Dominic (Lithuania, DRGN KING), Norwegian Arms

#FreeMusicWednesdays

Dominic (Lithuania, DRGN KING)

Norwegian Arms

Grass Stains

Wed, February 1, 2017

Doors: 9:00 pm / Show: 9:30 pm

BAR

New Haven, CT

This event is 21 and over

Dominic (Lithuania, DRGN KING)
Dominic (Lithuania, DRGN KING)
At the core of all long human relationships there are dark corners. In his solo debut, Goodnight Doggies, Dominic Angelella uncovers such painful discoveries with masterful and subtle execution. More importantly, he does this with an expertly alternative hand at pop songwriting, cherry picking from a vast array of influences not limited to visionaries such as Prince, Harry Nilsson, and Andre 3000.

A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Dominic hails from an invaluable background of attending and playing punk shows in the basements and DIY spaces of the east coast since around middle school-age. Over the years he's been a member of projects such as Hop Along, Cold Fronts, MewithoutYou, and is currently the co-songwriter of the band Lithuania. He's also contributed his skills as a session musician to records from Kendrick Lamar, Tinashe, Juicy J, Mac Miller, and Lil B. In the meantime his solo endeavors have taken on several forms and titles, until a decision was made that it was time to perform under his now seasoned given name. It couldn't have come sooner, as this is by far his greatest work to date.

Perhaps it is from that original DIY sense of necessity that makes the production and arrangement of Doggies' manner of delivery so shrewdly economic. Only that which needs to be heard is there. Emotions are therefore allowed to be the unabashed lead character of these songs. While they are indeed often sad, they are colorful and fascinating. There is a permeating sense of complicated loss and mundane struggle, which is what makes it a very honest record. Singular notes of a piano play with a sweetness that cannot help but stick with you, overtop a humble and steady beat, with vocals that may remind one of the friendly rasp of Jeff Tweedy. The choice of instrumentation follows the instinct of the narrative, and those instincts confidently lead the album through melodic projections of disappointing familial and disastrous romantic experiences. The most sugary of jams may be the second track, "Savior." The singular chords of a thick guitar riff satisfies the feeling of a humid, frustrated suburb weekend.

Throughout the album, thoughtful lyrics come through clearly, with a light decaying edge. The singer is young but aware that this time is coming to an end. The attitude of the vocal is simultaneously relaxed and feral. He is an almost kindly observer, who is aware of bitterness but somehow devoid of it. As with any album, there are no answers here, only honest examinations of failure on both sides. Like all of us, Angelella has no idea what the outcome will be, but he can share his coordinates and leave you exhilarated. - Frances Quinlan
Norwegian Arms
The term ‘Norwegian Arms’, according to front-person and sole founding member Keith Birthday, describes the act of “grabbing slivers of fleeting moments across the globe, but in a self deprecating way.” Throughout the band’s existence, Birthday has done just that. The band’s debut record Wolf Like a Stray Dog captured a year of frozen solitude spent in the Siberian Taiga. Snapshots of intimate personal experiences mixed with stories of secret cities and musings on language and culture. Where Wolf focused on a specific feeling attached to a singular place, Norwegian Arms’ new album Girard Freeloader (out 1/20 on Mutual Crush) applies this concept to the entire world, with songs taking inspiration from the jungles of Peru, the forests of Washington state, and Keith Birthday’s native Philadelphia.

Keith (also known in more professional circles as Brendan M) uses these places as jumping off points to ruminate about the complications of living in this modern world through the eyes of a “Freeloader”, the listless narrator who is searching simultaneously for a cup of coffee and his own deepest feelings. “West Queens Street West” turns a weekend trip to Toronto into thoughts about traveling as a break from the monotony of everyday Internet-centric life. “East Hollywood” finds Birthday considering how distance and growth changes relationships over time while visiting friends in California. But the place that seemingly influences Girard Freeloader the most is the city of Philadelphia, where Keith found himself suddenly still after his long Russian sojourn, and where the record takes its name.

Whether he’s talking about modern American colonialism as a traveling ESL teacher through an the lens of sucking up the last limited natural resources from a dying planet on “Resource Sucker”, feeling himself atrophy on “Visons of my Father,” or fantasizing about finding a better life in the Pyrenees mountains on “How We Move”, the feeling of returning to a familiar place after a long and affecting journey looms large over Girard Freeloader.

The record was chiefly recorded by José Díaz Rohena at The Unknown, Phil Elverum’s studio in Anacortes, Washington and completed in Philadelphia and Birthday’s new home of New York. The music communicates a growth from the last album as well, a more cinematic and extended scope, with more room for contemplation than the previous record’s two minute punk-influenced blasts. Girard Freeloader feels like D’Angelo-influenced digital soul with the synthesizer drive of The Silver Apples and the groovy poly-rhythms of Tuareg guitarists, all culled from Birthday’s mind and the childhood mandolin on which he writes songs with a signature unorthodox finger-driven playing style.

While Birthday was recording, he took a break to visit Bowman’s Bay, a secluded beach on the outskirts of Anacortes. There he found inspiration for the lyrics for “Make The Rules”, the closing track to the album: “I can almost taste it, feet behind in the nectar line. Is it the only thing that binds? String of eternity? And isn’t it amazing, the breadth of the sea, the lines in the leaves? Just over the bay I can see it.” Girard Freeloader is an album about contemplation and striving for self-betterment in the terrifying world in which we live. Maybe, if we all connect deeper with the places we hold dear, we can attain it. As Birthday expresses, “I’ve come a long way, but it’s everything that I know.”
Grass Stains
Grass Stains is a “rock” band from Western CT and Purchase, NY. They’ve been playing tons of DIY/punk shows across Connecticut since 2015 and have put out an LP (“New England Will Kill Me”) and an EP (“Best Friends Forever”) so far. Songwriting duties are split between Dawson Goodrich and Judge Russell, who write songs that blur the line between youthful energy and young adult anxiety. However, the jittering guitar lines and the frantic vocals are kept grounded by bassist Devon Covert and drummer Ciara Connolly’s never-ending groove. They’re looking to put their second record out this summer, and hopefully meet new people and see new places!
Venue Information:
BAR
254 Crown Street
New Haven, CT, 06511
http://www.barnightclub.com/