WATERS – Tickets – The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA – June 8th, 2017

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NVDES, Fast Friends

Thursday June 8

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm


This event is all ages

When Van Pierszalowski was 16, he’d typically come home after a long school day, sit impatiently in his room, a bit disoriented, restless and claustrophobic. He grew up in the small town of Cambria on the central coast of California. He spent his summers on his dad's fishing boat on Kodiak, Alaska. He did his time in the Bay Area and spent a chunk of his adult life living in Oslo, Norway. And while the specific circumstances may have changed for the creative mastermind behind the fiery California rock crew, Waters, the same anxieties from high school have always persisted. “All these years later, and it's basically the same shit, just in new forms,” he notes. “Those feelings of restlessness don't go away. I'm feeling them right now. They only stem from new sources. You get to this point where you realize you just have to sloppily march in the mud towards wherever you’re going.”

It’s this hard-won wisdom and a persistent drive forward that informs the way Pierszalowski moves through life and what also served as principal inspiration for his band’s latest LP. In many ways the singer sees Something More!, the band’s lyrically astute, pummeling third album, due on May 5 via BMG/Vagrant, as both a gut-punch and a wake-up call to his younger self. “I wanted to make a record that was communicating with my teenager self, as if to say "It's always gonna be the same shit just in slightly different contexts. And the only thing you can do is keep fumbling through it all and realize that all those fuck-ups are gonna be what actually saves you." I wanted to make a mixtape, scribble notes all over the paper sleeve, get into the DeLorean, find high-school Van, and say "LISTEN TO THIS."” With that concept in mind, the band wrapped the record in some influences that the awkward teenage version of Van could listen to. Where "Stand By You" echoes The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony", "Hypocritical" wears the heavy influence of the Cars well and "You Don't Know What You Want" sounds like a blend of early Beck and early Strokes. "I wanted these influences to be obvious. But I also wanted everything to sound like Waters. To emphatically be Waters.”

To that end, the bulk of the songs that comprise Something More! speak to feelings of restlessness and being alone, as well as having uber-intense issues with lovers, friends and family. But, as Pierszalowski says in explaining how in spite of this the album contains some of the most raucous, hook-driven songs of the band’s career, “These songs are pop songs. They sound fun on the surface. But they are dark songs in disguise.”

This dichotomy — the light and the dark, the serious and the fun — lies at the heart of Something More!, Waters’ most developed, contemplated and undoubtedly mature album yet. Written and recorded over the past year in LA, following big-time touring runs behind 2015’s What’s Real with the likes of Weezer, Tegan and Sara, and Matt and Kim, the album came together after the five-piece band returned home and were forced to confront the day-to-day realities of everyday life. “We all started feeling so anxious and impatient in some ways,” Pierszalowski explains. “Not just about coming home and crashing hard but just in terms of our overall perspective on our lives and the world.” The record, he notes, “was a direct response to this mindset. And really about the consistent drive to find more meaning in our lives.”

Perhaps no song better articulates the seeking ethos of the album than its lead single and opening track “Hiccups,” all chant-along vocals, adolescent angst and rowdy riffs, finds Pierszalowski bellowing “I ain’t got no regrets…all my fuck-ups, all my hiccups, only brought me to you.” “I wanted to express that the fuck-ups and the mistakes are a necessary part of the struggle to figure shit out. Don't beat yourself up about it so damn much,” he says of the Pinkerton-inspired cut. Likewise, on band-favorite “Modern Dilemma,” over 80s synths and full-throttle drums, the singer contemplates what he calls “the complexities and confusion of what it means to be a young person in America in 2017.” “Do we vote or do we roll up a pinner?” he sings with snarky aplomb at the song’s chorus. And on “What’s the Point?” Zeppelin drums and buzzsaw guitars soundtrack the singer’s striving and suffering for the larger meaning in one’s life. “It’s all a response to a certain disillusionment with the status quo,” Pierszalowski explains.

For Waters, who broke out with their 2015 release What’s Real, sonic diversity on the album was of equally paramount concern. “It felt incredibly liberating to work on a record with no preconceptions of what it “should” sound like.. We wanted to bring each song to a place where it felt like a song we could relate to and dance to when we were 16 and still relate to now.”

“I wanted to make an album full of singles. Not in a contrived, made-for-radio kind of way. But in a way where each song stands on its own, puts its own flag in the sand, and doesn't give too much of a fuck about who its neighbors are. Because life is messy and fucked up a lot of the time in a lot of different ways. And we made a record that hopefully reflects that.”

Something More! marks the first time Pierszalowski truly felt part of something bigger than himself in a musical context. Whereas in the past he wrote the near entirety of Waters’ material, and then subsequently recruited musicians to flesh it out in the studio and on the road, he now says the four musicians who joined him on the road over the past few years are not only full-time band members but practically family. “There is something really special about the five of us,” he says of the cohesive creative unit, which includes guitarist Brian DaMert, bassist Greg Sellin, keyboardist Sara DaMert and drummer Andrew Wales. “We are all so different in so many ways. But as opposed to other bands I’ve been in where it feels like friends playing music together, this feels more like a really eccentric and bizarre family in the very best way.”

Despite noting that each album he makes feels like it might be his last, Pierszalowski says he knows at his core he’ll always be creating. “I have to make music. I have to make records. I have to tour until I absolutely can’t do it anymore.” The uneasiness that inspired Something More! lives on.
NVDES is a creative collective curated, produced and co-performed by Josh Ocean. The project's recurring symbol, a cantaloupe, embodies its spirit of self-discovery, free experimentation, and an unrestrained indulgence in the juicy, ripe fruit of pop music. NVDES' early singles "Unforgettable", "Fela" and "Don't Fvck Your Neighbor" are compulsive summery tracks, brimming with the energy of trophouse and punk, campfire folk and hyphy rap, '50s surf and '90s alternative. The cornucopia of voices from Ocean and his friends are a kaleidoscope of sounds, both acoustic and digital, spinning through traditional song forms and electronic collage. The music encourages disrobing, exposing bare skin to the sun, flailing limbs, swaying hips, and feeling the unadulterated vibes of NVDITY.