Thursday, October, 19 2017
Rival Entertainment & Alt Nation Presents:
with MAGIC GIANT & Half The Animal
ABOUT• All Ages Welcome
• The Loft is a general admission, standing room venue
• Tickets available online via Ticketalternative.com or without ticket fees in person at the Center Stage Box Office, M-F, 11-6. Online sales end at 4pm on day of show.
For brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery, home holds a certain kind of magic. The coastal Australian city where they grew up is more than the cradle of their youth – it was the soil for their dreams and the birthplace of their success. Australia was where they forged their breakout hit, ”Trojans,” which earned them a gold record and took Atlas Genius from studio project to critically acclaimed international act.
After a few months turned into two years on the road in support of their debut album, When It Was Now – after exploring distant towns in distant countries, pouring their souls out in theaters all over the world – home called. But back in Australia, the blank canvas the brothers faced reflected back two very different people from the ones who had crafted When It Was Now. In the time they had been away, they had created a new normal – built a new community, endured heartbreak, and seen the world.
"All of a sudden we're back in the same place but we're totally different people. We just couldn't stay if we wanted to challenge ourselves and take the next step.”
Full of inspiration, Keith and Michael headed to Los Angeles to record new material in the city that had sparked undeniable creative energy for so many artists before them. Home, for now, would be here, and their experience within the bright Angeleno expanse juxtaposed against the darkness of the unknown, which quickly became the through-line that would tie together Atlas Genius’ second album,
The album is a foray into darker emotional realms of songwriter and vocalist, Keith Jeffery, as he explores relationships and experiences, past and present – a journey that maintains the catchiness and sense of melody that the band is known for while exploring the gamut of musical possibility. “It didn't make sense for me musically to write a bunch of happy, cheery pop songs. We were constantly being drawn to darker guitar and synths sounds, as well as some slower rhythms.”
This new exploration afforded the brothers the courage to experiment recklessly with sounds, techniques and genres as they traded their indie sheen for a newfound dynamism. What emerged was something brand new - an amalgamation of ambient, driving pop, punctuated by kinetic electronic beats, guitar and grimy synths.
The album’s underlying sonic current is wonderfully cohesive, but the diversity of influences and breadth of experimentation are everywhere. Current single “Stockholm” was written by Keith on a trip to Sweden, for example. “I had gone partly to write and partly to assess the state of a long distance relationship I was in. I really felt like I was drowning emotionally and needed to let myself breathe.” The musical outcome was perhaps one of the first and clearest departures from their first record. The ultimate result is a song infused with a pulsating rhythm section that reflects the ardor of the human spirit in fight.
On first single “Molecules,” their reconciliations with their own destinies are translated from swirling chaos and angst to pure danceability. “It’s a song about equality and our place in the universe. It's also about the relative scale of things. Do we really have as big of a say in our destiny as we like to think we do? On a universal level, I would say that perhaps we don’t.”
On the other end of the spectrum is the mesmerizing earworm, “Balladino,” which harnesses frustrated energy in darker, contemplative verses which release into soaring, cathartic choruses. Keith explains: “Sometimes there are these long, unrelenting periods of darkness that we go through in life.
At times, it feels endless, yet it eventually passes. “Balladino” is about holding out hope.”
“For me,” says Keith, “each song is a tiny little intimate moment that explodes.” And that’s what
Inanimate Objects is – a collection of moments that speaks to the heart of the human experience. It’s a search for hope, embrace of change, and, finding one’s home.
In the Wind (May 19 (Washington Square/Razor + Tie)
Inside a Redwood tree off the coast of California; within a tunnel by Snoqualmie Pass; on an airstrip in Marble, Colorado; in a wild daisy field near Crested Butte—these are just a few of the places Los Angeles trio, Magic Giant, recorded its debut album, aptly titled, In the Wind (Washington Square/Razor & Tie). Austin Bisnow (lead vocals), Zambricki Li (banjo, violin, harmonica), and Zang (acoustic guitar, cello) welcomed nature into the fold as their unofficial fourth member.
“It was fate,” recalls Zambricki. “We were scheduled to play all these festivals—Electric Forest, Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle—that just so happened to be in really beautiful parts of the country.” During Spring 2016, the boys bought a shuttle bus, converted it into a solar-powered mobile recording studio, added a California King on hydraulics, and fondly named her Queen Elizabeth. “There were spaces of time between shows where we could get creative,” explains Zang. “Using the bus to power microphones, we recorded outside—literally In The Wind—across North America.”
“Living in the city, it’s easy to forget how enchanting the road can be,” Zang adds. “We recorded anywhere and everywhere. There were no ceilings or limits to what we could capture.”
Just before Magic Giant hit the road, their single “Set on Fire” began heating up. Independently released, it went from their studio to #4 on Spotify’s US Viral 50, eventually amassing nearly 4 million streams in less than a year. It became a favorite on Los Angeles radio, hitting #1 on KROQ’s Locals Only. It was after this success that the three-piece landed a deal with Washington Square. Billboard claimed, “With a joyful live show the band is inspiring mass dance-alongs,” while NPR wrote, “Magic Giant captures the energy and spirit of the past few waves of upbeat, passionate indie-folk.”
Magic Giant represents the union of three distinct, dynamic, and diverse artistic voices. Since his childhood in Washington, D.C., Austin obsessively pursued his love of songwriting. He studied classical composition and then went on to write songs with artists ranging from John Legend to David Guetta. New Jersey native Zambricki got hit by a car in junior high, fell into a coma, and once he woke, miraculously learned violin in 4 days through a rare brain trauma reorganization now known as Acquired Savant Syndrome: “If I could go back, I’d throw myself in front of the car,” Zambricki chuckles. Later on he began writing and one of his first songs was featured in the Sundance-awarded film Paper Heart. Born and raised in Los Angeles to Persian immigrants, Zang learned upright bass in grade school before picking up guitar and studying dance. He caught the attention of Austin and Zambricki when they came across online videos of him salsa dancing and were instantly hooked.
The three are an unlikely match, but their magnetic chemistry can get any crowd moving, from a sold out show at the legendary Troubadour to a sunset music or yoga festival audience. The group has recently toured with bands such as Beats Antique, The Revivalists, and Mike Posner.
In The Wind threads together a musical cartography of alternative, pop, and folk. The instrumentation includes (get ready…) orchestral drums, banjo, trumpet, saxophone, harmonica, synthesizers, electric bass, cello, viola, violin, dobro, lap steel, mandolin, and more as the musical and lyrical palettes prove equally vibrant.
“We use whatever instruments are best for the song,” says Austin. “Lyrically, when we get together to write,” adds Zang, “it’s different from what we would have imagined individually. That’s the beauty of co-writing—we become one unique voice we may never have found on our own."
The road eventually took the band to Atlanta, where they met up with producer Ben Allen to help glue the body of work together. Returning home to their converted 1940’s bomb-shelter studio, The Bunker, Magic Giant put the finishing touches on their debut record. Austin leaves us with, “When people hear our music or experience a show, we want to bring out the most uninhibited version of themselves.”
HALF THE ANIMAL:
“This is the beginning of a new era for us,” says front man Chase Johnson. “We’re Southern California kids that grew up surfing and skating our entire lives which inspired our desire to be creative and start playing music together. There’s a real story to tell between the four of us and I feel like we’ve finally hit on something really special.”
Having originally met in Laguna Beach, singer Chase Johnson and drummer Nick Gross found success early together, thrust into the spotlight as featured characters on the MTV hit series, Laguna Beach. This led to countless sessions with acclaimed producers, successful touring, and notable TV appearances including one of the last performances on TRL. Bassist Evan Smith joined the equation only a few years’ later, bringing countless years of touring experience with Silversun Pickups, Chromeo, and Big Data. Classically trained guitarist Dan Graham quickly completed the quartet in early 2016.
“We’ve been best friends for decades.” says drummer Nick Gross. “I remember the first time I met Chase. His mother taught the church class we would go to after school together and I remember seeing this twelve-year old kid with a beard, and thought he was the coolest kid I had ever met. When he mentioned he also happened to be a singer, I was hooked. From that moment forward we rehearsed every day in our family garage. We always talked about our musical influences and created our identities as people through the band.”
The school friends that formed a band 12 years ago have now seen a cycle reborn- but this time not through the hands of major labels and agencies that brought years of raised hopes, broken promises, and false starts.
“After we signed our major label deal to Sony/Epic we spent the next four years touring and reflecting on where we envisioned our careers and our music going.” says Nick Gross. “This entire time we’ve played together there has always been a greater vision, a completely new brand with a clear identity that would mold itself over time through our experiences. Some of these experiences have been agonizing; but they have been crucial to the evolution of the band and our new identity.”
That identity, HALF THE ANIMAL, came alive in 2016- with an epic, enlightening, and invigorating message to tell. The group’s debut EP, ‘SHAPES’ is a bold opening statement unleashing timeless pop melodies, atmospheric guitar tones, and dance-your-face off drum grooves.
“Babylon”, the alternative pop rock act’s first single, is an emotionally charged and cinematic tale that tells Chase’s story of youth and his struggle to kick old habits. Songs like “Saturday Night” toil with reoccurring unhealthy relationships carried by an uplifting hook that reminds you of your favorite four-on-the floor secret late-night weekend obsession.
“We love the concept that everything in life is made of shapes, and that on their own a shape doesn’t necessarily stand for anything, but when you combine them you can get an amazing piece of art that has a message,” says guitarist Dan Graham. “Kind of like a band, as an individual you create sounds, but as a group you create music.”
Utilizing a non-linear approach to their songwriting and production that captivates audiences, the band embraces diversity throughout the EP. ‘SHAPES’ embodies the emotional spectrum of a storied past and introduces us to the multidimensional sound we will come to know. “We believe that no single song should or ever have to feel the same, and we want to establish that tone early on,” says bassist Evan Smith. “We hope that this first release will give listeners an understanding of what the future holds for this band.”
Perhaps the name of the EP describes just that- an idea that an alternative pop rock band can take on multiple forms and multiple shapes– leaving an intriguing anticipation for what lies next around the corner.