These three musical acts can do no wrong (in the eyes of our adoring staff). Find out how Lille, Dark Dark Dark and Buke & Gass filled out their name tags…
Lille is the alias of one Grace Bellury, an eighteen-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia who has a way with the ukulele. Her sound is light and airy, but the songwriting, lyrics and voice imply an awareness of complexity that places Grace well beyond her years. With the release of this year’s EP Tall Shoulders, Lille announced herself to the world as a talent on the rise; in fact, we at BTR were so taken with this debut that we featured the young artist as our AOTW a few weeks back.
Grace shared a few thoughts with us on the process of choosing a name, and why Lille felt like a good fit:
“When Lille started out it was just my solo project. I have a band now, but they weren’t involved in the writing process for the Tall Shoulders EP. Now they’re helping me with my new songs and we’re kind of exploring the different meanings of being a band. Before I thought of Lille as me and me as Lille but now there are four smelly boys mixed up in the equation and I don’t know quite what to do with them. They’re all so lovely and so supportive. I couldn’t ask for a happier band-family.
After we made the EP I realised I wasn’t satisfied with simply using my name for the project. I actually received an incredibly thoughtful email from a friend, one of my Whale Heart Records label mates, in fact, about the benefits of having a nom de plume to create under, and the freedom it gives you to not be constrained by the weight of your own name. My friends and I thought up countless crap monikers before Lille fell into my lap.
I picked up the name Lille (pronounced “leel”) in the springtime, when I was on a huge French kick. I was googling French cities to satisfy my wanderlust and watching Godard films, of course. I stumbled upon Lille and thought the name was so sweet and sophisticated. It’s an old city in Northern France filled with history, architecture, legends. And I hear it’s really lovely in the spring, one day I’ll play there and confuse everybody (Lille is coming to Lille, finally!?).
I wanted a name that I felt was aesthetically similar to the music I create, in a way. I wanted a pretty name. And I also wanted a name that could be taken seriously and didn’t shout “cutesy-teenage-girl-with-ukulele-alert”. Like Daisy Pants. or Happy Rainbow Elf. Actually, Happy Rainbow Elf would be a super good name for a Metal band.”
Though there may be a future transition into metal, let’s hope Bellury and the boys stay with project Lille for at least a while longer. While the band is sticking close to home and playing Georgia shows at the moment, something tells us they’ll soon be coming to a venue near you.
Dark Dark Dark
Their Myspace page claims home base as “Minneapolis, New York, and New Orleans.” Three members are multi-instrumentalists, between them rotating accordian, trumpet, banjo, clarinet, piano and vocals. Throw in two choir members, a drummer, a bassist and a cellist, and you have an undeniably promising mix. Where some bands might allow all this musical power to go to their heads, tending towards gaudy arrangements, Dark Dark Dark clearly have a yogic mastery of their talents. Their arrangements are frequently spare, selective, and beautifully stark with the occasional carefully-chosen swell.
BTR caught up with Marshall LaCount, one of the band’s founding members, as he pushed a pile of wood across a giant lot in San Jose, California (more on that in a moment). LaCount offered these thoughts on their melancholy moniker:
“When we started, there were a lot of bands capitalizing on words like ‘darkness’ or ‘black’ or ‘death.’ In folk music, there was this resurgence of a traditional songwriting style called ‘murder ballads,’ and I felt like poking a little fun at all of that. I also felt like poking a little fun at how serious some of our songs were at the time, and how a lot of people were actually dying in our songs. I guess the name has a lot of different meanings, a lot of open-endedness which is generally how I come to any decision: a little bit based on how open-ended it is.
At this point, the band name makes less sense than it ever did. But I think that we’ve toured so much, and enough people have said that it’s either interesting or confusing or that they like it, that that’s what we’re going with.”
With a new release, Wild Go, coming out on October 5th the band is keeping busy with tour dates as well as a few screenings of a film they shot and scored over the course of two years. Flood Tide is billed as a “fiction documentary,” using real-life performances as the backdrop for a fictionalized narrative. The band created music to accompany the film, and premiered it this past July at the Rooftop Films’ Summer Screening Series in Long Island City. They’ve had two subsequent screenings this month, on September 16th and 19th, in San Jose at a drive-in theatre they constructed from salvaged material (thus the above-mentioned cart of wood).
This hard-working crew will soon be heading out on a fall tour that will take them east from Minneapolis to the coast, France, and finally the U.K. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to see this unique group of artists, so save a spot on your calendar.
Dark Dark Dark LIVE!!
Oct 2 – First Ave – Minneapolis, MN
Oct 3 – The Project Lodge – Madison, WI
Oct 4 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
Oct 5 – Louisville, KY
Oct 6 – Flying Monkey Arts Center – Huntsville, AL
Oct 7 – Allways Lounge – New Orleans, LA
Oct 8 – The Charles Mansion – Tallahassee, FL
Oct 9 – The Five Spot – Atlanta, GA
Oct 10 – Eye Level Art – Charleston, SC
Oct 11 – Warren Wilson College – Swannanoaa, NC
Oct 12 – Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
Oct 13 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
Oct 15 – The Ox – Philadelphia, PA
Oct 16 – Glasslands Gallery – Brooklyn, NY
Oct 18 – Space Gallery – Portland, ME
Oct 19 – The Temple – Boston, MA
Oct 24 – AS220 – Providence, RI
Oct 27 – The Bakery – Detroit, MI
Oct 28 – Hideout – Chicago, IL
Buke & Gass
While Dark Dark Dark work to funnel many musicians into a focused sound, Brooklyn-based duo Buke & Gass are busy creating as much sonic chaos as two people can muster. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez met in 2000, started dating, joined a band in 2003, broke up, left the band, stopped speaking for a full two years, and then… got back in contact. They then got back to music, this time leaving the romance out. With such a cute christened coincidence and close history in their favor, one might imagine that they’d opt to play up their twosome with a name like The Aron(e)s or Aron + E.
But the name they selected actually has to do with the mechanics of their music—an element of the process that they both clearly love. Arone works as a bike mechanic, and Aron has built instruments for the likes of Blue Man Group, so it should come as no surprise that Buke actually refers to a bass ukulele, the instrument that Arone strums while she sings. As his own client, Aron built himself a “gass” which is the hybridization of a guitar and bass (and pronounced like “bass” with a “g.”)
Arone sings, strums, and shakes bells attached to her ankles, while Aron plucks and beats a drum pedal with his left foot. Together they create music that is taught, frenetic, intricate and anxious with threads of delicacy and suspension woven throughout. Arone has described the experience of listening to Buke & Gass as being a “recently retired janitor on a horse that’s traveling through different scenes.” One moment, the listener might find himself in a field buzzing with bees, the next in a breeze-ruffled orchard, and so on, one surprise following another within the landscape of a song.
Arone and Aron are currently touring in support of their full-length album Riposte, released on Sept. 14th with Brassland. Check the list for a show near you. Watching these two in action will be worth the trek.
Buke and Gass LIVE!!
Sept 21 – Troubador – Los Angeles, CA
Sept 24 – Mohawk – Austin, TX
Sept 25 – Oysterfest – Frisco, TX
Sept 26 – Hi Tone – Memphis, TN
Sept 27 – Earl – Atlanta, GA
Sept 29 – DC9 – Washington, D.C.
Sept 30 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
Oct 1 – Santos – New York, NY
Oct 2 – POP Montreal Fest – Montreal, Quebec
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– Britt Sondreal