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Saturday, September 17 • 7:45pm - 8:15pm
Trouble Books

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After listening to Trouble Book's dreamily lovely, lushly textured ambient electronica where their influence might really come from: side two of the Beach Boys' 1968 album, Friends, and side two of their 1970 one, Sunflower. Certainly the disconcertingly banal lyrics in Trouble Books songs about, say, spending a day at home or taking a walk through their neighbourhood seem to take their cue from Busy Doin' Nothin', that infamous ditty from the aforementioned Friends which comprised a bossa nova shuffle over which composer Brian Wilson sang directions to his Bel Air mansion. And much of their music has a similar queasily sumptuous synth sound to All I Wanna Do, a little-known but absurdly underrated track that Wilson co-wrote with cousin Mike Love, at the height of his obsession with transcendental meditation, for Sunflower.

In the same way that Wilson was, after the traumatic Smile period, seeking solace in the past, trying to recapture the innocent joy of the nascent Beach Boys, Trouble Books creates drowsy, hazy songs on a budget that sound like classic radio-pop heard while half-asleep at night or half-awake in the morning. All shaky amateur vocals (courtesy of married couple Keith F and Linda L), tape hiss and FX-laden 'tronics over brief spurts of sublime melody, Trouble Books, like everyone from Ariel Pink to Washed Out, make you think of an alternate-reality Brian Wilson who, instead of the most commercially successful American songwriter of his generation, became a minor, misunderstood cult artist making crackly, cheapo synth ditties in his bedroom.

Trouble Books is heavily involved in Bark and Hiss, a label and unofficial collective, much like Elephant 6, based around their hometown of Akron, Ohio. DIY to the core, the trio even create sleeves for their releases by screen-printing and spray-painting on the back of old junk-store records, and including hand-stitched books of artwork with each one.


Saturday September 17, 2011 7:45pm - 8:15pm EDT
Scene Stage