Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf / Crooked Fingers)

Bootleg Theater Presents

Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf / Crooked Fingers)

Matt Kivel, John Meeks

Sat. June 4, 2016

8:30 pm

Bootleg Theater - Bar Stage

Los Angeles, CA

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is 21 and over

Eric Bachmann
Eric Bachmann
On January 29, 2016, Merge will reissue the first two full-lengths by Crooked Fingers, the solo project of Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann. Originally released in 2000, CrookedFingers—a.k.a. "the one with the swan on it"—will be pressed on vinyl for the first time and include a download of the entire record plus nine bonus tracks of demos and rarities. The reissue of 2001's Bring On the Snakes features an essay by The National's Matt Berninger and includes a download of the full album plus bonus demos of each track, also pressed on vinyl for the first time.

Bachmann will be celebrating release weekend by performing both albums in full with a small string section, first at HiFi Bar in NYC on Jan 28th and wrapping up at The Pinhook in Durham, NC on the 30th. Tickets are available now!

My favorite thing is to make records. I've dedicated my life to it. I can't believe I've been fortunate enough to perform for over two decades now. It is not because of me. It is because of you. Thank you.

One interesting thing I've noticed over that time is that many artists never listen to the records they make after they make them. I am guilty of this. Some of it is out of chronic self- loathing. Some of it is that I listened to the thing so much when I recorded it that I don't need to hear it ever again. And some of it is that I've said what I have to say with that particular group of songs and am compelled to move forward.

Occasionally, Merge requires approval from me of old things, and I must listen to them. I cannot say that I am either proud or ashamed of old things. I can say, however, that they do accurately document where I was creatively and emotionally at that time, and that throughout this process of revisiting, I fall into little trances, where flashes of random memories enter my mind. The following little bit came to me in such a way as I was listening to the vinyl test pressing of the first Crooked Fingers LP. I was struck by how hard I had to push air through my vocal chords to get the notes out on "Man Who Died of Nothing at All."

In the spring of 1999, a few days before I started driving from North Carolina to Seattle to record Crooked Fingers, I went to an ENT doctor to have my hearing checked. A constant ringing had set up shop permanently in my ears, and my left ear in particular felt airy. It turned out I had developed a mild case of tinnitus, and that my left ear had lost some hearing above 8 kilohertz. It wasn't good news, the doctor said, but it wasn't terrible as I could start using some fancy earplugs and decelerate the trend.

Next, she put a band around her head with a mirror attached to it and shined a bright light down my throat. The mirror on her head reflected back into my face and the glare blinded me.

"I'm going to perform an indirect laryngoscopy on you. Open wide."
She pressed my tongue down with a gauze-wrapped wooden popsicle stick.
"Now say 'Ahhh,'" she said.
"Now say, 'Eeeee.'"
"Oh, wow. What do you do for work?"
"I'm a rock and roll man."

I meant to say "I'm in a rock band," but with that stick in my mouth, it came out as "I'm a rock and roll man," and I liked the sound of it so much that I just let it hang there.

"Oh... A rock and roll man. Very nice. And they pay you for that?"
"Well, that must be nice."
"It is nice."
"Do you smoke?"
"How much?"
"Not too much," I lied. I was smoking about a pack and a half a day back then.
"Do you drink?"
"How much? A drink a day? Three drinks a day?"
"Um... Maybe a little more than three?" Another fib.
"Do you use recreational drugs of any kind?"
I didn't answer that one.

"Well," she said with condescension and disdain, "your voice box looks atrocious. The entire thing is inflamed, a white blanket on your epiglottis suggests chronic infection, and I see at least three significant calluses on the vocal chords themselves. And that's without even doing a direct fiberoptic laryngoscopy! Honey, you need to stop whatever it is that you're doing if you want to be able to talk when you're 45!"

Last April I turned 45. Seems like yesterday.
Matt Kivel
Matt Kivel
Los Angeles-based songwriter Matt Kivel got his start working as a player in various bands during the first decade of the 2000s. Around 2013, Kivel quit playing with other bands to focus on his solo material. The first evidence of his work came in the form of some limited-run cassettes, but he truly came into his own with 2013's full-length album Double Exposure, released on the Olde English Spelling Bee (Julian Lynch, Ducktails) label. Kivel's solo work took a decidedly more subdued path than his previous affiliations, with shimmering ambient synths meeting muted acoustic songwriting and understated vocals. Second album Days of Being Wild, recorded with Palace Brothers member Paul Oldham over the course of the previous summer, saw release on the Woodsist label in 2014. The record found Kivel stretching out a bit more, both compositionally, and in his arrangements, which introduced more rhythm, pulse, and melodic texture.

In late 2015, Kivel joined songwriter Alasdair Roberts (Drag City) in his native city of Glasgow, Scotland, to record his third full-length album “Janus.” Roberts produced the project, and assembled a stylistically diverse supporting cast of local musicians to supplement Kivel’s desolate, acoustic songs. Over 11 musicians contributed to the music on the album, and their improvisations and sensitive instrumental interplay draw from the realms of avant jazz, traditional folk, classical, outre experimentalism, and straightforward melodic pop. Kivel’s vocals are pushed to the front and his lyrics cut clearly through the shifting instrumental backdrops. The album is simultaneously calm, warm, and uneasy. Never far from darkness.
John Meeks
" John Meeks has been playing and recording for 15 years, but his new Three Song Demo is the pre-release EP to his first full-length album, due out this Fall. It isn't as if Meeks has spent more than a decade trying to come up with some complex musical formula. In fact, what is so compelling about Meeks' music is his simple, straightforward approach. The three acoustic, country-twinged songs are free of artifice, aren't overly produced or orchestrated, and sound effortless.

Musically, the basic arrangements of shakers, drums, acoustic guitars, and the occasional electric lead stick to classic country, singer-songwriter convention. "I draw a lot of inspiration from a lot of pre-1980 country music," says Meeks. "George Jones, Willie Nelson, Kitty Wells, Roy Acuff, Marty Robbins, etc." The influences are clear, but that's not to say the songs don't offer anything new. They stand out in no small part to Meeks' exceptional voice. The modesty of the instrumentation is what allows Meeks' folky vocals to shine through, and his raspy timbre and earnest tone make the music endearing.

The EP is surprisingly consistent, making it difficult to name a single best track. "Bay Moon" is the most upbeat of the three songs, thanks to its energetic percussion (Meeks actually majored in percussion performance in college). "I See Your Lips" is a front-porch rocking chair song with a few nice, well placed sing-a-long harmonies. "On The Road (Not Again)" features the only instrumental departure with a slight infusion of horns, but Meeks' unaffected croon still reigns true.

For the full-length record, Meeks is currently recording nine more tracks to be added to these three.

—Conor McKay,
Venue Information:
Bootleg Theater - Bar Stage
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057