Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes: New York City’s New Dark Sisterhood

Part II:

These four are indeed forces to be reckoned with both together and apart. Destiny, Tamaryn, Zohra and Anastasia present a complex cross-section of influences and contributors. Currently working on an early 2010 release with her project, Religious to Damn, Zohra brings along a large supporting cast of infamous NYC cohorts, which includes Jim Scavlunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), Peter Mavrogeorgis of the Bellmer Dolls and Josh Strawn of Blacklist.

Tamaryn, who just released a 12” on Troubleman Unlimited Records, incorporates the many talents of Rex John Shelverton of Bellavista and guest appearances by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner and TV on the Radio’s Jaleel Bunton on her first EP, Led Astray, Washed Ashore. The traces of Tamaryn and Zohra’s many contributors may rise and fall moment to moment, but in the most ephemeral of ways. Their love of ‘the female vocalist’ and ‘feminine emoters’ comes across quite clearly in their restrained yet emotionally rich output. A few of the artists Tamaryn is inspired by include Kate Bush, The Cranes and David Bowie, while Zohra lists Kate Bush along with Fairuz and Jacques Brel.

“I could never convey in language what I learn from artists I admire,” Zohra elaborates. “I think I show my appreciation by incorporating how I interpret that energy, that magnetism, into my own style.” And this is ever so evident on her first single, “Falls Down Again.” While Zohra chicly balances French ye ye and garage rock beneath breathy vocals and xylophones that ornament the shadowy eaves of her sweet offering, Tamaryn’s debut EP takes us on an organic journey through tribal post-punk rhythms and minimal seaside elegies that invoke slumbering sirens of times past.

Destiny and Anastasia’s bands are just as different as the way they each approach the creative process. For Destiny, her inner moods are always a driving force in her work. “My music evolves as my character does. It is difficult for me to write anything that strays from how I feel or what I am consumed with.” Anastasia is the polar opposite. She looks to “art, visuals and articles” when writing. “I try not to let inspiration come from an autobiographical place. I want to distill other peoples situations, stories and emotions to simple lines and project them,” she says.

Musically, Destiny’s Shock Cinema embraces a haunted mellow darkness with hints of a 60’s pop sensibility and tough-as-nails indie rock flair. Onstage they’ve enjoyed the input of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s Conrad Keely and are beginning work on EP to be entitled Animal Familiar. The band’s first full-length, Hell & Highwater, was released on Kanine Records last summer.

Anastasia’s Cruel Black Dove recently played the Iceland Airwaves festival after the debut of their self-released mini-LP, Full Powers. Anastasia directed the band’s second kinetic video, "Offer," and is the dynamo that drives the slinky fervor of Cruel Black Dove’s electronic rock. Moody and romantic and at times biting and bleak, her music is brazen and explicitly sensual.

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