Rockin' Our Turntable: Twin Shadow
By Michele Lenni in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 7, 2010 9:20PM
It seems as if vintage '80s sounds have been the elephant in the room that no one can really ignore this past year. Syrupy love songs heavily laden with synths. Drum machines sparsely accented with real drums. More of an emphasis on the high end of sound production with beats driving melodies instead of bass have become the norm not only in the indie-world but with popular recording artists like Kanye West as well. With releases from bands like Wild Nothing, John & Jehnand last year's favorite The xx have drawn upon past musical greats like Morrisey, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and Depeche Mode. Truly it seems as if their influences deserve a credit in these liner notes just as much as the musicians composing these albums themselves.
One such of these artists graced the turntable at the Chicagoist offices this past week more than a few times: Twin Shadow. On the hot ticket right now touring with electronic dance-music veterans, Film School, Brooklyn-ite George Lewis Jr. has been making music publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork metaphorically blow their load over his first album, Forget.
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the all-white neighborhoods of Venice, Florida, Lewis had a self-proclaimed lonely and "rotten" childhood according to an interview with Rolling Stone. Having drawn from these experiences as a young lad, Lewis went and recorded Forget primarily by himself in apartments and sometimes even hotel rooms, where he could perhaps achieve the utmost in private emotional catharsis.
What resulted is an extremely personal emotional diary set to music. One that wears it's emotions on it's sleeve as a badge of honor rather than a scarlet letter of shame. Lewis uses his past pain to deliver an album that touches our adolescent and sometimes angst-ridden emotional buttons with a delicate and coy caress. These songs' Dreamy, dramatic melodies waft slowly in and out as a meticulous attention to each layered tracks detail sails through the sweet synth-driven rhythms.
One of the tracks we have had on repeat for the past day is When Were Dancing, where Lewis effortless croons, questioning whether we are "...just in love again" while very politely asking to leave him alone for a dance with his love. This is a song rife with both the demure plunks and swells of the synth as well as moments where pulsating forte guitar riffs that would even make Mick Ronson jealous.
The vulnerable demeanor of this record is really what makes it great; Lewis opening his heart through his silvery vocals displaying his most puerile thoughts to the audience. This is Where other bands of the same mindset, a-la, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, have failed. It's refreshing to know that someone has the whole package: nostalgia, elegant song writing and a lot of raw talent. Twin Shadow will be taking the stage tomorrow at Schubas. Tickets aren't sold out yet, but we think you should get them while you can. With all of this buzz they will go quickly.
Essential Track - Castles In The Snow
Twin Shadow performs October 8 at Schubas, 3159 N Southport, 8 p.m., $12 in advance or $12 at the door, 18+