NYC’s orchestral pop septet all boy/all girl are releasing their album Slagroom this Friday on Grind Select, but Impose has the exclusive premiere for you today. Made up of composer/bassist Nicholas Rahn, vocalist Danielle Lovier, soprano vocalist Jessie Rogowski, guitarist Josh Curry, drummer Joey Campanella, cellist Susan Mandel, and violinist Hannah Levinson, all boy/all girl make music that is undefinable and current, while still being classic and familiar. According to the band, Slagroom “means ‘whipped cream’ in Dutch. In English, we imagine it would be some grand, slimy parlor, not unlike our basement oasis.” The basement oasis in question is that of a pawn shop on Manhattan’s lower east side where the band wrote much of the album in January of 2015.
While the resulting songs do still contain some of the darkness of that basement, they also have a dazzling brilliance that is something all its own. On Slagroom the band has created an album that is profoundly epic, yet still concerned with the local things like urban sprawl or a food court Arby’s.
“Living Room” opens the album with a beautifully erratic melody that recalls some of the finest alt-rock of the nineties. Orchestral elements slowly weave their way into the piece until they are at the fore and sounding quite natural alongside the song’s more traditional “pop” and “rock” aspects. “House Cat” furthers these aspects as an indie pop rocker with elements of Broadway. From there, the pristine jazz rock of “Housewarming” smoothly transitions from shades of Steely Dan to full on philharmonic. Following that is the lockstep rhythm and operatic vocals of “Pigeon” as well as the massive drums and low end melodies of “Pastels”.
There is also a through line of white noise and otherworldly static on Slagroom that is first heard explicitly on “Voyeur”. “Voyeur” has a distorted guitar intro that is eventually overwhelmed by a maelstrom of vocals and instrumentation that threatens to engulf the listener until a lilting symphonic melody ushers the gathering storm along. This leads to “Threnody” on which ominous choral tones and thunderous staccato percussion unspool like some sci-fi overture while echoing vocals distort and twist into interstellar noise.
“Rapture” opens like classic Fifties pop, then bursts into a modern rocker with strings that whisk the song along on their dreamy rhythm. “Civic Mind” is something of a ballad with an ethereal chorus of echoes that is cast into a roiling sea of white noise and feedback as threads of electric guitars and choral tones intertwine until only the serene sound of bowed strings is left. The album closes with “Food Court”, its only lyrics “I’m at the mall food court by the Arby’s” being recited over a wistful melody floating along calm waves until the sound of rapid percussion, or perhaps helicopter blades, or perhaps something else entirely whirs and grinds louder and louder until it becomes a cacophonous sonic beast that is ultimately only drowned out by the song’s delicate vocal line.
The theme of fast food meets futurism is also a part of the album’s promotion and concept as those that redeem a digital version of Slagroom via the physical copy’s enclosed fast-food-style receipt will be greeted with an online survey equal parts 2001: A Space Odyssey, philosophy, and modern consumerism. You can check out that interactive survey here.
10/25 @ The Studio @ Webster Hall, New York, NY
11/5 @ Bathtub Republic, Washington, DC
11/6 @ Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
11/7 @ Tin Roof, Charleston, SC
11/8 @ Iron Oak Post, Melbourne, FL
11/9 @ Bardot, Miami, FL
11/10 @ Sacred Grounds, Tampa, FL
11/11 @ Planet Sarbez, St. Augustine, FL
11/12 @ Murmur, Atlanta, GA
11/13 @ Springwater, Nashville, TN
11/14 @ Be Here Now, Muncie, IN
11/15 @ Subterranean, Chicago, IL
11/16 @ Mahall’s, Cleveland, OH
11/18 @ Joe Squared, Baltimore, MD
Slagroom will be released October 21, but is available for preorder now. You can also follow all boy/all girl on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, BandCamp, and on their website at www.allboyallgirl.net.