Manic Presents:


Slow Death, Little Junior

Sat, October 7, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:15 pm

The Ballroom at The Outer Space

Hamden, CT


Tickets at the Door

This event is all ages

Since releasing their self-titled debut record in 2012, which The New Yorker called, “One of the year’s best albums...a punishing, noisy, exhilarating thing,” the Toronto-based 3-piece METZ have garnered international acclaim as one of the most electrifying and forceful live acts, touring widely and extensively, playing hundreds of shows each year around the world.Now, Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals), along with Hayden Menzies (drums), and Chris Slorach (bass) are set to unleash their highly-anticipated third full-length album, Strange Peace, an emphatic but artful hammer swing to the status quo."The best punk isn't an assault as much as it's a challenge —to what's normal, to what's comfortable, or simply to what's expected. Teetering on the edge of perpetual implosion,” NPRwrote in their glowing review of METZ’s 2015 second album, II.Strange Peacewas recorded in Chicago, live off the floor to tape with Steve Albini. The result is a distinct artistic maturation into new and alarming territory, frantically pushing past where the band has gone before, while capturing the notorious intensity of their live show.“Recording in Chicago was a blast. We tracked fourteen songs in four days. It was the first time we felt confident enough to just play live and roll tape,” Edkins said of the recording process. “Strange Peaceis much morediverse and varied than anything we’ve done before, which was exhilarating, but terrifying, too. We took the tapes home to Toronto feeling like we’d made the record we wanted to make.”The trio continued to assemble the album (including home recordings, additional instrumentation) back in their hometown, adding the finishing touches with longtime collaborator, engineer and mixer, Graham Walsh.From the ferocious opening track, “Mess of Wires,” we’re met by the sheer force and fierce musicianship we’ve come to expect from METZ. With the unhinged, post-punk fragments of “Drained Lake,” and the whirling, acerbic pop features of "Cellophane," the band's hectic progression becomes clear. But Strange Peaceisn’t merely a collection of eleven uninhibited and urgent songs. It’s also a kind of sonic venting, a truculent social commentary that bludgeons and provokes, excites and unsettles.“The songs on Strange Peaceare about uncertainty," Edkins explains. "They're about recognizing that we're not always in control of our own fate, and about admitting our mistakes and fears. They're about finding some semblance of peace within the chaos."With all the pleasurable tension and anxiety of a fever dream, Strange Peaceis equal parts challenging and accessible. It isthis implausible balancing act, moving from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, that only a band of METZ’s power and capacity can maintain: discordant and melodic, powerful and controlled, meticulous and instinctive, subtle and complex, precise and reckless, wholehearted and merciless, brutal and optimistic, terrifying and fun.
“Their whiplash of distortion is made with precision, a contained chaos. But you would never talk about them like that. Because METZ are not something you study or analyze,” wrote Liisa Ladouceur in Exclaim!“They are something you feel: a transfer of energy, pure and simple.”In other words: to feel something, fiercely and intensely, but together, not alone.
Slow Death
Hailing from Connecticut and Boston, Slow Death is the new band from Randy Larsen, former bassist and singer for seminal noise rockers Cable and Empty Flowers, drummer Matt Spearin of Disapperer, and rounded out by guitarist Jeremy Medeiros and bass player Jesse Sherman.

Hate-Filled World is 8 songs, clocking in at around 18 minutes, and is a relentless aural assault. The mix of old punk and hardcore blended with some good old fashioned AMREP style noise rock is sure to catch the attention of heavy music fans young and old. Lyrically, with an obvious nod to old horror movies and serial killers, mixed with a dose of straight up depression and frustration, this is music that will take you on a ride to the darker side.

2017 sees the band playing more shows this summer and fall around the release Hate-Filled World and studio time already booked later this year for the follow up.
Little Junior
When power-pop foursome Little Junior were still performing at all-ages clubs around their native Toronto, a sound engineer asked what their setup would be for a show that night. Lead singer Rane Elliott-Armstrong answered the way he had so many times before: They had two guitars, a bass, and drums. “Oh,” the sound engineer responded. “You don’t have a sampler or an acoustic guitar or any of that gay shit?” Elliott-Armstrong, who identifies as gay, was aghast. “It was like, really? Come on man,” he says, recalling the experience.

And so Elliott-Armstrong wrote a song about the encounter, the snot-punk anthem ”Cry Baby,” which is set to appear on Little Junior’s forthcoming debut record, Hi (expected in 2018 via Grand Jury). Clocking in at a nugget-sized one minute and 40 seconds, “Cry Baby” finds Elliott-Armstrong sneering, “I want to destroy my reputation / Tired of having boring conversations / I’d rather be / All by myself / Than be part of this scene they’re cultivating.”

According to the band, which also comprises Rane’s brother Chai Elliott-Armstrong on drums, Lucas Meilach-Boston on guitar, and Jackson Beyer on bass, the song is about exactly what it claims: “Destroying your reputation so that no one will assume that you’re a bigot like them.” Meilach-Boston agrees, adding, “It’s about not wanting to be polite to people who are dickheads or people who are outwardly homophobic.”

Writing “Cry Baby” also led to Rane leaning further into stereotype onstage, where he purposefully takes on an exaggerated, more flamboyant persona as a way to ward off further intolerant language. “I try to act like a bit of a diva on stage, I pull a lot of shapes. There’s a vogueing element to it,” he says with a half joking smile. “I like to think of us as a boy band”.

That's not just a throwaway statement: Pop music has had a profound affect on Little Junior, who have been playing together as far back as middle school. Though they cite Pixies, Weezer, The Ramones, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, The Beatles, Talking Heads, and The Band as classic influences, they all light up while talking about—of all people—Carly Rae Jepsen, whom they call a “national treasure.”

True to form, much of Hi sounds like a clear combination of Pixies’ lo-fi basement punk with Weezer and Jepsen’s penchant for cheery sing-along melody. Helping Little Junior mold their debut in the studio is veteran producer John Agnello, whom the group calls “hilarious” and “a dream.”

Though unapologetically upbeat, the album’s sunny tone is subverted by Little Junior’s petulant lyrics. Most of the songs, Rane admits, have a sardonic side and tend to be written in response to people who’ve “wronged” him.

A particularly salty cut, album opener “Accolades” is about a fellow albeit unnamed Toronto band. “I saw them play a show, and they were getting really buzzy at the time,” says Rane. “It was like, ‘Really? They’re getting so much attention, and I’m not?’”

But not all of the band’s tracks are disparaging—the bass-led “Crooked Tooth” is a heartfelt love song Rane wrote for his boyfriend. “In a more general sense it’s about loving someone for their flaws,” he says. “Not caring about standards of beauty. It’s about body positivity. We both have kind of janky teeth, because neither of us had braces.”

Ultimately, though, it’s vital to Little Junior that they help create a space for all music fans, regardless of background or identity. “I think it’s important to have a lot of different viewpoints in music,” says Rane. “I think it’s important we can bring a viewpoint that people who aren’t just like straight people can identify with.

“I think it’s important to have more queer voices [in music],” he continues. “I don’t think being queer really influences my songwriting. Sometimes I’ll be singing about romantic interests that’ll happen to be a dude. But having that out in the world is good because there’s a lack of it.” - By Rachel Brodsky
Venue Information:
The Ballroom at The Outer Space
295 Treadwell Street
Building G
Hamden, CT, 06514