BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Lithuania

Lame-O Records "Rock Residency"

Lithuania

The Spirit Of The Beehive, Slaughter Beach, Dog

Thu, January 7, 2016

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$5.00 - $8.00

This event is 21 and over

Lithuania
Lithuania
Eric Slick and Dominic Angelella have been collaborating as Lithuania for about a decade, and yet until recently they’ve only had an EP (Heavy Hands) and a 7" (Domesticated God) to show. The two friends are infinitely busy—Slick plays drums in Dr. Dog and Angelella writes songs for DRGN KING—but they finally orchestrated the time to record their first full-length album aptly titled Hardcore Friends, being released by Lame-O Records this August. 

Slick and Angelella first met in the jazz program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and quickly realized they were the oddballs amongst their classical peers. They immediately connected through mutual musical interests like Husker Du, Captain Beefheart, Boredoms, and Bjork. Dom would take Eric to basement punk shows in West Philly, while Eric would take Dom to the Avant Gentleman’s Lodge, a defunct venue that catered to the Philadelphia art scene. Eventually the two began playing music together and started a conversation about bad band names. “We’ve been a songwriting duo this whole time,” said Eric. “When [Dom] said Lithuania I thought, ‘Oh, it’s like that no man is an island thing.’ No man is an island, so two men are a country, and I thought that was hilarious.” They began playing shows around Philadelphia and went on a short tour last May. 

Recorded in five days by Joe Reinhart and Kyle Pulley at The Headroom Studios in Philadelphia, Hardcore Friends spans the last ten years of their friendship. “It’s an old perspective,” says Angelella. “All of those early songs are from or about five years ago. It’s this thing where you’re a completely different person. It’s cool to update it to now.” 

Writing Hardcore Friends was a completely contrasting experience for the two: Angelella was used to being the sole songwriter in DRGN KING while Eric was usually playing drums in a band. The first half of the album contains older songs from 2007 when Slick was staying with friends in Asheville and emailing song ideas to Angelella in Philadelphia. The second half is all brand new songs written over the past year. “It’s sort of like this chronological narrative of our friendship,” says Slick. “In the past year we’ve gone through some heavy stuff—family stuff, relationship stuff—and it was pretty wild. We finished up this album with a wiser perspective on the first half of it. We even sequenced it so it would tell that story.” 

Hardcore Friends opens with the pop-fueled and fleeting “God in Two Persons,” moved along by Slick’s reflective vocals and racked drumming. “Pieces,” the first single off the album, is a solid anthem with unshakeable guitars and genuine lyrics that invoke the likes of Stephen Malkmus and Archers of Loaf. Aside from their mastered melodious punk style, Lithuania is just as capable of writing a dawdling and quiet song like “Coronation Day,” showing their softer side with acoustic guitars, synthesizers, and Angelella’s mollifying vocals. The album closes with “Hardcore Friends,” a mid-tempo anthem with guest vocals from friends Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) and Rachel Browne (Field Mouse). It’s a culmination of what the rest of the tracks have been leading up to: a resilient friendship that resonates in the face of failure and heartache, and prevails sonically.
The Spirit Of The Beehive
The Spirit Of The Beehive
Philadelphia! members of Glocca Morra and Kite Party.
Slaughter Beach, Dog
Slaughter Beach, Dog
Few bands can say they were born out of necessity, but Slaughter Beach, Dog can. In 2015, Jake Ewald, in the midst of trying to write songs for his other band Modern Baseball (which has since gone on hiatus), hit a patch of writer’s block. To get himself back in action, Ewald decided to move the focus off of himself, stitching together a loose narrative surrounding a motley cast of characters. Before he knew it, he’d written an entire album, and Slaughter Beach, Dog was no longer an exercise, it was a full-fledged band.

“When I gave myself the specific goal to write these kinds of songs and figure out how to do it, it just broke me open in a way I really needed.” What came pouring out of Ewald was Welcome, a 10-track debut that showed his ability to create a world of his own making, all the while blurring the line between fiction and reality. At times, he’d be singing about people and situations he invented, but the songs were still personal, often informed by experiences deep in his past, excavated for the purpose of expanding his songwriting vocabulary.

Slaughter Beach, Dog’s new album Birdie (October 27 on Lame-O Records) expands upon the framework Ewald built on Welcome and the recent EP Motorcycle .jpg, retaining the hallmarks of Slaughter Beach, Dog while pushing into brave new territories A single listen to Birdie shows how much Ewald has grown as a songwriter, embellishing every detail in his songs without losing his homespun charms.

Where Welcome felt based in rock’s grand tradition, Birdie is at once more expansive and more intimate. Songs ebb and flow in the way of The Weakerthans, still rocking, but in a more scholarly way. “I took [Motorcycle .jpg] as an opportunity to get a little bit weirder than usual,” said Ewald, and it’s clear that the EP was a signpost for where he’d be taking Slaughter Beach, Dog on Birdie. “Gold And Green” sees Ewald skirt the lines between half a dozen genres, creating a song that’s able to mine vintage genres like folk and country in order to make something contemporary. Strumming an acoustic guitar, Ewald spins a narrative flush with details, boasting lyrics that are, depending on your reading, either wildly impressionistic and or plain as day.

Ewald plays into this ambiguity expertly, offering songs that use a lilting bounce to obscure the darkness of the world he’s building. “Fish Fry” is a prime example, utilizing a simple backbeat, a chugging guitar riff, and a ruminative vocal melody, the song allows Ewald to toss out references to his past work for those paying close attention. Much like on Motorcycle .jpg’s “Building The Ark,” Ewald once again finds himself dreaming of a convenience store, inviting fans to dig into his lyrics to unfurl every subplot running beneath his gooey melodies. Similarly, “Acolyte” closes the record but simultaneously opens a door, showing Ewald at his most introspectively ambitious. The song sprawls out, expanding slowly and deliberately, completing Birdie’s arch without providing any definitive answers.

Though Slaughter Beach, Dog may have started as a project for Ewald to get past a mental block, it’s grown into something more. Under this moniker Ewald has built a rich, vibrant world, one that invites thoughtful analysis from fans, and continues to expand past its initial intent. Birdie is bountiful in its scope, with songs that pile on layers of instruments and suck you into the world of Slaughter Beach, Dog. And once you’re there, you never want to leave.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com