Circles Around The Sun

Sat Feb 29 2020

8:00 PM (Doors 6:00 PM)

Brooklyn Bowl

61 Wythe Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211

$22-$25

Ages 21+

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Blue Point Brewing Company Presents
Circles Around The Sun

  • Circles Around The Sun

    Circles Around The Sun

    Jam Bands

    Los Angeles-based instrumental supergroup Circles Around the Sun returns with the release of their self-titled, third full-length studio album, Circles Around the Sun. The seven-track collection marks a stylistic shift from their previous LPs. It’s an evolution that sees the band embracing a sleeker, shinier, even DANCIER version of themselves – a cosmic disco of the body and the soul, still anchored in the groove, but ascending to the stars. The thing is, their sound isn’t the only thing that’s evolved. Since their last LP, Circles has undergone a transformation internally. It’s a tale of life, death and rebirth, of love and loss, of shedded skin and new beginnings. But let’s start with the new album, shall we?

    Recorded by legendary engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) at his studio in Valencia, CA, this new collection began with…a drum machine. The Sequential Circuits Drumtraks™ from 1983, to be specific. The Circles band members—guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams), bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Black Crowes) and drummer Mark Levy—were searching for a sound, something more upbeat than previous releases. Cue the Drumtraks™. “The built-in beats on it are actually pretty janky,” says Horne. “But we knew we wanted to make more of a dancey, groove-driven album that would translate live, to give our shows a more high-energy feel.” Drawing inspiration from P-Funk, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, and Beastie Boys’ slinky instrumentals, the band used the Drumtraks™ driving rhythms as the foundation for each song.

    Album opener “Babyman” makes it clear the Circles Around The Sun ride is headed in a new direction, closer to Air’s Moon Safari than the psych-jazz odyssey of their previous LPs, Interludes for the Dead (2015) or Let It Wander (2018).

    An origin story, for context: in 2015 Justin Kreutzmann, son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill, invited Casal to compose the intermission music for the Dead’s Fare Thee Well concerts, a victory lap celebrating their final shows. Neal assembled the guys, recorded five hours of jams, and was surprised to find an eager audience and label support from Rhino Records. And Circles Around the Sun was born.

    On epic disco jammers “Detroit Dos” and “Land Line Memories,” MacDougall’s sizzling analog keyboards (like the Minimoog Model D and phaser-soaked Clavinet) echo vintage library music and 1978’s crate digger fave Black Devil Disco Club by Bernard Fevre. “This band was never something I thought would get done to a click,” says MacDougall. “But we all talked about it being more of a fun record, so we hung some mirror balls and played a bunch of dance music!”

    As it happens, Circles’ new sound was created partly by design, but also partly by tragic circumstance. On August 26, 2019, a week after laying down his tracks for Circles Around the Sun, founder Neal Casal committed suicide. He left behind a note for the group, asking for them to continue in his absence—to continue recording, touring, and playing together. They’ve chosen to honor his wishes. “Our mission is to extend Neal’s musical legacy,” says drummer Levy. “He was a classy dude and had a regal vibe about him. The other side of it is the mental health legacy. Maybe there are people out there in the same sort of darkness Neal was in, who can hear us and say we can work positively on multiple fronts in his memory.”

    In this metamorphosis, Circles Around the Sun spans both heartbreak and hope. Doors close; windows open; new directions extend themselves in mysterious ways. But sometimes you know it’s real from the first beat. It just clicks. We’ll see you on the dancefloor, at the festival, at the next jam session, where everyone comes together and all is forgiven. It’s just how Neal would want it. It’s Circles Around The Sun. 
  • SUSS

    SUSS

    Music

    What would it sound like if ambient pioneer Brian Eno had produced the Western film scores of Ennio Morricone? We’ll never know, but we’re now a step closer thanks to Ghost Box, the debut album by SUSS, an NYC quintet whose members have worked in various capacities with Lydia Lunch, the B-52s, Rubber Rodeo, k.d. Lang, David Bowie, John Cale, Ed Sheeran, Wilco, Norah Jones, The War On Drugs, Burt Bacharach, and countless others. More than a literal reconstruction of an imagined collaboration between Eno and Morricone, Ghost Box opens a door onto a world where ambient music and country-western make for natural bedfellows.
     
    That world, as it turns out, is the one we already live in -- it just took someone to make the connection. For Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist and cowpunk pioneer Bob Holmes, that connection has been hiding in plain sight for decades. The catalyst behind SUSS, Holmes views electronic acts like Boards of Canada and shoegaze icons like My Bloody Valentine as more recent avatars of the “high lonesome” vibe that we tend to think of strictly in terms of traditional roots music. In that light, you can trace the melancholic sprawl of classic titles by both of those acts back to Hank Williams. Looking at that lineage in reverse then begs the question: What is twang, anyway, if not a form of ambiance?
     
    Ghost Box, then, embodies “ambient country music” not as a gag or a novelty or even a postmodern recontextualization, but instead as the organic offspring of forms that, in a sense, were already conjoined. One of the album’s charms, though, is that the rest of SUSS didn’t necessarily see it that way. So it required quite a bit of exploration as a group -- Holmes on mandolin and guitar, guitarist/keyboardist Pat Irwin, pedal steel player Jonathan Gregg, synth looper/visual artist (and New Yorker/New York Times illustrator) Gary Leib, and William Garrett, architect of the “high lonesome” quality in the album’s mixing stage -- to arrive at a blend that felt natural.
     
    "In the past,” says Holmes, “Gary and I were well known as the guys who mashed-up Dolly Parton and Devo -- but you could see the stitches. This time, we wanted to make music where you couldn't see the stitches.”
     
    The goal, in a nutshell, was to create ambient music using (mostly) traditional instruments -- a kind of reverse-engineering of Holmes’ longstanding conviction that electronic music is today’s folk expression. Ostensibly, Ghost Box achieves what Holmes was aiming for, but it also accomplishes much more. As tumbleweeds continue to blow across the screen of modern musical fashion, artists appear to yearn for the mythical America of yore as if they could somehow get there by re-creating vintage sounds.
     
    Today, we’re practically inundated with music that evokes the hills of Appalachia, the never-ending Western sky, the hallowed halls of the Grand Ole Opry, and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between reverence for these cultural artifacts and a fascination with them as kitsch. In both cases, the resulting music can exude the fragrance of social archeology. Ghost Box echoes from a more genuinely inviting musical landscape where the cowboy-hatted Brooklynite and the native Kentuckian are no longer confined to their respective stereotypes as tourist and tourist attraction.
     
    Whatever your frame of reference, wherever you stand when it comes to notions of “authenticity,” Ghost Box will transport you, as Irwin puts it, to “other places.” Irwin, who shares Holmes’ love of Brian Eno but “wasn’t totally familiar with” the ambient country direction Holmes wanted to pursue, sums up one of the album’s most enticing qualities when he admits that “we don’t even know where those places are.
     
    “The course this band is charting, he notes, “is something we’re discovering as we go along.”
    What would it sound like if ambient pioneer Brian Eno had produced the Western film scores of Ennio Morricone? We’ll never know, but we’re now a step closer thanks to Ghost Box, the debut album by SUSS, an NYC quintet whose members have worked in various capacities with Lydia Lunch, the B-52s, Rubber Rodeo, k.d. Lang, David Bowie, John Cale, Ed Sheeran, Wilco, Norah Jones, The War On Drugs, Burt Bacharach, and countless others. More than a literal reconstruction of an imagined collaboration between Eno and Morricone, Ghost Box opens a door onto a world where ambient music and country-western make for natural bedfellows.
     
    That world, as it turns out, is the one we already live in -- it just took someone to make the connection. For Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist and cowpunk pioneer Bob Holmes, that connection has been hiding in plain sight for decades. The catalyst behind SUSS, Holmes views electronic acts like Boards of Canada and shoegaze icons like My Bloody Valentine as more recent avatars of the “high lonesome” vibe that we tend to think of strictly in terms of traditional roots music. In that light, you can trace the melancholic sprawl of classic titles by both of those acts back to Hank Williams. Looking at that lineage in reverse then begs the question: What is twang, anyway, if not a form of ambiance?
     
    Ghost Box, then, embodies “ambient country music” not as a gag or a novelty or even a postmodern recontextualization, but instead as the organic offspring of forms that, in a sense, were already conjoined. One of the album’s charms, though, is that the rest of SUSS didn’t necessarily see it that way. So it required quite a bit of exploration as a group -- Holmes on mandolin and guitar, guitarist/keyboardist Pat Irwin, pedal steel player Jonathan Gregg, synth looper/visual artist (and New Yorker/New York Times illustrator) Gary Leib, and William Garrett, architect of the “high lonesome” quality in the album’s mixing stage -- to arrive at a blend that felt natural.
     
    "In the past,” says Holmes, “Gary and I were well known as the guys who mashed-up Dolly Parton and Devo -- but you could see the stitches. This time, we wanted to make music where you couldn't see the stitches.”
     
    The goal, in a nutshell, was to create ambient music using (mostly) traditional instruments -- a kind of reverse-engineering of Holmes’ longstanding conviction that electronic music is today’s folk expression. Ostensibly, Ghost Box achieves what Holmes was aiming for, but it also accomplishes much more. As tumbleweeds continue to blow across the screen of modern musical fashion, artists appear to yearn for the mythical America of yore as if they could somehow get there by re-creating vintage sounds.
     
    Today, we’re practically inundated with music that evokes the hills of Appalachia, the never-ending Western sky, the hallowed halls of the Grand Ole Opry, and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between reverence for these cultural artifacts and a fascination with them as kitsch. In both cases, the resulting music can exude the fragrance of social archeology. Ghost Box echoes from a more genuinely inviting musical landscape where the cowboy-hatted Brooklynite and the native Kentuckian are no longer confined to their respective stereotypes as tourist and tourist attraction.
     
    Whatever your frame of reference, wherever you stand when it comes to notions of “authenticity,” Ghost Box will transport you, as Irwin puts it, to “other places.” Irwin, who shares Holmes’ love of Brian Eno but “wasn’t totally familiar with” the ambient country direction Holmes wanted to pursue, sums up one of the album’s most enticing qualities when he admits that “we don’t even know where those places are.
     
    “The course this band is charting, he notes, “is something we’re discovering as we go along.”

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Blue Point Brewing Company Presents

Circles Around The Sun

Sat Feb 29 2020 8:00 PM

(Doors 6:00 PM)

Brooklyn Bowl Brooklyn NY
Circles Around The Sun

$22-$25 Ages 21+

Please correct the information below.

Select ticket quantity.

Complete the security check.

Select Tickets

Ages 21+
limit 10 per person
General Admission
$22.00

Delivery Method

ticketFast

Terms & Conditions

This event is 21 and over. Any Ticket holder unable to present valid identification indicating that they are at least 21 years of age will not be admitted to this event, and will not be eligible for a refund.