The Phenomenauts, Prima Donna

Ivy Room Presents

The Phenomenauts

Prima Donna

Soraia

Fri · February 9, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00 - $14.00

Tickets at the Door.

This event is 21 and over

The Phenomenauts
The Phenomenauts
“These guys aren’t like anything you’ve seen or heard before…I saw Phenomenauts play in both New York City and San Francisco; each time the place was jam-packed with people chanting “Science and honor!” A few dozen were dressed as robots, and endless streams of chicks looked like they’d just landed in from an R-rated Jetsons episode. Fanfare of that sort doesn’t happen by coincidence.”
– Thrasher
Prima Donna
Prima Donna
L.A. rockers Prima Donna are calling their new album S/T because they believe it’s time to reintroduce themselves. “It’s a new chapter for us,” says the band’s singer and guitarist Kevin Preston.

“Self-titled albums are usually a band’s introduction to the world,” adds drummer David S. Field. “Even though this isn’t our first, we feel this album represents a new era in our music and who we are as musicians and people.”

Rounded out by Aaron Minton on keys and sax and Lights Out Levine on bass, this tight four-piece, which has evolved into a fully formed garage- and punk-influenced outfit after outgrowing their origins glamming it up on the Sunset Strip, ascends to new heights on S/T, their fifth album and first for Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, being released March 30.

“This album is a true sonic leap for us,” continues Preston about the LP they recorded in their home base of Los Angeles with producer and mixer Eric Palmquist [Thrice, The Bad Suns, The Mars Volta]. “He was a very hands-on producer,” says Field, “and I mean that in a good way. He really pushed us out of our comfort zones and challenged us. I wasn’t always sure how certain parts were going to end up, but it always ended up sounding great.”

Harnessing influences that run from ’50s rockabilly (Gene Vincent, Vince Taylor) through ’70s glam (Marc Bolan, Iggy Pop) and corners of rock & roll ranging from Ronnie Spector and the Stones through Nina Hagen and the Ramones, this more fully-formed version of Prima Donna “can now pretty much take on any style and make it our own,” in Preston’s words.

“When we start an album, we have this mindset that we have to progress, move forward and not care what anyone else is doing or saying,” says Field. “We are definitely at our most productive and creative when we shut out everything else and just focus on the songs.”

“We don’t like an easy day in the studio,” Preston relates. “On our first album, we were one trick ponies. Now we like to push ourselves to the limit, just take the demos and see how much we can stretch out.”

The 11 new tunes comprising the band’s rebirth on S/T move through many lyrical themes and moods, “but a large portion of the lyrics are about betrayal,” Preston notes. Lead single and opening cut “4 Real” speculates on the mysterious 1995 disappearance of Richey Edwards, guitarist and co-lyricist for revolutionary punk- and-glam-influenced Welsh band Manic Street Preachers. “Richey Edwards is a strong inspiration on this one,” says Kevin.

Preston wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the album in various collaborative combinations — two each with Field, Levine and Minton, plus two full-band co-writes on “4 Real” and “Until I Break Loose,” producer Palmquist also a co-writer on the latter.

And if a band’s style can only be as varied as they company it keeps, Prima Donna has continued to open up possibilities by broadening their palette through the years. Shows with Blondie and Andrew W.K. while supporting their 2015 release Nine Lives And Forty-Fives added to notable support slots they’ve enjoyed previously with Green Day and Adam Ant.

Kevin’s involvement with Billie Joe Armstrong’s garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs contributes additional cred. “I met all the guys at different times in L.A. when they were recording American Idiot,” he says. “We just became friends, and when it came time to do that band, they asked me to be the guitar player.” It was a natural fit for Preston, who first came to prominence in the reformed early 2000s lineup of legendary L.A. punks The Skulls.

Garage rock tastemaker Steven Van Zandt has been in the band’s corner for some time, bestowing his weekly “Coolest Song In The World” designation on no less than five prior Prima Donna tracks, most recently for 2015’s “Deathless.” The latest full-length release in Wicked Cool Records’ ongoing partnership with The Orchard as distributor, S/T pushes Prima Donna forward as garage rockers with multi-dimensional capacities.

As the band readies the “4 Real” video and eyes U.S. tour dates, with ambitions of conquering Central and South America as well as the festival circuit in the near future, they still believe in the power of loud guitars. “Rock ’n’ roll will always fuel revolution,” declares Preston. “When people get sick of the status quo, they turn to rock ’n’ roll.”

PRIMA DONNA is: Kevin Preston – vocals and guitar; David S. Field — drums and percussion; Aaron Minton — keyboards, saxophone and vocals; Lights Out Levine — bass and vocals

And now, the songs of S/T in the band’s own words…

4 Real

Kevin: I’ve always been fascinated by Richey Edwards [of Manic Street Preachers]. David: This was the first song we wrote for the album. We were jamming in my studio and made a decision right there to write a song as a group. In about 30 minutes we knew we probably had our first single.

Press Your Luck

Aaron: This one has a cool Oasis/Social Distortion thing to it with the singing and melodies. My favorite part occurs in the chorus, when Kevin sings “…you know you better.” The notes sung have almost a Four Seasons vibe.”

Automatic

David: To me, this track is leading toward a great direction for the band. It takes our current and classic influences and puts them together into this really moody song. It was the very first track I laid down for the album and it really set the tone for the rest of the sessions.

Vulture Culture

Kevin: Everybody’s out to get everybody nowadays. Seems like people are always waiting for you to fall.

Recurring Nightmare

David: Probably my favorite song on the album right now. It’s different than the rest, you can really groove to it, and I love all the added percussion.

Not For Nothing

Lights Out: David and I really get down and dirty with our rhythm section on this one. It was a blast laying it down. Aaron: I thought it had a cool ‘90s Supergrass thing to it, and in the studio, Eric molded it into quite a rocker and elevated it to another level.

Until I Break Loose

David: This was our first time collaborating with someone outside the band for songwriting. Eric [Palmquist], our producer, had an idea and we all came together to work it out.

Love From Above

David: Our version of a “love song.” Kevin: It was the last demo we recorded, so we weren’t sure we’d finish it, but the words just came pouring out of me in the final hours.

Year Of The Rat

Kevin: This is our swampy garage stomper. David: We wanted a real bluesy, barroom kind of song. Near the end I go to lay over a sort of Adam Ant double drum track. Aaron plays a killer psychedelic sax solo too.

Give It Up

Lights Out: Aaron wrote a killer hook and Kev completed it with great lyrics as always. Aaron: We had to add that modified Farfisa sound because it sounded so good on the other tracks.

Sound The Alarm

David: I just think this is the perfect track to end the record on. It’s powerful, strong and it’s straight to the point. And I love the background vocals wailing in the chorus.
Soraia
Soraia
Raw and intense, Soraia's glory is in their live sound and performances. The songwriting infuses strong melody with garage, blues, and indie rock influences. Their muses come from a wide array of styles - from Otis Redding to The Sonics to Led Zeppelin - culminating in a sound that is all at once garage, blues, soulful, hard-hitting rock and roll: 60's and 70's rock with a modern edge.
Venue Information:
Ivy Room
860 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA, 94706
http://www.ivyroom.com/