Shy Boys

WXPN 88.5 Welcomes

Shy Boys

Laser Background, John Andrews & The Yawns

Thu, November 29, 2018

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

PhilaMOCA

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is all ages

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Shy Boys
Shy Boys
Being in a band is a sacred thing.
Being in a band in 2018 is a sacred thing.
Being from the Midwest is a sacred thing.
Being in a band that is from the Midwest in 2018…

Consider Shy Boys - DIY local champions of Kansas City, MO, who if you add it all up, are something sacred. Comprised of brothers Collin and Kyle Rausch and best friends Konnor Ervin, Kyle Little and Ross Brown, Shy Boys are the heartland’s answer to The Beach Boys had Alex Chilton been on guitar.

But if a harmony falls into a microphone in the middle of America does anyone really hear it? Some do. Take for instance Shy Boys’ 2014 self-titled debut on local Kansas City label, High Dive Records - I first came across this album while living in Los Angeles and catching wind of a band from my home town that I was told could “actually sing,” and after the first spin, through the muddy fidelity, man, could they actually sing.

Shy Boys’ history isn’t too dissimilar from any other Midwestern band. Like the many Replacements or Husker Düs before them - they exist neither here nor there, but instead, somewhere anonymously in the middle. And though you may not find the same opportunity floating in the middle as one would Here or There, you are allotted a certain amount of time and space to grow both yourself and your craft into what you want it to be. Over the past four years, that is exactly what Shy Boys have done and that is what brings us here today.

On August 3, 2018, the world will see the release of their second record, Bell House, out on legendary and globally cherished record label Polyvinyl, bringing both their profile and music to the surface for the first time.

The album’s title is taken from the band’s beloved headquarters - the old house on Bell Street in Kansas City where they lived together for the better part of 5 years.

“‘Lived’ is a loose term,” says lead songwriter Collin. “It was more like a bum den than anything else. There was a giant hole in the floor of the kitchen that had a piece of plywood over it. In the backyard, weeds got like 6 feet high in the summer. It was its own thriving biome. We lived in trash.”

Musically, Collin describes the songs on Bell House taking shape through “a group of guys trying to get through some sort of mutual identity crisis. The lifestyle became overwhelming and really seeped into the music.”

In the time since the release of ST, Collin saw himself falling in love and getting married, leaving the old house on Bell Street, and moving back into his mom’s house with his wife in a suburb of the city. It’s here where the songs of Bell Housewere born. Being back under the same roof he had grown up in where there was “still writing on the walls from childhood,” Rausch found himself reflective and looking out at his life as a whole.

Take closing track “Champion” for instance, a song Collin says is dedicated to his and Kyle’s mother. “It’s just a note saying that she took care of us when we were young, and now it’s time for us to be there and take care of her.”

The reflective spirit sprinkled throughout the album is also evident on lead single, “Take The Doggie,” a bouncy, guitar driven track centered around wanting to secretly rescue their neighbor’s dog from an abusive owner, or on album highlight “Evil Sin,” which tackles the memory of drummer/bassist Konnor Ervin getting robbed.

But through all of this, Rausch kept his passion in his band, if even for nothing more than to - in his own words - have an excuse to keep hanging out with his brother and best friends.

“I have to keep Shy Boys alive to have a regular excuse to hang out with them,” says Collin. “To keep the band alive, I have to write songs. To be able to travel with my buddies, there has to be a new record.”

There is an old term that’s kicked around in country music called a “blood harmony” - in which two people in the same blood line, usually siblings, harmonize with one another in real time. Perhaps that is Shy Boys’ magic touch, putting them just a notch above all the other angels out there in the indie rock choir, and it makes sense, though no longer practicing evangelicals, Collin and Kyle grew up singing besides their parents in their church choir, so their keen sense of harmony is nothing new to them, but instead a life practice devoted to the voice as an instrument.

The result is Bell House, and the result is beautiful. There is something sensitive to the touch about this album, which is perhaps another way of saying that, well - Shy Boys are indeed Shy Boys. I envision the band as a solid unit, with each moving part as an equal. There is a heavy sense of family in everything they do both, literally and figuratively. Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 song “Highway Patrolman” always seems to come to mind;

“Yeah me and Franky out laughing and drinking,
Nothing feels better than blood on blood.”

-Kevin Morby
Laser Background
Laser Background
For the better part of the past decade, Andy Molholt has been creating music as Laser Background. With each release, Molholt has come closer and closer to a unified vision, a musical explanation of how he sees the world. With his new LP, he has come closer than ever before, and titled the result Dark Nuclear Bogs. Originally conceptualized while thinking up anagrams of Laser Background in order to play a secret show, Dark Nuclear Bogs is the classic ‘self-titled LP as mission statement’ flipped on its head, seen from the unique, kaleidoscopic perspective that Laser Background is known for.

Dark Nuclear Bogs was recorded in a friend’s house on a man-made reservoir north of Atlanta with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader of Ava Luna. The houses’ décor, unchanged since the previous tenant left in the 1970s, provided a perfect environment for the trio to cut the songs live to tape, and the relative seclusion of the lake allowed them to record whenever inspiration struck. As a result, different songs feel attached to different times of day. The opening track “Mostly Water” (written during a period of self-induced sleep deprivation) sounds like an unwelcome, hung-over morning where wanderlust overtakes common sense, and the raucous “Slubberdeguillion” (which takes its name from an Olde English word meaning ‘worthless person’) acts as the sloppy, self-destructive all-nighter that precedes it. In this song, Molholt pitches his vocals up two octaves and wonders out loud. “Why even bother to take a shower if you’re going to get dirty?”

Formed after the demise of Molholt’s band The Armchairs, Laser Background began as an attempt to put the stranger, more psychedelic psychedelic aspects of childhood into music, and as an exploration of what effects childhood has on the rest of human life. 2012’s Laser Background EP and 2013’s Super Future Montage delved into these ideas, and even as the childlike aspects of the band drifted away on 2016’s Correct, the big questions remained. Questions we ask ourselves when we are young, and never quite find the answers to. Questions like “How does one deal with trauma?” and “How does one know when to let someone go?” Dark Nuclear Bogs feels like the logical conclusion to the ideas on which Laser Background has based its foundation. – Dominic Angelella
John Andrews & The Yawns
John Andrews & The Yawns
"Throughout his years of traveling, John Andrews has documented his life with his home recordings. His first record, Bit By The Fang, found him living in the amish country of Lancaster, PA. His latest record, Bad Posture finds him waving farewell to Pennsylvania & greeting the wooded hills of Barrington, NH. Sitting on top of one of these hills, coined Mt. Misery, is the colonial era farmhouse John now calls his home. This is where Bad Posture was born. The songs were written slowly & quietly throughout the winter, usually late at night next to the wood stove for warmth. It was recorded in his barn with the doors ajar, welcoming the springtime. The humble recording gear invites the outside noises in. You can hear the crickets chirping with the occasional truck driving by. The songs themselves lend their hand like slow backwoods Beatles demos covered in a thin blanket of tape hiss. John’s voice lulls us in an earthy calmness as he sits hunched like a scarecrow over the piano. Andrews’ band, The Yawns, has been crystallized with staples from the New England freak scene; Rachel Neveu & Lukas Goudreault (MMOSS/Soft Eyes) & Joey Schneider. All of who have been playing up in the free country for many years themselves and all of who call the same farmhouse home. Over the past few years John has played as a session player on records by Woods, Widowspeak, EZTV & Kevin Morby as well as composing & recording with his band Quilt. Yet, the piano compositions on Bad Posture place him as a stand-out voice with this instrument. There are guitar-bands working in a similar territory as Andrews’, yet the focus on keys in many of the songs give the album a different temperament and a unique place amidst his peers. Windmill, Homesick In Heaven & Old News are three of the album cuts that boast this specific sense of multi-instrumentality. They wink at you with a Workingman’s Dead smile. The opener and lead-single, Drivers, showcases an older & wiser Andrews’ coming to terms with a new-found independence, the overdriven guitar echoing his home-state’s slogan, live free or die. “I don’t owe you no more.” Andrews hums. Bad Posture was mixed with headphones at the foot of Emma Critchett's grave, who lived in the Yawns’ house during the 1800's. The record is an ode to her & all who have lived in this house. It also paints a picture of what it feels like to live in the “free-country” on the precipice of a rapidly changing political climate. Some folks go back to the woods to escape the harsh-realities of contemporary society, for Andrews it seems like he is diving head first into nature’s unknown, searching for love in the tundras of seclusion. When the cities become boring, we hop in our vehicles and drive to those places that are always beaming with newness. Bad Posture contains the anthems that will hold us over til’ we arrive."

- Shane Butler
Venue Information:
PhilaMOCA
531 North 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123
http://www.philamoca.org/