When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 17 May 2016
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re delighted to be working with Dead Oceans’ Bleached for the first time!
Los Angeles-based sister duo Jennifer and Jessie Clavin knew that things were going to be different for their band Bleached sophomore LP Welcome The Worms. Not only had they managed to charm world-renowned producer and engineer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) to join the sisters and their bassist Micayla Grace in the studio, but Jen and Jessie had been crawling out of their own personal dramas. Jessie was evicted from her house and scrambling, while Jen ended a torrid, unhealthy romance. While emotionally spinning, she dove head first into music. She struggled and escaped the pressures with drinking and partying, sometimes to excess, feeling like she was losing herself altogether.
“I was a loose canon,” the commanding front woman says. “I was losing serious control of my personal and creative life. I was falling apart, trying to escape. I felt like Bleached was the only thing I actually cared about.”
The 10-song LP was born out of triple the amount of demos. Sometimes the three girls spent time writing at a remote house in Joshua Tree away from the seemingly destructive city (a first since bassist Micayla had never contributed to songwriting on previous releases). Other times Jen and Jessie worked alone, just like when they were teenaged punk brats playing in their parent’s San Fernando Valley garage imitating their heroes The Slits, Black Flag and Minor Threat.
In the studio, Chiccarelli and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) helped the band perfect their fervent songs into fearlessly big pop melodies. They drew inspiration from the iconic hits of everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Heart to Roy Ayers. They focused on preproduction and challenged the songs. Jessie took her usual approach to guitar over-dubs and leads (her favorite duty in a recording session). “I just let let my fingers play and kind of surprise me,” she smirks. Still remaining to keep the band’s origin of cheeky, California-punk in the forefront, Welcome The Worms became a smarter, heavier, emotionally deeper Bleached.
“Before we even knew we were working together, I remember Joe saying, you can’t lose these melodies, no matter how raw the music gets,” Jen explains. She penned demos on an acoustic guitar and focused. “If I was happy [with the songs] in [their] rawest form, then I knew it would be even better after going through production.”
“I’ve become a more confident musician,” adds Jessie. “I wanted to be open-minded to this record and try new things we hadn’t done before. I felt such a great amount of respect working with the people we did on this record, feeling really free to do what I wanted to do, and making it a Bleached world.”
Welcome The Worms is an ambitious rock record with a new found pop refinement that somehow still feels like the Shangri-Las on speed, driven forward in a wind of pot and petals, a wall of guitars in the back seat. “Keep on Keepin’ On” is a hypnotic opening anthem that spins like a kaleidoscope, while “Sleepwalking” and “Trying To Lose Myself Again” invoke the struggle of floating through life on autopilot. The drums are instinctual, while the bass bounces like a rubber ball over the lyrics on a karaoke screen. “Sour Candy” is a stand-out hit so effortless and catchy it sticks in your head for days. Synth is only brought in as a thickening agent, just like the harmonies. “Chemical Air” and “I’m All Over The Place (Mystic Mama)” toy with pop sensibilities, while “Desolate Town” shows Jen getting weird on the verses before a Cobain-like chorus.
Support comes from Irma Vep, performing with his band. Llanfairfechan-born, Manchester-based musician/dancer Edwin R. Stevens records and performs his solo guff under the nom de bum ‘Irma Vep’. Some say he’s a sex junky of the most sordid kind with an insatiable hunger for interpretive dance; others say he’s the best darn support act they’ve ever seen and will stop at nothing to get a slither of that hot ‘Hot Cheddar’.
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