Friday, August 29, 2014

Hopscotch Highlight: Celestial Shore

Celestial Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will perform on
Friday, Sept. 5 and Saturday, Sept. 6 at
Hopscotch Music Festival
You never really realize how stupidly excited for Hopscotch you are until you're only a week away. Thoughts of sore feet, slightly sunburnt necks and sweaty springs between venues become something to look forward to as you frenetically plan out how you'll possibly make it all the way from CAM to Kings and everywhere in between. After perusing the lineup more times than one could ever care to count, it seems like the schedule is finally set in stone (with some obvious room to pop in and out of shows based on the crowd reactions). While it's absurdly exciting to be seeing St. Vincent, Spoon and Mastodon in the middle of our downtown city streets, some of the best parts of the festival is usually from the young upstarts that perform at the gorgeous Fletcher Opera Hall. Last year San Fermin served as one of the absolute highlights of the festival, it reminded me of how beautiful it is when venues and bands perfectly sync. Fletcher is a versatile venue that feels just as comfortable for orchestral baroque pop as it does for spastic, dreamy psych rock like Celestial Shore.

Celestial Shore have been barreling through any expectations of an upstart group of 20-somethings, churning out two full-length albums in a little over a year while earning opening slots with folks like Deerhoof, Ava Luna and Freeman on Friday at Hopscotch. Celestial Shore feels instantly familiar whilst simultaneously being entirely fresh. It's like if The Beach Boys took a dose of bad acid and listened to too much Flaming Lips. There's enough enchanting melodies to keep listeners honed in on the airy vocals while their rhythms and time signatures flip to-and-fro to keep listeners on their toes as well. I spoke with Sam Owens (coincidentally from my hometown of New Bern) about the origins of the band and the blog-buzz they've recently received.

1) When and how did Celestial Shore get started?
We explored the ins and outs of our early 20s together…through music and misadventures. discovered our miscreant tendencies, dropped our responsibilities and found stability in the idea of playing loud music for extended periods of time. we lived in a few different cities, and ended up in the indie swamps of Brooklyn.

2) Did the earliest songs you worked on sound like your current musical output? If not how do you think your sound has evolved throughout the duration of the band?
I'm not sure. To me they sound different. To you they may all be variations on a theme. I feel the quality has improved.

3) When you're writing songs is there an equal musical voice throughout the band regardless of instrument, or does everyone generally stick to their own parts and pieces?
Greg and I switch off singing lead and harmony. max plays drums. We all write things.

4) You got picked up by Hometapes for your first full-length and immediately started to receive a lot of national attention? Did that place any internal pressure on the band or was this the goal from the get-go?
We've always wanted to enjoy some level of success in music. We haven't gotten there yet.

5) Along with that national attention naturally comes the constant reaction from the blog-o-sphere? Do you stay up to date with who's writing what? Do their pieces/reviews have any effect on the way you view or approach your music?
We all pay attention in our own way. we're definitely not above it. it feels good when someone sings your praises, and it feels bad when they pan you. Its impossible not to react. The climate is confusing but amid frustrations I appreciate the opportunity to reach people through the internet.

6) You've had a pretty quick turnover when it comes to album releases, you've already got your second full-length set for release this October? Do you see yourself keeping up with this pace or are you just in a creative spike right now?
I'd like to keep up the pace. It would be fun to challenge the idea of the current album cycle, but I realize its not a marathon. We'll see how it goes.

7) How do you think Enter Ghost sonically and thematically compares to 10x?
Enter Ghost is more realistic. The energy and sounds are more obvious, less oblivious. If 10x was a game of cat and mouse in some dark alley,  Enter Ghost is a psychedelic romp around the east village.

8) You've got a very spastic, yet somehow fluid sound. If you had to choose three bands to describe your sound to a new listener, who would you choose?
During Enter Ghost, I was listening to T.Rex, The Breeders, and Big Star.

Celestial Shore performs at Fletcher Opera Hall at 10:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 5. They'll also be performing at the Trekky/Hometapes Day Party at The Pour House at 1:15 pm on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Hopscotch Recommendations: Freeman, Ava Luna, Krill, Palehound, Landlady and Prince Rama

No comments:

Post a Comment