Friday, February 10th, 2017
Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pmBrooklyn Bowl
This event is 21 and over
Advanced tickets to this event are SOLD OUT! We will have a limited number of admissions available to purchase at the box office on the night of the show starting at 6:00 PM. All admissions at the door will be first come first serve, one ticket per customer, with no re entry. $25 at the door, cash only.https://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1390085/
With drummer Joshua Block and guitarist Austin Jenkins now pursuing other production ventures, vocalist/guitarist James Petralli and bassist Steve Terebecki spent a long time reassessing exactly what White Denim meant to them. "The big thing for Steve and I was trying to define what made us want to keep going," Petralli explains of the album's early days. "What's our partnership about? What's cool about this? We learnt a lot making 'D' and 'Corsicana Lemonade.' We wanted to take some of those lessons and apply it back to our original mission statement. We were trying to get back to some of the things that made us excited about the band in the first place."
Opener "Had 2 Know (Personal)" is the embodiment of that mission statement. Described by Petralli as "a reassertion of our initial intent to make songs that satisfy our urge to play fast," it sets the tone brilliantly for the bulk of 'Stiff,' right from its idiosyncratic, Red Krayola-sampling beginning to its huge, golden era chorus. While it remains distinctively White Denim, there's a reinvigoration permeating through its riffs via new guitarist Jonathan Horne and a beefed-up rhythm section thanks to the work of new drummer Jeffrey Olson. Every single high octane turn -- from the tremendously fun "Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)" to the outrageously shredding "Holda You (I'm Psycho)" -- sounds like a band re-energised and revitalised, resulting in what Petralli describes as a "high heat, high energy, good times record." Having previously sold out Shepherd's Bush Empire and having toured with Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, 'Stiff' is full to the brim with songs that sound ready to now lift White Denim to similar heights.
For the most part, 'Stiff' is an album crammed with adrenaline-fuelled sing-alongs that show off the band's staple technical abilities. But it's also one that sees some new shades that they've developed along the way, too. Citing new wave and the razor-sharp pop punk of Buzzcocks as influences this time round, there's an addictive Elvis Costello circa 'This Year's Model' quality to "Real Deal Momma," a tune that highlights the band's love for hummable synthesisers and curious, affecting oddities. Then there's the cow bell calm and backing vocals laden brilliance of "I'm The One (Big Big Fun)," that along with "Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)" (a song Petralli says "wants to be on a collection of doo wop songs written in 2016") shows a softer and more intricate side to the band while fully emphasising Petralli's vocal excellence.
Of the artwork -- which was created by collagist Eugenia Loli -- Petralli says that though they definitely weren't trying to be outlandish, Loli was inspired and worked from the band's previous album covers and videos as a visual template. Ultimately, it's a fleeting visit to a place the band have been before, with the covers of 'Workout Holiday' and 'D' being collages too. 'Stiff' was even originally stylised 'Stif,' which when spelt backwards spells out the title of their second full-length 'Fits.' Then there's 'Mirrored In Reverse,' a nod to the 'Fits' track "Mirrored and Reverse." "I mean, we're ten!" Petralli says in disbelief while explaining all of the record's throwbacks. "We did think about naming this record 'Ten' and referencing the Pearl Jam cover!"
Recorded with nothing but equipment that Petralli describes as being "past a certain point in the '70s," he explains that 'Stiff' is an album made "entirely the old way." "It was tracked live to 16-track tape with very little overdubs," he says. "It was very hardcore record making -- traditional in every aspect." Recorded with Ethan Johns in Asheville, North Carolina over a twenty-day period, Petralli and the band had an intense but deeply educational time with Johns. "It was really cool. The guy had these stories that were just unbelievable. He started talking about playing with Jimmy Page when he was a kid, and he lived in the studio where The Rolling Stones and The Faces would just hang out. Having Ethan in the room pushing us really made it more of an 'in the moment' and a visual thing. Capturing live performances is what he does really well."
To make things even more celebratory, there was an extra ten day stint spent with go-to White Denim man Jim Vollentine, who Petralli describes as "my guy, man." He continues: "we've made a lot of records together now. When we left the studio in Asheville with Ethan, we thought we gotta work on this record some more, you know? Though it was really just mixing, which we did with respect to Ethan's arrangements and his recording. I feel like I really haven't made anything like this before."
Ultimately, 'Stiff' is the sound of a band finding their feet again and having the time of their lives. It's a record that refuses to buckle under the pressures of life, instead offering up a soundtrack to sing, dance, shout and scream along to. As a White Denim album, it's a joyride through the past ten years of the band's idiosyncratic catalogue while simultaneously pushing things further forward into new territories. "It's similar to our first record ['Workout Holiday'] in that we found the initial energy and just went with that," Petralli says of the initial studio spark that started it all. "We thought, what's the fundamental thing that made us want to get into a van and quit our terrible jobs and start this whole thing in the first place? And it was loud, fast-playing, rock and roll."
The band first came on the scene with 2009’s debut EP, Hard Steppin’, from Colemine Records. Praised by WNYC’s Soundcheck as “the perfect soundtrack for the unwritten Tarantino movie of your imagination,” the five–song release led to tours up and down both U.S. coasts and paved the way for Ikebe Shakedown’s first full-length LP on Ubiquity Records. Recorded at Killion Sound in L.A. with Orgone’s Sergio Rios and Dunham Studios in Brooklyn with noted producer Tom Brenneck, this self-titled album, released in 2011, featured 14 blistering tracks that Okayplayer called, “an adventurous trip through time” and “one of the best releases of the year.” Having toured the record throughout the U.S. and Canada, Ikebe Shakedown returned to the studio in 2014 for their follow up album for Ubiquity, Stone by Stone. Recorded at Daptone Studios, the 10-song set let the band become more adventurous than ever before, weaving psychedelic textures and raw soul into powerful compositions, or as Wax Poetics called it, “a greasy and sometimes trippy funk world.”
Now, after hitting major jazz festivals, opening on extended runs for stars like Lee Fields, and with the band’s members simultaneously touring with acts like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, and the Monophonics, Ikebe Shakedown is poised for their next big release in 2017. The new album, The Way Home, is due out October 20th on Colemine Records. It shows how the band’s style has continued to evolve, with material that transports listeners beyond their living rooms into dance parties and spaces for introspection. Building on the success that has led to musical features in series such as Eastbound and Down, movies like Our Brand is Crisis, and commercials for brands including Mini Cooper, Vans’ Off the Wall, and Surfline, the songs are at once richly familiar and incredibly fresh, paying homage to classic influences while pushing a brand new sound. Defying genre or classification, this album proves Ikebe Shakedown is helping define the next bold and soulful wave in instrumental music.
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