January 16, 2015 | doors at 9:00pm
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Triple Ds presents:
Del Venicci | Omni | Sen Artie Mondello
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At long last, SUBSONICS have descended again upon the denizens of the steamy rock’n’roll jungle with their first album in seven years, "In the Black Spot" (Slovenly Recordings 702-112)! The Subsonics have been called the "Best band in Atlanta" by fellow Georgians BLACK LIPS and for good reason: previous works by this beatnik, noir-punk careen machine have left indelible marks, or black spots if you will, on the psyche of big-bam-boom-shang-a-lang rockers the world over during their nearly two-decade tenure. This new album brings more of singer Clay Reed's petulant, masculine-feminine vocals and surreal lyricism, shaken up with his signature garroted guitar, Buffi Aguero’s inventive, incessantly churning drumming, and Rob Delbueno's (Man, or Astroman?) rolling basement bass. On this latest spin, previously unwritten, yet eerily familiar, melodies ("Lime-Lime" and "Miracle Worker") echo in the catacombs of America's soul and ring throughout with a childish enthusiasm, like a funky delinquent's budget bubblegum album. What we really have here is an obsessive, detached drop-in to an after-hours opium den, where Super-8 movies are projected onto a soiled sheet, and the soundtrack is undeniably Subsonics.
Del Venicci
Del Venicci is an amalgamation of art, sex, pop, glam, haze, and the mutual Italian heritage shared by key members Grace Bellury (Lille) and Ross Politi (Carnivores).

The duo began work together in late 2012 after Politi offered to record and produce a work in progress by Bellury. Bellury’s lush, ethereal voice and keen sense of songcraft seemed to be the perfect counterpart to Politi’s noisy, goth rock inspired guitar work. This seemingly one off collaboration soon evolved into a plan for an ambitious musical endeavor. Bellury and Politi began to expand their repertoire and their first EP, “Haunted Hall” quickly took shape. The collection of songs on “Haunted Hall” are a sonic whirlwind of dark seductive pop melodies, psychedelia, noise, and post-punk akin to some of 4AD Records’ hazy and moody ’80’s output.

Del Venicci’s music also has a certain Italo-centric mythos that is rooted in Bellury and Politi’s strong Italian backgrounds. Both Politi and Bellury share the fact that each of their grandmothers were celebrated Italian opera singers. Politi’s father (who is first generation Italo-American) grew up singing doo-wop on street corners in the Italian neighborhoods of Brooklyn during the 1950’s. Politi’s father would also go on to perform professionally with certain incarnations of acts such as the Del Vikings, Chaperones, and Mello Kings. According to family lore, Bellury’s great grandfather was mysteriously involved with the mafia and was forced to flee Italy after things turned sour. The lyrics for “Teenage Swingers” loosely chronicle his misadventures.

Bellury and Politi decided a concrete rhythm section would be beneficial for a more substantial sound on stage and recruited long time friends Jonathan Merenivitch (Janelle Monae, Dog Bite, Bosco) on bass and Tyler Walters (The Clap) on drums. While in different projects, all four of the Atlanta music scene veterans have shared the stage with groups such as Franz Ferdinand, The Dresden Dolls, Prince, Atlas Sound, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and the Black Lips.

As the writing process became more prolific, the four piece decided to push the concept of Del Venicci farther. Being influenced by the likes of Warhol’s Factory scene, the group set out to expand their vision by inviting artists from different mediums, such as film and performance art, to take part in what would become the world of Del Venicci.

A video for each track on “Haunted Hall” was carefully crafted by local Atlanta film makers and performers to further expand Del Venicci’s penchant for the artistically subtle, beautifully morose, and hauntingly sexy. When watched in succession, the videos allow the viewer/listener to become better acquainted with the unique mood and aesthetic of Del Venicci.
Enter Networker, the new album by Omni and first with indie giant Sub Pop Records. Their sound is still defined by sparse drums, locked-in bass, blistering guitar, and nonchalant, yet assured vocals, but from the first notes of "Sincerely Yours" you'll immediately notice that Networker sounds much cleaner and more "HI-FI" than their prior two albums, Deluxe (2016) and Multi-task (2017). The departure in fidelity suits the new record and allows the listener to enjoy the nuances of their meticulous arrangements. Don't worry, the riffs of Gang of Four and Wire are still present, but the production is more lush and the harmony is even more expansive. Despite nods to the sounds of the ’70s and ’80s what comes through is a record fully rooted in the here and now. Thematically, this is apparent on the title track "Networker" taking a candid snapshot of the “digital you” aspect of life in the age of the internet. The otherwise fun romp “Skeleton Key” also acknowledges the “direct message and obsessive” side of social media with lines like “if you don't like what you see, the pretty face on the screen, scroll on by...”

Networker was written half between tours and half during recording sessions. The band, Philip Frobos on bass/vocals and Frankie Broyles on guitars/drums/keys, returned with longtime collaborator Nathaniel Higgins to the studio in South Georgia where they also recorded Multi-task and most recent single "Delicacy." In this case, the “studio” is a cabin near Vienna, GA (pronounced Vye-anna) that was built by Frankie Broyles’ great-grandparents in the 1940s. The band completed four sessions between November 2018 and April 2019. Omni hit their stride in the cabin with songs such as "Moat,” which cruises along at a nice mid-tempo clip with sounds that are maybe piano or maybe the “behind the bridge” strings of a Jaguar a la Sonic Youth or This Heat. "Blunt Force" provides a nice contrast to some of the more upbeat cuts, getting jazzy with it’s less traditional arrangement and psychedelic outro.

On “Courtesy Call," Omni successfully ride the line of being able to pleasantly reference influences without mimicking. They venture into experimental Haruomi Hosono territory while still managing to sound like Thin Lizzy. The same could be applied to “Sincerely Yours” where the fantastic guitar work and a beautiful breakdown in the middle dive into late 70’s jazz production. On standout cut "Present Tense," Yellow Magic Orchestra vibes are present in the fun synthesizer riff while the guitar counterpoint checks this direction pulling the song back into something fresh, sharp, and definitely Omni.

Overall, Networker is simultaneously fun, catchy, and contains some truly impressive musicianship. This combo is especially hard to pull off as bands that are great players often don’t have great or memorable songs. Omni and Nathaniel Higgins have done a stellar job of reigning in their diverse influences into a cohesive record by curating their sounds into a tight package that leaves you just on the cusp of understanding where the band is coming from, while still feeling like you’re hearing something totally fresh. While their earlier records had more of a “post-punk” sound, Networker is an amalgamation of the best sounds of the ’70s and ’80s, all arranged with (mostly) guitars, bass, and drums for our contemporary age, and it really works! There are hooks everywhere, vocal and instrumental, that will leave you humming along, even during the first listen. As Philip Frobos says in “Present Tense,” “guess who’s on my mind right now?” Well, Omni’s on mine and will be on yours soon.

-Scott Munro, Preoccupations 2019
Sen Artie Mondello