Liars (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Liars


Years_active = 2000–Present
Background = group_or_band
Origin = New York, United States of America (early years)
Berlin, Germany
Genre = Experimental rock
Dance-punk
Post-punk revival
Noise rock
Art punk
Label = Gern Blandsten Records (2001-2003)
Mute Records (2003-today)
URL = [http://www.liarsliarsliars.com http://www.liarsliarsliars.com]
Current_members = Angus Andrew
Aaron Hemphill
Evan Shewchuk
Julian Gross
Previous_members = Pat Noecker
Ron Albertson

Liars is a four-piece American band consisting of Australian-born Angus Andrew (vocals/guitar), Aaron Hemphill (percussion, guitar, synth), Evan Shewchuk (maracas/xylophone), and Julian Gross (drums). Although initially lumped into the New York post-punk revival scene of the early 21st century, they have come to be categorized by their dramatic stylistic shifts between albums, while retaining a consistent interest in rhythm and sound texture.

History

Formative years

The genesis of the band can be traced to Los Angeles, where Andrew and Gross were enrolled at Cal Arts, studying photography and graphic design, respectively. Hemphill had studied microbiology in Junior College in San Diego, but was currently employed in LA at a record store. Upon meeting, Andrew and Hemphill began their collaboration on four-track recordings. Once Andrew had completed art school, they relocated to New York together. Although Gross was not a member of Liars' NYC-period roster, he was often taken along on tour for hawking the merchandise and providing comedic banter. For the time being, two musicians from Nebraska, Pat Noecker (bass, formerly of Neuromancer, Urethra Franklin, and Opium Taylor) and Ron Albertson (drums, formerly of Mercy Rule), filled out the band's rhythm section after responding to a well-placed want ad.

New York City days

This line-up (Andrew/Hemphill/Noecker/Albertson) released the first Liars full-length, "They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top", in October 2001. The album was recorded in a mere two days. Despite lackluster promotion by their record label, Gern Blandsten, the energy of the album eventually bought Liars their fair share of hype amidst the much-publicized Post-punk revival scene of New York. The band was not averse to this attention, but the problem of being pigeonholed (expressed already in the album's title) became an even more pressing challenge for them to overcome.

As a four-piece, Liars were only to release two more short EPs. The first was entitled "We No Longer Knew Who We Were"; it was an official release of the bands' early demos recorded in 2000. The second, however, showcased new material. "Fins To Make Us More Fish-Like" (November 2002) showed progression from their signature sound, but without any material that would seem significantly out of place on their debut. Most noteworthy, perhaps, is "Every day is a child with teeth," which concentrates more on sound texture and tense, stuttering percussion than the more danceable rhythms for which they had come to be known.

Line-up changes

Due to differences of creative methods, it was agreed that Noecker and Albertson would leave the band to pursue other work. Both joined the shortlived band No Things. (Noecker is now in These Are Powers). Meanwhile, Andrew and Hemphill reunited with Gross to form the next (and current) incarnation of Liars. The first release from Liars as a three-piece was a split EP with the band Oneida, called "Atheists, Reconsider" (released December 2002 by the Arena Rock Recording Co.). Liars contributed a cover of Oneida's "Rose and Licorice," as well as two originals. "Dorothy Taps the Toe of the Tinman" is a 7+ minute sound collage of kitchen-sink percussion, ambient drones and static, and cut and paste spoken words. Shewchuk was, surprisingly enough, recruited off the street. He was previously homeless, and made enough money to purchase his daily bread and water by playing the xylophone. Since joining the band, Evan has become quite famous for his vigorous maraca playing, an instrument typically wielded by liars.

Witch hunting

This newfound experimentation paved the way for Liars' next full-length album, "They Were Wrong, So We Drowned" (recorded in March and May 2003, released February 2004). The band relocated to a cabin in the woods of New Jersey for the recording sessions, and along with producing visionary David Andrew Sitek of TV on the Radio immersed themselves in both non-fiction accounts of witch trials and traditional witch folklore. From these sources, Andrew created a generic fairy tale which is told through contrasting viewpoints in the lyrics. This commitment to the material at the heart of the album - a "story album" (as opposed to "concept album"), according to Andrew - resulted in a thematically rich piece of work that can often feel more atmospheric than musical. To some, the non-traditional instrumentation and song structuring furthers its feel of concept over musicality, along with Sitek's signature harmonies and sound looping. Many critics responded negatively to this aspect of the album, and though it had its fervent supporters, it infamously garnered the lowest possible scores from both Spin and Rolling Stone magazines.

Berlin days

Creatively unfazed by the critical response to their unexpected experimental leap, the band relocated once again to Berlin where they would eventually record their third full-length, "Drum's Not Dead" (recorded in 2004, released February 2006). During the interim between the recording and release of their previous album, Liars had already begun the work on what would eventually become "Drum's Not Dead". Based on the ideas of Chris Cutler's electrified drum kit Liars began experimenting with modified drumsounds. After much experimentation (and reportedly an entire album's worth of material cast aside), the group completed the album in an East German broadcast center that allowed them a multitude of different acoustic environments for recording. As the title suggests, the album is heavy on drums (often run through various effects pedals), backed mostly by atmospheric guitar work. Andrew also relies more heavily on falsetto than in past work, which gives the album a more ethereal, less gritty sound than is often associated with Liars. Along with the music, "Drum's Not Dead" was released with a DVD that contains three full-length video companions to the album: Drum's Not Bread by Julian Gross, The Helix Aspersa by Angus Andrew, and By Your Side by filmmaker Markus Wambsganss.

The rhythmic electroacoustic experimentalism was not only used in the studio set up, but continued in their live performances during the Drum's Not Dead tour. Microphones taped on Gross drum kit and the percussion set of Hemphill picked up the live played rhythms and were modulated heavily by digital processing spring reverbs and pitch shifters forming multi layered drones. The creation of this set-up is outlined in the CD booklet for "Drum's Not Dead".

"Liars"

The band officially announced their album "Liars" on May 24, 2007. It was released August 28, 2007 on Mute Records. [ [http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/43176-liars-fourth-album-revealed Pitchfork: Liars' Fourth Album Revealed! ] ]

In support of the album, Liars toured the UK over August 2007, North America over September/October 2007 supporting Interpol, Europe over November/December 2007, North America over January/February 2008 with No Age and May 2008 with Radiohead.

The Bari Festival on 11th of July was discontinued on orders of the police after a Liars touring member threw a broken guitar in the audience in the face of a girl who was taken away with an ambulance. Afterwards Liars were arrested by the police. [ [http://www.liarsliarsliars.com/news/2008/07/italybene.html Blog posts from angry fans at the liars website] [http://www.last.fm/event/647905/reviews two Italian reviews on Last .fm] ]

Other musical contributions

Aaron Hemphill also played on TV on the Radio's song "Blind."

Ex members Noecker and Albertson

After leaving Liars Pat Noecker and Ron Albertson formed together with Christian Dautresme the shortly lived No Things and released in 2006 the album "Trees". Noecker currently plays in These Are Powers.

Discography

Albums

*"They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top" (Gern Blandsten, October 2002) - CD/LP
*"They Were Wrong, So We Drowned" (Mute Records, February 2004) - CD/LP
*"Drum's Not Dead" (Mute Records, February 2006) - CD+DVD/LP
*"Liars" (Mute Records, August 2007) - CD/LP

EPs and singles

*"Fins to Make Us More Fish-Like" (Mute Records, November 2002) - CD EP
*"Atheists, Reconsider" (Arena Rock Recording Co., December 2002) - Split EP (with Oneida) - CD/LP
*"We No Longer Knew Who We Were" - CD/vinyl
*"There's Always Room On the Broom/Single" - CD/vinyl
*"Split with Yeah Yeah Yeahs" (Japan and Australia only) - 7" single
*"We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our Own - CD/vinyl single
*"It Fit When I Was a Kid" - CD/vinyl single
*"The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack - CD/vinyl single
*"How Many More Times" Split with Gerry Mitchell & Little Sparta - Fire Records *"Keep Mother "' series G-H August 2006 - 10" single
*"Plaster Casts of Everything - iTunes Digital EP
*"Liars Session (Mute Records, October 24th 2007) - 4 tracks available for free download from the [http://www.mute.biz/liars/downloads/ link] given on the
*"House Clouds - iTunes Digital EP

References

External links

* [http://www.liarsliarsliars.com/ www.liarsliarsliars.com] Official site
* [http://www.mute.com/artists/publicArtistLoad.do?id=299 mute.com Liars] Label artist profile
*myspace|liarsliarsliars|Liars
* [http://wannabes.be/artiest/liars/ Liars live pictures]

Interviews

* [http://deathrockstar.info/interview-with-the-liars-angus/ Interview with Angus Andrew at deathrockstar, July 4, 2003]
* [http://www.exclaim.ca/articles/multiarticlesub.aspx?csid1=114&csid2=946&fid1=27360 "Exclaim! Magazine" September 2007 Web Exclusive Interview with Liars] by Cam Lindsay
* [http://www.supersweet.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=330&Itemid=27 SUPERSWEET interview - June 2007]

Reviews

* [http://comfortcomes.com/?page=reviews&id=1886 Liars Review]
* [http://www.exclaim.ca/musicreviews/generalreview.aspx?csid1=114&csid2=850&fid1=27233 "Exclaim! Magazine" September 2007 review of "Liars"]
* [http://www.concertbuzz.net/genres/indie/liars.html Concert Review]

Audio & Video

* [http://punkcast.com/179/ Punkcast#179] Live Video @ Coney Island, Brooklyn - Jul 20 2002. (Realplayer)
* [http://punkcast.com/335/ Punkcast#335] Live Video @ Knitting Factory, NYC - Sep 27 2003 (Realplayer)
* [http://www.archive.org/details/Liars Liars collection] at the Internet Archive's live music archive
* [http://3voor12.vpro.nl/artikelen/artikel/27760144 VPRO-Picabia, Dutch documentary March 30th 2006]
* [http://3voor12.vpro.nl/artiesten/artiest/7457403 VPRO-3voor12, Holland - Audiointerviews + Video live in Club Lek 19-6-2002]
* [http://www.supersweet.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=527&Itemid=30&PHPSESSID=2ba8ddcad829fc8cdb10c9bc75c5193f Liars live at Bloomsbury Ballroom, London (the whole show) - Dec 3 2007]


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