Turkuaz

Turkuaz

Sinkane

Thu, October 5, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$20 advance / $22 day of show

This event is all ages

Turkuaz
Turkuaz
Drip painting entails actively splashing myriad colors on canvas.

Popularized by Jackson Pollock, Janet Sobel, Max Ernst, and other 20th century luminaries, the artform itself relies on action and motion. In similar fashion, energetic splashes of funk, alternative, rock, R&B, and psychedelia color the music of Turkuaz. Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, this spirit takes shape in the color donned by each respective member on stage nightly via larger-than-life performances.

The Brooklyn-based nonet—Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Brouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals]—ignite an explosion of energy punctuated by neon hues, deft musicality, and show-stopping singalongs on their fifth full-length album, Life In The City.

“Turkuaz is made up of individuals, each their own shade of the color spectrum,” explains Dave. “Each person brings a signature style and embodies his or her own color. The respective auras come together to create our sound. The name itself implies that vibrancy, but it’s a different spin on turquoise. In the same way, we put a different spin on groove-oriented music by telling stories that you wouldn’t normally associate with funk.”

Since emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, the group have quietly animated a movement.

Touring incessantly in support of four full-length studio albums and three official live releases, they’ve lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobee, Electric Forest, and Mountain Jam to Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, and Lock’n, in between gracing stages at legendary spots such as Red Rocks, Terminal 5, and The Fillmore, to name a few. Among numerous critical plaudits, The New Yorker claimed, “This Brooklyn-based nine-piece delivers horn-filled funk incorporating elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.”

Most recently, 2015’s Digitonium yielded fan favorites such as “Nightswimming” and “European Festivity Nightmare” and generated over 1 million-plus cumulative streams. When it came time to commence work on Life In The City, the musicians switched up the flow and took a different approach.

“We did Digitonium in a short period of time and created a concept based on The Sword in the Stone,” says Dave. “We sifted through a lot more material for Life In The City. We threw all of the paint on the canvas. There was more collaboration in the writing. Some members who hadn’t participated before brought ideas to the table. We didn’t have anything road-mapped. In that respect, it was exploratory as far as who we are sonically. The same goes for the lyrics. Beyond the turmoil in current events and the world, I was going through some difficult challenges in my personal life. So, Life In The City is more based in reality and the experience I’ve lived in the past few years than a fantasy like the last record. The city is representative of modern life and all of these distractions we face day to day.”

In order to capture that vision, they first recorded at More Sound in Upstate New York before moving to Dave’s own newly relocated Galaxy Smith Studios in Brooklyn. Avowed fans of the Stop Making Sense film, they tapped Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads to produce standalone single “On The Run” and album track “If I Ever Fall Asleep” at The Bunker Studios.

“I’m extremely hands-on, so it was a growth experience to see someone else’s take on the band,” adds Dave. “Overall, Jerry made us as a band think about things we wouldn’t have otherwise. It was really beneficial.”

The group officially introduce the album with the first single and title track “Life In The City.” Funkified guitars wrap around otherworldly synths and rapturous horns as the words “Blind in the spotlight” glare.

“That line stands out to me,” Dave continues. “There’s so much stimulus in the city and in modern life in general. So much is going on. Light is constantly shined on what we do, how we act, social media, and the urban hustle and bustle that we’re blind to what’s really going on underneath. That line sums up what the song is about. We’re not able to take a breath and experience the simplicity of reality anymore. We forget to be who we really are.”

A collaborative effort with several band members, the swaggering cry of “Lady Lovely” tells an intergalactic horror story disguised as cross-species romance, complete with “creature” giggles from the song’s vocalist Josh Schwartz. Schwartz also co-wrote “If I ever Fall Asleep,” portraying the “paranoid ramblings of an insomniac holed up in his apartment.”

Punctuated by robust horns, “Superstatic” illuminates another side of Turkuaz as it touts lyrics “about letting go and having fun for a minute.” Meanwhile, on the more personal side, upbeat delivery and synth squeals underscore a poignant admission for Dave on “The One and Lonely.”

“It’s about kicking a lot of habits and stepping away from vices,” he admits. “The song highlights the struggle I had with substances and alcohol as well as the process I went through trying to shed the struggle. Drinking and drug use is a huge part of the road for most bands. It got to a point where it was too much for me though. This album documents me taking a step back and saying, ‘I want to live for a long time. I want to stop and take in what’s actually happening to me—not just party all the time.’”

It’s that honesty that has reinvigorated how far down the line the band has its sights set. And even in the midst of serious subject matter creeping in on this album, the musicianship of all nine band members and the group’s upbeat, fun-loving sensibility still shines through to give Turkuaz fans the joyous sound they’ve come to know over the last several years.

“I would love for our music to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark world,” he leaves off. “You can come to our shows, let go, exist, and have a good time in spite of what may be going on outside. That’s what music does for us. We want to share that.”
Sinkane
Sinkane
Sinkane music -- every note of it -- comes straight out of a generosity of spirit. Never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the uplifting new album Life & Livin' It. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard.

By the time they finished touring for their acclaimed Mean Love album in late 2015, Ahmed Gallab and the band had spread the gospel of Sinkane to the world, playing 166 shows in 20 countries. During the same period, he had also led The Atomic Bomb Band -- the highly celebrated 15-piece outfit that played the music of elusive Nigerian electro-funk maestro William Onyeabor. The band included David Byrne, Damon Albarn, members of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Jamie Lidell and legendary jazz musicians Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, and they played all over the planet, including making their TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. "Those 14 months really changed my life," Ahmed says. "Not only did I learn how to put on a bigger show, but all that touring brought Sinkane closer as a band."

As Ahmed got into the depths of writing for Life & Livin' It, he had a clear goal; to conjure the ups and downs of a universal experience, and have fun while doing it. "I would listen to my favorite records, like Funkadelic's America Eats Its Young, and realize how great they made me feel. That carefree, light and fun feeling I was getting while writing this record is what I want everyone to feel when they listen to it."

Ahmed soon brought the band in to help with the material, testing the songs at a four-show residency of sold-out shows at Union Pool in Brooklyn where the audience's reception fed the creative process. They toured throughout the summer before setting up shop at Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas. Once again produced by Ahmed with lyrics and help from longtime collaborator Greg Lofaro, the album draws from the best elements of Sinkane's previous records: the slinky funk and soul grooves are there, so are the sparkling melodies with roots in sub-Saharan Africa. With basic tracking played together live, the fun and immediacy of Sinkane's live show is a central feeling of the recordings. Each one of the four members of Sinkane -- bassist Ish Montgomery, drummer Jason Trammell, guitarist Jonny Lam and Ahmed -- sing and contribute additional parts on the album, with Trammell contributing lyrics to "Theme from Life & Livin' It," and Lam helping with arrangements. Jas Walton and Jordan MacLean of Daptone recording artists Antibalas contributed horns.

In making a record that feels like this, Ahmed's primary intention was to make music that is joyous, but also socially conscious when you scratch beneath the surface. The songs "U'Huh" and "Theme from Life & Livin' It" conjure up the simple pleasures of hanging with friends, but there are heavier vibes in there. Ahmed says, "I remember listening to Bob Marley as a child. Dancing with my family in our living room and then my mother telling me what issues he was addressing, and that it was important to remember those things while listening. It made the music even better because it became about something more."

"Favorite Song" came about from Ahmed's experiences DJ'ing in New York. "As a DJ you're always paying attention to the collective energy in the club. When you play a song that everyone knows, everybody is connected, lost in the music." That song, along with "U'Huh," has lyrics sung in Arabic, Ahmed's native tongue. "Kulu shi tamaam!" means "everything is great!" while "ya zol ya zain!" is a Sudanese term of endearment meaning "my beautiful friend." "It's really easy to understand the tone of those words," Ahmed adds. "They just feel good, you don't have to know what they mean. It's kind of like listening to Caetano Veloso or Jorge Ben -- you don't have to know Portuguese to feel what they're saying."

True to its name, Life & Livin' It is an album about all kinds of experiences. When Ahmed Gallab sings, he sounds unafraid yet vulnerable. But while he once sang of feeling like he was on the planet Mars, Ahmed is now firmly grounded on Earth. He's no longer searching for his home -- he has created a home for himself. There's a party there, and Life & Livin' It is playing on the stereo. You are invited.
Venue Information:
The Teragram Ballroom
1234 West 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90017
http://www.teragramballroom.com/