Posts Tagged ‘Luka Usmiani’

Underwater Visitations Episode #7: The Maids Episode

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

When I stumbled upon Maids at a one-off Upstairs CD-R show at Coco66 this Spring, I remember stopping dead in my tracks, covering my ears in pain, and being unable to stop mouthing the words, “Abandon All Hope All Ye Who Enter.” Behind a suffocating wall of smoke, the 2-man rhythm section of New Jersey’s Big Troubles could be seen down on the ground in matching child’s poses, bowing in deference before a projection of a giant floating head — not unlike the Wizard himself, pictured above. I could barely make out what type of gear they were using, but the squall they produced was so debilitatingly loud that I couldn’t help remembering the one time I saw Whitehouse play and actually experienced the sensation of my ear drums being stretched to the ripping point. Funny thing, is Maids sound like nothing like Whitehouse. As I learned when Sam Franklin (also of No Demons here) rolled up to Newtown radio last Sunday, they simply layer purring drones and lackadaisical pentatonic keyboard scales until the room gets so saturated with sound that you actually end up getting a little scared. Probably all the more so because they are clean-cut surburban dudes who play in indie rock bands and show up on stage with their shirts tucked in.

Underwater Visitations Episode #7: The Maids Episode
Download the entire episode here.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Playlist after the jump.
(more…)

Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Live, Big Troubles kick up such a sandstorm that it’s hard to remember that the band began as a bedroom recording project — or, rather, two separate bedroom recording projects, two hermetic hearts that began beating as one when high school buds Alex Craig and Ian Drennan got together last summer and decided to start a band. When the duo rolled up to Newtown Radio last Thursday, the station — recently fitted with a deluxe leather couch and a fridge filled with junk food and sodas — felt homey enough to bring us back to the days when the guitar-playing and songwriting half of Big Troubles had yet to round out into a full rock line-up.

Alex and Ian played out of the same guitar amplifier, sung out of the same mic, and babbled away in the kind of half-English vernacular you probably remember sharing only a few times in your life with one or two very close friends. They couldn’t seem more like two peas in a pod — which is why I was slightly disconcerted when, following the set, Alex presented us with a hand-drawn Venn diagram designed to represent their friendship: two giant circles labeled “Alex” and “Ian,” with only a tiny sliver of overlap at the center. I can’t remember what they said the middle part represented, but I think it had something to do with food. Whatever the reality of the situation may be, I like to think of the Venn diagram as a nice metaphor for the way their instruments interact in the episode you hear below: two runaway orbs of screaming guitar noise, colliding here and there into the shape of a song. At times they overlap a little too much, sharpening into points of feedback — but that’s kind of where the magic begins.

For those of you who tuned in for the first hour of last week’s show and were a little freaked out to discover a rambling discussion between a man with a heavy French accent and a panel of small children, please be cautioned: we don’t know why or how, but Underwater Visitations was hacked! Luckily, we were able to rescue the true-blue episode from the Newtown Radio archives — including a first hour of jams by Ari Stern and yours truly, and a Big Troubles-spun spool of semi-mainstream ’80s gold, which we proudly did not decide to censor.

“Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the entire episode here .

Playlist after the jump.
(more…)

Unofficial Backyard Memories, Installment #1: No Demons Here, “Cradles II”

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

No Demons Here – Live- Micro-Pixel-Rites BBQ- SXSW, Austin, TX March 18, 2010 from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.

Set-up time at the 2010 Micro-Pixel-Rites showcase flew by in a whirlwind of flying ice chips and quarter inch cables, but I do remember the moment when Big Troubles bassist Luka Usmiani squinted up at me from the concrete doorstep he was sitting on and quietly asked if he could perform an impromptu opening set as No Demons Here, his solo project. Sadly, I was on a wild bicycle chase after a renegade neighborhood taco stand when the showcase began and Luka stepped up to the mic, but the extreme close-ups in this video by Samantha Cornwell almost make me feel like I was there. I have to say: hiding beneath his sandy-brown forelock and seemingly taciturn demeanor is a wellspring of grumbling emotion that would make even Calvin Johnson weep. Never did I think I would breathe the words “Luka” and “roller-coaster ride” in the same sentence, but I think that is precisely what makes this rendition of “Cradles II” so riveting. On second thought, I guess it was already spelled out for me in the name.
(more…)