Live Concert Photography: No Swoon with Big Bliss and Wooing at Union Pool 11/6/19
Since their formation in 2016, the Brooklyn-based indie act No Swoon — the core duo of Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths) — have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that meshes elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave. Much like BLACKSTONE RNGRS, Lightfoils and a handful of others, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays have added their name to a growing list of acts that have actively pushed the sonic and aesthetic boundaries of shoegaze/dream pop.
Last year’s critically applauded EP 1 was written in Los Angeles during a self-imposed exile from the East Coast. For Abbott, a native of Ontario, CA, the idea was to get back to her geographic and musical roots with a great deal of time spent driving around the suburbs listening to the goth and new wave that her mom played in the car when Abbott was a little girl (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, New Order) and the indie rock and punk rock of her teenage years (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes).
Released last month through Substitute Scene Records, the duo’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled debut is an ambitious and urgent affair that thematically touches upon the confusion, frustration and uncertainty of our zeitgeist. And as a result, the album’s material is at times searingly critical, frustrated and despondent over everything from misogyny to global power imbalance and inequality with each song’s narrator seeking answers to questions that may never be easily resolved.
The Brooklyn-based shoegazers went on a month-long tour to support their self-titled debut, and the tour started off with a headlining record release show at Union Pool last month with local indie acts Big Bliss and Wooing. Check out photos from the show below.
Formed back in 2015, the Brooklyn-based post-punk act Big Bliss — founding members Tim Race (guitar, vocals) and Cory Race (drums) with Wallace May (bass, vocals) and Ana Becker (guitar) — can trace its origins back to when the Race Brothers began collaborating together on a project that they hoped would aim for drawing on shared influences between the brothers: namely 70s and 80s punk and post-punk. The Race Brothers then recruited Brooklyn-based songwriter Wallace May and Ana Becker to flesh out their sound, which is centered around shimmering and jangling 80s-inspired post-punk.
The Brooklyn-based post-punk outfit’s latest effort At Middle Distance was a major step forward for them, as the material found the band refining the sound that won them attention both locally and across the blogosphere while imbued with a deeper emotional quality. According to their Facebook fan page, the band is currently working on At Middle Distance‘s follow-up.
Opening the night was the New York-based indie rock act Wooing. Fronted by singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist Rachel Trachtenburg, J,R. Thomason (guitar) and Rosie Slater (drums), Wooing features a trio of highly accomplished veterans: Trachtenburg has performed professionally since she was a small child — first as drummer in her family’s Seattle-based group, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, an act that once performed on Conan and received attention from Rolling Stone, NPR and Spin. Trachtenburg went on to form acclaimed indie rock Supercute! Trachtenburg met Slater while they were both in Supercute! Trachtenburg met Thomason while they were members of R. Stevie Moore‘s backing band.
With their three song debut EP Daydream Time Machine, the trio have begun to establish their own sound — one that’s inspired by 90s rock like Helium and Quasi, as well as Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. Thematically, the EP touches upon a wide range of concerns: its lead single “In Colour” was inspired by a documentary on LSD experiments performed on housewives in the 1950s. “Tear World” comments on humanity’s abusive — and downright dickheaded — treatment of whales. The EP’s final track “Two Can Keep A Secret” comments on the illusive facade of security within relationships.