(Saturday) 7:30 pm
Music Starts: 8:00PM
“Life is never going to go exactly the way you think it will,” says Eric Tessmer, “but I’ve come to
appreciate that fact. Good things take time.”
Tessmer’s stellar new release, ‘EP II,’ is proof of that. Three years in the making, the collection
was recorded in Los Angeles with acclaimed producer Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’
Roses), and it finds the incendiary Austin guitarist matching his technical flash with new heights
of lyrical craftsmanship and studio sophistication. The performances here represent Tessmer’s
most raw, powerful work to date, tackling sobriety, commitment, and redemption with both deep
insight and fearless vulnerability. It’s a remarkable step in an already remarkable career, one
that showcases a virtuosic instrumentalist boldly stretching his limits and embracing his artful
evolution as a singer and songwriter.
“I wanted to go deeper than I ever have before with this EP,” says Tessmer. “I still love ripping
things up on the guitar, but this time around, I wanted to save that more for the live show and
really focus on concision in the studio.”
A Wisconsin native, Tessmer developed his love affair with music through a kind of familial
osmosis. Both his grandmother and father played guitar, and Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Cream
were all staples around the house growing up. Inspired in part by watching reruns of Austin City
Limits on his local PBS station, Tessmer moved to Texas straight out of high school, and he
quickly garnered a formidable reputation there for his fierce fretwork and explosive live
performances. He cut his teeth playing residencies in clubs and bars, shared stages with
everyone from Gary Clark, Jr. to Tab Benoit, and released a series of live and studio albums
that earned widespread critical acclaim, with the Austin Chronicle dubbing him an “SRV-fast
firebrand” and the Austin American Statesman hailing him as a “working class guitar hero.”
‘EP II’ reflects the loose, energetic freedom that’s become Tessmer’s trademark, with searing
rocker “The Treatment” kicking things off with an infectious guitar riff that at once calls to mind
AC/DC and ZZ Top. It’s a love song, no doubt, but in typical Tessmer fashion it comes with a
dark edge, a hint of danger that flows just beneath the surface. The slow-burning “Good So
Bad” grapples with the rollercoaster of addiction and recovery, while the eerie “Early Early
Morning” mixes romance and film noir, and the swampy “Po’ Boy” is a funky instrumental
fireworks show. Though the collection prizes economy, Tessmer’s sprawling cover of friend and
collaborator Anders Osborne’s “Love Is Taking Its Toll” is a notable exception, clocking in at ten
minutes of blistering guitar work and smoldering vocals. Of all the standout moments on the EP,
though, it’s perhaps the soulful “Simple Solution,” an anthemic ode to music itself, that captures
Tessmer’s spirit best.
“I must have had ten different sets of lyrics for that song,” he remembers. “I felt this pressure to
be ‘profound,’ but then I realized that the most profound thing I could do was to stop taking
myself too seriously, crank the music up, and do what I love to do.”
It may have taken a while to get there, but the finished product is everything Tessmer hoped it
would be and more. Good things take time, after all, and a collection as strong as ‘EP II’ is
undoubtedly worth the wait.
“This guitar prodigy plays like a man possessed” – Boston Globe
“Tessmer is the real deal.” – The Austinist
“You can’t watch him play guitar solos. It’ll make you dizzy.” – Gary Clark Jr.
“The first time I saw Eric play, the top of my skull blew off.” – Nancy Wilson
(Sunday) 6:30 pm
On the walls of any local used music shop there hangs a gallery of mysteries. Picked up and handed down across the decades, each instrument contains the imprints and stories of those who have played it before, most of which remain untold. For Kansas City-based songwriter Kelly Hunt the most intriguing of these stories is the origin of her anonymous calfskin tenor banjo. “I really wasn’t looking for it,” she says, “but I opened up the case and it said ‘This banjo was played by a man named Ira Tamm in his dog and pony show from 1920 to 1935.’ I strummed it and said ‘This is unlike anything I’ve ever heard.’ People often think of the banjo as being rather brash and tinny – loud and kind of grating – but this was so warm and mellow, with an almost harp-like quality to it, very soulful” – apt words for the Memphis native’s debut album, Even The Sparrow, on Rare Bird Records.
The daughter of an opera singer and a saxophonist, Kelly Hunt was raised in Memphis, TN, and grew up performing other people’s works through piano lessons, singing in choirs, and performing theater. “It was a very creative, artistic household,” says Hunt. During her teenage years, influenced by musical inspirations as diverse as Norah Jones, Rachmaninov, and John Denver, she began writing her own songs on the piano as a creative outlet. After being introduced to the banjo in college while studying French and visual arts, Hunt began to develop her own improvised style of playing, combining old-time picking styles with the percussive origins of the instrument. “I’m self-taught, I just started letting the songs dictate what needed to be there,” she says. “I heard a rhythm in a song that I wanted to execute, so I figured out how to do it on the drum head while still being able to articulate certain notes in one motion.” After college, Hunt followed a rambling path that took her through careers in acting, graphic design, traditional French breadmaking, and medicine, all the while making music as a private endeavor. “I wanted to get serious about a responsible career choice, but music kept bubbling up. I was writing a lot and playing a lot and started to not be satisfied just playing to my walls of my room.”
After moving to Kansas City and discovering her mysterious Depression-era tenor banjo, Hunt began recording Even The Sparrow in Kansas City alongside collaborator Stas’ Heaney and engineer Kelly Werts. “It took almost two years to record,” she says, “learning how to let the songs dictate the production.” Having finally come to light, the album displays Hunt’s penchant for masterful storytelling and intriguing arrangement, as researched and complex as they are memorable, punctuated by her articulate melodies and a well-enunciated and creative command of lyrical delivery infused with deft emotional communication. While reminiscent of modern traditionalists such as Gillian Welch–a number of her songs even borrow titles and phrasing from traditional American music (“Back to Dixie,” “Gloryland”)–Even The Sparrow reveals an ineffable quality that hovers beyond the constraints of genre, à la Anais Mitchell and Patty Griffin. In “The Men of Blue & Grey,” what begins as a Reconstruction-era ballad about the repurposing of Civil War glass plate negatives in a greenhouse roof soon becomes a meditation on the hope that growth and life may one day be able to emerge from the ruins of suffering and haunting of violence. “Across The Great Divide” turns an otherwise traditional accounting of spurned love into a philosophical epic of the ethics of forgiveness and freedom, evoking the ideas of Søren Kierkegaard and Walt Whitman.
As for the original owner of Kelly Hunt’s mysterious tenor banjo, not much is known. “I’ve never been able to find anything about Ira Tamm,” she says, “I think he just had a humble little traveling show.” What’s clear is that the itinerant performer laid down his banjo at the height of the Great Depression, almost eighty years before it would be picked up by Hunt. “That banjo has stories. I wish I knew them all,” says Hunt, though the banjo’s most intriguing story may just be beginning with Even The Sparrow. “The marks of Ira’s hands are still in the calfskin head, so I can see where he played and left his mark,” she says. “Now my own hand marks are there too, in different places, like a kind of portrait.”
(Sunday) 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Hailed as ‘a talent to outrank Ryan Adams or Conor Oberst’ by Uncut and praised for his ‘spare and easy sounding guitar songs’ by NPR, Rouse first emerged in 1998 with his debut album, ‘Dressed Up Like Nebraska,’ which Billboard called a ‘dark horse gem.’ Over the next two decades, he’d go on to release a steady stream of critically lauded records that would solidify his status as one of the his generation’s most acclaimed songwriters, both in the US and Europe, where he’s lived on and off since 2004. Q called his breakout album, ‘1972,’ ‘the most intimate record of the year,’ while Rolling Stone dubbed his follow up, ‘Nashville,’ ‘a landmark album,’” and EW described 2013’s ‘The Happiness Waltz’ as ‘a big contender for Rouse’s best work.’ In 2014, Rouse won a Goya Award (the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar) for best song for “Do You Really Want To Be In Love,’ from the film ‘La Gran Familia Española.
Doors: 6:30PM // Show: 7:30PM
Advance: $25 // D.O.S.: $35
(Wednesday) 7:00 pm
DOORS: 6:00 PM // SHOW: 7:00 PM
Over the last 23 years, Detroit-based ADULT. (Nicola Kuperus & Adam Lee Miller) have released seven albums across a multitude of labels: DAIS, Mute, Ghostly International, Thrill Jockey, Third Man Records, Clone Records, and their own Ersatz Audio. They have remixed the likes of LIARS, John Foxx, & Barry Adamson (Magazine). This past year they’ve had the honor of sharing the stage with such personally inspirationing bands as Nitzer Ebb, L7, Severed Heads and Gary Numan. They where also included on Mute Records’ 2019 release STUMM433, a tribute to John Cage’s game changing composition 4’33” and featuring such artists as Depeche Mode, New Order and Cabaret Voltaire.
As they continue to mine their own unique sound of the avant-garde meets electronics meets punk meets your own discomfort ADULT. are pleased to announce the completion of album number eight. This album was conceived in a black hole. After their last album THIS BEHAVIOR (DAIS 2018), written in a majestic cabin in the snow covered woods of northern Michigan, the band wanted to do something that was a total contrast – something less peaceful, even if writing THIS BEHAVIOR was partially like a scene out of “The Shining.” The focus this time around was sensory deprivation; nothing to look at, no interference, just darkness. From May – September 2019 they recorded an album in their basement or “cellar” (depending on which word fulfills your perception). The space was painted completely black with no windows, only enough light to operate the machines (plus, a few metal pipes attached to a garbage can). There was no sense of time, no sense of season. There were no phones. There was no social engagement down in the pit. The main purpose in the studio… to question the idea of “perception.”
Their new album PERCEPTION IS/AS/OF DECEPTION consists of 9 songs based on the uncertainty of what we see, how we see it, what we do with that information we are delivered day in/day out. With references that stretch from Merleau-Ponty to Goethe to Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” to Jean Cocteau’s “Blood of a Poet”, there is a history of human behavior wrapped up and twisted into this paranoid, beat laden, overindulgent, over-synthed, mind fuck of a reality.
Body of Light
Body of Light is an electronic duo and synth-pop band made up by brothers Andrew and Alexander Jarson. Starting as an exploration of noise, sound, and rich vocal loops, over their 10 years of existence, they have found a new foothold as something more complex, structured, and moving.
Their music is not only individually personal, but draws from shared experiences between the two brothers. Aspects from their music come from their own personal lives as well as our shared life experiences. Long time fans and creators of all kinds of electronic music, elements of new wave, freestyle, grunge, goth, and techno mesh into their work, like old radio signals bouncing off one another in time and space.
Haunting keys, swelling pads, and punching drums score their music as Alex weaves lyrics in a mystic, yet directly romantic approach. They prove to be a duo that is perfect for the dance floor, without a fear of trend or passing fashion.
In their 2019 LP Time to Kill, Body of Light finds themselves refining their brand of cold and driving synth pop with a bold pallet of sounds and a focus on newfound technique and purpose. Like the pale digital stare of the multitude of devices surrounding our daily lives, the songs weave stories of love and obsession in an era of technical bondage and fleeting exhilaration. That is not to say the album carries a message of pessimism, rather it’s meant to act as a startling reminder of how important our time is. Spanning 9 songs, the rhythm pounds infectiously and the synths penetrate like a knife. Produced by Matia Simovich at Infinite Power Studios in LA, the brothers found new intention through the sleek and heavy production offered. Written over a period of intense and profound change, this is an album that is set to stand apart from their previous output.