Tag Archives: chillwave

Talknarc: Interview with Philly’s Work Drugs

Work Drugs [Facebook] consist of “Benjamin Louisiana (more instrumental/less vocal) and Thomas Crystal (more vocal/less instrumental)” who hail from an abandoned pier on the banks of Philly’s Delaware River. In colonial times, what is now piers, highway, ill-planned condos, and wasted coastline consisted of high cliffs and caves. Outside the confines of William Penn’s Quaker paradise, the cliffs housed all manners of ne’er-do-wells, prostitutes, and pirates. Fitting then that Work Drugs hail from the banks of the Delaware: they raid the underbelly of ’80s soft rock and caress it with the gauzy embrace of today’s chillwave. On the occasion of the the release of their first single, “Third Wave,” they were kind enough to sit down for a quick chat.

Work Drugs, “Third Wave”

The internet wonders if your name is an Eastbound and Down reference… is it?

Eastbound and Down… is that a show on the Food Network?

Our buddy Eduardo S. came up with the name when we were sailing the Baja of Mexico. He had just hurt his “nose” and was feeling a bit sea sick, so in his partially delusional state, he kept screaming “work drugs… work drugs…” until his “meds” kicked in. And it kinda stuck. Our friends don’t like it… but fuck that noise.

How’s living on an abandoned pier?

Once in a while a Duck Boat rescue boat gets a little too close… but it sure beats the abandoned doll factory.

How’d ya’ll meet?

In Mrs. McDonald’s kindergarten class… seriously.

We’ve poked a bit of fun at the chillwave genre (while digging the music). Although it has its use, it’s also about as silly as the nonsense “slowcore” movement that built up around Low in the 1990s. Chillwave: hot or not? Sidenote: Apparently hotornot.com still exists. Do the kids today even know what that is?

I think it was just a genre that was created by kids of the 80’s who were too embarrassed to cite Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan, and Phil Collins as serious musical influences. In reality we have no problem with citing these guys (in fact if it wasn’t for the plethora of Genesis tapes in my parents minivan, I doubt I’d be talking to you), but we figured “chillwave” was the buzz word of the moment. I’m pushing “smooth-fi,” but no takers so far. I give “chillwave” a 7…. but her a 9.

If you could play with one Philly band that’s not Hall & Oates, whom would it be?

Well we came up with two (other than Hall & Oates, P.S.- good call) … Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (Ben) and Tickley Feather (Thomas)

Philly spot we’re most likely to find Work Drugs chill(wav)ing at?

Bonk’s Bar & Grille

How many yachts have you sailed on?

Too many to count… unfortunately our favorite used to set sail from the Barbary on the last Tuesday of every month… but alas it seems to have found a new port of call.

What’s the plan for recording more songs?

Well, we have a bunch more recorded (probably a few albums worth), but for now we are keeping them in the bait box until the fishing looks good. I would expect another new one in mid-January… as soon as we finish a little video for it…

Here’s hoping they spill their bait box soon. We’re biting.

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It's that kind of (chillwave) morning: Our Husband

Australia's Our Husband

Sorry, Earf. Didn’t I already mention that I wasn’t really into this whole “Monday” thing? Time to beat you back with some chillwave.

Usually, I dread firing up the ol’ Noise Narcs inbox. It is amazing how many bands A) think we want to hear their remixes of Radiohead or their covers of my vote for most intolerable song of the year (“Bloodbuzz, Ohio”) and B) seem to think we are a real blog.

But Adelaide, Australia’s Our Husband gave me a Monday treat this morning. Finding the groove that Beach House and Sun Airway needle about in, they put down layered music that crawls its way to muted crescendos. “Villages” is their first single of a yet-to-be-completed album.

Our Husband, “Villages”

Visit their Myspace

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Chillwave Week Bookender: Beach House and Memoryhouse, Philly, 5/3 and 5/7

Beach House w/ Washed Out
5/7, First Unitarian Sanctuary
Philladelphia, PA
What to drink: Sneak a 22oz

Chillwave, glo-fi. Silly names for music that has seriously arrived. And Baltimore, MD’s Beach House are the flag-bearers of the chillwave army. Although I dug their first album, I first fell in love via 2008’s Devotion. “Gila” is a revelation, the chorus bearing down like a gentle, fatal locomotive of oohs and aahs.

Beach House, “Gila” (from Devotion)

Teen Dream is a leap forward, trance-like but direct, tender but terrifying. Beach House dishes this album like a martini up, with an austere English gin in a bone-chilling martini glass, and god damn if it doesn’t taste like a mouthful of winter on an August day. Teen Dream‘s been getting serious best of the year chatter, and with good reason. I’m laying 3:1 odds on it winning Noise Narcs’ Best of 2010 album poll (and 1:1 odds on me winning Noise Narcs’ stupid alcoholic metaphor 2010 poll). No songs are weak enough to allow for standouts, though “Norway” is the obvious single.

Beach House is playing a very, very sold out show (as in, good luck getting tickets on Craigslist for less than $50) at Philly’s First Unitarian’s Sanctuary on Friday, May 7, with the likewise tremendous Washed Out. If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have tickets, sneak a couple of fine 22oz ales from Philly Nosheri in and enjoy the show in seated Unitarian splendor.

Beach House, “Norway” (from Teen Dream)

Memoryhouse w/ Music for Headphones
5/3, Kung Fu Necktie
Philadelphia, PA
What to drink: G&T

If Beach House is a searing martini, Onatrio’s Memoryhouse is a well-made gin and tonic (a Dutch-style gin, fine tonic, and for God’s sake don’t forget the tonic ice cubes). Pitchfork, who usually write as if they have a fist full of marbles, is gracefully apt: “At times, The Years plays like a shoegazer record minus the feedback, leaving just the reverbed loops and frostbitten vocals behind.”

Find out if Pitchfork is right, as Memoryhouse has put up their The Years EP for free [link]. On Monday, May 3, they play Kung Fu Necktie with Philly chillwavers Music for Headphones, for a measly $5. A double steal. And quite a Monday-Friday pairing.

Memoryhouse, “Foreground” (Grizzly Bear Cover)
Memoryhouse, “To the Lighthouse”

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