Elysian Fields

Elysian Fields

Melvin Van Peebles Menage A Trois, Brittain Ashford of Prairie Empire

Sat, March 22, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Rough Trade NYC

Brooklyn, NY

This event is 21 and over

Elysian Fields
Elysian Fields
Elysian Fields Record Release Party

Elysian Fields come to Rough Trade to celebrate 'For House Cats And Sea Fans' (Ojet), their ninth full length album since emerging from the legendary early Knitting Factory scene, a hotbed of cross-cultural downtown music. In their lifetime EF have spawned dozens of imitators, but their consummate blend of no wave, jazz, folk and rock, to name a few of the prominent strands of their tightly woven style, has kept them at the top of their own category: music that relentlessly rejects the passing trend in favor of a higher artistic goal.

Singer Jennifer Charles, like the priestess of an ancient rite, transports audiences to the other side of reality's veil, guiding and freeing them with her incantations and gestures. Her voice, adored by thousands of fans the world over, possesses one of music's most unique tones, perhaps best described as a seamless combination of Anita O'Day and Jim Morrison. Her lyrics, spanning the transcendent, personal and political, reflect her wide reading but also come from a deep wellspring of language that is redolent of profound inspiration, incomparable to anything else in music, but in which can be discerned a lineage tracing through Leonard Cohen to Federico Garcia Lorca — at whose family homestead the band was invited to perform.

The main architect of the group's sound, guitarist Oren Bloedow, employs a powerful arsenal of musical effects to plant each lance of Jennifer's vocals deep in the listener's ear and heart. His harmony, taste and restraint have made him a weapon of choice for such artists as Antony, Doveman, Meshell Ndegeocello and Regina Spector, among countless others, but it is in his own Elysian Fields where his playing and writing truly shine.

In their private, under-the-radar existence, EF have been quietly making music and putting out records for close to two decades. This 'we do what we do' ethic has made them a cult band with legions of devoted followers across the globe, a league of loyalists who have stayed with Jennifer and Oren from their first Eureka moment, "This is the music I have been waiting for all my life!" being a common fan letter refrain.

'For House Cats And Sea Fans' features a cover painting specially created by downtown maverick artist/musician John Lurie, in whose Lounge Lizards the young Oren served an early apprenticeship. Other no wave legends who appear on the album are James Chance, who lends his sax and voice to the noir-jazz romp "She Gets Down' and composer J.G. Thirlwell, whose unsettling soundscapes underly the searing late-capitalist indictment "Escape From New York." Other guests on the album include jazz greats John Medeski and James Genus and mainstays from the EF family such as pianist/genius Ed Pastorini, and top drummers Matt Johnson, Chris Vatalaro and Ben Perowsky. The record was mixed by David Bowie henchman Mark Plati, bringing luster to their sound while preserving each track's essential intimacy.

This live performance will be both a warm-up gig for their ensuing European tour and an opportunity to bring together some of the great New York-based players in their circle to recreate their indelible performances from the album, as well as a selection of classics from the EF catalogue.
Melvin Van Peebles Menage A Trois
Renowned the world over for his historic accomplishments in cinema, Melvin Van Peebles has also been a prolific singer/songwriter, composer and recording artist, with releases on A&M, Stax and Atlantic in the late 60s and 70s which boasted an illustrious cast of instrumentalists and backing vocalists including Earth Wind & Fire, Clydie King, Joshi Jo Armisted, Harold Wheeler, Warren Smith, Tom Scott and Howard Johnson, to name a few. His 1969 A&M release, Brer Soul pre-empted the spoken word styles of Gil Scot Heron and The Last Poets, and his vocal delivery on his subsequent albums could be said to have been a precursor to punk rock. At 81 years of age, he still performs regularly and viscerally with his band Melvin Van Peebles Wid Laxative and is always tweaking the configurations, hence the debut performance of his new trio "Melvin Van Peebles' Menage A 3".
Venue Information:
Rough Trade NYC
64 N 9th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11249