Gardens & Villa

We The Beat Presents:

Gardens & Villa

Cornelia Murr, Alex Siegel

Sat 10.13.18

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$17/$20

This event is 21 and over

Gardens & Villa
Gardens & Villa
There's a quote tucked into the recent documentary film about the iconic design duo Charles and Ray Eames, commenting on the symbiotic nature of Charles and Ray's marriage, their work life in Venice Beach, their home life not too far away, and their creative life: "Work is art is life is work is art..." It's a concept so simple a small child could dream it, yet it's one we tend to lose in the strange, abstract grind of modern life and modern ambition. For Gardens & Villa songwriters Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen, a return to this very harmonious relationship of art/work/life and a rediscovery of the DIY ethos that once defined the pair's formative creative years mark the defining thread of their head-turning new album, Music For Dogs.

The revelation that we hear play out so inspiringly across Music For Dogs is one that came at a make-or-break moment for the band last year. Pushed to fall in line as an indie-pop act while their artistic interests lie as much in the avant-garde. Pushed deeper into debt just to keep their band alive. Pushed from within to leave the comfort zone of their longtime home base in Santa Barbara and set up a new HQ in Los Angeles. Lynch and Rasmussen responded by bucking the idea of "art as a career" and making art their very way of life. With a top-to-bottom renovation of a warehouse space in LA's Frogtown neighborhood they've named Space Command and shared with visual artists, designers, and creatives, the pair began to live and write music on their own terms, just as they'd done before their music was placed "on the marketplace."

Music For Dogs is a deeply personal album that pokes, prods, and even strangely celebrates the zeitgeist of music commerce, pleasure culture, technological advances and the new home they've found in Los Angeles. The New Age and Eastern Religion sentiments that rippled across their first two albums (2011's Gardens & Villa and 2014's Dunes) have been swapped out with a new sort of zen pop-Nihilsm. What's Nihilism anyway but Buddhism with an attitude? They've found a way to live on the firing line, a way to actually harvest creative energy from our sad Internet tendencies, the uncertain future. "My whole life fixation/See if we can make it underneath the radar," goes Lynch and Rasmussen's respective call-and-response on "Fixations," a song about the beauty in bottoming out and then finding the false bottom. Lynch could mean living as a creative in the underground or living outside peripheral view of the NSA -- or the absurdity of feeling a disconnect from a world that is so very very connected. Under the stewardship of visionary producer Jacob Portrait and with irreplaceable rhythm section Dusty Ineman (drums) and Shane McKillop (bass), "Fixations" -- and a great deal of Music For Dogs -- is really just Gardens & Villa doing what it has always done best. G&V creates Byzantine melodies and richly interwoven arrangements for synths, guitars and vocals that work incredibly well on a cerebral level, but wouldn't upset a late night Korean karaoke outing either.

The jaunty, jarring piano and bass that begin "Everybody" perfectly frame the song's anxiety-riddled themes of 21st Century voyeurism, surveillance and the turnstile of avatars intended to represent our true selves. "Everybody wants the new you/No one cares who you are," Lynch sings in a repeating chorus before the band collapses into a lovely out of time mall piano breakdown, which itself drops effortlessly back into the jaunty verse section. And the speedball ripper "Maximize Results" that begins the record is perhaps G&V's most ecstatic, vulnerable moment laid to record to date. It alone is worth the price of admission.

The influences behind Music For Dogs aren't trying to hide anywhere-- Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Bowie's Low, Bill Nelson's Chimera, Cleaners From Venus. But the album doesn't feel wired into a particular 74-84 purview. Music For Dogs maintains a much wider scope, sounding as much like tomorrow as it does '76. Time is a flat circle anyhow, right? A flat spinning, oblique piece of vinyl. Flip it over. Play it again. Time is a broken record. In our latest, greatest End of Times -- here in this Internet Cat Driven Economy -- we need Music For Dogs.
Cornelia Murr
Cornelia Murr
On her debut album Lake Tear of the Clouds, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Cornelia Murr taps into the bucolic spirit of the Hudson Valley in upper New York State. Working with producer Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Murr conjures a hazy blend of folk and cosmic soul music, her voice floating over ghostly soundscapes that bring to mind the fantasias of Broadcast, Stereolab’s most pastoral moments, and the spooky romance of Beach House.

Murr was born in London and resides in California as a dual citizen, but spent much of her childhood moving through the United States, from Colorado to Massachusetts, California to New York City and upstate New York. It’s the latter locale that most informs the spiritual geography of the album, which invokes the cyclical journey of water from the highest point in the Adirondack Mountains to the valley below and out to sea. Like that water, Murr’s voice flows with a liquid grace.

Though she’s collaborated with other musicians, including Elvis Perkins, appearing on his 2015 LP I Aubade, and songwriter/actress Lola Kirke (Mozart in the Jungle), Murr has long written and recorded her own compositions. While in the past she brought her songs to life via obsessively detailed, harmony-laced demos recorded to her iPhone, the new album represents the fullest, and most public, expression of her songcraft.

Recorded primarily at Palomino Sound, the record showcases Murr on vocals, Omnichord, mellotron, pocket piano, electric/acoustic guitars, whistles, and percussion. She’s accompanied by contributions from James; piano and keys by Bo Koster of My Morning Jacket; Lola Kirke on vocals; Naomi Greene on vocals and electric harp. Bassist Shane McKillop and drummer Justin Flint, both of Amo Amo, comprise the rhythm section. Spiritual support, Murr notes, was provided by Palomino Sound studio dog Frita, who earns a special thanks in the liner notes alongside Kirke. Originally intended as a four-song EP, Murr found herself with a wealth of songs, many of which she’d been workshopping for years. Encouraged by James, whom she calls “the perfect producer,” Murr realized she had a full-length album on her hands.

Often sounding like she could be transmitting from some inter-dimensional sock hop or theTwin Peaks Roadhouse, Murr’s songs are transfixing and moving. From the Cocteau Twins-eque “Tokyo Kyoto” to the girl group evoking “Who Am I To Tell You” to the Old Weird American folk of closer “You Got Me,” Murr alchemizes personal experiences, reflecting on the need to claim personal space, and translating her inner reserve to listeners. Rounding out the album is a cover of Yoko Ono’s 1973 feminist anthem, “I Have a Woman Inside My Soul.”

Murr has long kept her songs close – shielding them from “roommates and lovers” – but Lake Tear of the Clouds represents her desire to no longer hide herself or her music away. Both intimate and psychedelic, the album explores womanhood and the personal revelations that accompany maturing into oneself. “I’ve spent so long/In a silent space scream/Now I’ve forgotten how it feels/To know someone’s listening,” Murr sings on “Billions.” But Lake Tear of the Clouds presents Murr’s voice as one well worth hearing.
Alex Siegel
Alex Siegel
Alex Siegel makes honest music. Influenced by jazz, folk, pop, and hip-hop, the 28 year old musician / producer creates resonant songs that tap his eclectic inspirations to take listeners on a journey somewhere warm, beautiful and new. Drawing on the international currents of his native LA, as well as his own travels, his music tells the story of a deeply feeling person navigating the changes, both global and personal.

Alex spent the last year working in music studios in LA and performing with various touring bands as a keyboardist and drummer. Last fall, he co-wrote indie soul band Amo Amo’s debut album, produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Sometime during the sessions, a Canadian producer named Tyler Neil Johnson heard Alex’s song “Good Leg” and reached out. They hit it off and Alex felt called to go to Vancouver to record a new solo EP with Tyler. Combining elements of 60’s pop with the warm low end of hip-hop and the climactic builds of EDM, Alex’s songs are powerful and familiar, yet something altogether new. Neither Alex nor Tyler could have predicted what a creative success their collaboration would be…

Alex plays all the instruments on his tracks, in addition to writing and singing the songs. Formerly of the musical project Waterstrider, Alex now releases music and performs under his given name, as well as with other projects such as Amo Amo. Some of his current favorite artists are Chilly Gonzales, Tame Impala, Kings of Convenience and Phoenix.
Venue Information:
SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101