-
neumu
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 
-
-
--archival-captured-cinematronic-continuity error-daily report-datastream-depth of field--
-
--drama-44.1 khz-gramophone-inquisitive-needle drops-picture book-twinklepop--
-
Neumu = Art + Music + Words
Search Neumu:  

illustration



edited by michael goldbergcontact


The Rapture's Post-Punk, Post-Dance Sound

Portland, Ore. — The Rapture find that like scratches up the hallway door, each record they make marks a point of growth. The noisy post-punk quartet's latest full-length effort reveals a band that's inched its way up the wall thanks to all the time it spent growing in the studio. For Echoes — due out on DFA Records in September — the NYC-based foursome opted to devote a heftier chunk of time than before to learning and experimenting within the four walls of DFA's own studio, and then make a true studio album.

"Being an American band, your focus is 'record an album real quick and tour your ass off for a year,'" said guitarist Luke Jenner, one of The Rapture's two lead singers. The tall and lanky Jenner was slouching in an artsy silver S-shaped chair, designed for just that, backstage at the Berbati's Pan nightclub in Portland, Ore.; his mop-like poofy brown do appeared to have a life of its own atop his heart-shaped face. "Looking at English music and how they approach it in kind of the opposite way — they spend a lot of time in the studio and make a studio album — we decided awhile ago, we wanted to do that as a band.

"And then tour our ass off," added the newest member, saxophone and keyboard player Gabe Andruzzi, grinning.

Which is exactly what the band, about five years old and having already graced the cover of Fader and been featured in Spin, is currently doing. And from the looks of their Portland performance that unusually lively Sunday evening, they're doing it superbly well.

But let's get back to the new album. This is important because of what a diversion it is from their previous releases, 1999's Gravity Records debut, Mirror, and their Sub Pop EP, Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks.

While The Rapture indeed captured a high-quality studio sound, the five or six months they spent experimenting at DFA also brought out an entirely new side of the band. Echoes continues with a post-punk spastic dance influence but — in comparison to past records — feels slowed down, more intricate, delicate and emotionally charged. Most standout may be the vocals. In contrast to previous releases, on which both singers tended to screech, this time they whine and wail in a kind of Robert Smith manner — still desperate, but more powerful. Plus you can often understand the words, which wasn't usually the case in the past.

Songs such as "Heaven," "I Need Your Love" and "Sister Savior" combine the dancefloor friendliness and heavy synthesizer sounds of the '80s Manchester scene with darker emotions that recall The Cure. "Open Up Your Heart," "Love Is All" and "Infatuation" are the slowest, and perhaps saddest, tracks on Echoes; they find Jenner crooning softly, then rising to a falsetto atop melancholy keys and drifting beats.

Still, songs like the title track and "House of Jealous Lovers" (released as a 12-inch single last year) retain the harsher, more erratic side. Employing everything from the wiry sax to the thumping cowbell, Echoes is the sort of album that introduces new elements with each listen. Trading in the raw and messy for a more polished, complex album, the band has created a beautiful and impassioned record the punks can dance to.

They were playing one of Portland's best musical venues that spring night. It's a roomy space with an ample standing (or in The Rapture's case, dancing) area, and an adjoining bar/pool room offering escape when the band (not in The Rapture's case) is terribly disappointing.

Following an impressive, minimal electronic set from local duo Tugboat Fantastic, the venue rose from borderline dead to I-can't-believe-so-many-people-are-here-on-a-Sunday slam-packed. And when the hotly anticipated band of the night took the stage, it was easy to see why.

Not only were these guys hotly anticipated, they were hot. On fire, in fact. You'd think so, anyway, with all the sweat flying from their foreheads as they shook and convulsed through a spastic set of noisy but beat-friendly dance punk.

Jenner and bassist/vocalist Matt Safer shared front stage, taking turns to shriek, yelp and wail into the mic while drummer Vito Roccoforte shook his straight, shiny, shaggy black hair from his eyes as he pounded out primal, pulsating beats. Andruzzi, with gray-green eyes, shaggy, multi-layered brown hair and a lean build, stood stage right. In fact, faced right, so you could not see his face as he switched from keys to sax. He adds a powerfully effective new element to the band, which began as a trio in San Francisco in '98. For a few songs, Roccoforte and his kit were replaced temporarily by a drum machine — the experimentation they'd done in the studio was taking a life of its own onstage.

Drowned in the music's dark, engaging edge, the band seemed entirely sucked into the potent, shattering sounds resonating from the stage and the more-more-more response from the audience. As The Rapture wrapped up an encore song, the crowd whistled, howled and stomped, demanding a second. But the band opted not to come back this time.

Fantasy Becomes Reality

They'd given all they'd got, sweated buckets and damaged plenty of eardrums, and, to me, it felt like more than enough. One might even say they were so great, it was ridiculous. "I think most of the best bands have an element of ridiculousness," Jenner, wearing an oversized navy winter coat with a fake fur-lined hood, had said shortly before the show. "You wouldn't act that way in everyday life and expect people not to laugh at you.

"They're no Bob Dylan," he later added, referring to Led Zeppelin as a prime example of a great and ridiculous band. "They're not telling it like it is — they're in some fairyland.

"With ragged horses, misty mountains...," Roccoforte joked.

Which is hardly what you'd envision listening to The Rapture's sharp, industrial, wiry sounds, funked up by bass lines you wanna sing along to and slapping beats you can't help but shake your butt to. Why? Because The Rapture don't live in la-la land. Just listen to the passion within their intense, punch-you-in-the-gut tunes and you'll see they don't have to — they've made their fantasy reality.

The band came together in San Francisco but didn't feel truly realized until relocating to NYC, where childhood pals Jenner and Roccoforte first met cousins Safer and Andruzzi at a Halloween ball in 2000. "They were wearing really funny outfits, so we decided to talk to them," Jenner said of Safer and Andruzzi. "They were cowboys, but not the mustache kind of cowboys, the 'Easy Rider' kind."

Around that time, Safer joined up with Jenner and Roccoforte, but Andruzzi didn't become an official member until about a year ago. "We've only been going steady for a year," Andruzzi said, snickering.

"He had another girlfriend, he was out with another girl dating," Jenner chimed in.

Jenner and Roccoforte first met at Lemon Avenue Elementary School in La Mesa, Calif., and became best friends because of a shared enthusiasm for baseball and baseball cards. The two didn't begin playing music until after high school, "at which point we grew our hair really long and went to college 'cause that's what musicians are supposed to do," Jenner laughed. "Everybody thought we smoked lots of pot, but we really didn't — just 'cause we had long hair."

"I had a ponytail and a pickup truck. I listened to Tool," added Roccoforte (now wearing a black T-shirt with a red horizontal stripe across the chest and a pair of dark denim jeans), his sarcasm hardly difficult to catch.

Both Jenner and Roccoforte headed north to attend San Francisco State University, where Jenner studied philosophy and Roccoforte film. Roccoforte is currently a filmmaker, though lately, he says, he has little time for it. In the Bay Area, they joined separate groups (Jenner was in Hot Wire Titans and Roccoforte in The Calculators) and eventually ended up playing in each other's bands. It wasn't long before they decided to start something together.

"Because the other bands we were in were pretty rigid in terms of genre, the whole idea for Rapture was to be able do whatever we liked," Roccoforte recalled.

Safer and Andruzzi were both brought up in Washington D.C., living in neighboring areas. "We grew up on opposite sides of the creek. We separate our neighborhoods — there was a lot of animosity," Andruzzi said with a small chuckle.

"He lived on the wrong side of the creek," Roccoforte said.

Humor amongst the band was plentiful and often dry, but it kept things feeling light in the spacious upstairs dressing room. Though the designer chairs — that you can't help but sit way reclined in — certainly helped. Either way, the band just wasn't going to get serious.

On The Record

Still, they did straighten up briefly while discussing their records. "I think (Out of the Races...) was a crossing point, it was a crossroads for us," Roccoforte explained. "Matt was joining the band at the time, so he was involved as a new person, and we moved across the country.

"We were struggling really hard as a band at that point just to get it together," Jenner added. "We had been pretty inactive, and at some point we realized 'We just can't do that.' We recorded (Out of the Races) after the first tour. That album was just us trying to be a band again, and it was really new at the time. The chemistry of the band changed a lot, 'cause it was like starting over again, trying to get our shit together. There's a big gap between that and what's happening now, but there's a big gap between Mirror and that one too."

Out of the Races stands as the biggest turning point for the band. "In a lot of ways, I consider that album, that period, the beginning of The Rapture in terms of who we are," Roccoforte said.

"Rapture Mach Two," Jenner chimed in.

Shrugging off the interruption as if it happened all the time, Roccoforte continued, "It was that drastic a change — we went through a lot of changes — and that album reflects that."

Safer agreed. "It's always like that when you introduce another element — everybody has to adjust," he said. "And that seems to be a defining characteristic of how a band that has worked together over time is when you introduce new elements, whether it's new people, new towns or new producers."

Time Well Spent

So clearly, The Rapture's upcoming album will also reflect the band's most recent evolution, which transpired mostly from their decision to work with DFA, otherwise known as the two producers it comprises: Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy. "Working with DFA, like when you hear the newer record, that's the biggest change — we became less of a live band," Jenner said. "[Goldsworthy and Murphy] opened up our eyes to what you could do in a studio and gave us a lot of studio time and said 'Why don't you try this?'"

"And we never really worked in a studio before," Roccoforte added.

"Well, not like on that scale," Jenner corrected. "They have a really nice studio, and we spent a lot of time there."

Safer found the recording experience to be a positive first. "The thing that was good about the relationship with DFA is it's two people, who are more or less fully confident in what they do as producers," said Safer, his black hair coming down over his forehead, touching his eyebrows and threatening to hide his large brown eyes. "Sitting there, bouncing ideas off each other, it escalated the ambitions a lot and generated a lot of creativity."

No doubt Andruzzi also enjoyed the five or six months spent — off and on — recording the new album. "It was really nice, it was a lot of things," he explained. "It could be really playful and really nice and easy.

"It could also be incredibly neurotic and people would have to negotiate things to finish it," he continued, looking directly at Roccoforte, half-grinning, half-scowling. "It was definitely a journey, a mystical journey.

"Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly," Jenner added in a sweet, soft tone — just before letting out a chuckle.

"It was a metamorphosis," said Roccoforte as the room filled with laughter.

The band learned plenty as they worked on the album. "It raised the ceiling, as Vito usually likes to say," Andruzzi said. "It makes you rethink your songs when you have recordings of them. You can do more in the studio, so you wanna do more with it live, or figure out how to get to the essence of the song."

"We were able to go in with the time that we had and do four different takes of a song, completely different versions of songs," Roccoforte said. "We also were able to write songs in the studio, which we'd never been able to, financially, do [before] — we usually had songs already and just go lay them down, that's it."

Some Things Never Change

"We're all different but we all love music and love to play music," Roccoforte said.

"Playing music is like a necessity for me," added Andruzzi. "It's something I have to do — it's like eating or breathing."

For more information on The Rapture, as well as for tour info, check out the group's Web site — Jenny Tatone [Monday, May 19, 2003]


Alejandro Escovedo's Joyous Rebirth

John Vanderslice Kicks Genre

Paul Duncan's Elusive Pop

Stephen Yerkey's Wandering Songs

French Kicks Complete 'Two Thousand'

Spazzy Romanticism: Love Story In Blood Red

Brain Surgeons NYC Rock The Big Questions

Jarboe's 'Men' Charts Turbulent Emotions

Delta 5's Edgy Post-Punk Resurrected

Blitzen Trapper Spiff Things Up

Minus Five: Booze, Betrayal, Bibles and Guns

New Compilation Spotlights Forgotten Folk Guitar Heroes

Chris Brokaw's Experiment In Pop

Old And New With Death Vessel

Silver Jews: Salvation And Redemption

Jana Hunter's Beautiful Doom

Vashti Bunyan Finds Her Voice Again

Nick Castro's Turkish Folk Delight

Katrina Hits New Orleans Musicians Hard

Paula Frazer's Eerie Beauty

The National Find Emotional Balance

Death Cab For Cutie's New Album, Tour

Heavy Trash's Rockabilly Rampage

Help The Wrens Get Their Albums Released!

Devendra Banhart, Andy Cabic Launch Label

Lydia Lunch's Noir Seductions

Bosque Brown's The Real Deal

PDX Pop Now! Fest Announces Lineup

Sarah Dougher Starts Women-Focused Label

Jennifer Gentle's Joyful Psyche

Mountain Goat Darnielle Gets Autobiographical With 'Sunset Tree'

Mia Doi Todd's Beautiful Collaboration

Return of the Gang of Four

Martha Wainwright Finds Her Voice

Brian Jonestown Massacre's Acid Joyride

Solo Disc Due From Pixies' Frank Black

Heartless Bastards' Big-Hearted Rock

Mike Watt's Midlife Journey

The Black Swans Balance Old And New

Nicolai Dunger's Swedish Blues

The Insomniacs' Hard-Edged Pop

Yo La Tengo Collection Due

Juana Molina's 'Homemade' Sound

Beans Evolves

Earlimart's Songs Of Loss

Devendra Banhart's 'Mosquito Drawings'

Negativland Rerelease 'Helter Stupid'

Alina Simone Transforms The Ordinary

Sounds From Nature: Laura Veirs

Octet's Fractured Electric Pop

Sleater-Kinney Working With Lips Producer

The Cult Of Silkworm

The Evolution Of The Concretes

Devendra Banhart's Exuberant New Songs

Catching Up With The Incredible String Band

Gram Rabbit's Desert Visions

Three Indie-Rock Stars Unite As Maritime

Remembering Johnny Ramone

Jarboe's Many Voices

Phil Elvrum's Long Hard Winter

First U.S. Release For Vashti Bunyan Album

Incredible String Band To Tour U.S.

New Music From Lydia Lunch

Le Tigre Protest The Bush War Presidency

Joel RL Phelps: Bleak Songs Rock Hard

Time Tripping With Galaxie 500

Patti Smith Wants Bush Out!

Sharron Kraus: A New Kind Of Folk Music

The Fiery Furnaces' Psychedelic Theater

Harder, Heavier Burning Brides

Sonic Youth's Ongoing Experiment

The Dt's Do It Their Way

Poster Children Cover Political Rock

Rare Thelonious Monk Recordings Due

Uneasy Pop From dios

Beck, Lips, Waits Cover Daniel Johnston

Understanding Franz Ferdinand

The Truly Amazing Joanna Newsom

Mylab's Boundary-Crossing Experiments In Sound

Have You Heard Jolie Holland Whistle?

The 'Magical Realism' Of Vetiver

The Restless, Rootsy Songs Of Eszter Balint

The Sun Sets On The Blasters

Devendra Banhart To Tour U.S.

The East/West Fusion Sounds Of Macha

Destroyer Gets Mellow For Your Blues

TV On The Radio Get Political

Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse To Play Lollapalooza 2004

New Music From The Fall

Apocalyptic Sound From The Intelligence

Fast And Rude With The Casual Dots

'Rejoicing' With Devendra Banhart

New Album, Tour From The Polyphonic Spree

Shearwater Take Wing

Sleater-Kinney To Tour East/West Coasts

Resurrecting Rocket From The Tombs

Visqueen Want To Get A Riot Goin' On

Lloyd Cole Makes A Commotion

Funkstörung's 'Cut-Up' Theory

Waiting For Mirah's C'mon Miracle

Electrelane Find Their Voice

The Television Is Still On!

Experimental Sounds From Hannah Marcus

The Ponys Play With Rayguns

Ex-Mono Men Leader Returns With The Dt's

Mountain Goats' Darnielle Adopts A More Hi-Fi Sound

Sun Kil Moon To Tour U.S., Europe

Nothin' But The Truth From The Von Bondies

Sultans Survive 'Shipwreck'

Sebadoh Reunite For Spring Tour

Xiu Xiu's 'Reality' Rock

Meet The Patients

Beth Orton, M. Ward Make Sadness Taste Sweet

Oneida's Pathway To Ecstasy

Radiohead, Pixies, Dizzee Rascal To Play Coachella

Young People Tour Behind War Prayers

Pixies Tour Dates Announced

Ani DiFranco Tells It Like It Is

Deerhoof Back For 2004 With Milkman

McLusky Set To 'Bring On The Big Guitars' Again

Pixies Reunite For U.S., European Tours

American Music Club, Decemberists To Play NoisePop 2004

Damien Rice Set To Tour U.S.

The Frames Accept Your Love

Punk Rock's A-Frames To Re-Record Third Album

Finally! Mission Of Burma Record New Album

A Solo Detour For Ladybug Transistor's Sasha Bell

Return Of The Old 97's

Spending The Night With Damien Rice

Tindersticks Reissues Due This Spring

The Evolution Of 'A Silver Mt. Zion'

Neil Young Rocks Australia With 'Greendale'

Poster Children Back In Action

'The Great Cat Power Disaster Of 2003'

Chicks On Speed's Subversive Strategies

Oranger At A Crossroad

Peaches On Tour And In Control

Jawbreaker's Complete Dear You Sessions To Be Released

Belle & Sebastian + Trevor Horn = Sunny Pop Nirvana

Von Bondies' Pawn Shoppe Heart

Descendents Are Back!

Modest Mouse Touring; Album Due in 2004

London Suede Take A (Permanent?) Break

Saul Williams Wants You To Think For Yourself

The 'Zen' Sound Of Calexico

Elliott Smith Dead AT 34

Debut Due From Mark Kozelek's Sun Kil Moon

The Hunches: Music That'll 'Fucking Live Forever'

Vic Chesnutt Speaks His Mind

90 Day Men Cancel Tour

Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor Highlight SF Jazz Festival

For My Morning Jacket, It's The Music That Matters

EP Due From The Polyphonic Spree

Bright Eyes, Neva Dinova Collaborate On EP

The Rise & Fall & Rise Of Ben Lee

Catching Up With Cheerfully Defiant Tricky

Hanging Around With The Polyphonic Spree

Sophomore Album Due From The Shins

Noise Rock From Iceland's Singapore Sling

Death Cab To Tour U.S.

Rufus Wainwright's Want One Is 'Family Affair'

Death Cab's Transatlanticism On The Way

Heartfelt Rock From Sweden's Last Days Of April

The Minus 5 Get Down With Wilco

Tywanna Jo Baskette's Southern-Gothic Rock

Xiu Xiu's Stewart Takes On 'Gay-bashing'

Portishead Producer Resurfaces Behind New Diva

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wire, Primal Scream On Buddyhead Comp

Yeah Yeah Yeahs To Tour West Coast

Sonic Youth, Erase Errata Kick Off 'Buddy Series'

The Locust Are One Scary Band

Damien Rice In The 'Here And Now'

Remembering Karp's Scott Jernigan

ATP-NY Postponed 'Til At Least 2004

The Soul Of Chris Lee

Gits' Frenching The Bully To See Re-Release

Stephen Malkmus Is In Control

Superchunk To Release Rarities Set; Teenage Girls To Swoon As A Result

Summer Touring For The Gossip

Babbling On About Deerhoof

Irish Song Poet Damien Rice's O Released In U.S.

Chatting With ATP's Barry Hogan

Former Digable Planets Frontman Surfaces With Cherrywine

ATP L.A. Festival Rescheduled For Fall

Freakwater's Janet Bean Takes A Solo Turn

Lee's 'Cool Rock'

Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs Highlight YES NEW YORK

Mark Romanek's 'Hurt' Revives Johnny Cash's Career

The Rapture's Post-Punk, Post-Dance Sound

R.E.M., Wilco, Modest Mouse Highlight Bumbershoot Fest

Set Fires To Flames' Sleep-Deprivation Sound

Southern Gothic Past Shadows Verbena's La Musica Negra

The Subtle Evolution Of Yo La Tengo

Spring Tour For Jolie Holland (Plus A Live Album)

Liz Phair Still Pushing The Limits

Gold Chains Wants You To Dance And Think

Young People's War Prayers On The Way



peruse archival
 



-
-snippetcontactsnippetcontributorssnippetvisionsnippethelpsnippetcopyrightsnippetlegalsnippetterms of usesnippetThis site is Copyright © 2003 Insider One LLC
-