The Church

The Church

Perry Serpa of The Sharp Things

Sat, March 14, 2015

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

Rough Trade NYC

Brooklyn, NY


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This event is 21 and over

The Church
The Church
IT’S A UNIQUE BAND that finds itself cherished as a bona fide legend in the ARIA Hall of Fame while remaining a virtual enigma to the world that knows its name. But maybe that’s no more remarkable than the mystery that continues to unfold within its own ranks.

The church’s accidental signature tune, Under The Milky Way, is like a lighthouse on the brink of a continent forever to be discovered: 25 albums over 35 years and countless diversions that have almost destroyed them a dozen times, yet always reaffirm a mutual commitment to an uncompromising and unparalleled act of creation.

At this stage of the journey, FURTHER/ DEEPER seems both unimaginable and the only option on their endless quest from chaos to resolution. It’s an album of breathtaking new vistas and intense emotions, of sinister black caskets and gorgeous caverns of light, a work born of immense struggle and effortless expression.

“The magic started on day one,” says singer and bass player Steve Kilbey. “Someone strummed a chord or struck a drum or plucked a note and we were off. We wrote and recorded like demons and it was inspiring to feel every member using all his resources in the service of this record.”

Twenty-six songs were born over eight days of exploration in Sydney in late 2013. Guitarist Peter Koppes, recalibrating his personal canvas in the absence of his long-time foil Marty Willson-Piper, drew palpable inspiration from the quartet’s remixed chemistry.”This new incarnation of the band with Ian Haug has brought a joyous energy to the music we’ve written together,” he says. “The rhythm swings more than usual yet the moods still range from melancholy pop to our modern version of heavy psychedelic rock, as in Laurel Canyon, to the epic gothic-progressive dance track, Globe Spinning.”

From the ominous allure of the lead track, Vanishing Man, to the beguiling tippy toes of Pride Before A Fall; the chiming keys of Love Philtre to the sheer hammer horror Toy Head; the exhilarating breeze of Old Coast Road and the ultimate, panoramic drama of the mini-screenplay that is Miami, FURTHER/ DEEPER delivers on the promise of its title in a combined blossoming of melody, rhythm and audacity.

For Haug, transitioning from the multi-platinum ashes of Powderfinger to join “one of my favourite bands of all time” was an utterly surreal experience, audibly expressed in fantastic new dimensions of the church’s fabled “guitarchitecture”.

“The first song we wrote was Miami, and from there we splintered off into several styles of surreal to intense psychedelia — and songs to make you drive fast,” he says. “It was a trip. And an incredible honour to be accepted so readily into a songwriting as well as guitar-playing role.”

Drummer Tim Powles was again instrumental in the painstaking alchemy that boiled the explosion of ideas down to 12 potent pieces in the early months of 2014, a process that often saw members working simultaneously in separate studios across multiple instruments to produce a work of singular cohesion.

“After an eternal twenty years in the church I marvel more than ever at how we’ve become masters of our own freedom,” he says. “No strings attached, no view to winning a prize. How lucky are we? Or have we earned it? We’ve got better at it too. Or maybe it’s got the better of us. It seems to devour us. Like magic.”

Like magic. As Kilbey sings in the desperate, beatific throes of Delirius: “These pieces Are easy Try to put them together It’s impossible…”

…and yet…
Perry Serpa of The Sharp Things
Perry Serpa of The Sharp Things
All activity of The Sharp Things, heretofore, will be dedicated to the memory of our drummer and best friend, Steven Gonzalez, who slipped from this earth on September 11th, 2014 after a 49-year battle with cystic fibrosis. Steve was, in many ways, our soul and (really) our beating heart. Despite all of his suffering, he will remain an example to all of us of how to live, as his life was full of music and love, and spirit.


THE SHARP THINGS are a longstanding, multi-member NYC-based collective led by singer/songwriter/pianist Perry Serpa.

Over their 15-plus years in existence, THE SHARP THINGS have taken in over 40 musicians, shared stages all over the place with the likes of Metric, Broken Social Scene, Tindersticks, Evan Dando, Joan As Policewoman, the late Vic Chesnutt, and many more and have been championed by such outlets as NME, LONDON SUNDAY TIMES, SPIN, MAGNET, NPR MUSIC, etc.

There were 2 celebrated albums, released in quick succession just post-Millennia- the Sharp Things’ debut, appropriately, however improperly titled, Here Comes The Sharp Things (Setanta, 2003) which prompted the London Sunday Times to dub the band, "...essential additions to the chamber-pop canon." and Foxes & Hounds, (Bar/None 2005) which made the The Big Takeover effervesce, "Delightful! Charming! Splendid!" and which Under The Radar called, "Fourteen songs of string, piano, and horn brilliance." Whoo hoo!

A few years later, in 2007, Bar/None released TST’s third album, A Moveable Feast, which not only employed a 40-piece orchestra on six of its 12 songs, it also featured Broadway luminary Michael Cerveris on its Nick Hornby-inspired kick off song, “The Jumpers,” the Hold Steady’s Franz Nicolay on accordion interstitials and Stuart Bogie on saxophone (Superhuman Happiness/Antibalas), among others. It also moved Spin to quip, "Hope is on the horizon thanks to pop visionaries the Sharp Things," and Magnet to offer, "Don't let all the trumpets, oboes and cellos make you nervous. Underneath the big-league arrangements are a set of muscular tunes that would still sound good played by a standard rock combo."

Somewhere in between Feast and its subsequent release, Serpa mustered the time to arrange strings and horns for a handful of other artists. His work can be heard, most notably, on TV On The Radio's breakthrough album, Dear Science, among others.

And by the end of 2008, Serpa had already penned in excess of 40 new tunes.

But with even with an overwhelming new repertoire, he decided to forgo self-editing to just RECORD EVERYTHING which was easy enough as the collective were already holed up at Bushwick's The Kennel Studio, co-owned by TST guitarist and bass player, Jim Santo and James Pertusi, respectively.

When confronted with the quandary of how to actually release such an amassment of music, ambition won out again and AN ALBUM SERIES — a collection of sorts celebrating an arguably floundering format in the most upstanding of ways with stalwart producer Billy Polo in collaboration (noted, believe it or not, for his work within the dub/reggae world).

In tribute to their aforementioned hotbed along the L train, (and taking a potshot at themselves) the band dubbed the series, The Dogs Of Bushwick.

The first installment, Green Is Good, a loosely themed opus about class wars and economic inequality, was released to some noteworthy acclaim in February 2013. The Truth Is Like The Sun followed in November of the same year, prompting John B. Moore at Blurt to call it, "Simply jaw-on-the-floor beautiful!" A succession of content and shows followed, including the band’s first live offering, The Sharp Things Live At Galapagos Art Space, (March, 2014) a worthwhile chronicle of TST’s packed out, full ensemble performance which saw 25 people on stage at once.

Now, the band is set to release, Adventurer’s Inn, 9 more brand new songs, produced again by Billy Polo and featuring an array of side players accompanying the mainstay core band. This, the third album in The Dogs Of Bushwick series, coincides with the passing of founding member, drummer and Serpa’s childhood friend, Steven Gonzalez to whom the record is dedicated. Gonzalez’s work with The Sharp Things has been documented throughout the 4-album series and will fortunately provide the backbeat for the final long player expected out in April 2015.

A portion of the proceeds from Adventurer’s Inn will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Venue Information:
Rough Trade NYC
64 N 9th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11249