Union Transfer


La Dispute

La Dispute

Pianos Become The Teeth, Mansions

Fri, April 11, 2014

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


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This event is all ages

La Dispute
La Dispute
Not many people make art for the sake of art anymore. In an age of dwindling attention spans and pop songs based on samples of what came before them, we need bands like La Dispute more than ever—and their third full-length Rooms Of The House is evidence of why.

The band—which features vocalist Jordan Dreyer, guitarists Kevin Whittemore and Chad Morgan-Sterenberg, bassist Adam Vass and drummer Brad Vander Lugt—began work on Rooms Of The House last April by renting a cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “The area where we were was pretty remote so we could focus on playing and not much else,” Vass explains. “It was just the five of us working on writing every single day for a month and pretty much the entire album came out of those sessions.” Following that the band headlined Australia and spent the next few months perfecting this collection of songs before heading into Pennsylvania’s Studio 4 Recording with record producer and engineer Will Yip. “We decided pretty early on that we wanted to work with Will because we’re a band that’s very deliberate in what we want from our records sonically and he has a special sense for visualizing and facilitating that,” Dreyer articulates.

Musically, Rooms Of The House—which is also the first release on Better Living, a label recently started by the band—has more hallmarks of a pop album than the band’s previous work but also manages to retain La Dispute’s signature sound. “The challenge with this record became trying to do more with less so I think from a musical and lyrical standpoint that’s something that will stand out to listeners,” he goes on.
In that spirit Rooms Of The House sees Dreyer stepping back to focus on the everyday interactions that make up our daily lives, using a collapsing relationship as the backdrop for the way household objects continue to hold meaning long after both parties have moved on. “You have all these ordinary things in your life that develop their own history in the memories you share with another person and once you lose that person all of those things continue to remain,” he explains. “The album started out being about a fictional couple and then over time it developed into more of a sweeping narrative about common space and history and about the history of objects,” he continues. “What happens to them after things dissolve, how they end up being reappropriated into something else.”

Like all of La Dispute’s releases Rooms Of The House showcases the band’s extreme attention to detail from the sequencing to graphic designer Vass’ captivating artwork. “I like the idea of knowing the end of a story from the beginning so when we started writing in April I already had a vision of what I wanted to do with the cover art,” Vass explains. “The imagery on the cover and even the way the songs are individually laid out all tie into the album’s bigger concepts,” he continues. “The art was largely inspired by the song ‘Objects In Space’ and the idea of a group of objects coming together to have some kind of greater meaning in their curation.”

Ultimately, listening to Rooms Of The House is the best way to truly understand their vision. “I’m so proud of this record because through years of playing music together we’ve found our own musical identity that I think is a true representation of our vision,” Dreyer summarizes. “It’s so liberating to be able to share that with my bandmates and have a collective creative identity that doesn’t feel impeded by anything longing for success. It’s just a lot of fun.”
Pianos Become The Teeth
Pianos Become The Teeth
Pianos Become The Teeth have never been the kind of band who are easy to distill into a simple soundbite and that’s more evident than ever on the band's fourth full-length Wait For Love, an album that sees the Baltimore-based act reconciling their aggressive past with the atmospheric turns of 2014's Keep You. The result is a collection of songs that eschews stylistic traps in order to focus on songwriting and feels like a full-realization of what the band have only hinted at in the past. The players—vocalist Kyle Durfey, guitarists Mike York and Chad McDonald, bassist Zac Sewell and drummer David Haik—may be the same this time around but their lives have continued to unravel and that journey lies at the emotional core of Wait For Love, which is a creative collaboration in the truest sense of the term.

“For Wait For Love my goal was just to write really interesting songs that pushed us forward as a band and allowed us to do something different than we had ever done in the past,” York explains. In order to get out of their comfort zone, the group isolated themselves in a cabin on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for extended writing excursions and ended up with a windfall of 30 songs by the time they entered the studio. Although Durfey—whose wife had recently had a child—was absent at some of these sessions, ultimately that event allowed the vocalist to approach Wait For Love from a different perspective. “I had so much more time to sit and ponder these songs and how I wanted to approach them,” he recalls. “I think that changed by approach to vocals because it wasn't this immediate thing, it was more thought out.”

In order to capture their vision the group once again joined forces with Keep You's producer Will Yip (Title Fight, Circa Survive) who acted like a sixth member when it came to shaping these songs. “Working with Will made us a better band as a whole because I think it helped us refine who we are and think about how to approach this record in a different way than we would have on our own,” York explains. That isn't to say that Wait For Love didn't have its share of setbacks—mainly the fact that Haik experienced a mysterious back injury a few days into the recording session—but even those unexpected events ultimately contributed to the overall sound of the album. “I think a goal of both of us and Will was to write solid songs and not be afraid of being catchy while still sounding like Pianos Become The Teeth,” Durfey explains.

Correspondingly the album opens with “Fake Lightning,” a transcendent musical meditation that pairs ambient guitars with impassioned vocals and Haik's driving drumming. Seamlessly that song gives way to “Charisma,” which features fuzzed-out bass and melodies that hang in the air long after the moment has passed. “I really wanted this to be an album where things weren't neatly defined and there were moments where you couldn't tell what was a guitar and what was a keyboard or sample,” York explains. This is exemplified on “Bitter Red” a song that's cinematic in scope yet nuanced enough to fit perfectly in the band’s catalog. In a similar spirit, Durfey's lyrics are still just as poetic but see him shifting his perspective from the loss of his father to what it feels like to be one himself.

“This album all ties into the idea of love and how love comes to you during different times in life in good and bad ways,” Durfey explains, adding that it was refreshing to further stretch out stylistically on this record after he transitioned from screaming to singing on Keep You. “To me this everything on this record is incredibly personal and as specific as it has been on every record but it's not solely based on one specific figure the way it has been in the past and I'm happy about that,” Durfey explains. That said, those familiar concepts of loss are present on the album's closing song “Blue,” which approaches the topic from a more hopeful perspective as a new father imagines the endless ways his own son's life will play out.

Pianos Become The Teeth could have easily remade a screamo-inspired album reminiscent of 2009's Old Pride or 2011's The Lack Long After and no one would fault them for it. But Wait For Love is a rare example of a band still discovering their sound over a decade into their career, a fact that’s present in every note of this expansive album. From the haunting “Dry Spells” to the experimentally minded “Bay Of Dreams,” there are moments on Wait For Love that are so dreamy they’re otherworldly, whether the catalyst is a sample or a single note. “This album has some of our most interesting guitar work but also some of the most pulled back ideas of what the record should be,” York adds.

“I think we all made an effort to be open to things and see what came out especially in the studio with this album, “Durfey summarizes when asked about the ambitious nature of Wait For Love. “When you've been playing music together for as long as we have it's easy to get in a rut,” he continues. “Wait For Love still sounds like us but there are different kinds of songs here and I don't think that would have happened if it weren't for making records like Keep You and being open to pushing forward into that uncharted territory. I’m just really excited for people to have their own experience with the album.”
Christopher Browder knows he isn't perfect. He knows he has flaws, similar to those most adolescents secretly carry in their pocket, and the way he reviews his bottled emotions is what drives the American songwriter's second album. He isn't the type to croon or break out into a guitar solo that etches out his blues with every pick. He's a lyricist, one that uses the frailty in his voice to connect with a listener's youthful character. On a level or two, Dig Up The Dead is a reflection of Brand New's The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me and Taking Back Sunday's Tell All Your Friends, where well-crafted rants have you relating every line to your own life story before cascading into an assault of bold alternative riffs ("Blackest Sky", "Dig Up The Dead").

What differentiates Browder from the grandiose is his taste. Whereas Dig Up The Dead has a seamless flow and pushes to be empowering, it strips down to reveal a mix of dark, broody fuzz rock jams."Close That Door" is cathartic with it's honesty, while "Seven Years" is a raw piece of work displaying the creative backbone that binds the record. "If I find that wormhole then I'll take it back," Browder laments at the halfway point, before a build-up channels inner angst and the worst kind of heartbreak that's hard to unshake after a few listens.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123