Nick of Islands on stage w/ Mister Heavenly (more by Graeme Flegeheimer)
Islands will release their new album A Sleep & A Forgetting this February 14th via Anti-Records..., this time band leader Nick Thorburn has infused the songs with a personal introspection that gives the record a new and powerful emotional resonance.Though Nick Thorburn has made multiple appearances lately (10/18 at Union Hall, a 10/21 day party at Fontana's, a DJ slot at Creators Project), Islands played just a single CMJ show which was on 10/22 at Dominion Theater and Lounge (428 Lafayette Street)...
"This album is far more personal than any I've made before," Thorburn explains. "I left New York after the end of a relationship and came to Los Angeles. There was a piano where I was staying and that's where I wrote these songs. This record deals with loss, with memory and forgetting and with dreaming. I started writing it on Valentine's Day and it's coming out on Valentine's Day."
...at Dominion NY, the sign outside promises an "Intimate Evening with Islands"; the venue isn't lying. The basement doesn't seat more than one hundred; it's dimly lit, and barely anyone in the audience is talking. In addition, I am sitting uncomfortably close ("intimately close," even) to the stage.That night, the new LP was the focus of the show and though there is no confirmation of the same at their forthcoming "special intimate seated show" on Friday, October 28th, expect some new jams at least. Comedian Max Silvestri and Mattie Safer (ex-The Rapture) are credited with the assist, and tickets are on sale for Islands' only current tour date.
While the rest of the band is dressed in black sports coats and black pants, Nick Thorburn is dressed in a light blue jacket and light-colored pants. He is clearly the star of the show. (None of the band members from the last time I saw them in 2008 are on stage here.)
Islands performs nine or ten songs from their new album, which Thorburn shares will be out February 2012. Some of the lyrical sentiments of the new songs are nice. At one point, Thorburn croons, "Don't I love you? Isn't the sky grey? Isn't the moon blue?" One of the songs has Geordie Gordon joining Thorburn on the piano playing a doo-wop style melody. To say that Thorburn's side project Mr. Heavenly with Honus Honus of Man Man is an influence on this song is an understatement. At one point, I said (to my notebook), "This sounds like 'Van Helsing Boombox.'"
Islands does break out two old gems: "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby" and "Swans (Life After Death)" from the 2005 album, Return to the Sea. [Evil Monito]