Mother Mother

Live Nation Presents

Mother Mother

K.Flay

Fri, March 10, 2017

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

$29.50

This event is all ages

Mother Mother
Mother Mother
Mother Mother has always reveled in contradiction.

"It's the person, the humanoid...that's the very good bad thing."

For Ryan Guldemond, there is no denying the human condition in all its tragic, conflicting nature.

Two years after the Juno-nominated "The Sticks," the band's apocalyptic 2012 album steeped in isolation and dread, the Vancouver quintet returns with its fifth studio album, "Very Good Bad Thing": an edgy, synth-heavy, club-driven rock record filled with massive hooks.

But as is the band's trademark, behind the gauzy boy-girl vocal harmonies, angular guitar lines and infectious rhythms lies something deeper and darker.

"I think it's peppier and more of a party, but at the same time the torture is very apparent," singer/keyboardist Jasmin Parkin says.

"But there's not a lot of denial," Guldemond says. "There's a pride behind the confession. No one's denying anything."

Human "malfunctions" are cause for celebration on "Very Good Bad Thing."

Mother Mother come out swinging on "Get Out The Way," a super-charged call to arms Guldemond describes as not letting anyone to get in the way of your truth, whatever your truth may be. "I know I'm supposed to integrate," he snarls, "but how's about instead I inch away?"

"F -- - yeah, I'm a deviant," Guldemond proclaims on the proggy "Reaper Man," which pounds its way through your cerebellum like the giant walking hammers from Pink Floyd's "The Wall."

No subject is taboo for Mother Mother on "Very Good Bad Thing": male body image ("I Go Hungry"), morning-after self-loathing ("Have It Out"), bullying and suicide ("Kept Down," inspired in part by the death of Amanda Todd).

"Am I to die alone and sublime?" Guldemond asks before ending the album as if it had all been an illusion -- with a vanishing trick. "You may just watch me disappear," he sings against the silence.

"As I get older I feel more in touch with my flaws as something I can integrate, as opposed to something I suppress in order to spin some yarn of perfection," Guldemond says. "Never have I been so at peace with the imperfect side of myself."

Recorded with Juno-winning producer Gavin Brown (Metric, Billy Talent, Tragically Hip) at his Noble Street studio in Toronto, "Very Good Bad Thing" is the next logical step in Mother Mother's sonic evolution.

This isn't the same Mother Mother that gave us the cheeky "Touch Up" (2007) and "O My Heart" (2008), or even the adventurous "Eureka" (2011). It's a much different band than on the conceptual "The Sticks" (2012), an album that made Mother Mother the second most-played artist on Canadian alternative radio in 2012 and 2013.

The guitar hooks are bigger, the synths are louder, the vocal harmonies are more carefully crafted and the irony toned down, and the bass and drums are tighter.

"I've been really getting into James Blake, Little Dragon and EDM in general," Guldemond says. "As the songs were coming in, they were wearing a skin of electronics. It's easy to demo from that place. In doing that you get attached to that personality and it begins to define the shape of the song. It just made sense to continue down that path as opposed to uprooting the core and starting from scratch.

"It feels natural. There's a lot of fire in the band and its sentiment, and that seems accentuated through big, modern, tough sounds."

"Very Good Bad Thing" certainly pops out of the package with a resounding snap.

For a band whose approach has been to modernize itself at every turn and has never really been able to fit neatly into a box, Brown was the right fit for the job.

"He really brought an edge to our sound," Parkin says. "We've never done the same thing twice. Every album is a new chapter and a new beginning."

Close to 10 years after it formed, Mother Mother is embracing its true nature. And it speaks volumes.

"No matter what you do you'll be criticized for it," Guldemond says. "So it's better to be criticized for taking risks rather than being safe."
K.Flay
K.Flay
On "Blood in the Cut" — the moody and magnetic lead single from her new EP Crush Me — K.Flay turns emotional damage into unlikely transcendence. "It's about inundating yourself with feelings of pain and angst, and how that can be its own form of power," says Kristine Flaherty, the L.A.-based artist who made her debut as K.Flay with a series of releases in 2010. "The songs on the EP revolve around the idea of a person or a force seeking to crush you or hold you down, but there's a defiant energy to them — like, 'Yeah, go ahead and try.'"
The first signing to Night Street/Interscope Records (an imprint helmed by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds), K.Flay instills that energy into a batch of songs highlighting her seamless flow and head-turning lyricism. But while Crush Me builds off K.Flay's hip-hop background, the EP also channels her punk sensibilities and DIY spirit into a lush but gritty sound rooted in live drums and guitar. "My live shows always had the spontaneity that comes from working with more organic instrumentation, and I wanted to make sure that was really reflected on this EP," notes Flaherty, who's previously toured with artists like Passion Pit, Icona Pop, Awolnation and Theophilus London.
Equally inspired by the novels of Marilynne Robinson and Kid Cudi's early records, Crush Me finds K.Flay delivering her most intensely intimate yet sonically expansive work so far. "My main imperative was to create something musically interesting and at the same time be completely honest and not censor myself," she says. Throughout the EP, K.Flay spikes her lyrics with confessional barbs but never loses her breezy cool. On "Blood in the Cut," for instance, lines like "Reading through your messages/My favorite way to die" slip right into the song's stripped-down arrangement of bright beats and buzzsaw guitars. Named for a cemetery in the heart of Los Angeles, the darkly charged "Hollywood Forever" matches K.Flay's commentary on the toxic nature of fame with her own personal revelations ("My father was a user/And I'm afraid I'm just the same"). One of Crush Me's loveliest and most melancholy moments, "Dreamers" owns up to feelings of loss and regret but explores the redemptive power of creativity ("Suddenly I felt fine inside a mind so full of ghosts/The darkest nights mean you see the stars the most"). And on the hazy and quietly heartbreaking "You Felt Right," K.Flay offsets her lovesick, ripped-from-real-life storytelling with the occasional self-effacing dig ("I should have known don't trust a poet, 'cause they can't do the math").
Though Crush Me endlessly reveals her easy grace as a songwriter and producer, K.Flay is quick to point out that she "fell into music very haphazardly" at the age of 19 — a decade after her dad first taught her to play guitar. "I was in an argument with someone and was challenged to make a song, which was really my entry point to music," says Flaherty, an Illinois native who studied at Stanford University. "From there I started producing and playing house parties on campus, kind of as a release from the academic life. I liked that music was a window into a world with a lot of unpredictability and chaos; it was almost diametrically opposed to my very regimented day-to-day living."
Upon graduating, Flaherty moved to San Francisco and kept up with music, making her breakthrough with the 2011 mixtape I Stopped Caring in '96 and soon landing a deal with a major label. Not long after putting out her 2013 EP What If It Is (featuring a collaboration with Danny Brown), K.Flay launched her own label for the release of her full-length debut Life As a Dog (a 2014 album that "pairs spaced-out rap beats and chiming indie rock," according to Entertainment Weekly). "I feel like I've somersaulted into everything that's happened since I first started making music," says Flaherty. "It's like I kept slowly turning to the right and ended up doing this for a living, which is pretty amazing to me."
In making Crush Me, K.Flay joined forces with Nashville-based producer/musician JT Daly, writing and recording in a converted carriage house deep in the Tennessee countryside. She also worked with LA based producer Simon Says.
Both collaborators helped shape the emotionally raw yet complexly layered terrain of Crush Me. "I remember I was leaving the studio in Tennessee really late one night and playing 'Hollywood Forever' super-loud in the car," says Flaherty, looking back on the making of the EP. "All of a sudden I was jolted back to the first time I ever pressed my music onto CD, and to putting all the boxes of CDs in my trunk and saying to myself, That's cool — I made that. It was this weird joyous feeling, and I'd completely forgotten all about it until that night in Nashville."
For K.Flay, that weird joy surpasses "all the crazy adventures" she's experienced since dedicating herself to music. "There have been a lot of really high highs and low lows over the years, but the experience of taking nothing and creating something makes me happy and helps me not be anxious or depressed," she says. "In and of itself, just the act of making music is still so life-affirming to me."
Venue Information:
London Music Hall - CA
185 Queens Ave.
London, ON, N6A 1J1
http://www.londonmusichall.com/

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