Ovlov & Slow Mass

Ovlov & Slow Mass

Mannequin Pussy, Permanent Body

Fri, June 15, 2018

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

First Unitarian Church

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is all ages

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Ovlov are an immovable force. The Newtown, CT based band are a glimmer of hope for all that is pure in rock and have become one of the East Coast’s absolute most beloved indie bands. Since the band formed in 2008, Ovlov have delivered walls of corrosive distortion combined with sharp melodic brilliance and a knack for unpredictability that sets them apart from the pack. An energetic and honest band, Ovlov have developed a sound that can envelop a room in guitar noise while the audience sings along with every infectious hook. Slow burning shoegaze songs blend with blistering fuzz punk for a dynamic experience that’s serene, stunning, and crushingly chaotic. Enormously influential on the scene around them, Ovlov have built a strong reputation in Connecticut and beyond, a band playing by their own rules and consistently amazing all who come in contact.

After an incredible 2013 that saw Ovlov’s much awaited full length debut Am (Exploding In Sound Records) bring the band to new audiences and widespread acclaim across the globe, Ovlov have continued to keep fans stunned in 2014, releasing a fantastic split single with Little Big League (Tiny Engines Records), touring with Disco Doom, Pity Sex, and Basement, supporting Built to Spill, Ought, and playing to over enthusiastic audiences with likeminded bands and friends in California X, Pile, Sneeze, Fins, and more. Ovlov have no intention on slowing down either as the band get ready to release two upcoming four-way splits, together with LVL UP, Krill, Radiator Hospital (on Double Double Whammy) and another with Ex-Breathers, Gnarwhal, and more (on Community Records). Jah bless.
Slow Mass
Slow Mass
Slow Mass doesn’t sound like many other bands, and that’s because they work in a way precious few are willing to.

Formed in 2015 by Dave Collis (vocals and guitar) and his then-roommate Josh Sparks (drums), the pair began developing songs without a specific goal in mind. Soon, they’d be joined by Josh Parks (guitar) and Mercedes Webb (vocals and bass), and together they would craft the Treasure Pains ​EP, which showcased Slow Mass’ unique take on post-hardcore and indie-rock. The band toured hard in support of ​Treasure Pains,​ nabbing high-profile opening slots for the likes of mewithoutYou and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, making a name for themselves across the country while fine-tuning the material that would make up their debut album ​On Watch​.

Recorded with Neil Strauch at Minbal Studios, ​On Watch ​expands upon Slow Mass’s sonic palette. Recurring motifs segment the record, allowing it to feel like a cohesive work with clearly defined halves. Returning to Strauch was a no-brainer for the band, and not just because they worked with him on ​Treasure Pains​. “He’s the kind of producer where, for the time you’re in the studio, feels like they’re in the band,” says Webb. Collis adds to that, noting that what makes Strauch a perfect collaborator, is that he maintains a light, thoughtful touch. “The real important part of Neil’s process and his contribution is that his stamp is not prevalent,” he says. “I think he understands what makes most sense for that moment in time and for that band. He’s not trying to overstep in a way the benefits him. But with that in mind, he’s very good at pushing and pulling when the time comes.”

That push and pull is something the band embraced fully, allowing them to adapt naturally and organically to any new scenario. During the writing period of ​On Watch​, Sparks left the band to join Minus The Bear, though he still recorded on the bulk of the album. In his place, Collis’ longtime friend Dave Maruzzella stepped in, learning Sparks’ parts while contributing to the song “Schemes.” In doing so, he learned firsthand about how Slow Mass operates. “The motto, quite simply, is that there are no shortcuts,” says Maruzzella. “Your first instinct about what you want to do? Don’t do that one. Your second one? Don’t do that one either. That’s the easy way, that’s the common sense way, that’s what anyone else would put there. So our way is to do the tenth one, so you’re ten moves away from your initial instinct.”

“It’s about allowing yourself to be brought to that place,” says Collis, explaining how ​On Watch sounds united, but not predictable. Songs like “Suburban Yellow” and “Oldest Youngest” show the band’s ability to bowl you over with their propulsive force, while tracks like “My Violent Years” and “Tunnel Vision Quest” embrace experimental minimalism, putting drums to the side and allowing delicate layers and plaintive vocal melodies to carry them from start to finish. Then there’s a song like the “The Author,” which builds upon loping riffs, calming vibraphone—courtesy of Ryan Packard on vibraphone, who was also on ​Treasure Pains​—and descends into all-consuming chaos by its end.

When discussing their creative approach, every member is quick to use the word “collective,” driving home the point that Slow Mass works as a unit. “It really is a collective work,” says Parks. “It’s a pretty special thing. Most bands don’t act that way.” ​On Watch ​proves that, with every member making deliberate choices that never feel out of place. It also manifested by inviting some of their friends to contribute to the album, with Al Costis playing upright bass on “My Violent Years”, Sen Morimoto adding saxophone to “My Violent Years” and “On Watch II”, and Viv McConnell playing the flute on “Tunnel Vision Quest.”

The result of that communal effort is ​On Watch​, an album that expands beyond genre lines while retaining every bit of urgency found on the band’s debut EP. The album sits alongside such classics as ​The Argument ​and L​ eaves Turn Inside You​, becoming the latest in a long line of records that push a genre forward by never making a single artistic compromise.
Mannequin Pussy
Mannequin Pussy
The third full-length from Mannequin Pussy, Patience is an album fascinated with the physical experience of the body, its songs tracking the movements of mouths and hands and racing hearts, skin and spit and teeth and blood. Deeply attuned to the power of their own physicality, the Philadelphia-based band channels complex emotion in blistering riffs, thrashing rhythms, vocals that feel as immediate and untamed as a gut reaction. But throughout Patience, the Philadelphia-based band contrasts that raw vitality with intricate melodies and finely detailed arrangements, building a strange and potent tension that makes the album all the more cathartic.

The follow-up to Romantic—a 2016 release praised by Pitchfork for “combin[ing] punk, shoegaze, death metal, and more, with the ferocious push-pull energy of a mosh pit”—Patience came to life at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In creating the album, Mannequin Pussy worked with producer/engineer Will Yip (Quicksand, The Menzingers), shaping an explosive sound that never overshadows the subtlety of their songwriting. “In the past there’s been a chaotic feeling to the recording process, but working with Will put us in a different headspace,” says Dabice. “It helped us show our progression over the past few years and make a very crisp-sounding record, without losing the dirtiness of what Mannequin Pussy really is.”

Opening with its gloriously frenetic title track, Patience matches Mannequin Pussy’s wild volatility with a narrative voice that’s often painfully vulnerable. On “Drunk II,” for instance, Dabice’s vocals shift from fragile to furious, the track’s stormy guitar work colliding with lyrics capturing the grief of post-breakup inertia. “I wrote that song one night when I was very heartbroken, after I’d been out with friends trying to pretend like I wasn’t feeling so hopeless,” says Dabice. “I went home and just started playing guitar and crying, and stayed up working on that song till about four in the morning.”

On the delicately sprawling “High Horse,” Patience takes on a more restrained tone but still maintains a devastating intensity, with Mannequin Pussy presenting an intimate portrait of an abusive relationship (“Pushing me up against the kitchen sink/I feel your breath on me/I can taste it in my teeth”). Meanwhile, “Who You Are” shifts into a brightly tender mood, assuming a classic-love-song sweetness in its message of self-acceptance. “I turned 30 as we were working on the record, and it changed my whole perspective on my life and relationships and everything,” says Dabice. “‘Who You Are’ came from thinking about what I’d want to say to myself when I was still in my 20s and wasting so much time not believing in myself.”

Elsewhere on Patience, Mannequin Pussy transmit an unstoppable fury: the 39-second “Clams” delivers as a brutal blast of vitriol against those who’ve tried to hold them back, while “F.U.C.A.W.” unfolds in unhinged riffs and relentlessly pounding beats. And on “In Love Again,” the album closes out with a magnificently epic anthem driven by dreamy guitar tones, lilting piano melodies, and a particularly elegant performance from Reading (“I’m really proud of the nuanced drum beat and the percussion odyssey at the end,” she notes. “And yes, there are bongos on the track”). The most undeniably hopeful moment on Patience, “In Love Again” telegraphs utter joy and awe in its heart-on-sleeve lyrics. “I always want our records to end in a place of optimism,” says Dabice. “The songs take you on a journey through all these very toxic emotions and traumatic experiences, but what I’m trying to articulate is that something good can come from getting through all that.”

The push toward transformation has long propelled the songwriting of Mannequin Pussy, who formed as a duo when childhood friends Dabice and Paul reconnected after years apart. At the time, Dabice had recently returned to the East Coast from Colorado in order to help take care of her mother, who’d just suffered a stroke. “It was one of the most trying times of my life, and at some point my mom suggested that I try going to therapy,” Dabice recalls. “But instead I was like, ‘I think I’m just gonna learn to play guitar.’ I didn’t want to talk to anyone; I just wanted to lose myself in the creative process.” Once she and Paul played music together, they discovered a chemistry she now describes as magical. “We created so much in such a short period of time,” Dabice says. “We never even thought of making records or anything—it was just this pure emotional outlet, just us screaming onstage with our guitars.”

As they continued collaborating, Dabice and Paul later added Reading and Regisford to the lineup, making their debut with GP in 2014 and releasing Romantic in fall 2016. Recently signed to Epitaph, Mannequin Pussy found themselves newly revitalized in the writing and recording of Patience, their creative connection stronger than ever. “I’m so proud of how hard we’ve worked to get to this point,” says Dabice. “This album sounds exactly how I’ve always wanted us to sound—I’ve never listened to something we’ve made and felt so inspired by it.”

As Dabice explains, the band’s journey toward the making of Patience partly inspired the album’s title. “I think you have to be patient that you’ll find the sound that’s in your head,” she says. “It’s okay to take your time if you can’t figure it out right away—you’ve got to just trust that you’ll get there eventually.” And within that process, Mannequin Pussy have continually found the emotional release that ultimately makes their music so powerful. “Feeling isolated in your most toxic experiences can slowly destroy you from the inside, but going through the motion of creating something can make you feel at peace,” Dabice says. “And the real beauty is that, by sharing your experience, it helps other people to feel less alone as well. That’s what we’ve always searched for with our music, and I don’t think that will ever change for us.”
Permanent Body
Permanent Body
Permanent Body is the home recording project of longtime Philadelphia DIY stalwart Barrett Lindgren. As a principle, the project leans into the approachable and familiar, eschewing artistic pretense to explore only what feels immediately honest. The band has featured live and recorded contributions from Robyn Campbell, Kyle Laganella, Kian Sorouri, Jarret Nathan, and Shannen Moser.
Venue Information:
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19103