Andrew Zingg ’13 has that tropical zingggggg:
Take a trip back to 1960s Brazil with the psychedelic funk/soul/garage of Sessa and The Trip and the dusty vinyl of Joel Stones, the man with the deepest Tropicalia record collection in NYC.
SESSA AND THE TRIP
The new project of Sergio “Sessa” Sayeg, the former guitarist of São Paulo Tropicalia enthusiasts Garotas Suecas. Carry Brownstein of Sleater Kinney/Portlandia said of Sessa’s former band: “It has literally been a decade since I went up to a stage, closed my eyes, danced like a fool and never wanted the moment to end.”
Sergio Sayeg – Guitars and Vocals
Jorge Chafey – Bass
Robin Macmillan – Drums
Joel Stones – Spiritual Guidance
DJ JOEL STONES
The proprietor of the recently defunct Tropicalia in Furs, an East Village record store of entirely psychedelic Brazilian music from 1960s and 1970s. He has DJ’ed parties for the Beastie Boys and curated a compilation of Tropicalia rare cuts called Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas.
Not pictured: Girl#$wag. Sorry.
Last night at Eclectic, seven Wesleyan bands kept the crowd raging and vibing for almost three straight hours. The bands performed in the following order: Girl#$wag, Molly Rocket and the Crooks, O Presidente, The Japanese, Robert’s Don, Grand Cousin, and Treasure Island.
Girl#$wag began the show at around 9:30 p.m. to a large crowd of fist-pumpers and ragers. A bit more mellow acts followed after, but still maintained a vibrant crowd throughout. I ran away from the mosh pits that formed during The Japanese’s performance.
After a slow but incredible performance from Robert’s Don, things took a turn as established campus acts Grand Cousin and Treasure Island got the crowd jumping for every second.
If you don’t know already, the winning band gets to perform as the opener for Spring Fling. The thirteen-some judges stayed for the entirety of the show and deliberated afterwards which band would take the prize. (Disclosure: This blogger was among them.) After considering many different criteria, such as which band would translate well outdoors, get people dancing, excite the crowd for the rest of the concert, and more, the judges, myself including, held a vote and Girl#$wag came out on top.
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).
Leaves of Green, photographed by Rachel Pincus ’13.
This happened last night at Earth House. The living room was as packed as it has ever been, and squished bodies erupted into moshing ones several times throughout the night, while people spilled out into the other two adjoining rooms, making for a full house throughout all three acts.
Blackbird & the Cherry Tree began the night with their bluesy soul-rolling tunes. Recently graduated songstress Mel Hsu ’13 cradled us with her cello, Jess Best ’14 with her keyboard and powerful voice, Sam Friedman ’13 on harmonica, and Mark Bennett ’13 on drums. The music contained elements of Hsu’s own collaborative work with Josh Smith ’11, with added soul elements.
They were followed by O Presidente, a San Francisco-by-way-of-Wesleyan based band, including Tobias Butler ’13, Andrew Zingg ’13, and Charlie Ellis ’13, who recently came out with their debut album, Club de Futebol. After WESU ranked them No. 2 in their top 30, CMJ “discovered” them, too. Audience members coined their sound “surf punk”, “a little bit of Clash”, or as someone else put it, just “fun-awesome.”
From Our Dear Leader Zach Schonfeld ’13:
Describing themselves as “a band with a penchant for falsetto,” Leaves of Green is a quartet of NYU students (two of whom hail from the bustling metropolis that is Chappaqua, NY). “Caving In” is a pretty solid indicator of their sonic depth, which ranges from ethereal post-rock to driving indie-rock to a thick, dramatic climax. And yes, there’s a falsetto. According to NYU Local (motto: “The Wesleying of NYU”) (not really), they’re great live, too.
O Presidente is a noo-wop / bro-fi / tropicália band based out of San Francisco and Wesleyan University. Last month, they released their debut full length album, Clube de Futebol, which tastemakers have called “an entertaining, rocking, and even sometimes crooning record” and “very, very good.” Check out their jock jamz at this link. According to esteemed musicologist Alexia Nazarian ’13, “O Presidente makes me want to get in a kiddie pool and splash around.” [Gabe recently wrote a review of O Presidente’s music, check it out at this link.]
Blackbird and the Cherry Tree is a collaboration between Jess Best ’14 and Mel Hsu ’13. With a cello holding down the bass and the keys building a bluesy core, the duo’s razor-sharp harmonies pull you into a place as sweet as it is wild. Sam Friedman ’13 and Mark Bennett ’13 often join them on stage to fill out the sound with dirty harmonica and hard-hitting drums. Although this band is all about groove, don’t expect to get too comfortable because the storm is never far off.
It would be wrong of me to say that O Presidente plays music from another time. That’s simply missing the point. While the band, comprised of Andrew Zingg ’13, Nathaniel Draper ’12, Tobias Butler ’13, and Thomas Yopes (UC Berkeley ’13), writes music with very particular and sometimes peculiar influences, they’re not really reaching back into the past to steal sounds. Rather, their debut album Clube De Futebol collapses the past 60 years of music history into 10 succinct songs and adds their own, very 21st century sense of humor right on top.
A quick taste of that humor: According to lead singer Zingg, the band formed around a failed student group that he and guitarist Draper attempted to start during his freshman year. Clube de Futebol, originally, was the proposal for “this club that would get SBC funds to pay for a TV and the Fox Soccer channel so we could get together with our friends and watch soccer. The Portuguese spelling was an homage to Brazil’s beautiful way of playing the game. Needless to say, SBC never agreed to give us any money. But the name stuck.” The band name, O Presidente, was a product of the same failed Clube—it was Draper’s official title, in Portuguese of course.
That’s not the last bit of Brazillian influence you’ll hear on this record. On the 50s throwback “Take My Baby,” the group sings its final verse in—you guessed it—Portuguese. You’ve got to give these guys credit for continuity. That song is notable for its American inspiration as well. Beginning with a classic slide into an upbeat surf-guitar riff, “Take My Baby” is a concise tune with easy-to-place roots.
For all my yay-arean readers out there (a not-insignificant number of you), O Presidente—the Noo-Wop brainchild of Bay Weskid Andrew Zingg ’13 in collaboration with Tobias Butler ’13, Nathaniel Draper ’12 and their friend Thomas Yopes (UC Berkeley ’13)—will be having a release party/concert this coming Wednesday, January 9, at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. The concert is being produced by Ground Series, an Oakland-based interdisciplinary arts program founded by Wes Alums Sarah Ashkin ’11 and Brittany Delany ’09, and it will also feature appearances by Pancho-San and The Aerosols.
Zingg spits the following about the upcoming release:
O Presidente’s debut full length, entitled “Clube de Futebol,” was recorded in the summer of 2012, after I took a year off and wrote a bunch of songs. When my Bay Area-based Wesleyan buddies Tobias Butler ’13 and Nathaniel Draper ’12 and a high school friend Thomas Yopes (UC Berkeley ’13) finished their Spring semesters, we decided to have a go at performing these songs at clubs/bars/dorms/wherever and ended up playing several shows at great venues in and around San Francisco.
“Buy all of your friends’ presents tonight.” This is the command of the Spirit of Thirty-Fork Street, Wesleyan’s sometimes-friendly-but-often-awkward Ghost of Christmas Past. (It probably doesn’t help that we don’t have a Ghost of Chanukah Past.) Anyway, if you’re on top of that, good for you. If you’re not, first take an hour to download and listen to Miracle on Thirty-Fork Street, a holiday season compilation of original (!) songs put together by a loose collective of Wesleyan-associated acts. Then, freaking consume, you consumer. Here are some reflections, lightly edited for reading ease, from a contributor:
The album was made by an extended group of friends (we mostly know each other). All of these friends are either from Wesleyan or closely related to folks at Wesleyan. These are all ORIGINAL holiday songs. No covers! It’s really lame that the majority of holiday songs were written in the baby boomer era. So here are some new ones.
This album is dedicated in part to Will Schragis ’12, who approached me (and others) last year trying to put together a holiday album where he and his friends who actually played music would do covers. Unfortunately it never came together.
The title is a reference to the Static Stamina/Japanese holiday EP It’s a Wonderful KNIFE!, which is actually one of the most hated things on the ACB ever.
Full list of collaborators after the jump.
Slightly tipsy, spiraling toward the Matrix and logging on to Wesleying to see what’s happening tonight? Andrew Zingg ’13 has one more possible answer for you:
The elder brothers of top frat Mu Upsilon Eta Omicron (that’s MUHO, ya dummies!) invite you to a remember a simpler time — of *fun* on the top floor and Sing Along With Mitch records attached a bit more firmly to the walls. Old Music House-mates playmate new musics for you for to listen! Come one and all and do it for the mems!
All bands feature at least one former member of the House, except for the Sweaterpuppies. But it’s their first show and they’re cute!
It’s FREE (as if we had to say it…)
Date: Tonight, December 1st
Time: 10pm (yes, we’re late on the draw…)
Place: Music House
Facebook Event: Link.