Confronting the noise of Fay Wrays' new and final ablum
Plus, Emily Wolfe at Fulton 55, a DEVO review and how you can help save a DYI venue.
On Halloween, Fay Wrays unexpectedly dropped its final album.
Titled “g g d g d# d” and subtitled on the album art as “A Manual on the means to transubstantiate The SOUND and confront the NOISE,” the 12 tracks represent the last batch of songs from the post-punk duo, which was fairly active in the late 2000s and into the 20-teens.
According to the album notes: “This is an attempt at replicating it as close to how it would have been recorded with Eli Reyes (RIP).”
Reyes played in several local bands before moving to Los Angeles, where he died of a heart attack in 2020.
The songs are in line what Fay Wrays were known for — bombastic drums layered beneath thick, noisey guitars and Benji McEntee’s screaming vocals. The songs steady build their sound in transitions between the quiet and loud. See: “Your Splintered Bones Your Shattered Skull,” which plays to my ears like a companion piece to band’s 2009 song “Broken Wings.”
“g g d g d# d” is available on Bandcamp.
On the radar: Emily Wolfe
Wolfe is do-it-all rock and roll singer; a songwriter/performer doubling as a gear-nerd guitarist, who earlier this year released her second signature guitar with Epiphone.
This is riff-laden power-trio guitar rock. Wolfe is playing in support of her latest album, “The Blowback,” which was released last months on Crows Feet Records.
The 10 songs are a shift for the songwriter, moving from songs about love, break-ups, and sex, to more political issues (abortion rights on the track “Walk In My Shoes,” or sexual assault on the song “Silencer”).
“This album is aggressive, pushes the boundaries on things I want to say,” Wolfe said in a promo release. “I needed to produce this collection of songs because I knew that I was the only one who was gonna get it right. It was like a calling to honor the songs, make them mine and get it done in the exact way I envisioned it.”
Help save Shallow End
By nature, DIY art spaces come and go.
Operating a venue is no easy work, even under the best of circumstances. And underground spaces are mostly born out of luck or necessity or a stupid dumb love for a scene, which makes them susceptible to things like the whims of neighbors, city regulations or just paying the bills.
Which brings up Shallow End, a downtown DIY art space music venue that’s been operating mostly under the radar since 2022 (I’ve seen the name a number of flyers at this point). The operators would like to start workshops, weekly movie nights, and a Youtube concert series, but are currently at risk of having the electricity shut off unless they come up with money for a power bill.
So, they have created a GoFundMe.
I can’t personally vouch for the space (I haven’t been there), but do know these kinds of accessible spaces are important. You can read all about the efforts on the GoFundMe page.
Review: DEVO at Vina Robles Amphitheater Nov. 3, 2023
DEVO has spent the last 50 years as the posterchildren for subversive pop music; making an art-project joke out of being a successful commercial band, with seemingly little care as to whether the punchline lands (or is even understood) outside their fans base.
This is a band that took a Rolling Stones classic and made it almost unrecognizably erratic. Brilliantly so, in my opinion, but still …
While, most “legacy” acts placate the middling fans by saving the radio hit for finale, or the encore call back, DEVO buried “Whip It” in middle of its 90-minute set.
“Here’s one we’ve been working on,” Gerald Casale said, as introduction.
It tells you a lot about the band. Only in DEVO-land could the song that made you MTV famous serve as the bathroom break.
For fans, (which at Friday night’s show included Fred Armisen), Mark Mothersbaugh and crew haven’t lost any of its energetic fuzz (even if they have lost original members). They’re still as odd and herky-jerky as ever, changing costumes and instruments as they played through 17 songs from across their career, from the hardcore days (“Jocko Homo,” “Mongoloid”) to their most recent work (opening with “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man).”)
My dream set would have included “Through Being Cool,” but that is just me.
On a related note: DEVO fans would do well to check out the tribute compilation “Mashing Potatoes.” Pay particular attention (or not) to track number nine.
DEVO setlist Nov. 4, 2023:
Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)
Girl U Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Secret Agent Man
Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
Gates of Steel
Freedom of Choice
Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mammy)
That’s it for this week. Remember you can also hear me on the Homegrown Show Sundays at 8 p.m. on New Rock 104.1 FM. If you have anything you think I need to be looking at or listening to, feel free to let me know: email@example.com