John Grant, Ezra Furman, Georgia, Shopping, Hooton Tennis Club

Rough Trade Presents

John Grant

Ezra Furman

Georgia

Shopping

Hooton Tennis Club

Thu, October 15, 2015

Doors: 12:30 pm / Show: 1:00 pm

Rough Trade NYC

Brooklyn, NY

Free

This event is all ages

John Grant
John Grant
It’s been an extraordinary journey for John Grant, from a point where he thought he would never make music again or escape a life of substance abuse to winning awards and accolades, collaborating with Sinead O’Connor, Rumer and Hercules & Love Affair and having his music featured in the award-winning film Weekend.

It’s a journey that’s taken him from Buchanan, Michigan to Parker, Colorado, studying languages in Germany and, after his band The Czars split up, basing himself in New York, London, Berlin and, most recently, Iceland, where the bulk of Pale Green Ghosts was recorded. It’s also been a journey from The Czars’ folk/country noir to the lush ‘70s FM alchemy of Queen Of Denmark to the astonishing fusion of sounds that lifts Pale Green Ghosts.

As if to acknowledge his journey, Grant has named the album after the opening title track, which documents the drives that he’d regularly take through the ‘80s, from Parker to the nearby metropolis of Denver, to the new wave dance clubs that have inspired the electronic elements of Pale Green Ghosts, and later on to visit the boyfriend – the ‘TC’ of Queen Of Denmark’s ‘TC & Honeybear’ – that inspired many of that album’s heartbreaking scenarios.

“I’d take the I-25, between Denver and Boulder, which was lined with all these Russian olive trees, which are the pale green ghosts of the title: they have this tiny leaves with silver on the back, which glow in the moonlight,” Grant explains. “The song is about wanting to get out of a small town, to go out into the world and become someone and made my mark.”

That Grant has made his mark is blatantly clear from how Queen Of Denmark was rapturously received. “Like a couple of similarly intense classics before it – Antony & The Johnsons’ I Am A Bird Now and Bon Iver’s For Emma… Queen Of Denmark sounds like a record its creator has been waiting his whole life to make,” MOJO concluded. Another measure of achievement, and the journey, is that one classic that Grant first heard in those new wave clubs was Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Mandinka’. Two decades later, O’Connor has not only covered the title track of ‘Queen Of Denmark’ on her latest album How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, but supplies goose-bumping backing vocals on Pale Green Ghosts.

Sinead’s presence is a surprise, but not compared to the album’s portion of synthesisers and beats – unless you already know Grant’s enduring love of vintage synth-pop and industrial dance, and more current electronic acts such as Trentemøller and Mock & Toof. “Electronica is a huge part of my personality and my influences, though I don’t think many people see that fitting in to the John Grant image, whatever that is,” he says. There were occasional electronic undertows to Czars songs and two tracks (‘That’s the Good News’ and ‘Supernatural Defibrillator”’) on the deluxe edition of Queen Of Denmark were dance tracks.

One of those prime influences has even produced Pale Green Ghosts with Grant: Birgir Þórarinsson, a.k.a. Biggi Veira, of Iceland’s electronic pioneers Gus Gus. Queen of Denmark had been recorded in Texas with fellow Bella Union mates Midlake as his backing band, and Grant intended to return there to record again with the band’s rhythm section of McKenzie Smith and Paul Alexander. But a trip beforehand to see more of Iceland, after he’d first played the Iceland Airwaves festival in 2011, led to meeting Biggi, who invited Grant to his studio in Reykjavik. The two tracks the pair recorded – ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ and ‘Black Belt’ – convinced Grant he had to make the entire record there.

If Queen Of Denmark is Grant’s ‘70s album, channeling the spirits of Karen Carpenter and Bread, then Pale Green Ghosts is his’80s album. Of the electronic tracks, the title track is a panoramic, brooding classic, while ‘Sensitive New Age Guy’ and ‘Black Belt’ are the tracks that you might dance to in new wave clubs. ‘You Don’t Have To’ is a classic example of Grant’s influences blending together, in a reworked arrangement of a track unveiled during concert tours in 2011. It also features the distinct spacey Moog sounds that are familiar to lovers of Queen Of Denmark, while McKenzie and Alexander play on ‘Vietnam’ and ‘It Doesn’t Matter To Him’. Grant’s touring partner, keyboardist Chris Pemberton, plays the gorgeous piano coda on the album’s tumultuous finale ‘Glacier’.

Besides Biggi, the album features a range of Icelandic musicians, including saxophonist Óskar Gudjónsson on ‘Ernest Borgine’, named after the legendary American film/TV actor. On an album of typically caustic revelations and scabrous humour, including sex, sexuality and the pitfalls of growing up in an era, and a particularly religious environment, that ostracised gay men, ‘Ernest Borgnine’ combines all these strands with the admission that Grant is HIV positive.

Grant’s frankness also led to being arguably the first person to announce such news in front of a live audience, as he did when appearing with Hercules And Love Affair at London’s Meltdown festival in June 2012. HALA mainman Andy Butler had asked Grant to collaborate on a track (‘I Tried To Talk To You’). “It’s what I wrote the song about so I thought I should talk about it there and then,” Grant explains his public declaration. “I thought I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it, as there are lots of people in my situation, who feel like outcasts in society, people who had addiction problems, who feel ashamed and unlovable because of it. I want these people to know they have someone on a stage who is dealing with this too.”

Grant has also never shied away from discussing depression, and Pale Green Ghosts is a show of strength and survival, of moving on with life, on what will continue to be an incredible journey. “Moving to Reykjavik, at the age of 43, was incredibly risky and scary,” says Grant. “I didn’t know anyone here, but I’ve built up a life here, and recorded an album I’m really proud of, that distils what I’m about down to its most essential components, better than ever before. And this was during the middle of health issues. It means I’m trying to take the bull by the horns, and to live.”
Ezra Furman
Ezra Furman
Chicagoan Ezra Furman’s second solo album ‘Day Of The Dog’ has finally gained him the attention that he deserves. Two BBC 6 Music sessions with Marc Riley and Marc’s enthusiastic support have helped spread the word.

Extensive touring with his band the Boy Friends in the UK and Europe in 2014 has built up a dedicated live following and a growing reputation as one of the most exciting live acts around. Ezra’s emotional honesty, howling intensity, frailty and humour combined with the bands honking rock’n’roll have proved irresistible.

‘Ezra Furman has made an album of classicist rock’n’roll that never feels like an exercise, but a living, breathing piece of self expression.’ The Guardian

‘Where has Ezra Furman been hiding? A bratty, ragged take on New York Dolls, Spector-era Ramones and E Street Band carnival rock. An unexpected gem.’ 8/10 NME

“Ezra Furman has made an album of classicist rock’n‘roll that never feels like an exercise, but a living, breathing piece of self-expression.” The Guardian
Georgia
Georgia
Born and raised in north west London, the last few years have seen Georgia steadily establish herself as an important fixture in the city's most singular and imaginative artistic circles, playing drums for Kwes and Kate Tempest among others before emerging as an irresistible creative force in her own right with last year's Come In EP.

Newly signed to Domino, Georgia is currently putting the final touches to her debut album which she entirely wrote, performed and self-produced - details of which will be announced soon.
Shopping
Shopping
Shopping are propulsive bass lines, primitive disco-not-disco drums and guitar lines sharp as broken glass. The band was formed in 2012 by members Rachel Aggs (guitar), Billy Easter (bass) and Andrew Milk (drums), who’ve all done time in a plethora of notable UK DIY bands including Trash Kit and Wet Dog. They pull from a well of 70’s post-punk with a voraciousness seldom seen these days, bringing to mind the jagged aggression of Gang of Four, the voracious yelp of The Slits and the dance inducing thrust of Delta 5 and ESG.

The band released a 7-inch single shortly after forming, which sold out within a week. The band’s self-released debut LP, put out via their own MILK records in the UK has received whole-hearted acclaim, selling out their 1000 piece run in just a few months by hand delivering them to top-tier UK shops, who couldn’t seem to get enough of their groove riding, tough talking, life-loving post-punk funk. Now the band have signed on to FatCat, with a new LP on the way later in 2015 and to introduce the band stateside we’re making their self-released album available here for the first time.

The band are tirelessly committed to taking their sound to new audiences and spreading the Shopping gospel, securing impressive gigs along the way including main support for ESG and Gang Of Four as well as main support on Merchandise’s 2014 UK tour. Fully entrenched in the vibrant UK DIY community Shopping are all about being as productive and creative as possible and as such they've been described by the NME as a “band you need to hear" and lauded as one of SPIN's "Artists To Watch.
Hooton Tennis Club
Hooton Tennis Club
Venue Information:
Rough Trade NYC
64 N 9th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
rs