Joywave and Sir Sly Present: An Evening With Sir Sly and Joywave
Presented by Bowery Boston
Doors: 5:30 pm / Show: 6:00 pm
Tickets on sale now!
Tickets available at AXS.COM, or by phone at 855-482-2090. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box Office Wednesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM.
Please note: this show is 18+ with valid ID. Patrons under 18 admitted if accompanied by a parent. Opening acts and set times are subject to change without notice. All sales are final unless a show is postponed or canceled. All bags larger than 12 inches x 12 inches, backpacks, professional cameras, video equipment, large bags, luggage and like articles are strictly prohibited from the venue. Please make sure necessary arrangements are made ahead of time. All patrons subject to search upon venue entry.
“Anxiety caused by feeling too content” is just the first aspect of the double-pronged paradoxical rumination that is Content, the sophomore full-length album by Rochester,
NY-based indie quintet, Joywave, slated for release July 28 with a tour supporting Young the Giant and Cold War Kids to follow. The title, Content, sees Joywave apply their trademark irreverence and humor to two large yet interrelated ideas springing from the dual meaning of the word, “content”, and signaling a move into a deeply personal terrain for Joywave frontman Daniel Armbruster.
About the duality reflected in the album’s title (CONtent the noun versus conTENT the adjective), Armbruster says:”I loved that the two words were associated with completely opposite feelings for me (one pure, one not), and that only a human hearing the two words in the English language could tell the difference between the ideas represented. To a search engine, they are identical. How can you explain to Google that one of these things makes you happy and helps fill the void in your soul, and the other is just flooding your senses?”
Three years have passed since Joywave’s “Tongues”and their collaboration with Big Data on the hit song “Dangerous” first put the band on the map. Creating their own imprint Cultco Music via Hollywood Records, the five members of Joywave—Daniel Armbruster (vocals), Joseph Morinelli (guitar), Sean Donnelly (bass), Benjamin Bailey (keyboards), and Paul Brenner (drums)— embarked on an intense tour schedule in support of their debut album, sharing the stage with Foals, The Killers, Brandon Flowers, Metric, Silversun Pickups and Bleachers. They played at Coachella, Lollapalooza (US & Berlin), Reading & Leeds, Okeechobee, Osheaga, Hangout and Bumbershoot, with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers’ shows. Glowing reviews followed in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spin and Entertainment Weekly.
This success enabled Armbruster to seriously adult on a whole new level, and this year he finally moved into a place of his own, a few blocks away from his childhood home. For Armbruster, who sold stationery and paper goods at Staples before Joywave took off, the musical dream born when he started writing songs aged fifteen was finally coming true. The single “It’s A Trip!” began with two basic ideas in mind: “Haunting” versus “haunted”. “I wanted to make something undeniably beautiful that would outlast me, but at times verged on the absurd and snapped the listener out of a dreamy haze. “It’s A Trip!” moves pretty far in the absurd direction, juxtaposing a pretty friendly arena-sized chorus against versus straight out of a haunted house. The song is a little disorienting, much like the past few years of our lives have been”. The music video for “It’s A Trip!” features the band slowly aging as they ride jet skis in
Miami and underscores the sense of endlessly being on tour, just getting older while the girl on the back of the jet ski stays the same age.
Touring—which Armbruster describes as “an episode of Louie where it’s funny but somewhat soul crushingly sad at the same time”—took its toll on the band both physically and emotionally but had an upside. “Playing our instruments was second nature at that point,” notes guitarist Joey Morinelli, that allowed us to focus and interact with crowds, and each other on stage, in ways that we never had before.“
Post tour, Armbruster who had been dealing with chronic illness was diagnosed with pancreatitis, and had to stop drinking on doctor’s orders. Sobriety “really affected the sound of the record,” he says. In contrast to Joywave’s playful debut, the tone of Content is more confessional, sometimes combative, as it questions how connected we really are in this hyper-connected world—which brings us to Content’s second theme, stemming from the collective angst of a generation whose art (and very lives) are now mere content for the Internet. Sonically, Content is more cohesive than Joywave’s LP1, How Do You Feel Now? It’s focused and deliberate, loud and cinematic featuring a more prominent vocal throughout LP2.
As a clear example of conscious, positive content; the title track “Content” is accompanied with a video shot on vintage Super 8 on location at Kodak Tower in Rochester. The building, once the global epicenter of film photography, is a monument to the pre-Internet world in the Rochester skyline and a place that’s close to the hearts of all bandmembers, as most of their parents worked there before Kodak filed for bankruptcy. In addition, Kodak has afforded the band the opportunity to utilize some of their iconic equipment which inspired Daniel to take up film photography to help fill the existential void. “Film is slower and more deliberate, and that’s calming in a way. It’s not disposable, it’s not easy, which in turn, forces you to care. I like that.”
At the end of the day music is at the core of what Joywave is and drives the creativity in every aspect. Brenner sums it up, “We’re always working on new music and new ways to make our live performance better and better. Joywave will not be confined to a certain genre or niche. We do what we want.”
Content is produced by Joywave’s Daniel Armbruster & Sean Donnelly and mixed by Rich Costey (TV On The Radio, The Shins, Interpol) and will be released on Hollywood Records/Cultco Music on 7.28.
The triumphant lead single from Sir Sly’s Don’t You Worry, Honey, “High” turned a hotel-room panic attack into a creative breakthrough for the L.A.-based trio. “This album started out as an exploration of fear and anxiety, over very minimal electronic music, but ‘High’ really opened up the honesty of the record,” says lead singer Landon Jacobs, who co-founded Sir Sly with fellow multi-instrumentalists Hayden Coplen and Jason Suwito. With “High” emerging as “an upbeat anthem about ego death,” in Jacobs’s words, the song ultimately formed the heart of Sir Sly’s second full-length: a deliberately hopeful album born from an extraordinarily dark time.
Written in the aftermath of Jacobs’s divorce and his mother’s death, Don’t You Worry, Honey transforms heavy-heartedness into unlikely joy. The album finds Sir Sly expanding on the moody experimentalism of their 2014 debut You Haunt Me, channeling a looser energy that closely shapes their more groove-driven sound. Self-produced and recorded in Suwito’s studio, Don’t You Worry, Honey also matches their delicately inventive alt-pop with a more granular approach to storytelling. “It was almost like writing a memoir of the past three years of my life, but focusing on little snapshots rather than telling the complete story,” Jacobs points out.
Thanks in part to that purposely detailed lyricism, Don’t You Worry, Honey hits with an undeniable urgency. “Musically and lyrically, we wanted this album to be very much in-the-moment and paint a specific picture with each song, as opposed to just setting a vibe,” says Coplen. With that clarity of vision in place, Sir Sly experienced a profound burst of inspiration. “There were all these sounds and textures that I was hearing in my head so strongly, in a way that hadn’t ever happened before,” says Coplen. “There was never any effort to try to make things feel fresh or new or surprising — that all just came from following our instincts and enjoying the process of bringing the music to life.”
Throughout Don’t You Worry, Honey, Sir Sly strike a powerful contrast by embracing both the thrill of creation and the wistful undercurrent of each track. With its shivering synth lines and graceful acoustic guitar, “And Run” reflects on the futility of regret. “That song came from being fascinated by the idea that, of all the infinite possibilities in the world, I ended up falling in love and getting married and then getting divorced, and there’s nothing I could do to change that,” says Jacobs. On “Astronaut,” Sir Sly build off a majestic guitar riff supplied by Suwito and deliver an intensely danceable meditation on loneliness. “It’s trying to put a different spin on being alone, because sometimes being alone can give you this great ability to see the world in a way that’s larger than life,” Jacobs explains. Inspired by an ill-fated romantic encounter at a festival after-party, the blissfully frenetic and beat-heavy “Trippin” perfectly captures the rush of instant infatuation. And on “Oh Mama,” Sir Sly close out Don’t You Worry, Honey with a hazy and soulful serenade to Jacobs’s mother, a piano-laced piece that makes quietly heartbreaking use of a sampled voicemail.
Since forming in 2012, Sir Sly have forged their singular sound by drawing upon each member’s long-honed musical talents: Jacobs’s introspective yet infinitely searching lyricism, Suwito’s in-studio ingenuity, and Coplen’s sophisticated musicianship and sense of songcraft. Orange County natives and friends since high school, Jacobs and Coplen connected with Suwito through the local music scene. Their early collaborations yielded songs like “Ghost,” a Neon Gold release that quickly earned buzz online. After making their Cherrytree Records debut with the Gold EP in 2013, Sir Sly put out You Haunt Me (which reached #14 on Billboard’s Alternative Albums chart) in September of the following year.
With Don’t You Worry, Honey marking a major turning point for Sir Sly, the band feels a stronger sense of artistic purpose than ever before. “As a person who mainly writes lyrics about himself, sometimes I get caught up in this fear that it’s wrong or selfish to write so much about my own life,” says Jacobs. “What snapped me out of that on this album was going back to the catalog of music that helped raise me, where the songwriters were incredibly honest about their lives in a way that normalized a lot of what I went through growing up. If I can do that for other people, by telling my story and not trying to sugarcoat it, then hopefully I’m able to help them feel a little less out of place in the world.”
On her debut album This Time, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Donna Missal shows the elegant collision of elements at play in her music: a poet’s command of tone, a soul singer’s boundless intensity, a bedroom musician’s willful embracing of intimacy and experimentation. Along with channeling the raw passion she first ignited by playing in rock bands in her homeland of New Jersey, This Time expands on the melodic ingenuity displayed in recent singles like “Driving” and “Thrills.” Above all the album is a testament to the sheer force of Missal’s voice, a dynamic but delicate instrument that achieves a beautifully nuanced expression even as she belts her heart out.
With its title taken from a track Missal co-wrote with her frequent collaborator Sharon Van Etten, This Time is an uncompromisingly honest look at living entirely on your own terms. “I’ve spent most of my life being hyper-focused on time, which I think is something that a lot of women obsess over,” says Missal. “We’re in such a rush to make things happen, when really we should take the time to figure out what we actually want out of life. And even though it’s so fucking hard to have that kind of patience, I think it’s so important to believe in yourself enough to let things develop in a way that feels right to you.”
Produced by Tim Anderson (Solange, BANKS, Halsey), This Time matches that defiant spirit with a sound inspired by the rule-bending sensibilities of mixtape culture. Blending elements of soul and hip-hop and rock-and-roll, Missal shaped This Time’s sonic landscape partly by laying live recordings down on tape, then sampling those recordings to imbue her songs with a fresh yet timeless energy. Much of that live recording took place at the iconic Different Fur Studios in San Francisco, with the sessions headed up by Missal and Nate Mercereau (a musician known for his work with Leon Bridges). “I really wanted this album to reference my history of playing in bands,” Missal points out. “It’s all these very pure, talented musicians playing together in a room, but then we took that and sampled it and altered in a way that creates something totally new.”
Throughout the album, Missal brings her time-warping but gracefully arranged sound to songs that capture the most specific of emotions. Crafting her lyrics with the kind of idiosyncratic detail that instantly etches each line onto your heart, Missal explores self-empowerment on tracks like “Transformer”—a fiercely charged anthem about “having the courage to take what you want from life, without apology.” On “Thrills,” with its softly swaying groove and dreamy guitar tones, Missal’s voice soars and shatters as she muses on self-love and sexual confidence. “‘Thrills’ is about owning what makes you real,” says Missal. “There is a shift happening in our societal standards of beauty and sexuality, and the more we embrace our flaws the closer we become to effecting real change. I’d love for people to hear the song — and not just women, but anyone who feels disenfranchised— and remember that being sexy and confident comes from self-acceptance.”
Elsewhere on This Time, Missal infuses social commentary into songs like “Girl”: a stripped-back yet intricately textured track that unfolds with both gentle playfulness and piercing vulnerability. “I wanted to address this idea that women need to be pinned against each other in order to succeed, or need to point out the flaws in other women just to feel good about themselves,” says Missal. “That kind of thinking has been around forever, and it doesn’t feel like it’s going away—but the more we talk about it, the better it’s going to get.” And on “Driving,” Missal delivers one of the album’s most mesmerizing moments, with her flowing melody, hypnotic rhythms, and ethereal vocals merging with a quiet grandeur that’s simultaneously escapist and inspiring. “‘Driving’ is about being on the precipice of taking control over your life—that feeling of seeing something you want in the distance and making the decision to go for it,” says Missal. “It’s about saying ‘Even if it takes a long time, or I hit some bumps along the way, it’s all okay because I’m the one behind the wheel.’”
From song to song on This Time, Missal shows a natural musicality she credits to her father, a former session drummer and songwriter who ran his own studio in Manhattan. Born in New York, Missal moved with her family to New Jersey as a kid, and grew up playing with the vintage microphones and 16-track tape machine her dad kept in the basement. “Every year he’d have us make Christmas albums for my grandparents,” recalls Missal, who’s one of six children. “We’d go out and buy these instrumental CDs of Christmas songs and he’d record us singing over it, and as we got older we moved onto making our own arrangements and playing the instruments ourselves,” says Missal. “It was my first experience in singing and I just fell in love with it.”
When Missal was 10, her parents enrolled her and her siblings in a summer program at a local community theater, mainly as a way for the home-schooled family to interact with other kids. That program immediately sparked a love of performance in Missal, and helped her to develop the remarkable vocal range that now gives her music so much vitality. During her high school years she joined a theater program at a vocational school in a nearby town, but decided against furthering her education at a conservatory. “I was looking at all these schools that cost up to 40 thousand dollars a semester, and it just didn’t feel right,” Missal says. “Senior year I told my teacher that I didn’t think that was my path, so he graduated me four months early, and then I joined a rock band.”
Missal stuck with her band for several years, first playing basement shows around New Jersey and later booking gigs in Manhattan. As the band’s lyricist, she discovered a deep love of songwriting, and dedicated herself to honing her craft. Eventually moving to Brooklyn, Missal balanced her time between bartending and writing, and soon came up with “Keep Lying”—a soulful slow-burner showcasing her full-throated vocal delivery. “At the time I was struggling to understand what I wanted to do with my music,” says Missal. “I didn’t have the confidence yet to stand behind my vision, so I thought I could get other artists to cut my songs and just thrive that way.” Although she’d initially planned to use “Keep Lying” as part of her effort to score a publishing deal, Missal ultimately self-released the demo and landed it in the hands of Zane Lowe, who premiered it on Beats 1 (and, in turn, helped push the demo to the top of Spotify’s Viral charts).
While record companies quickly came calling, Missal decided to focus on refining her vision, in part by working with a series of co-writers and producers. After finding a strong creative chemistry with Tim Anderson, she moved to L.A. and brought This Time to life by way of a deliberately unhurried process. “I allowed myself a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it, and because of all that I ended up making a record that really reflects who I am,” she notes.
Having signed her deal with Harvest Records in early 2018, Missal has also recently appeared as a featured artist on Macklemore’s GEMINI, written songs for the Netflix original series The Get Down, and supported K.Flay at a pair of sold-out shows. And with the release of This Time, one of her greatest hopes is for the album to impart the same sense of self-discovery that informed its creation. “This isn’t a record about love and loss and relationships,” Missal says. “It’s about taking chances for yourself, figuring out who you are and really standing behind that. I made a point of putting myself out there as a real person navigating this life at this moment in time, because I want to do whatever I can as an artist to help people feel more confident in navigating their own lives. I’d love for the listener to receive the message that you can take your time to learn and love yourself. That’s been the most important discovery that I want to share with this album.”