with Gurr and Lung


The BishopBloomingtonIN
Ages 18+
Doors - 8pm Show - 9pm

What is at stake in the seduction of Kansas? The question rattles across the second LP from Washington, D.C. rock iconoclasts Priests: The Seduction of Kansas. Seduction evokes pleasure, sex—but it can become propaganda, a tactic of manipulation, a ploy in the politics of persuasion. Kansas, meanwhile, is a compass. As journalist Thomas Frank explored in 2004’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?, the ideological sway of Kansas has often predicted the direction in which the U.S. will move—whether leaning socialist in the 1800s or going staunchly conservative in the 1980s. “There’s something sinister about the idea of seducing a whole state,” says drummer Daniele Daniele. “You’re clearly up to something. Why would you do it?” The title—like Priests—is a moving target, probing questions about the realities and mythologies of America in 2019 without giving in to easy answers.

Entering their eighth year as a band, Priests—Daniele, vocalist Katie Alice Greer, and guitarist G.L. Jaguar—remain an inspired anomaly in modern music. A band on its own label, Sister Polygon Records—jolting the greater music world with early releases by Downtown Boys, Snail Mail, Sneaks, and Gauche—they are living proof that it is still possible to work on one’s own terms, to collectively cultivate one’s own world. Bred in punk, Priests play rock’n’roll that is as intellectually sharp as it is focused on pop’s thrilling pleasure centers, that is topical without sloganeering. The high-wire physicality of their live shows, the boldness of their Barbara Kruger-invoking visual statements, their commitment to cultural, political, and aesthetic critique—it’s all made Priests one of the most exciting bands of their generation, subversive in a literal sense, doing things you would not expect.

Priests’ 2017 debut LP Nothing Feels Natural was heralded as a modern classic of “post-punk”—but Priests feels urgently present. If Nothing Feels Natural captured the reach and conviction of a band pushing beyond itself, willing itself into existence on its own adventurous terms, then Kansas stands boldly in the self-possessed space it carved. Its 10 pop songs are like short stories told from uncanny perspectives, full of fire and camp, meditating on anger, U.S. violence, and the fury of feeling tokenized. They make up Priests’ most immediate and musically cohesive record, a bracing leap forward in a catalog full of them.

The path was not easy. Following the amicable departure of bassist Taylor Mulitz (now leading Flasher), Priests was faced with a challenge not unlike “sawing off the fourth leg of a chair, and rebuilding it to balance on three.” The challenge was difficult, something not unexpected for an egalitarian group of strong personalities. They had to rethink the interlocking dynamic of their band. “It’s almost like the version of Priests that made Nothing Feels Natural really died; we didn’t have time to grieve about that and also had to build a Frankenstein’s monster of a new version of Priests,” Greer says. The uncertainty brought a kind of freedom.

Priests enlisted two primary collaborators in writing, arranging, and recording The Seduction of Kansas. After playing cello, mellotron, and lap steel on Nothing Feels Natural, multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin (Mellow Diamond, Marissa Nadler) returned to breathe air into Priests’ demos, serving as primary bassist and a fourth songwriting collaborator on The Seduction of Kansas. The band also found a kindred spirit in producer John Congleton (Angel Olsen, St. Vincent), recording for two weeks at his Elmwood Studio in Dallas. It marked the band’s first time opening up their creative work to collaborate with someone outside of their DC-based community—a decidedly less hermetic approach. Priests found a third collaborator in bassist Alexandra Tyson, who has also joined the touring band. The songwriting process found the group once again analyzing the textures and scopes of albums as aggressive as they are introspective, like Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, Portishead’s Third, and Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral.

Greer remains one of rock’s most evocative lyricists. The Seduction of Kansas stitches images of USA lore—Superman and Dorothy, cowboys and Hollywood, politicians and news anchors, Pizza Hut, White Castle, Applebees, Dollar Tree, The Last Picture Show, the Koch Brothers, airplanes, cornfields, the Macy’s Day Parade, strip mall—in vivid, novelistic detail. “I am fascinated with myth-making,” Greer says of her lyrics, mentioning a pointed interest in “the manufactured mythology of Americanism,” in the stories—true, false, erased, exaggerated—our elected leaders and society tell us, the ways we “communicate our values and our national sense of self.” With greater poetic license, a bit more surrealism, and their biggest hooks yet, Priests hope to “seduce the listener closer.”

With their guitar-heavy music, Gurr embody the West Coast sound, with comparisons being drawn to the likes of Surfer Blood and Best Coast. This sound is undoubtedly a remnant of Casablanca’s time studying abroad at UC Santa Barbara. To date, they’ve toured alongside Jimmy Eat World, been booked for SXSW and been rated as one of ten newcomer acts to watch out for at 2016’s Reeperbahn Festival. Their debut album In My Head, released on Duchess Box, was received with great fanfare, and the duo are quickly becoming the darlings of German media.

Incongruently pacing the world between rock ‘n’ roll and dream pop, In My Head portrays an earnestness that betrays their upbeat candour, showing multi-tiered song-writing aptitude that relates to a wider audience. “I make out with you and you don’t care, well that’s funny, cuz actually I just wanna be your friend,” sings Casablanca, as the guitars fuzz and scream in the background. There’s a deeper core to this upbeat guitar pop, and much more to this gurrcore act than initially meets the eye. And as for the name, “it’s the sound German people make when imitating pigeons,” they stated in an interview with Le Sigh, “and since Laura is very afraid of birds, we thought it was a good paradox and word pun.”

Lung is a two-piece rock band comprised of Kate Wakefield (electric cello and vocals) and Daisy Caplan (drums). Their sound is dark and commanding, evoking the driving sludge of early grunge/post rock with layered sinister undertones. Since their first performance in April 2016, the duo has played over 400 shows across the US, Canada, and Mexico. In 2017, their initial full-length independent release ‘Bottom of the Barrel’ was met with acclaim from publications such as; New Noise Magazine and The Fire Note. They’re one of Daytrotter’s ‘Top 100 bands for 2018’ and worked the crowd into a frenzy at their SXSW 2018 Official Showcase.

Venue Information:
The Bishop
123 S Walnut
Bloomington, IN, 47404