Tag Archives: wes bands

Straight Outta Milwaukee: Cheenis & the Romp is “Fresh,” Preps EP

It’s hot as hell lately in these Eastern parts (our weekly poll offers scientific proof), and we can all probably use a cold, hard shot of Wisconsin. Enter Cheenis & the Romp. The rising sophomore indie-pop outfit is formed entirely of Milwaukee -> Wesleyan exiles and drew mild acclaim last winter for performances at Awesomefest, 8th Day of the Week, Bandfire, and LoRise D1, as well as on WESU’s “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass” show.

This summer, Cheenis is back in action, prepping a five-song EP and debuting a bizarre video for “Fresh,” one of its tastiest cuts, which was written in fall 2011, recorded at Greenhouse Studios (Matan Koplin-Green ’15’s house in Milwaukee) over Spring Break, and mixed at Wesleyan. If the video is any indication, the track also features lead vocals, occasional drums, and a bitchin’ guitar solo by Koplin-Green himself, but founding member Bennett Gelly ’15 (who formed the band with Jack Ladd ’15 in high school before relocating to Middletown) suggests this may be a ruse:

Clear Your Sionesses With Lioness: New Recordings Surface

The Artists Formerly Known As Friendsome celebrate three-year reunion with “Seven Year Itch Point Dume.”

Three hazy years ago this summer, three historic L.A. brosephs (and Dema) encountered each other in the WestCo Freshmen Musical Industrial Complex. They chose a name, and at some fateful Open Mic in the fall of 2009, Friendsome arrived, set on a path moving swiftly towards the opening set of Spring Fling 2010. Now, three years, two name changes, two post-Linus projects, and at least one hiatus later, drummer John “Slayder” Snyder ’12 graduates into the great beyond and the rest of Lioness ponders its future.

And releases more sweet unheard Lioness cuts.

Seven Year Itch Point Dume,” which you may recognize from the band’s April show in Eclectic, is the latest.  With an epic vocals-into-drums-into-summer-fun intro, wailing guitar solo via part-time member Adrien “Belew” DeFontaine ’13 totally cartographical cover art by member Dylan “MapQuest” Bostick ’13, and curious lyrics about slaying beasts and winning “the battle and the war,” discovering sunburns and reminiscing “of the rooooooad,” it’s also one of the greatest. As Bandcamp explains it, the track was produced by members Adrien and Ethan Young ’12 and recorded by Jared Paul ’11 in the Wesleyan music studios last fall.

Clear Your Sionesses With Lioness: New Recordings Surface

The Artists Formerly Known As Friendsome celebrate three-year reunion with “Seven Year Itch.”

Three hazy years ago this summer, three historic L.A. brosephs (and Dema) encountered each other in the WestCo Freshmen Musical Industrial Complex. They chose a name, and at some fateful Open Mic in the fall of 2009, Friendsome arrived, set on a path moving swiftly towards the opening set of Spring Fling 2010. Now, three years, two name changes, two post-Linus projects, and at least one hiatus later, drummer John “Slayder” Snyder ’12 graduates into the great beyond and the rest of Lioness ponders its future.

And releases more sweet unheard Lioness cuts.

Seven Year Itch,” which you may recognize from the band’s April show in Eclectic, is the latest.  With an epic slow-burning keyboard-and-reverby-guitar intro, wailing guitar solo via part-time member Adrien “Belew” DeFontaine ’13, and curious lyrics about slaying beasts and winning “the battle and the war,” it’s also one of the greatest. As Fofang explains it, the track was produced by members Adrien and Ethan Young ’12 and recorded by Jared Paul ’11 in the Wesleyan music studios last fall.

Eclectic Party, Feat. The Rooks

Taylor: “We’ll definitely come back some time in the future, but when we do none of us will be students.”

The Rooks: rookies no more, eh? Vocal-savvy frontman and campus friend-at-large Garth Taylor ’12 sends word of one last time to support your local funk band:

As for the Eclectic show, it’s listed in the Reunion & Commencement Events as “Eclectic Party Featuring The Rooks.” The whole party goes from 10 PM to 2 AM. There will be a “cash bar” where ID is required. We will go on when things start to jump off around 11:30PM, we hear there will be an awesome DJ before and after our hour-long set. We’ll be performing a lot of the material we performed at our shows in the ’92 so if anyone missed that, they can get acquainted with our new songs.

This may well be the Rooks’ last show as students, so act fast. For more on the band, click here, here, or here.

Date: Friday, May 25
Time: 10:00 pm – 2:00 am
Place: Eclectic
Cost: Cash Bar
.

Senior Week Surprise: Fort Lean, Bear Hands Crash Eclectic House Party

“Hey, Wesleyan. We used to go here. Now we don’t.”

Are you there USA Today? It’s me, Zach.

Because the Douglas freaking Cannon isn’t enough surprise excitement for one twenty-four-hour span, Eclectic held its own alumni reunion of sorts in the ballroom last night, starring such notables as acclaimed indie-poppers Bear Hands (Dylan Rau ’07, Ted Feldman ’09, others) and Fort Lean (Keenan Mitchell ’09, Zach Fried ’08Jake Aron ’08Will Runge ’09, and Sam Ubl’ 08) alongside recent Spring Fling appetizer Peace Museum. As Pitchfork put it in 2010:

Does Wesleyan, the arty Connecticut liberal arts university, attract boys with raw, nasal voices and penchants for shimmering keyboards and huge waves of overdubbed psychedelic guitars to its halls, or does the school simply turn its students into those sorts of musicians?

Either way, it’s quite the way to network with alumni. Back in the day, Bear Hands was opening for MGMT in Beckham Hall. Today the band is a year-and-a-half removed from debut LP Burning Bush Supper Club—and about as far past its triumphant homecoming gig in Eclectic in January, 2011. The members remained just as invigorating live last night, merging shimmering indie psychedelia with propulsive post-punk rhythms while running through most of BBSC and about four or five new tracks.

Scroll on for video of “Crime Pays” and a full gallery of Bear Hands and Fort Lean. More (much more) on Bear Hands’ 2011 show here.

The Mash: A Celebration of Music & Public Life

Forgot to fill out your Teaching freakin’ Evaluations in time for eternal life? Chelsie Green ’14 sends in a much more interesting survey pertaining to a September music happening that will transcend time, space, and all earthly matter:

There is a student committee working with the CFA to plan The Mash, a music happening being planned for the Friday after classes begin (Sept. 7). Inspired by the Fête de la Musique in France, the event will kick-off the year-long celebration of Music & Public Life. It will open with a faculty band, continue with student bands playing all over campus and culminate in an alumni band (to be announced) on Foss. The band will lead a campus-wide play/sing along of a song everyone is encouraged to learn over the summer. The song is set to be some Beatles song, but it is up to the student body to choose, so please vote here.

More information about this event will be announced in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, “Revolution 9” doesn’t appear on the ballot, but here’s what does: “Come Together,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Hey Jude,” “All You Need is Love,” “She Loves You.” So choose The Right One, guys. You know.

BandCampWes: Speedy Ortiz Seeks Funds for Summer Tour

Speedy Ortiz is the project of long-time Sound Coop member Dan Ferm ’12 and a bunch of other friends from Northampton, MA. Appropriately, the band sounds a whole lot like fellow western Massachusetts noise-makers Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, plus others from the early ’90s indie/lo-fi cloth—earnest melodies swamped in dense, fuzzy overdrive, with melodic vocal lines and inventive guitar tuning. Don’t believe me? Listen to “Taylor Swift,” which sounds not very much like its namesake at all:

Speedy Ortiz plans to release a 10″ EP on vinyl, CD, and hopefully tape at the end of the month, so start dusting your cassette players. The band has been spotted performing in various houses on campus, and hopefully more before graduation. The band is also planning to tour cross-country this summer, so members have set up one of them fancy Kickstarter thingamajigs to raise $4,000 to bring noise to your freaking hometown:

VANS ACROSS AMERICA! Speedy Ortiz wants to bring our rock show to a city near you this summer, and we can’t do that without a van! And hopefully a van with decent gas mileage since gas just might cost more than ever this year. But if we can bring the rock out on the road to you, it will be totally worth it!

Seretan ’10 Drops Video, “What Would You Do if You Were Me?”

Earlier this semester we posted about New Space, a fantastic new indie-rock-meets-ambient recording by Duchampion alumnus and all-around genius emeritus Ben Seretan ’10, who skipped the Superbowl and hung out in his friend’s Greenpoint studio to record the five tracks. “The whole thing was recorded with nothing more than guitars, amps, and delay pedals,” I raved at the time, “which is especially a feat given how freaking full and textured it sounds, like a loving tribute to the sheer layers of sound the instrument can produce.” (Am I a fanboy or am I a fanboy?)

Today, Seretan sends word of a new video he completed for “What Would You Do If You Were Me?,” his whopping nine-minute opener. As you can see from the embed above, it’s green and hazy and fuzzy and blue in all the right places—a mostly perfect visual counterpart to Seretan’s textured, slow-burning guitar compositions. It’s an all around Wes party, too: the video was directed and produced by Angus McCullough ’10, with mad help from Sam Jones ’10 and Josh Koenig ’09. Check out their finished result here, or scroll on for a very brief explanatory interview with Seretan himself.

Ishmael Finally Drops New EP, Plots Return to Wes

“We’ve been pregnant with this record for nine months, but this baby couldn’t wait any longer.”

When I caught up with Ishmael last month to talk about the band’s brand new EP, I asked about recording the whole thing in the dead of night at New York’s Tarbox Studios. “There was something indescribable about being so creative, and loud, while most of New York slept,” the band told me, “and it freed up our inhibitions so we could try some weird stuff.” “Feet Stomp,” the first tease from that EP, hinted at some weird stuff. It also hinted at the catchiestand shiniest—pop music that the prog/funk/rock/whatever outfit has written yet. Who says 9/8 time signatures and Tool covers aren’t sexy?

This week the band, which includes Jordan Lewis ’13 and Andy Werle ’12 plus non-Weskids Nick Otte and Aaron Silberstein, finally delivers the goods. The EP, creatively titled Ishmael the EP (and previewed on the WEUS airwaves a few weeks back), is available online for $3.96 at iTunes (and coming soon to Spotify and, eventually, physical formats). At just over twenty minutes, it consists of four of Ishmael’s most diverse tracks yet, including

NITIC’S CROTEBOOK: Lower Dens Wants To Take You Higher

“These guys are totally like a chiller Beach House!” —anonymous

Baltimore’s big on campus these days. Wye Oak, Dustin Wong, and Lands and Peoples all hail from the Charm City, and if you cast your memory a little farther back, so does Beach House. Lower Dens is apparently the latest to occupy the “Baltimore-based critical darlings” slot—they’re a little bit moody, a little bit noisy, a little bit shoegazy, a little bit psychedelic, and after a set by spirited indie-poppers Treasure Island at Eclectic last Friday night, most of it worked. (The band’s on its way to SXSW for a third consecutive year, so props to HB ’14 for organizing: sweet timing.)

Also, props to a sizable crowd for turning out, props to Dens’ unnamed guitarist for the most righteous mustache this side of Bear in Heaven, and props to the band’s crew for the most psychedelic lighting setup since The Luyas opened for Dodos: this show was fun.

Nootropics (prononced “No-eh-tro-pics”) comes out in May, and if you Google that, you’ll learn far more about “smart drugs” than you ever wanted to know. Scroll on for a full gallery, and scope tomorrow’s Argus for an interview with the band.