Since the summer of 2014 and the release of Careers, which Stereogum dubbed an “exceptional shoegaze-pop debut album,” the main driving force behind Beverly has been Drew Citron. While Beverly began as a recording project between two friends, The Blue Swell (out May 6, 2016 on Kanine Records) represents a fresh start for the band.
What do you do when your original writing partner up and moves to Los Angeles upon album release? You quickly form a new live touring band. And when you live in Bushwick in 2014 and you build and run indie rock venue Alphaville, that’s easy to do. You even turn your two person project into a full blown rock band with energetic live shows. Then, you tour – across America and Europe – up and down the east coast and add in a few trips to the midwest. All the while, you never stop writing and collaborating.
On The Blue Swell, Citron’s main collaborator is longtime tour mate and noise pop producer Scott Rosenthal (The Beets, Crystal Stilts), with Kip Berman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) lending co-writing talents to Victoria. Careers is acclaimed for its “fuzzed distortion and melodic sugar” (Rolling Stone) and its variety, with Pitchfork noting how it “careens from venomous, angry punk to jangly, mild lust to blown-out emotional hangover.” While you’ll still find reverb, catchy hooks and a track or two like Bulldozer or South Collins that could perhaps fit into the debut, the new album takes a less aggressive and more melodic turn.
Year after year the New York City we know, in constant flux, changes with some parts disappearing altogether. Take the Brooklyn venue where the three-piece EZTV played their first show two years ago – gone. The East Village record store that stocked the band’s first tape on consignment – shuttered.
As the band watch their compatriots move out of the city to cheaper, more idyllic pastures, it’s as if New York itself is telling them: “Drop dead.” When lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Ezra Tenenbaum sings, “Facedown on the concrete, While I dream of wider streets” on “States of Confusion,” you can hear weariness in his voice, and a touch of wistful “what-if” longing for more room, a little less hassle, a few more trees… maybe even a garage to park the 8-track machine.
But the shining “High Flying Faith” — the first song written for the album — is a refutation of urban weariness, it’s title perhaps acting as a makeshift motto for the optimism (and stubbornness) that is key to New York bands like EZTV. Inspired by the lyrics of “Broken Heart” by Skip Spence, it’s a 12-string-propelled nugget that best shows how EZTV operate: toeing the line between past and present, with a keen ear for left-of-the-dial experimentation that never lets the songs hew too far into pastiche and genre nostalgia.
Many of the band’s foundational inspirations — the Feelies’ upstart jangle, the upside-down pop architecture of Arthur Russell’s power pop band The Necessaries, Shoes’ aching harmonies — are back in play on High in Place, their sophomore album, though new instruments and feels abound throughout. Produced and engineered by the band themselves, a baby grand piano rings and 12-string acoustic guitars shimmer throughout the album, recalling the clear-eyed production techniques of Jeff Lynne.
Alex Uhrich, Clara Salyer, Shannon Boyer, Conor Burke. Once described as a “pink convertible messing up a fire hydrant”.
“Working in concert with Slumberland, this Twin Cities quartet is doing more than refashioning thirty year-old material, they are reminding us of the importance in creating new voices for independent music.” –imposemagazine.com
“Real Numbers, out of Minneapolis, make a tuneful three-guitar racket that punches up wistful indie pop romanticism with post-punk friction.” –blurtonline.com