Azalia Snail’s Neon Resistance With Sissy Clemens And Litronix At Zebulon, Tuesday March 27th 2018
On Tuesday night, Azalia Snail brought her colorful resistance at Zebulon, where she had a release party for her new album Neon Resistance’. ‘We love neon’, she said, and made it clear that neon represented the colors of resistance, and brightness during in these very dark moments of our history. So, with bright tender colors (outfits and lighting) to match her neon idea, she and her husband Dan West played a few of her new songs.
Just accompanied by a few musicians on a keyboard, a bass and a discreet drum, Sissy Clemens opened the show with a minimalist set which made her voice shine. The East Coast-Native, who has studied Jazz and Contemporary music, originally worked with the NY-based trip hop band Wax Poetic, which included for a while Norah Jones, before her big break album. Sissy was performing for the first time ever in LA and her eclectic set of poppy tunes let her high-pitched voice float like a cloud, very high above her songs’ bright hooks and electro soundscapes. There was a soothing and peaceful vibe during her lovely set of tunes, although a few songs were more puzzling, there was one about ‘a spider and an asshole’, which brought an intriguing trip hop atmosphere, while another one had almost a slow-down LCD meets lo-fi Moby feel.
Azalia Snail has certainly a lovely voice while many of her songs installed very strong cinematic effects, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me when I read she has written film scores for several indie features and short films. Her neo to neon psychedelic folk rock is truly genre bending and style blending, and she demonstrates a free-spirited approach to music. One of her first songs was a slow moment of melancholic ecstasy, a neon ecstasy, stretching time with her soothing keyboard/omnichord and a discreet (but great) ambient trumpet in the corner.
Dubbed the ‘Queen of Lo-Fi’ in the ‘90s, she collaborated with many musicians over the years such as Beck or Sebadoh, and survived these difficult times when the music business is not lucrative anymore, but this album is a testimony of her resilience as it is about to stay ‘true to yourself, your vision, and the ones to whom you surround yourself. The resistance, after all, is irresistible.’
‘Celeste (Can you Feel it?)’, the lead track off of the album, had a vibrant and buoyant full orchestration with surf-y to jazzy guitar and a catchy melody exploding like candy fireworks, while the very poppy and vocal-layered ‘Field Rep’ had a psychedelic hypnotic feel, and the slightly Japanese-inspired ‘Cherry Blossom’ was strange and almost disorienting. They also had an anti-birthday song, ‘Every Day is Your Day’, which a bit like the other ones, sounded like a kaleidoscopic collage, the kind of whimsical thing that make you see rainbows, followed by a Tom Petty homage, since they included ‘The Wild One, Forever’ on this neon resistance. If they were joined on stage by Litronix (who closed the night with his own inventive number) most of the music had this trippy sweet vibe built around an organ and just a few other instruments, like ‘Space Heater’ from her well-named ‘Celestial Respect’ EP, which brought back the trumpet, good astral vibrations and space-y distortions from outer space.
Azalia’s partner Dan West also performed a few songs on his own, unleashing his D’animal solo effort, a one-man band and a multi-influenced pop rock number, with a passionate delivery and a psychedelic guitar flirting with jazz. He got loud and was semi-rapping on a song that had all the weirdness and the curious noises of something from Beck’s ‘The Information’. Litronix, also a one-man band, navigated between melancholic guitar chords and ambient organ behind his semi eerie vocals and his unique collection of stuffy dance-y beats, which went crescendo during his set. He was the perfect act to close the night, as his New Age/futuristic music was a real trip, sounding like very busy pop songs which were never made to end, capturing the anxiety of the moment and our instinct for resistance.