Rozwell Kid

The Arc Agency and Manic Presents:

Rozwell Kid

Chris Farren, Great Grandpa, Fightsong

Sun, August 6, 2017

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

The Ballroom at The Outer Space

Hamden, CT

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is all ages

Rozwell Kid
Fronted by the affable, spectacled Jordan Hudkins, Rozwell Kid write massive, gritty, excitable power-punk songs; they channel Blue Album guitar grandiosity and eternally-hummable melodies conveyed in 'ooo''s, the likes of which would make Rivers Cuomo weak in his problematic knees. But when it came to writing Rozwell Kid’s new album, Precious Art, Jordan Hudkins found himself in the strange place of wondering who and what Rozwell Kid actually was. After more than two years on the road, the band – completed by guitarist Adam Meisterhans, bassist/vocalist Devin Donnelly and drummer Sean Hallock – hadn’t quite hit a dead end, but they needed to regroup, rethink and refind their identity. All of those questions are thankfully answered by the twelve songs that make up Precious Art. It is a quintessential Rozwell Kid album and something entirely new at the same time. It’s teeming with understated nostalgia, but doesn’t get too lost in the past. Rather, it recalibrates the past, revisiting it with the added wisdom that comes with age. It’s quirky in the way that Rozwell Kid songs have always been quirky, but more than any other record the band has made, it sees Hudkins diving deep into the heart of human existence, telling universal truths based on his own personal memories and unexamined experiences. “Nostalgia has always been part of my inspiration for songwriting,” admits Hudkins. “I’ve always seemed to pull from childhood memories and recontextualized them, where I kind of imagine it as a big 30 year-old kid wearing OshKosh B'Gosh overalls singing about these things they experienced or thought about as a kid.”The result is an album that expands the strain of weird whimsy that’s always run through the band’s songs, but on which it’s increasingly difficult to ignore the more serious side of things. Nothing illustrates that more than the song “Booger.” Yes, it’s an amusing tale that revolves around the green stuff that comes out of your nose being smeared across the screen of your smartphone, but it’s also so much more than that –it’s a tender, touching and even tragic ode to lost love, that is filled with an audibly sad beauty. “We’re pretty fun guys,” he says, “and I’m a huge fan of comedy and feeling good and happiness, but at the same time, that’s not the day-to-day default emotion for, well, pretty much everyone. So I try not to take things too seriously, but I also try to keep it rooted in some sort of reality. Yeah, it’s called “Booger” and that’s the central image, but at the same time I wanted it to also play as sincere because at the end of the day, it’s a love song.” Referencing something so uninhibited isn’t meant to be interpreted as creepy or misguided, though. It’s human and natural and reflexive; we just don’t talk about it. Elsewhere, opener “Wendy’s Trash Can” is a fuzzy, feel-good power-punk song for the summer that sounds like it could be from 1977 as much as 2017, while “UHF On DVD” is a good-humored, high energy probe into anxiety and insecurity.On crucial late cut, "Gameball," Hudkins is literally out in left field, playing baseball, trying to do well and meet expectations while watching others score and succeed; "I'm just being myself out here, I don't even know where to run," he pleads in the chorus. It's as good an explanation of
him as we could ask for. It’s on “Michael Keaton,” however, that Rozwell Kid finds a moment all its own. The near 5-minute album closer is a quirky take on hero worship that simultaneously and expertly reveals the incredible depths of the human condition. Here and all over Precious Art, Hudkins communicates in his own special language to relay the same emotions most songwriters do; excitement, disappointment, heartbreak, love, self-doubt, and more. This album also marks a new frontier in how the four members were able to write songs; having ample time in the studio allowed the band to be more experimental, and to collaborate in an entirely new way. But it’s remarkability is as much because of Hudkins’ insane ability to balance pathos and humor to turn the slightest, most oddball detail – whether that’s picking his nose, making Batman costumes or liking hummus – into works of, well, precious art. Not, of course, that that title is entirely sincere...“I think it’s hilarious for a rock’n’roll band to call anything they do Precious Art,” laughs Hudkins. “I think it’s really funny. But at the same time, these songs are my little babies – they’re my little precious art. That sounds so terrible! Maybe don’t put that in the bio!
Chris Farren
Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though he’s been heavily involved in music for years —and he’s become well-known for his inventive merch, including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt — Farren is still working on breaking out in the large world of singer-songwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few memorable EPs and a Christmas album called L ike A Gift From God or Whatever , Farren is ready to release his full-length Can’t Die . With it, he’s poised to become known on his own terms and with his own unique sound.

“I definitely wanted to make something that wouldn’t just sound like another Fake Problems record,” says Farren. “ I wanted to make something that was poppier and a little less aggressive — but still energetic and entertaining. Lyrically, there’s some sadness involved but I didn’t want it to be a bummer to listen to.” The result is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cited Coconut Records, Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording Can’t Die , has crafted a record that has a true indie-pop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.

Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and mortality. “Like any human, I reached an age where I realized I was going to die,” Farren says. “Until I was 25 or something, I had like heard I was going to die but once I turned 25, something just clicked in my head. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to die’ and I had a crazy hard time with it for some reason.” For Farren, who has always worked through dark times through songs, it was only natural to channel these feelings into his solo album. Take a track like “Until I Can See The Light,” which was partly inspired by the death of Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels, as well other people in his life who have passed away. It’s about “how weird it is that they’re gone. You don’t get to talk to them anymore.”

However, Can’t Die explores plenty of other topics, too. In “Say U Want Me,” Farren touches upon insecurity in a relationship and how it doesn’t necessarily go away with time. “That song is just about worrying about being a burden to somebody that cares for you because you’re so childlike or weak … I just worry about being a drag on somebody else that I really care for.” The song, like all of the songs on Can’t Die , is a refreshingly honest and relatable track: Farren is open about the anxieties and insecurities that plague his daily life, whether it’s worrying about being too much to a partner or just trying to act normal enough to fit in with your fellow human beings. In fact, the aptly titled “Human Being” reflects that common feeling of being, well, just different. “I can be very outgoing in certain situations but if I’m out of my comfort zone or of I’m in a place with a bunch of people I don’t know — like any party that I’ve ever been to — I always feel like a total weirdo freak,” Farren admits. It’s a fun, poppy track that accurately captures the vicious anxiety circle of feeling like you should go out but then getting there and realizing it’s not for you. And then doing it all again later on.

Considering this aversion to crowded parties, it’s no surprise that recording Can’t Die was a fairly solitary affair for Chris Farren. It’s a truly DIY album; “I wanted to produce my own record. I wanted to engineer my own record. I’d had a lot of ideas, sonically, that I felt like maybe if I brought in another producer, [they] would be like, ‘Oh, that’s wrong. That doesn’t sound right’.” Instead, Farren went with his gut, sometimes even making mistakes but leaving them in because he thought it sounded cool. (“Weirdo artist garbage,” he laughs.) The album was recorded in a guest room — one where he’d have to shut off the air conditioner whenever it was time to record — that didn’t even have real soundproofing. In fact, you can even hear dogs barking outside in the background. Can’t Die manages to simultaneously have a lofi sound that’s still incredibly rich. It helps that Farren enlists the help of some of his friends on the record — Sean Stevenson on drums, Casey Lee on guitar, Jeff Rosenstock and Matt Agrella adding horn arrangements, and Laura Stevenson contributing vocals. Farren’s friends helped make Can’t Die surpass Farren’s original vision. “It just took it to a place I could’ve never imagined.”

At the end of the day, however, Can’t Die is a record that is wholly reflective of Chris Farren’s sound. It’s not Fake Problems or Antarctigo Vespucci but instead it’s entirely Farren’s: resonating indie-pop that captures all of the weird little anxieties of being in your twenties and realizing that you can’t control everything around you. “Once I got past that ego-driven stuff and realized that the world doesn’t revolve around me, it was a lot easier for me to get through the world,” says Farren. “It’s heavy! It’s a heavy world.” That’s true, but Can’t Die adds some lightness, resulting in a record that makes listeners happy while also recognizing that it’s OK to be sad sometimes.
Great Grandpa
Great Grandpa began in Seattle in 2014 when guitarist & vocalist Patrick Goodwin recruited bassist Carrie Miller, drummer Cam LaFlam, and vocalist Alex Menne to form a humble rock band. Inspired by the pop-sensible alternative rock of the 90’s, and offset by a mutual love for noise and math rock, the group set forth to write and record their first EP. During recording, guitarist Dylan Hanwright joined the group, solidifying the lineup. Great Grandpa began performing in the Seattle area in late 2014, frequenting the city’s DIY venues. In March of 2015, their debut EP Can Opener was released on Broken World Media. The EP was met with considerable praise, and has been described as “warm, slightly off-kilter grunge pop”, and “knotty, twisted, and warm rock music that’s as melodically satisfying as it is, at times, confounding”. Great Grandpa began writing their debut LP soon after, and found themselves touring the western US and performing extensively in the Seattle area. Written in 2015 and 2016, Great Grandpa’s debut LP Plastic Cough continues to explore the sonic territory visited in Can Opener, exhibiting infectious melodies across a range of backdrops, from quiet bedroom-pop to explosive, anthemic rock. Plastic Cough is out July 7th via Double Double Whammy.
Fightsong
Connecticut trick-metal
Venue Information:
The Ballroom at The Outer Space
295 Treadwell Street
Building G
Hamden, CT, 06514