A single note begins the last song in every Landlady
performance, and this note, followed by the slow tread of the drums, signifies the time when the crowd is most intimate. Adam Schatz, vocalist and Farfisa extraordinaire, calls to the audience to huddle up like a coach before the last game of the season: "We're all here because we choose to be; we are alive." The song is "Above My Ground," and ironically enough, it opens up their latest record, Upright Behavior
This album should be considered Landlady's breakthrough. Released on Hometapes
on July 15th, it has consistently gathered rave reviews, but continues to puzzle critics and blogs when trying to define a genre for the band. Landlady is a mix of soul, both personally and sonically, pop-grandeur, and pounding drum-centered beats. Even then, the description seems to hint at only a sliver of Landlady's spectrum.
is as cohesive an album as a rock opera; the lyricism tells stories about girl robots, loss, and growing old. Although these themes might seem perpendicular to one-another, they are intertwined, and just one example of Landlady's broad accessibility.
Landlady is Schatzs brainchild, but without the support from band members Mikey Freedom Hart, Ian Chang, Ian Davis, and Booker Stardrum, there wouldn't be the perfectly constructed chemistry on stage. Schatz was the only one to speak to the audience that night, but the entire band communicated their joy of sharing the stage by the utter glee after nailing the timing on one of the band's many tricky, twisted song structures.
Schatz has many projects under his belt, including Search and Destroy, non-profit organization, committed to bringing the artists and audiences of new jazz and improvised music together in new ways, while never forgetting its DIY roots. He also collaborated with Vampire Weekend
on their latest record, providing the heavy saxophone in the records lead single Diane Young.
On Saturday night, the stage at Brooklyn Night Bazaar is packed with six members: two guitars, two drumsets, bass, and the grand Farfisa organ right in the middle. The audience is sparse at the Bazaar, there are many distractions from the free live music. The dings of the arcade and the smell of tacos are overwhelming, and the benches find themselves full with people who seem to have found their way there by chance, without a clue that music was bound to happen, but when Landlady takes the stage there is a force that drives you towards them.
Landlady has focused primarily on playing songs from Upright Behavior
, leaving the audience to find their first release from 2012, Keeping To Yourself (Museum People)
, on their own. Truthfully, the focus on the latest record is favorable for fans stumbling on to their music for the first time. When the night kicks off with "Under The Yard," a man behind me laughs from astonishment and mumbles, this is so fucking cool. This song is a perfect first dip in the Landlady pool; it showcases their stacked melodies, unavoidable groove, and the capacity for their music to demand a sing-a-long.
Schatzs Farfisa organ, a gift from one of his first band mates when he moved to New York, psychedelically tinges each song, specifically the semi-autobiographical "Dying Day" in which Schatz sings, What am I supposed to do about it?/Dying day, as a harmonious chorus accompanies the question. The Farfisa is crucial to Landlady's sound; it's what separates them from your average keyboard-playing rock band. The ever-pulsating "Girl" for example, is rooted in the Farfisa's alarming tone, along with the melodies of soft indie rock guitar.
The chemistry of the band isnt limited to their personal connection; it also shines in their harmonies. In Maria, the vocals drive the song home and smoothly transition into the juxtaposing distorted guitar and eclectic drumbeat, reminiscent of early 90s Youssou NDour
. The band reflects the very definition of the word; theyre a group bound by music. Landlady highlights the importance of connecting and they illustrate it with gratitude.
This is where you find yourself at the end of Landlady's set, connected and grateful; you're surrounded by strangers but connected by the everlasting always, a word Schatz asks the audience to repeat as he continues, "And I need you, always now". Whatever that word meant to you before this, it is now tinged with the moment you and a few strangers shared this feeling, a feeling of inimitable joy with a band at Brooklyn Night Bazaar.
Check out Landlady's video for "Under the Yard":
Catch them on tour:
09/24/14 - Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
09/25/14 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
09/26/14 - Cincinnati, OH @ MidPoint Music Fest
09/27/14 - Louisville, KY @ RYE Back Porch Sessions +
10/15/14 - Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
10/16/14 - Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone
10/17/14 - Norman, OK @ The Opolis
10/19/14 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/20/14 - Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room &
10/21/14 - Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad &
10/25/14 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada &
10/27/14 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar &
10/28/14 - St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House &
+ w/ Adia Victoria
& w/ Rubblebucket