Brooklyns wonderfully enigmatic Friend Roulette will release their sophomore LP, I See You. Your Eyes Are Red. on June 2 via Goodnight Records.
SPIN announced the album this week when they premiered the cascading psychedelic track, Stoned Alone saying, “It is re-introducing us to the band’s enigmatic ability to wrap feelings of impending danger in relaxing, mellow psychedelia… ‘Stoned’ blends piercing electric wind elements into the group’s usual orchestral rock repertoire.” Matthew Meade (guitars & vocals) says Stoned Alone is about “the unfortunate process of dying from an overdose,” while Julia Tepper (vocals & violin) adds a hint of optimism. “Its an anthem for anyone who goes to a dark place when they turn inward. The song tells a lonely story about dying alone with a funky bass-line to remind us that everything’s ok.
Friend Roulette hits the road next week for a spring tour that concludes with a 4/20 show at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn. Before they head out the band will perform their first show back from hiatus on Friday, March 20 at Palisades. A full list of tour dates can be found below and you can pre-order a limited edition, band made, hand numbered 180-gram vinyl of I See You. Your Eyes Are Red., here: http://bit.ly/1GrF6NA
Rounded out by John Stanesco, Tlacael Esparza, Kyle Olson, Brighid Greene and Nate Allen, Friend Roulette a violin/bass clarinet/EWI/two-drummer cacophony of sound that effortlessly veers from chamber pop to noisy orchestral experiments has earned comparisons to everyone from Van Dyke Parks to Scott Walker to Aaliyah.
On I See You. Your Eyes Are Red, recorded at Silent Barn in Bushwick, the off-kilter ideas come one after another. Dutch Master is theatrical: Gardens Tiding is almost jazz. Harmonies between Tepper and Meade abound, often at odds with the dissonance behind them.
Then theres You Drank All the Egg Nog, a bizarre Christmas-themed tune thats the closest the band gets to comic relief. Says the guitarist: Its about that guy at the holiday party whos too wasted, sneaking away to smoke alone and obviously depressed about something.
As for the name: The band name was actually a miscommunication between me and Julia, says Meade. But it ended up being kind of a philosophy: people coming and going. Our live show having a rotating line-up. Our sound changing.
One critically acclaimed album (Im Sorry You Hit Your Head), a few EPs and a raucous live show has earned Friend Roulette a dedicated fanbase. Stereogum said the band was bursting with imagination. USA Today noted their glistening orchestral sounds you dont often hear in indie rock.
You can hear the band growing musically on …Red. as well. Credit in part goes to the EWI (eee-wee, or Electric Wind Instrument), the province of band member John Hot Juan Stanesco, who switched from bass clarinet after discovering he was being drowned out by Friend Roulettes twin-drum attack. I was definitely terrified when he started using it, admits Tepper. But its become quite the attraction. It changed the dynamic of our sound.
As the band members gear up for the new album release, theyre planning some unusual accompaniments. Besides a few music videos, theyre thinking of starting a phone advice line. John could give love advice. And I could give bad advice, which is what Im good at, says Tepper.
And, of course, there will be live shows. Friend Roulette has rightly been dubbed a ding dang of a live experience, possibly due to its unpredictability. Sometimes the band is just Julia and Matt; others, its a full group experience with a rotating line-up. We never try to make it sound like on record, says Meade. We try to include surprises: different arrangements dancers, projectors, extra musicians, whatever. We play to the sound and the space.
Adds Tepper: And having two drummers: thats just like bringing a party.
Unpredictable. Fun. Dark. Somehow, Friend Roulette makes seemingly opposites work in unity.
Its fun to enjoy music when it makes you feel a lot of different ways, says Tepper. Whats great about us: its so weird, theres so many different things going on. Youre not sure what to look out for, but you find yourself engrossed.
Friend Roulette Tour Dates
March 20 Brooklyn, NY Palisades
March 28 Blacksburg, VA Rock The Blocks Festival
April 04 Harrisonburg, VA Macrock
April 05 Richmond, VA Gallery 5
April 06 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
April 07 Columbus, OH Carabar
April 08 Rock Island, IL Daytrotter
April 09 Pittsburgh, PA The Shop
April 10 Philadelphia, PA The Petting Zoo
April 11 Washington, DC Babe City
April 12 New York, NY Pianos
April 14 Philadelphia, PA The Barbary
April 15 Washington, DC Milhouse
April 16 Richmond, VA Balliceaux
April 20 Brooklyn, NY Shea Stadium 420
I See You. Your Eyes Are Red. Track List
1 Strange Girl
2 Dutch Master
3 Stoned Alone
4 You Drank All The Egg Nog
5 Gardens Tidings
7 Up In The Air
8 Warm Year
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