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The Messthetics w/The Huntress and the Holder of Hands
Mon, Jul 15 @ 8:00 pm
About The Messthetics
The last time drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally were in a band together, they were the rhythmic architects for Fugazi, an organization whose decade and a half of disciplined progressivism provided a necessary bridge between the zenith of late-punk expression and everything alternative in rock that followed. In 2016, the two were enlisted by guitarist Anthony Pirog in a conspiracy to subvert and reimagine the power trio, bringing fully into the 21st Century a form that may have reached near perfection with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys on the very first day of the 1970s.
With a self-titled recording scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018 on Dischord, the Messthetics will widen the reach of a decisive instrumental music that so far, they have only shared with a privileged handful of east coast and southern audiences. Across its eight original compositions and one cover, Anthony guides the sound through complex changes and harmonic densities that might compound, but never confound or muddy its connection with the listener’s body. Recorded by Brendan in their practice space, the group’s debut gives Anthony ample opportunities to swap guitar textures and styles as freely as an octopus changes patterns.
Brendan’s kit has a big heavy bell that he brought back from the Fugazi days. He maneuvers through this rhythmically shifty music with a fluid briskness that is periodically disrupted by the clang of his bell. Joe spent 8 years in Italy, among other things, woodshedding on eastern rhythms counted in 7 and 13, perfect preparation for the oddly-metered work of the Messthetics. He brings a rock-solid foundation to the groove at the same time playing a harmonic complement as ambitious and interesting as Anthony’s lines.
Bands can be dangerous when their members have accrued enough mileage to see their chops season into something like musical wisdom. When that understanding has the rare opportunity to percolate through a collaborative environment founded in love and anchored in gratitude, well, then shit can get rather intense. Anthony Pirog writes difficult music because original music usually is. Yet the ideas that he feeds through the Messthetics, are embraced by the Canty-Lally time machine, not just with precision and nuance, but with soul, joy, and groove. These last three are, indeed, the big guns in this spiritual war that music must become in the post-Trump era.
The initial concept was to mix noise/improv guitar with dance grooves – a kind of apocalyptic dance party where the beat keeps you moving, but the guitarist relentlessly terrorizes you. The first track, “Mythomania” retains elements of that posture, but as reality has itself become more daunting, Anthony – a fearless guitarist – has moved closer to his listeners, and is now willing to astonish without being so confrontational about it. That doesn’t mean the Messthetics in any way retreat from the responsibilities of a “hard” sound, just that its volume and edge never eat the bold structural ideas that define this new music. Anthony will even lubricate his tricky time signatures with energetic two-note riffs to keep the listener head-bobbing through the twisting structures. And when their collective voice is thick and heavy (like on “Crowds and Power”), it is neither ponderous nor plodding. Their performances and this debut recording have a lift and buoyancy that reflect back into the audience the love and gratitude at the foundation of this trio’s journey.
About The Huntress and the Holder of Hands
When, a week before her 28th birthday, MorganEve Swain lost her husband and musical partner, Dave Lamb, to leukemia, the world did not stand still. April continued into May, breath continued its rhythm through the bodies of the living and in their studio in Warren, Rhode Island, MorganEve continued to record bass, strings and vocals into a laptop because it’s what she’d always done.
For the previous six years, she and Lamb had existed professionally as the duo Brown Bird, gaining a loyal international following through intensive touring and the original music they created, praised for its honesty and expression of the human condition. Without Dave, and in honor of him, MorganEve became The Huntress and Holder of Hands: a young widow pursuing the white stag of grief through a foreign wilderness, intent on maintaining the sense of wonder and compassion with which her partner lived his life.
In 2016, with the ambition to perform live, The Huntress and Holder of Hands expanded into a 5-musician entity, employing cello, bowed string bass, electric bass and drums with MorganEve primarily on five-string viola and guitar. As a band, The Huntress and Holder of Hands builds harmony, strings and bass-driven pieces influenced by Post-Metal, Blues and Americana and offers an intense musical and lyrical experience that explores love, loss, power and strength.
MorganEve self-released The Water Street Demos EP in November 2015. The band’s first full-length album, Avalon, was released on September 15 2017. The Huntress and Holder of Hands will be touring in the approaching new year, and plans on releasing their second full-length album in 2019.