CRX

CRX

DEAD HEAVENS, STREETS OF LOREDO

Thu, December 8, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15.00 - $18.00

This event is 21 and over

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CRX
CRX
The urge to begin a new project, for CRX’s Nick Valensi, came from a primal place: He just wanted to play. “I was at a place where I got really hungry to perform in front of audiences, and do things a little more simply,” Valensi says. “The Strokes don't play that often anymore, and when we do it's awesome, but it got to the point where I needed to balance that out with a project I could take on tour whenever I wanted to. And the idea of playing clubs again was really exciting to me.” But Valensi couldn’t start playing until he’d written some songs, and he realized he’d have to finally embrace an aspect of performing he’d resisted up until that point -- singing. Last summer, he just dug in, grabbing whatever spare time he had to record demos on his laptop at home. “It was a learning process,” says Valensi. “It took me some time to figure out how my voice sounds most natural, and to think about what I wanted to say.”

In his earliest writing sessions, Valensi gravitated toward more aggressive, riff-driven songs like the menacing “Unnatural,” whose breakneck tempo approaches speed metal velocity. The heavy, hazy “Broken Bones” -- inspired by a motorcycle accident that left the guitarist hospitalized for two weeks -- counterbalances its massively sludgy bottom end with Valensi’s surprisingly effortless falsetto. But as he continued demoing songs, Valensi found himself exploring other sonic territories, indulging his long held love of 70s power-pop and 80s new wave on tracks like the bright, catchy “Ways To Fake It” and the dub-tinged “One Track Mind.”

As the songs progressed, Valensi invited a few trusted musician friends to join the nascent project, and to contribute as songwriters. In addition to Valensi on guitar and vocals, CRX includes bassist Jon Safley, keyboardist/vocalist Richie Follin, drummer Ralph Alexander, and guitarist Darian Zahedi. “Once we were all in a room together, it got collaborative pretty quickly,” Valensi says, noting that about half of New Skin’s ten tracks are cowrites with the band.

After demoing several songs, Valensi reached out to Queens of the Stone-Age’s Josh Homme, for feedback on the tracks and advice regarding producers who might be right for the band. It quickly became apparent that there was no better person for the job than Homme himself. “He was really enthusiastic about the demos,” says Valensi. “There were even specific things he loved from the demos so much that we ended up including them on the album, which was very much a Josh decision.”

New Skin, CRX’s debut album, was recorded at Homme’s Pink Duck Studios in Burbank, with work wrapping up in early 2016. And even as this year marks the fifteenth anniversary of The Strokes first LP, it represents the beginning of a promising new chapter for Valensi. “One of the coolest things for me is that I began making this record as a vehicle to get onstage,” he says, “but along the way, it started to feel like we were working on something more special than that. I’m excited to be singing and having a lot of fun with it, and I’m really enjoying the feeling of having to work hard to win people over. It’s like being a kid again -- like everything is new and kind of scary but irresistibly fun, too.”
DEAD HEAVENS
DEAD HEAVENS
“Dead Heavens came to me while watching a film called An American Hippie In Israel,” says front man and guitarist Walter Schreifels. “In the film the aforementioned American Hippie collects a group of like minded flower children from around Tel Aviv. They cram into a convertible for a drive to the sea and pick out an uninhabited island to begin a new “free” society. They lose their raft, the waters around the island are shark infested, there’s no drinkable water or food save a single lamb which the hippies ultimately fight to the death for--their heaven dead yet the lamb survives. Our band is like the lamb, a lamb that grows into a goat, with horns.”

The early sparks of the Dead Heavens’ sound began on a Schreifels solo, with Thomas and Aguilar as the backing band. They were obsessing over Cream’s first album Fresh Cream and MBV, My Bloody Valentine’s both miasmic yet blissful follow up to Loveless. Aguilar also introduced them to the psych beauty of White Fence on that tour, which resonated with Schreifels, who was in the mood for heavier music, guitar solos, and a big rock feeling after a recent Quicksand tour.

Upon returning to NYC, Aguilar reacquainted Thomas and Schreifels with musician, painter, engineer and dude who came up with the title Use Your Illusion, Paul Kostabi, who had previously played in White Zombie and Psychotica.

“I knew Paul from his days with White Zombie, but hadn’t seen him in years and didn’t know he was recording,” Schreifels said. “Turns out he was in possession of the same 16-track reel-to-reel I had recorded Gorilla Biscuits’ Start Today on back in ’89, so it was a perfect fit.”

They began recording at Kostabi’s home studio in Piermont, New York with his massive collection of ‘70s recording reels from The James Gang, Sabbath, and Hendrix, spinning in between takes.

“Those recordings really inspired our sound,” Schreifels said of Kostabi’s analog archive. “We began to see ourselves in the context of the Vietnam War.”

Eventually Kostabi joined Dead Heavens, which had morphed mid-recording from a project into an actual band, changing the sound dramatically. Heavier and dual guitar leads, more sonic possibilities. Whether they’re connecting the sounds of the psychedelic ‘70s or channeling the now, Dead Heavens are sound tracking their exploration and as drummer Drew Thomas mentions, “What the world needs now is for more people to take psychedelic drugs.” Dead Heavens is launched into the world to succeed where the hippies failed.

Since their inception, Dead Heavens has released three 7” singles through various labels and has toured the country numerous times.
STREETS OF LOREDO
STREETS OF LOREDO
Streets of Laredo is a sing-a-long collision of jangling harmonies, stomping percussion, horns, guitars, and more crazy instruments than you can shake a sampler at.

Founded by close-knit family members Daniel, Dave and Sarahjane Gibson and inspired by the fervour and madness of the 70’s folk-rock circuit, the band was born out of trying to escape the mundane everyday working life. Older brother Dave tells the story, “Both Dan and I had done the hard yards in bands in New Zealand but we were worn out and a little lost by it all. And broke. I was running this t-shirt company and Dan walks in one day to tell me that he’s finished with music and he’s gonna go get a real job. All of a sudden my ‘big brother’ instinct kicks in and rather than see this young songwriter throw it all away, I gave him a job doing t-shirt orders, and we started working on demos and writing songs together, pretty much day and night from then on in.”

Refining their sound and songs one holiday weekend at a beach house on the New Zealand coast, the Gibsons started to fashion a sound that was equal parts folk storytelling and psychedelic madness. “Sonically we wanted to stay true to our long list of influences, but we wanted to screw it up as well - kinda twisty, like Paul Simon on bad acid.” With just one home-town show under their belt, a handful of demos and a whole lot of hope, they took the plunge and decided to move halfway around the world. Fast forward to the summer of 2012 and Streets of Laredo in a rehearsal space in Brooklyn NY with a guitar, a drum-machine and no money, trying to figure out what comes next. And what came next was songs, lots of ‘em.

Sarahjane describes the feeling, “I’d never lived overseas before, let alone in a city like New York, so the sense of isolation and homesickness - coupled with excitement and the unknown - was hugely overwhelming. But pretty soon all of these emotions were turning into lyrics and songs that were really about being a brand new immigrant in America. I mean, the only thing we really knew was that we’d finally made it to New York, we were making music, and we sure as hell weren’t about to leave.”

Quickly adding fellow countryman Thom Darlow and local Brooklynites Sean McMahon and Andrew McGovern to the mix, this now rambling, multi-instrumental, seven-piece started to craft a dance-inducing mix of vocal hooks, beats and wild sounds that saw the New York music scene embrace them as their own - building a firm reputation in the music halls of Brooklyn and the Lower East Side for playing danceable, crazy songs that kept fans coming back for more - not to mention seeing the band feted as a must-see act at both CMJ and SXSW. Dan sums it up nicely, “It all started with the song Girlfriend. We'd started writing that song before we left New Zealand so it had idealistic hints of what we thought this place would be like - but after living in Brooklyn for a while it took on a whole other layer, kinda like a mistress that can be unfaithful and hard to deal with but also a lot of fun - and that kind of informed the writing of what would become our debut record."

A quick trip back to New Zealand saw the band record the bones of ‘Volume I & II’ - ten songs inspired by their old life in NZ and their new life in NYC - in an old converted Auckland theatre where, courtesy of friendships and favours, they locked down that distinctive Streets of Laredo sound. “An influential blog called Girlfriend a ‘twisty psychedelic take on the old folk narrative’, which seemed fairly appropriate for our sonic tastes and style, and the rest was history.”

Like Bob Dylan running late to a Ramones concert or Paul Simon getting blind drunk with Grizzly Bear, however you describe them the resulting songs and sound have had an instant effect on fans and critics alike. Streets of Laredo are proud to announce the much-anticipated release of Volume I & II, out October 7 on Dine Alone Records.
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