Zammuto’s play with sound and sonic possibility makes you go “Aww!” Sound-smithing and experimentation create perfect musical spirals with creative sampling and synthesizing. Zammuto is the Nick Zammuto half of The Books, with a new live backing band. If you don’t know about the now-defunct Books, they scavenged for sound bits (like family videos from Goodwill, or the contents of the blog Everything is Terrible) to knit together into sampledelic folk-inspired musical pieces.
Zammuto records all of its music in an idyllic house in the woods of Vermont. They are basically awesome. Projected visuals, like finger skateboarding or rushing wooded landscapes, were all a part of the sensory concert experience. The crowd gobbled up the surreal juxtapositions of images, cheering at an image of a hardboiled egg getting sliced in half and returning the gesture when one video featured a bunch of middle fingers. When they were called back onstage for an encore, Sean Dixon started out with an epic drum solo, which turned into the drum rolls of the Paul Simon classic “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” with a funky, syncopated rendition of the chorus. On top of Christopher Owens covering “The Boxer,” it’s really too bad former student Adrian Simon, formerly ’15 hasn’t been around to hear his dad’s tunes and get all embarrassed.
This weekend represented a moment of renewal for a number of student bands. For one, on Thursday, the Japanese, now featuring plaintive songwriting and Adrien DeFontaine ’13’s new hairdo, returned to activity after a long hiatus. Also, Grand Cousin (who I do remember, bawwwk, was once called Grandfather) has perhaps made the ranks this weekend as hardest-working or most persistently present Wesleyan band, what with their two appearance on concert headers and avant-garde new music video. Also, Featherwood Bee (on Thursday) continued being awesome, and O Presidente continued to prove that they can’t keep themselves away for long after their debut album release.
One of the few outsiders thrown into this mix was Jacco Gardner, the NPR-acclaimed Dutch producer and multi-instrumentalist, and his bandmates, who played on Friday night. Their music was soothingly atmospheric, balancing on the historical cusp between mid-60s mod rock and late-60s psychedelia. Songs like “The Ballad of Little Jane” had just the right amount of creepiness, and reminded me of the Rolling Stones in their Brian Jones era. Jacco was endearingly sincere, expressing gratitude to the crowd and excitement for their adventures in America (it was their first time playing on this side of the pond) and imminent trip to SXSW. The drummer wore sunglasses indoors, which I can both respect and suspect for a lad from the pot-soaked Netherlands.
Click through for some video of Johnny Love and the Heartmen from A-Batte ’13 and some jumbled-together photos from me (Eric Lopez ’15‘s set makes for a more complete document).
Hai guyz, yet another Wesleyan musician has made it! This time, a group of scrappy WESU volunteers proves that they’ll be tastemakers of the future by introducing mtvU’s countdown of music videos, both on their Tumblr and on “a 24-hour television channel that is available on more than 750 college and university campuses across the United States” (check it out in a TV if you can find one!?). Perhaps recognizing how accomplished the Wesleyan community has been in the way of music lately, mtvU allowed the creators to (mostly) go crazy over the course of a single afternoon, turning such prosaic things like nail-clipping and sticking your head under your friend’s shirt into cinematic gold. Unfortunately, corporate censorship prevailed.
Here’s a full “artist statement” via former WESU technical director Dan Nass ’13:
mtvU invited WESU to do a college radio countdown, where we put together a playlist of ten music videos along with a clip introducing the station to viewers. WESU’s board of directors brought in the almost terrifyingly ubiquitous Will Feinstein ’13 to work on the script, and he and I co-directed the video. We shot it in a single afternoon, thanks to the talent and cooperation of WESU’s awesome student volunteers and our program manager Rick, along with some DIY ingenuity (a couple of the shots are lit with iPhones!) We wanted to represent WESU’s independent spirit with a suitably offbeat clip, and we must have done a good job because the folks at mtvU cut a couple of our favorite shots—the original video featured a kidnapping and a book-burning. The video and playlist are airing four times a day for the next week on mtvU. Check it out if you have a television! mtvU’s tumblr is also featuring five online music videos selected by the board, including campus favorites Adrien feat. William.
Hi kids. How’s that summer treating you? Me too, me too.
Anyway, Wesleyan “in every band” musician and hardworking DJ, Adrien DeFontaine ’13, also known as Crook$hanks has been putting out a mix every month this year, each consisting of songs he’s been rully vibin’ to around the time of the releases.
Today’s the end of July, and some of us feared that Crook$hanks had slipped from his release regiment. Were we supposed to go an entire month without dancin’ and groovin’ to a new $hanks mix? This morning at 1:30 AM, Wesleying’s own Zach texted me with his own concerns: “If you don’t post the Crook$hanks mix today, something really bad is gonna happen.”
Luckily, Mr. $hanks emailed me the new mix and all the info at 9:58 tonight!
Resident always-super-busy campus musician Adrien DeFontaine ’13 has dropped his latest in a series of monthly DJ mixes under his Crook$hanks moniker. The latest, The March Mix, as always, includes some of the stuff Mr. $hanks has been diggin’ this month, including Unicorn Kid’s “Boys of Paradise,” which he has called one of the happiest songs ever.
Check it out embedded below, check out Crook$hanks’ set Saturday night at WestCo’s Eurotrash rave, and check out his January and February mixes too. Tracklisting after the jump.