derailed, don’t cling to the past, don’t descend. In fact, ascend to the stars; Zauner found artistic solace removed from Earth, in outer space and science fiction. “I used the theme as a means to disassociate from trauma,” she explains. “Space used as a place of fantasy.”
And yet, Soft Sounds From Another Planet isn’t a concept album. Over the course of 12 tracks, Zauner explores an expansive thematic universe, a cohesive outpouring of unlike parts structured to create a galaxy of her own design. In the instrumental “Planetary Ambience,” synths communicate the way extraterrestrials might, and on the shapeshifting single “Machinist,” which Zauner has been performing live for over a year now, she details the sci-fi narrative of a woman falling in love with a machine. “It’s pure fiction,” she explains, “But it can map onto real relationships in a relevant way.” The track, which begins with spoken-word ambience, moves into autotune ‘80s pop bliss and ends with a sultry saxophone solo, perfectly marries the experience: there’s a perceptible humanity in mechanical, bodily events.
Within its astral production, much of Soft Sounds From Another Planet stays grounded. “Road Head” is the last chest compression in attempt to resuscitate a doomed relationship, while the penultimate track “This House” is an acoustic dirge that honors Zauner’s chosen family. The baroque pop “Boyish” has a haunting, crystalline clarity that recalls the pathos of a Roy Orbison ballad, while “Body is a Blade” embraces the dark intimacy of Zauner’s Pacific Northwest heroes Elliott Smith and Mount Eerie.
With help from co-producer Craig Hendrix (who also co-produced Little Big League’s debut) and Jorge Elbrecht, (Ariel Pink, Tamaryn) who mixed the album, Zauner recontextualizes her bedroom pop beginnings, expanding and maturing her sound. The sheer massiveness of the big room production on Soft Sounds From Another Planet introduces listeners to a new Japanese Breakfast. Zauner’s familiar, capacious voice will serve as their guide.
“Your body is a blade that moves while your brain is writhing,” she sings. “Knuckled under pain you mourn but your blood is flowing.” There’s discernible pain in the phrasing, Zauner recognizing limitation, a lack of control, but then subverting the feeling, creating her own musical language for confronting trauma. Where Psychopomp introduced the world to Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds dives deeper. It builds space where there is none, and suggests that in the face of tragedy, we find ways to keep on living.
Cende - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
Venue Information:
Velvet Underground
510 Queen St. West
Toronto, ON, M5V 2B7
http://www.libertygroup.com/venues/venues_velvet.html