cheen

by lespecial

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  • cheen
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    The New York and Boston-based rock power trio fearlessly pursue the synthesis of the musical idioms that inspire them, veering from hip-hop to metal, prog to house, pensive indie-rock to apocalyptic dub... and yet somehow reflect a unified musical vision.

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about

lespecial carves their own path in contemporary rock music with the release of their second album, cheen, on October 31, 2017. Pole vaulting over traditional genres, cheen is a snapshot of a band finding a remarkable creative stride, fearless in their pursuit of a synthesis of the diverse musical idioms that have inspired them as listeners and artists.
These three childhood friends from Connecticut—now based in Boston and New York—play off of a lifetime of shared experience in their writing and performance. In a power trio, it's essential that each of the players can utterly captivate you at any given time. Each individual has a lot of weight to carry and is only as strong as the weakest link. In the studio, as on stage, it seems at first blush that Jon Grusauskas—delivering lyrics that call for your attention and seamlessly moving from guitar to keys to samples—is handling the entire upper end of the spectrum… until you consider how broad the melodic embrace of rhythmatist Rory Dolan and low end wizard Luke Bemand. Injecting splashes of color and wicked chops into their heavy groove foundations or driving assaults, this dynamic battery simultaneously eases and propels lespecial through the fractious changes of cheen’s mood and tempo.
In a traditional sense, cheen is a risky album: it asks the listener to suspend a categorical approach and dig into their own eclectic unconsciousness, to adapt a phrase, and appreciate the flow of the record from start to finish, as it moves guided by an unseen plan. If there is an underlying thematic structure, it is one that is anchored—musically and lyrically—by horror flicks, 1980s video games and lespecial’s indictment of the current cultural state of affairs. Not overtly political, angry or morose, by any means, cheen seems to observe the zeitgeist and respond to it in songs like “Stolen Land”, “American Apocalypse” and “Sound That We Do”, the last of which features the celebrated Bay Area hip hop wordsmith Zion I. Meanwhile, the band winks at Mario Brothers in the J Dilla inspired “Donut Ghost House” tracks that bookend the album. In between can be heard pensive indie rock that evokes Flaming Lips and Radiohead, down-tempo apocalyptic dub trances tinged with hints of Tool, polyrhythmic technicality a la Belew-era King Crimson and a penchant for all things Nine Inch Nails. This from a band that released an exclusive single through The Untz—one of the premier outlets for “EDM” producers—a month before announcing cheen, then did an interview with a metal mag a week later, and that can get weirdly funky with a nod to Primus. To further underscore the broad net they cast, lespecial is rounding out 2017 with a Halloween weekend opener for Disco Biscuits and December dates with Dopapod.
lespecial’s willingness to take this risk of presenting an album full of flavors and feels is a reflection of the respect they have for their fans, present and future: they simply don't underestimate the listener, and that itself is refreshing, bringing about comparisons to The Clash, who destroyed every boundary they came across, working reggae, dub, funk and folk ballads into the socially and politically relevant punk rock they had come to personify. Here at another turning point in music and culture, lespecial has taken a huge step towards that goal of synthesizing their own varied and divergent influences, regardless of the seeming incongruity of the elements, and captured a snapshot of their generation, their cultural climate, and what that all sounds like...

credits

released October 31, 2017

All music written & performed by lespecial
Jonny G.- guitar, vocals, sampler, synth, mellotron, mandolin
Rory Dolan- drums, percussion, sampler
Luke Bemand- bass, synth, vocals on track 8
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Engineered by Chris Bittner at Applehead Studios (Woodstock, NY)
Mastered by Chris Athens at Chris Athens Mastering (Austin, TX)
Album art by Feather Vansvik (Bovallstrand, Sweden)
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© 2017 lespecial. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

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lespecial Millerton, New York

lespecial carve their own sonic path in modern music, creating their signature blend of “heavy future groove”. The power trio’s fresh synthesis of varied and divergent influences doesn’t underestimate the listener, reflecting a post-modern cultural climate in which fans have space on their aural palette for J Dilla, Radiohead, King Crimson and Fela Kuti. ... more

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Track Name: Onlookers
an opiate totem, in city center
the villagers lined up, look what they've done to us
scripted pre-planned, engineered and contrived
why can't they see puppet strings in the sky

feels like lemmings raining all around
build it they will come and give it legs
make it real now, read all about
it's written, and so it is

so glaringly obvious where does the money end up
pavement petroleum the beast is now belly up
shifting the gears of popular thought
easy to sway with the studies they've bought
scripted pre-planned, engineered and contrived
they know how you work from they data they mined
rumbling diesel blackens the sky
the townsfolk are lapping up every headline

feels like lemmings raining all around
build it they will come and give it legs
make it real now, read all about
it's written, and so it is
Track Name: Gallows Hill
the locals showing signs
of parasites inside
the spirochetes get in
they burrow to his spine

ganglia make host
to weapons tests gone wrong
we trust you'll keep this quiet
its larger than ourselves

swaying side to side
on gallows hill where vultures fly
the locals showing signs
of parasites inside

we didn't mean for this
everybody has their price
so take this gift from us
be quiet or be erased

joints have atropheed
the doctors at a loss
we didn't mean for this
everybody has their cost

our advertisers feel
your comments in poor taste
so take this gift from us
be quiet or be erased
Track Name: Stolen Land
Where will we go when they come?
Fresh water seems like a nice start.
Here now we sit on stolen land.
Searching for something to do with our hands.

We push our bits of matter around
Drag a stick through the dirt making lines in the ground.
Here now we dance on stolen land
Confused and uprooted not much of a plan

Who, who are you?
Your design, does not align.

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