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Indie Quartet sees the light in Brooklyn

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With so much happening in New York, most bands find inspiration by simply walking down the street. But the city wasn’t enough for Brooklyn-based Daylight’s For the Birds. They went to the movies. “We wanted to recreate what our favorite films were but through music,” said Brad Conroy, Daylight’s For the Birds drummer. On Trouble Everywhere, the band’s recent debut album, Daylight’s For the Birds references the works of Asian directors like Akira Kurosawa, Wong Kar-Wai and Yasujiro Ozu. Some songs are even named for specific films – “Bad Sleep Well” takes its title from Kurosawa’s epic of greed in post-war Japan. Phillip Wann and Jay Giampietro started writing the songs that make up the album in the summer of 2005, after the dissolution of Wann’s acclaimed band, On!Air!Library! They soon began recording with a rotating group of musicians which included Conroy, who had known Wann since 2001. An early version of the band included Wann’s former On!Air!Library! co-conspirator Claudia Deheza contributing vocals and lyrics to many of the songs, including one standout track, the seven-minute “Early Summer.” Wann and Giampietro wrote the music to the song with Ozu’s 1951 film of the same name in mind. It centers on a young Japanese woman pressured to marry an older man, but when they brought the tune to Deheza for lyrics, they kept that piece of information to themselves. “Claudia wrote words for it not ever seeing the film,” Conroy said. “And it turns out her lyrics were pretty exactly what the film was about. [Wann and Giampietro] didn’t even mention that’s how they wrote the song. It was kind of freaky.” Daylight’s for the Birds would finally coalesce around Wann, Giampietro, Conroy, vocalist Amanda Garrett and bass player Lukas Alpert. “It was one of those things where we were out one night, hanging out,” Conroy said, as he recounts the conversation that led to his joining the fledgling group. “‘What are you doing now?’ ‘I’m doing this. What are you doing?’ And that’s how it all came together.” The band took its name from Wann and Giampietro’s marathon writing sessions. “When Phillip and Jay started sketching out ideas for songs,” Conroy said, “they would stay up until four or five in the morning at Phillip’s apartment. So… Daylight’s For the Birds.” Now, though, the group writes songs together in their Williamsburg rehearsal space. “It’s always a collective effort,” Conroy said. Reviewers have compared the band’s hypnotic sound to English bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive, purveyors of a genre known as “shoegaze.” It’s a style characterized by being atmospheric, melodic and dreamy. And although the bands sound, all swirling guitars and layered atmospherics, bear the hallmarks of the genre, Conroy disputes the shoegaze label. “We all love My Bloody Valentine,” Conroy said, “but we never set out to be that specific in our sound when we started. It’s not that we don’t embrace it. There’s a little more to [our music] than that.” “We wanted to be melodic and dreamy but have some dissonance in there,” Conroy continued. “Basically where there were pretty things that happened but there was this underlying layer of something’s not quite right. That’s why the record’s called Trouble Everywhere.” Listeners can judge for themselves on January 26, when the band plays Park Slope’s Union Hall. The venue is only a short walk from Conroy’s Park Slope apartment. Conroy recently moved to the neighborhood from Windsor Terrace. “There’s a cool neighborhood vibe,” he said of Park Slope, “having this small but big kind of feel.” It also helps that Conroy has friends in the area. “I can walk down the street and hang with my buddy who bartends at the Blue Ribbon,” he said. Union Hall holds around 100 people, so the show should be an intimate experience for both listener and band. “It’s like you’re playing in someone’s basement for a house party,” Conroy said of the venue. “You’ll be right up in the band’s face and the band will be right up in your face.” Daylight’s For the Birds will play January 26 at Union Hall, 702 Union Street at Fifth Avenue. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door or in advance through Ticket Web. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, call (718) 638-4400.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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