click on month for monthly picture calendar

Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.

>>back to listings calendar
>> back to picture calendar
Saturday December 2 2023
 8:30PM doors -- music at 9:00PM
•••  21 AND OVER
$17 in advance / $20 at the door
  (Album release)
experimental, gospel, jazz, neo-soul
Lucy Liyou
 ambient, experimental
 electronic indiepop jazz mathrock pop

-from Brooklyn, NY
-L’Rain’s artistic evolution eschews overarching narratives. Multi-layered in subject and form, L’Rain’s sonic explorations interrogate instead how multiplicities of emotion and experience intersect with identity. The experimental and the hyper-commercial; the expectation and the reality; the hope and the despair. L’Rain is searching for balance in the obliteration of binary logic.

L’Rain is the musical project of multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and curator, Taja Cheek. Alongside Andrew Lappin and Ben Chapoteau-Katz, she has developed L’Rain into a shape-shifting entity that blurs the distinction between band and individual. At once personal and collaborative, it mirrors the journey that brought L’Rain into being to begin with.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Cheek found her feet at the centre of a vibrant DIY community in the first half of the 2010s, playing noise music and hosting concerts in her basement with the likes of Dreamcrusher and TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone.

If noise music represented a release from the constraints of her classical training, the loops and samples she admired in bands like Animal Collective liberated Cheek to make music on her own terms. Using her voice to work up ideas recorded with her iPhone microphone, she uploaded sonic fragments onto Soundcloud to share with friends and early collaborators like Andrew Lappin.

Beginning as an abstract meditation on grief, Cheek traces the origins of L’Rain to the period which followed the dissolution of her musical community and the passing of her mother, Lorraine. The name L’Rain was conceived as both a tribute to her mother and her own gregarious alter ego L’ (lah-postrophe), and one which she subsequently tattooed onto her arm.

Fascinated by the collisions of hi- and lo-fi technology, she teased out the crunched aesthetics from the equipment that was available to her, playing with home-spun recording approaches alongside professional recording techniques on her self-titled 2017 debut album L’Rain, which has been described as a form of “psychic collage”.

In the years that followed, Cheek began working more closely with Lappin and Ben Chapoteau-Katz, who have become invaluable collaborators as part of the L’Rain project, guiding Cheek in the expression of her voice, both on record and in a live setting. “Ben and Andrew are my closest collaborators and confidants”, she explains, embracing the project’s potential to challenge the foundations of what a band can be.

Probing notions of change on what would become her 2021 album, Fatigue, Cheek supplemented her vocals with an array of instruments, including guitar, bass, synth, keyboards, percussion, and various effect pedals and plugins, assembling a cast of twenty collaborators, to formalise a more collective idea of creative practice.

Released into a context of a global pandemic, systemic inequality, and the continued violence against Black people at the hands of the state, Fatigue explored simultaneity of human emotion – audacity in the wake of grief, disappointment in the face of accomplishment - at once asking questions of both herself and her listeners.

Critically acclaimed by NPR, named album of the year in The Wire magazine and #2 in Pitchfork's best albums of 2021, Fatigue propelled L’Rain towards a new audience, while further cementing her place within experimental and art institutional spaces. And yet, equally inspired by gospel and ‘90s R&B, and touring with Black Midi and Animal Collective, Cheek is conscious of not allowing this narrative to dominate.

“I’m not really interested in being separate from the world,” she explains, pointing to new album I Killed Your Dog as a way to bring the project back to earth. “I’m envisioning a world of contradictions, as always,” Cheek explains. “Sensual, maybe even sexy, but terrifying, and strange.”

Written amidst heartbreaks from the perspective of an earned maturity, I Killed Your Dog is described as an “anti-break-up” record. It takes the universal pop theme of love as its starting point – bold, bratty and even a touch diabolical – and inspects it through the form of a conversation with her younger self, untangling her relationship with femininity and the formal musical conventions that others have come to expect of her.

A crystallization of L’Rain’s tactile approach to song-writing, the album is also an implicit interrogation of the electric dreams and failures of early synthesizers, toying openly with rock music tropes, the lineage of folk as Black music in America and Cheek’s own background playing in experimental guitar bands.

Joining Cheek’s regular collaborators Andrew Lappin and Ben Chapoteau-Katz (who also play in the live band) are other musicians that perform in the live iteration of the project, Zachary Levine-Caleb, Justin Felton and Timothy Angulo, taking the sonic world laid out by L’Rain in 2021’s album Fatigue on a compelling new trajectory.

With a band comprised of regular collaborators Andrew Lappin and Ben Chapoteau-Katz, alongside Zachary Levine-Caleb, Justin Felton and Timothy Angulo, L'Rain are taking the sonic world of 2021's Fatigue on a compelling new trajectory.

Through her curatorial work with NYC institutions like Creative Time, the High Line and MoMA PS1 where she was a performance curator for several years, Cheek has also explored the terms on which creative work is presented – extending a theme which resonates with her concerns as a musician. As she said in an interview with Pitchfork in 2021, “I’m hyper-aware of how marketing and packaging happens for Black people and women and Black women […] I like feeling a sense of agency in how those stories are told.” Interested in engaging DIY arts organizations, she cultivates a collaborative approach to curation, seeking out the surprise element that emerges from dialogue between cultural communities. From those early basement noise sessions to her curatorial work with major NYC arts institutions, Cheek has also found herself on the other side of the creative process, developing a fluid relationship between her curatorial work and that of her own musical practice.

Pieced together like snippets of found sound, L’Rain is edging towards a practice that resists disciplinary categorization and instead reflects the messiness of the self in all its fullness.

Lucy Liyou
-from Los Angeles, CA
-Lucy Liyou synthesizes field recordings, text-to-speech readings, poetry, and elements from Korean folk opera into sonic narratives that explore the implications of Orientalism and Westernization. Though her music reflects the work of genres such as post-industrial and musique-concrète, Liyou is influenced by audiobooks as well as music from the Impressionist and Neoclassical periods. Combining all these disparate sonic elements into critically cohesive pieces, the musical world of Lucy Liyou alternates between beautiful serenity and unsettling entropy. Arresting ballads and contemporary classical pieces fragment into decaying shards, voices get warped beyond recognition, and shimmering light makes way for bit-crushed noise.

Lucy Liyou’s debut project, A Hope I Had, was a sonic examination of hereditary depression in Asian families, which caught the attention of South London-based artist Klein. Liyou followed up the release with her debut full-length, Welfare (released in March 2020 through Klein’s label ijn inc), an ambitious analysis of the colonialist concept of self-care. Less than a year later Lucy Liyou released the acclaimed follow-up, Practice, which drew deeply on aesthetic touchstones from Liyou’s Korean heritage to examine how families explicitly and implicitly pass on coping mechanisms – or lack thereof – for grief and loss passed through generations. Lucy Liyou’s first two full-length albums Welfare / Practice were reissued on vinyl for the first time in May 2022 via American Dreams Records. Her latest record Dog Dreams (??) is a rumination on the double-sidedness of trauma and love, on how one does not undercut the other, but are rather interlocked in an affective dialectic. She has collaborated with artists such as OHYUNG, Mui Zyu, yska, and Maria BC

Liyou’s work has earned acclaim from Pitchfork, The Guardian, Bandcamp Daily, The Quietus, Them, Tone Glow, Wire Magazine, Mixmag Asia, The FADER, and NPR Music, among others, and received notable airplay on NTS Radio, KEXP, NPR, and Sonos Radio’s Radio Hour with Thom Yorke. Liyou has shared the stage with artists like claire rousay, Salamanda, Drew McDowall (Coil), Theodore Cale Shafer, HTRK, Liz Harris (Grouper) and performed on stages such as Cafe OTO, Portland Insitute for Contemporary Art, and Rewire Festival.

-from Oakland, CA
-As Flung, Oakland-based multi-instrumentalist Kashika Kollaikal creates channels for feeling. Marked by repetition, polyrhythm, and sampling, Flung's music is at once both danceable and meditative, finding motion in stillness and stillness in motion. After beginning as a solo recording project in 2020 during the early days of the COVID pandemic, Flung released her second album, Apricot Angel, in August 2022. She returns as part of the Get Better Records family with a new project in Spring 2024.