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Friday May 19 2023
 8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
  Alternative/Indie rock
  rock dream pop
The 86
(from Nanash774, Pops and the Jerks)
 Japanese trash noise

-from Oakland, CA
-When the pandemic hit, Hannah van Loon adopted a dog named Gizmo, who became a much-needed companion while the Bay Area musician wrote her second album as Tanukichan. Aptly named after her new four-legged friend, GIZMO is an exercise in release, whether from situational hindrances — a forced lockdown, for one — or from self-imposed hedonistic coping mechanisms. “A theme I always had floating around was escape,” van Loon explains of her follow-up to 2018’s Sundays. “Escaping from myself, my problems, sadness and cycles.”

To channel the more uplifting spirit she wanted for GIZMO, van Loon turned to the radio pop-rock of her childhood: “I was struck by the in-your-face positivity of the lyrics,” she adds, referencing artists like 311, The Cranberries, and Tom Petty. “I wanted to bring that positivity while writing about the sad and helpless emotions I’d been grappling with.” But GIZMO’s lightheartedness doesn’t make it shallow: “I think that I could let it go, as beautiful as snow,” she murmurs on “Don’t Give Up,” a nu metal-meets-Cocteau Twins groove about the sudden awareness that all the relationships you depend on could vanish instantaneously. Van Loon’s main collaborator on GIZMO was Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bear, and the jangly pop earworm “Take Care” showcases the heavily distorted, in-your-face guitarwork reminiscent of Bear’s own psych joints What For? and Mahal. On the hypnotic, wall-of-sound-rocker “Thin Air” featuring Enumclaw, van Loon channels the triumphant grit of The Smashing Pumpkins as she ponders the impermanence of even the most impactful relationships: “I’ll always have the memories/Of how you used to make me see/Until they fell in the ocean/They’re not swimming/They’re not floating.”

Existentialism aside, GIZMO also sees van Loon break out of her sonic comfort zone. “One of the main changes of how I’m approaching music now is that I want to have more fun in the process,” she says, and she walks the line between melodrama and whimsy gracefully: “I can learn something because I’ve been here before,” she sings on the soaring, bittersweet “Been Here Before.” Deftones-inspired thrash drums and screeching electric guitars are gracefully contrasted with van Loon’s hypnotic, almost deadpan vocal style and a crystal clear acoustic guitar she describes as “cute.” Gizmo the dog suddenly passed away right as van Loon finished the album, but he’s immortalized with his photo on the cover — a fitting emblem of this new era of Tanukichan.

Tanukichan is the solo project of classically-trained Bay Area native Hannah van Loon, whose music screeched to a halt when she discovered what she affectionately calls “dad rock” in her tween years. Throughout her self-described “sheltered” adolescence, van Loon taught herself guitar by spending hours in front of the radio, replicating riffs and chords from omnipresent bands like The Beatles and Incubus.

Although van Loon is the creator and leader of Tanukichan, the project can be considered a collaboration between her and the Grammy-nominated chillwave pioneer Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi. After seeing an early Tanukichan show in 2016, Bear expressed an interest in working with van Loon; Radiolove, Tanukichan’s first headbanger of an EP, arrived on Bear’s own Company Records that same year. The promising four-song project was followed in 2018 by van Loon’s breakout debut LP, Sundays, which prompted her first solo headlining tour and dates opening for artists like Kero Kero Bonito and The Drums. Sundays earned Tanukichan enthusiastic critical acclaim, with Pitchfork writing that it “captures the spirit of a day whose wide-open nature fosters anxieties as well as ambitions” and Rolling Stone lauding its “bruising riffs, taut grooves, and open-road-ready guitar anthems.”

Tanukichan’s sophomore album GIZMO is out on March 3rd, 2023. While still rooted in the eerie shoegaze she’s become known and loved for, it also sees her go beyond her comfort zone, incorporating elements of grunge, industrial synths, nu metal basslines, and electric guitars that culminate into a captivating wall-of-sound. The result is her most fun-sounding work yet.

-from Los Angeles, CA
-What Kind of Blue Are You?, Winter's sophomore release with Bar/None Records, is an emotional excavation of Samira Winter's purest self.

Musically, the LP's 10 songs reconnect with the earliest incarnation of Winter, once again painting with brushstrokes of distorted guitar, but using them to fuel a wiser, more mature form of sonic liberation. Whereas 2020's Endless Space (Between You and I) was steeped in fairytale surrealism and springlike grace, her latest offering is crystalline and spartan, songs stripped to their inner blue core, Winter's smoldering shadow self.

It's another stunning work in a canon that's established her as one of Los Angeles' most enduring, consistently-head-turning dream poppers, the melancholy and bittersweet beauty that's been with her throughout Winter's existence now pushed to center stage. Strengthened by her ever-increasing powers as a songwriter, she confronts painful wounds of trauma and despair for the first time on record, and achieves some semblance of peace and healing in the process.

Before coming of age as a musician in the Boston indie-rock scene during the early 2010s, Samira spent her formative years growing up in Curitiba, Brazil, where her mother filled their home with the gentle melodies of MPB (música popular brasileira), and her father introduced her to the distorted sounds of American punk. In the years since, her collaborations have ranged from the new-age dub of Pachyman to the jazzy pop of Mild High Club, constantly expanding her musical rolodex with new ideas, and building out her already singular sonic language.

Like always, Samira was the songwriting force behind What Kind of Blue Are You?, but she's quick to emphasize how the record was indelibly shaped by the close collaboration she fostered with her co-producer Joo-Joo Ashworth. Known for producing his sister SASAMI's critically lauded debut, the motorik LA trio Automatic, his own band Froth, and Dummy's Mandatory Enjoyment, Joo-Joo and Samira formed an instinctual bond based on their kindred tastes and shared musical vision.

Decamping to Studio 22 in L.A. during 2020, the pair spent the many months of harsh uncertainty sharpening the songs into a fine point. "I felt like I was making music in a dark cave with an old friend and no one else existed," Samira says of the process. Within that place of separation from the outside world, she was able to venture into the core of Winter, imbuing every musical choice with a confident intentionality, and newfound vulnerability. More so than ever before, the hypnotic rhythms of electronic music were a key reference point for the duo, as well as reliable favorites like early MBV & The Pastels.

While past Winter albums unfolded with a sense of wonder, doused in splashes of reverb and instrumental overdubs that gave the music an otherworldly glow, the guitar tones on this record fizz and sputter over lockstep grooves. Every riff is strummed with a taut sense of purpose, each drum pattern chopped and molded to form sample-esque beats that serve as unobtrusive backbones to songs that are dominated by Samira's crisp, sincere croons. Compared to the densely produced Endless Space, standout "atonement" is a rhythm centric banger, the tightly wound drum & bass elevating the chorus to newly focused heights. "mr. on my mind" invokes K Records-esque twee, the longing lyrics and romantic guitar leads unadorned and delightfully raw.

Glistening hooks bloom across gorgeous slowcore spectacles like "good," "crimson enclosure" and "fool," creating a wreath of musical moods that's equal parts Duster gloom and Mazzy Star gleam. Her most earthy, coarse and physically abrasive shoegaze swells lie within the tracklist, but they're placed neatly alongside transcendental propulsions like the deviously hooky, "kind of blue," and the springy rush of '90s drum machine that elevates the euphoric coos gracing the record's opening track, "wish i knew" -- a track that channels the chorus-laden acoustic strums of Blueboy, with lyrics that express feelings of nostalgia and longing. Between the songs are transitory passages of ambience and tape loops -- some intentional, and some happy accidents courtesy of the notoriously fickle analog equipment -- their only collaborator outside of contributions from Hatchie's Harriette Pilbeam and Joe Agius, who receive writing credits on the hooky "atonement," and SASAMI, whose voice can be heard on the stunning plume of harmonies that grace "good."

Despite its euphoric clusters of synthesizers and skyward melodies, "lose you" is one of the album's most vulnerable moments, Winter speaking to the grim realities of predatory abuse. "It's a song about one of my saddest moments," she says of a side-b highlight, "where I realized that my close friend had been groomed by this older person that we all knew." On "sunday," she reflects on the relationship between young girls and social media, whispering "when she looks at the screen does it make her afraid?," and wondering "where is the truth?"

What Kind of Blue Are You? doesn't shield itself from the sadness and trauma that plagued the world it was forged in, and it was that unfettered clarity that made its process such a fulfilling creative experience for Samira, and makes it such a musically profound, emotionally nuanced, and deeply personal listening experience. For as much as it plunges into Samira's own feelings, it also invites each listener to do the same -- to consider what their own shade of blue is, to embrace their authentic self in all its complicated beauty.

"I feel like I've come full circle, making an album that my 22-year-old self who just started Winter would love," Samira says, "it's my inner shadow girl, revealing herself in all her brokenness, despair and beauty."

The 86
(members of Nanash774, Pops and the Jerks)
-from the Bay Area, CA

-3 middle aged Japanese trash who love noise.