The Dream Syndicate at Polaris Hall – Tickets – Polaris Hall – Portland, OR – December 13th, 2019

The Dream Syndicate at Polaris Hall
Iconic LA psychedelic/alt-rock vets with a driving, kaleidoscopic sound

The Dream Syndicate at Polaris Hall

Eyelids

$25.00 - $30.00
Ages 21+
Eyelids

DOORS 7PM / SHOW 8PM

$25 ADV / $30 DOS

THIS EVENT IS 21+

VALID U.S. ID OR PASSPORT REQUIRED FOR ENTRY

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The Dream Syndicate

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Los Angeles’s The Dream Syndicate is thrilled to announce These Times, their second album of new music since their 2012 reunion nearly thirty years after they first influenced California’s Paisely Underground scene. Watch mysterious creatures move through the psychedelic “Black Light” in the album’s first new song and video HERE.

“When I was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with Donuts by J-Dilla,” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a DJ, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. I was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though I was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same’. You might not automatically put The Dream Syndicate and J-Dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.”

If 2017’s How Did I Find Myself Here was a 10 pm record, all swagger and cathartic explosion, then These Times is the 2 am sibling, moodier and more mercurial with the band acting as DJs of their own overnight radio station as the listener drifts off into dreams and wonders the next morning if any of it was real.

The Dream Syndicate recorded These Times once again at Montrose Studios in Richmond, Virginia. Co-produced by John Agnello (Phosphorescent, Waxahatchee, Hold Steady, Dinosaur Jr.), Wynn wrote all of the song’s lyrics in the studio after the band finished tracking, so that the words would be dictated by the sound rather than the other way around. This process contributed to the urgency of the album’s title.

“These Times. That’s it. It is all we’re talking about, all we’re thinking about. There is no avoiding the existential panic of a world that’s hurtling somewhere quickly, evolving, and shifting course by the hour. It seems like a lie to not address or reflect the things that we can’t stop thinking about—the whole world’s watching indeed. The lyrics are just a mirror of the dread, panic, mania, speculation, melancholy and ultimately shrugging abandonment that just might follow. It’s just all about where we are.”

The Dream Syndicate has a long and storied history. But where are they right now? They’re here. Right here. In These Times.

Eyelids

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For years, Moen and Slusarenko played and wrote in the company of some of the most legendary songwriters of indie rock including Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices), Stephen Malkmus (Pavement/Jicks), Coli n Meloy (The Decemberists) and Elliott Smith. In 2014 they decided that it was time to finally start writing and recording together, adding the talents of guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Drews (Sunset Valley, Damien Jurado). The end result was their thirteen song debut album, 854, which gained positive notes from A/V Club, Brooklyn Vegan, BBC6 Radio and MOJO magazine. NPR called them “Portland’s best kept secret”.

That secret was short lived. Over the course of the next two-and-a-half years, the band has issued recordings at a prolific clip: They’ve released five 7”s and a 12” EP (which was labeled “EP/single of the year” by legendary East Coast freeform radio station WFMU ). They toured in the States and overseas, as headliners and as openers for Drive-By Truckers & The Charlatans UK (after hearing 854 Charlatans leader Tim Burgess asked to release the album overseas via his O Genesis label).

“With the first album we quickly realized that we were not just a studio project but a band, that wanted to play these songs live,” Slusarenko says. Eyelids wasted no time enlisting Paul Pulvirenti (No. 2, Elliott Smith) and Jim Talstra (The Minus 5, Dharma Bums) as their rhythm section. The band’s live action led directly to the band’s new album, or. “We wanted to make the second album with all five of us from the beginning and it was pretty exciting to see that come to full bloom,” Slusarenko says.

With or, the band’s second full-length LP, Eyelids has created their most emotional record yet. Produced by Peter Buck of R.E.M. and mixed by Thom Monahan (Peter, Bjorn and John, Devandra Banhart, Fruit Bats), or is liberally sprinkled with the hooks, melodies, and charming wordplay that make a certain kind of rock & roll fan fall madly in love with an LP. It’s all evident in the opening song, “Slow It Goes” — is that a play on Vonnegut or Nick Lowe? Somehow both feel appropriate — the kind of classic easily slotted between Superchunk and the Raspberries on a mixtape, locked and loaded with a perfectly winsome expression of angst: “She says, ‘If I can keep from sighing, why can’t you?’” From there, the sequence dives deeper and deeper into Slusarenko and Moen’s love of underground pop: listen to those sparkling “Starry Eyes”-worthy guitars on “Falling Eyes,” the psychedelic swirl of “My Caved In Mind,” and the Dream Syndicate mysticism of “Tell Me You Know.”

Or marks the first time of having an outside producer and having Peter Buck in that role proved a steady presence, along with his encyclopedic rock know-how. “Peter brings a certain calm to the studio at an Eyelids session,” Moen says. “I think he helps us get the best out of ourselves in a timely way, as he doesn’t like belaboring a point.”

Joined by guests Jay Gonzales (Drive-By Truckers), Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven) and Buck himself, the record demonstrates what happens when a group of old friends get into a room and truly collaborate. With friendships stretching back to their teens, Slusarenko and Moen bring out the best in each other as writers, resulting in a creative tension between their respective lyrical outlooks (dark/sunny). With or, collaboration was key. Take for instance the song “Moony,” which began as a sketch by Slusarenko. “It had a kind of pretty looping cyclical feel,” he says, but Moen and Drews began adding Marquee Moon-style guitars on the spot, and the rhythm section of Pulvirenti and Talstra hit on a Black Sea-era XTC beat. Suddenly, it became a whole new beast. “It was a new language for the band,” Slusarenko says. “We’re all pretty different stylistically, so it’s always cool to see where we push and pull each other.”

Or is the sound of a band realizing its potential, of old friends connecting creatively and sonically, creating exuberant, nuanced, pop music.

That secret was short lived. Over the course of the next two-and-a-half years, the band has issued recordings at a prolific clip: they’ve released five 7”s and a 12” EP (which was labeled “EP/single of the year” by legendary East Coast freeform radio station WFMU). Known for their intense live shows, they toured in the States and overseas, as headliners and as openers for Drive-By Truckers & The Charlatans UK (after hearing 854 Charlatans leader Tim Burgess asked to release the album overseas via his O Genesis label).

With or, the band’s second full-length LP, Eyelids has created their most emotional record yet. Produced by Peter Buck of R.E.M. and mixed by Thom Monahan (Peter, Bjorn and John, Devandra Banhart, Fruit Bats), or is liberally sprinkled with the hooks, melodies, and charming wordplay that make a certain kind of rock & roll fan fall madly in love with an LP. It’s all evident in the opening song, “Slow It Goes” — is that a play on Vonnegut or Nick Lowe? Somehow both feel appropriate — the kind of classic easily slotted between Superchunk and the Raspberries on a mixtape, locked and loaded with a perfectly winsome expression of angst: “She says, ‘If I can keep from sighing, why can’t you?’”

From there, the sequence dives deeper and deeper into Slusarenko and Moen’s love of underground pop: listen to those sparkling “Starry Eyes” - worthy guitars on “Falling Eyes,” the psychedelic swirl of “My Caved In Mind,” and the Dream Syndicate mysticism of “Tell Me You Know.” or is the sound of a band realizing its potential, of old friends connecting creatively and sonically, creating exuberant, nuanced, pop music.