Posts Tagged ‘Do Hollywood’

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The Lemon Twigs seem to be a band whose bodies are in 2017 but their hearts and minds seem happiest in the past. BrianandMichel D’Addario lead the group and are joined by Danny Ayala (keyboard) and Megan Zeankowski (bass). In every feature and article written about The Lemon Twigs there is that consensus: they are certainly a little odd. Modern music, and music in past years, seems too safe, sanitised and predictable in many ways. The introduction of the quirky and quixotic band, a duo in the studio but band when playing live, is a breath of fresh air to the Green Room of music – a band that evoke blissful memories and extract a deep-down sensual sigh from the listener. Comparisons have been made with the band and two legendary names: The Beatles and Beach Boys.

The harmonies and 1960s Pop magic of the Liverpool legends and sun-kissed harmonies of Brian Wilson and co. are staples The Lemon Twigs employ – they update the music of both and provide their distinct spin on events.

Photographs of the brothers D’Addario, in some, evoke cynicism and strange remarks. One sees shots of them and gets a combination of hipster-gone-wrong and Billie-Ray-Cyrus-fed-through-a-blender-of last-minute-shopping-mall-clothes-shopping – the unmistakable whiff of mullet into the agenda. The boys’ talent is astonishing, though: considering they are still in their teens it makes their mature, accomplished and astonishingly ambitious music all the more unlikely and unparalleled. In a music world where similar-aged musicians, for the most part, write of indiscretions, love lives and anxieties: The Lemon Twigs are a much more sophisticated, glass-half-full kind of proposition.

All of these components go into the band’s music: you cannot hear one of their songs and be uninvolved or not register any reaction. The D’Addarios dad released some albums in the late-1970s and his musical talent, throw in the fact he was a multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire, has been passed onto his sons – a genetic gift that beats diabetes or a receding hairline. The debut album from The Lemon Twigs, “Do Hollywood”, was met with critical acclaim with many saying the same thing: not only is there nobody out there like The Lemon Twigs but the sheer wonder, intensity and talent or display is audacious. Their best work may be ahead of them but there are not many debuts that are as transfixing, beguiling and nuanced as their debut release “Do Hollywood”. I have mentioned The Lemon Twigs being a ‘band’ but they are more a duo, to be honest. Most of the instrumental chores were handled by the D’AddariosBrian plays, among other instruments, drums, guitar horns; strings and keys whilst Michael – such a completely amateur dunce! – ‘only’ plays guitar, bass; keys and drums. Both of the boys took up performance at school – Brian at elementary school; Michael from the age of thirteen . – and that all goes into The Lemon Twigs’ debut. There is never any bragging or ego-trip on display: every song is lovingly-crafted and possessed of soul and attention. If some albums tracks recall other acts – The Kinks on Those Days Is Coming Soon and Pink Floyd on Haroomata – the band’s most-famous duo of songs bring in the McCartney – Beach Boys dichotomy – the former’s Wings incarnation of I Wanna Prove to You and Beach Boys’ bliss on These Words.

It is worth noting how their debut album is a homemade, D.I.Y. work that should inspire many upcoming musicians. You do not need a well-stocked, gaudy studio (and all its tinsel and multi-track recorders) to produce something sumptuous, professional and world-class. There is some background chatter and ad-libs which give the L.P. an authenticity and relatable feel. Even if the songs seem born of superhumans and prodigious musicians; the snippets of chatter and tape-hiss brings it right down to Earth. The Lemon Twigs  “Do Hollywood’s” mixed influences – some reviewers brought in names like Ramones and Supertramp – means their music is sumptuous and beautiful one moment; edgy, attitude-laden and spiked when needed. Few other artists can achieve those polemics and make them sound so natural and unforced.

At the time the boys claimed they’re “…just a couple of bozos from Long Island”. The guys have no interest in the city and all its life: where they live, about forty-five minutes outside of New York, is a lot less eventful and exciting than you’d imagine. They are not only brilliant musicians but modest and grounded. The brothers lust after California and its sun, sea and beauty – seemingly much more conducive to their brand of Beach Boys-inspired sounds. One wonders whether the calm and contemplativeness of their N.Y. base have resulted in focus, quiet and calm; allowed them to create the music heard on Do Hollywood. Would California, and all its allure, charm and distractions lead to less inspired and sensational music (something more ordinary and predictable?). The album itself was recorded in California – if its words and origins sit in New York – but the guys had their upbringing and parents’ record collection to thank. Raised on a combination of “the greats”, including The Beatles and Beach Boys, it is small wonder they were bitten by the music bug. As Brian stated:

“It all goes back to that for us. But when we write, we’re not trying to emulate those things – it’s just our idea of what a song should be is based on the principles set in those decades”

Brian’s heroes included Pete Townshend and Procul Harum Brian distills it thus: “It seems that popular music has become simpler over time”

That is a sentiment shared by Michael who claims music of the ‘60s and ‘70s was more complex and challenging: today’s standards are lower but that, as stated, is not always a bad thing. Michael went out to reason modern classics like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, in addition to its quality and political themes, stand out because the music around it is so simple and, compared with previous decades, unsophisticated. That might raise eyebrows with some but it is hard to argue against that assumption.

The Lemon Twigs, therefore, are keen to bring music forward by bringing in the past. Whether it is reverse-evolution – or tribute to their heroes – you just know the kind of music that was playing around the time Do Hollywood was written.

The demand is out there and extends across three continents. Few bands manage to accrue that kind of adulation and popularity after their debut album. To some, The Lemon Twigs are an oddity of Ziggy Stardust proportions; to others, they are an acquired taste. For those who listen carefully and share common bonds – the love of legendary harmony-makers, Beach Boys and the peerless Pop instancy of The Beatles – you find so much to fall in love with. One blast of These Words’ chorus or I Wanna Prove to You and its man-from-another-era peculiarity and you are hooked and helpless.

What I do know is the brilliant mind;s of Brian and Michel D’Addario seem perfect for journalistic craniology . It may seem condescending to say such a thing but the Americans are in a league of their own: a luxuriant, heart-warming sound that will see The Lemon Twigs

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Brothers of Destruction

The Lemon Twigs album “Brothers of Destruction”, is a six-track EP of previously unreleased material.

Released 22nd September, Brothers of Destruction was written and recorded by the D’Addario brothers – Brian (20) and Michael (18) – on their 8-track at home in New York during 2015, not long after recording their debut album, Do Hollywood.  The half dozen songs, most of which already feature in The Lemon Twigs’ searing live shows, will be made available digitally and as a 12” vinyl.

“In the beginning of 2015 we had songs left over from the Do Hollywood sessions, so we decided to record them at home in New York on our 8-track.  Many of you will recognize some of the songs from our live shows.  They’ve changed a lot over the past year, but these are the original versions.  We consider the EP the last chapter of the Do Hollywood era of our group. So enjoy!”

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“At the beginning of 2015 we had songs left over from the “Do Hollywood” sessions, so we decided to record them at home in New York on our 8 track. The 6 songs make up a new EP, “Brothers of Destruction.” Many of you will recognize some of the songs from our live shows. They’ve changed a lot over the past year, but these are the original versions. We consider the EP the last chapter of the “Do Hollywood” era of our group. So enjoy!” – The Do Hollywood

‘Why Didn’t You Say That’ by The Lemon Twigs, from the ‘Brothers of Destruction’ EP. Released September 22nd on 4AD Records

Do Hollywood

Anyone curious about how two teenage former child actors from Long Island came up with the idea of sounding just like Todd Rundgren in 1972 is advised to visit YouTube, where Brian and Michael D’Addario’s dad, Ronnie, can be found doing pretty much the same thing a few decades earlier. His sons, it should be said, occupy the ground with rather more dash and flair: “Do Hollywood” is an album that sounds completely unconstrained by any idea of what’s appropriate. So Harromata goes from a harpsichord-led ballad intro into a berserk fairground carousel break; “A Great Snake” lasts nearly seven minutes, squiggly synths, guitar solos, lounge music coda and all. Thankfully, though, they can write tunes – “These Words” is the missing track from side one of Rundgren’s Something/Anything, with a harmony chorus that expands like a hot air balloon. Do Hollywood is a curiosity, but a pretty glorious one.

It’s entirely APT – almost too good to believe, in fact – that Brian and Michael D’Addario hail from a small, nothing-doing town in Long Island, New York called Hicksville.

The teenage brothers and leaders of The Lemon Twigs are a gloriously off-kilter proposition. Watch them live and you’ll see Michael leaping around the stage as if he’s been possessed by the spirit of a young, madcap Keith Moon. See them on TV and you’ll instantly think you’ve been transported back to the 1970s. Queen, Tom Petty, spandex jumpsuits, vintage synthesizers, The Beatles after the break-up and genuinely great hair all play a sizable part in their DNA. Haircuts aside, how many other indie bands in 2016 would willingly admit to liking any of the above? This is where even The Lemon Twigs must be surprised at their recent trajectory. Within six months they’ve gone from complete unknowns to being hailed as the future of rock ’n’ roll. Which is funny when you think about it – because they sure do sound a lot like the past.

On much of ‘Do Hollywood’, their debut album for 4AD, there’s a lineage that recalls the A-list of North America’s recent cult music heroes (The Garden, Tobias Jesso Jr and Foxygen, whose songsmith Jonathan Rado produced this record). But The Lemon Twigs’ sheer musical knowledge, and willingness to incorporate it into their own sound, means they’re in a different stratosphere altogether. Their greatest talent is their ability to pick the pockets of rock’s dinosaurs without making it seem passé or pastiche. So we get clever, intricate, well- planned and deftly executed songs that recall Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd (‘Haroomata’), Wings (‘I Wanna Prove To You’), The Kinks (‘Those Days Is Comin’ Soon’) and classic, harmonious Beach Boys (‘These Words’). Only rarely does it ever sound trite. It’s thrilling for the most part, as if you’re being given a crash course in classic songwriting by two young know-it-alls.

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Most remarkable is that this album is basically just a demo. Recorded in Rado’s front room, you can hear the hiss of the tape and nonsensical chatter as songs come and go. It feels authentic, like The Lemon Twigs aren’t hiding anything. And it leaves you wide-eyed when you wonder what they might come up with next time around.

The Lemon Twigs experienced a full on breakthrough last year with the release of their debut album Do Hollywood, which was released via 4AD Records.  Led by the teenage duo of brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, the groups success continues to spill over into 2017 with sold out UK tour, the band recently performed in New York for a sold out performance at Bowery Ballroom on February 21.

Considering that the band (which also features Danny Ayala on keys and Megan Zeankowski on bass) are still teenagers, all that they’ve already accomplished in quite an amazing feat (not to mention both brothers were child actors growing up). The album is a wonderful collection of various sounds and influenced from classic rock, giving their own modern spin, with plenty of finesse and energy.

The Lemon Twigs’ Brian and Michael D’Addario grew up in a musical household while also acting in movies and on Broadway. Now, their theatrical, ’60s-inspired pop is getting noticed by everyone from Quest Love to Elton John. Here’s their performance of “How Lucky Am I?” from their album, “Do Hollywood.”

This was felt throughout their recent live performance at Bowery, which began with Brian playing guitar and singing his songs, while Michael holds down the drums (and constantly twirling the sticks between his fingers), and then sees them trading spaces after the beautiful centerpiece ballad “How Lucky Am I?,” where it becomes Michael’s turn to lead the way.

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Long Island brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario recently put out the album “Do Hollywood”, their debut album under the name the Lemon Twigs. They have shared another one video for “I Wanna Prove To You.” The clip finds director Nick Roney exploring the concept of love by bringing the Lemon Twigs to his real-life grandparents’ house in Utah. As it turns out, the brothers get along a little too well with his grandparents. As Roney explains:

The song is about proving your love which is something I can’t really fathom because of how generally self-centered I am. But I figured my grandparents knew something about it because they had been married for 50-years, so their relationship seemed to make an appropriate backdrop for the video. Overall the experience was heartbreaking for me and I never would have imagined that things would have gone south as they did. Now that my wounds have sort of healed, I wish the Lemon Twigs and my grandparents the best and hold no ill-will against them. My aunt recently told me that the adoption process is underway, which I guess could make for a lively Thanksgiving.

The official video for ‘I Wanna Prove To You’ by The Lemon Twigs, directed by Nick Roney.
Taken from new album ‘Do Hollywood’, out now on 4AD Records,