Dan Francia is well known for his various collaborations, so the Brooklyn musician called in a few favors for his debut solo effort, Come Back To Life. Not only does the record feature his Gobbinjr. bandmates, Emma Witmer and Hayley Livingston, but he also recruited some of his musical mentors, John and Toni Baumgartner of New Jersey’s Speed The Plough, and Feelies’ frontman Glenn Mercer. With this talented cast of characters at hand, Francia showcases his highly adept arranging and production skills, making Come Back To Life an eclectic, highly ambitious debut that feels like an aural rollercoaster.
Francia was once a member of the New Jersey band Speed The Plough, and it shows, as the songs on Come Back To Life prominently feature the kind of luscious sonic experimentation that you’ll find across Speed The Plough’s entire catalog. While that collective’s style leans towards chamber pop, Francia additionally incorporates some hard, post-rock elements into the 25 minutes of music on his first solo record, allowing the mood to oscillate between calamity and calm.
Francia never fails to change it up throughout the record, as tracks like “Ghost Story” feature a hardcore vocal breakdown, before transitioning into the intimate, string-heavy ballad “No Matter What,” and the hushed intimacy of “Come Back To Life.” The bass guitar is Francia’s primary instrument, and he displays a mastery of the thud staff akin to the Mike Watts of the world, most notably during the precise, slap-happy breakdowns on “Planet In Transit,” and the chaotic penultimate track “Can’t Forget.”
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but you can still get to the gigs and show your favorite bands some LOVE. Here’s what hot this week in Bushwick:
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Weeknight, Big Bliss, Russian Baths, Hungr ALPHAVILLE, 8 p.m.
Dark pop quartet Weeknight dropped their long-awaited second LP, Dead Beat Creep, earlier this month on Dead Stare Records. They haven’t lost a step in the time between releases, as the band continues to produce dynamic, lush sounding songs that are packed with heavy goth-like synths. Big Bliss will also be playing one of their final shows in Brooklyn before hitting the road with Parrot Dream in March. This gig also marks Russian Baths last Brooklyn appearance before performing at the New Colossus Festival and SXSW. The band expects to release the follow-up to their excellent 2018 EP Penance later this year. Opening the show is a brand new group, Hungr, so arrive early to scope them out. The show is presented by Ears To Feed, so kudos to this collective for putting together quite the stellar lineup.
Thursday, Feb. 21
Bob Mould Band, Titus Andronicus at Brooklyn Steel, 8 p.m.
Bob Mould, an original member of 80s punk legends Husker Du, has experienced a bit of a career renaissance over the course of the last decade. Since 2012, he’s churned out a string of darker sounding power punk records that touch on the heavy themes of loss and mortality. Now, the legend is back with a sunnier record, quite literally. Sunshine Rock, which was released in late January, is optimistic, bouncy, and loud, which should make for an energetic gig on Thursday at Brooklyn Steel. He’ll be joined by his Merge Records label mates, Titus Andronicus, who released their latest record A Productive Cough early last year.
Friday, Feb. 22
Sunwatchers, Oneida at The Glove, 8 p.m.
Brooklyn based experimental rock group Sunwatchers are releasing their latest record, Illegal Moves, this Friday on Trouble In Mind Records. The group dabbles in a wide range of genres including free jazz, psychedelia, and noise-rock, which is prominently on display throughout Illegal Moves. The musical stylings of local kraut rock kings, Oneida, will also be on display, along with DJ sets from Miss Hap and visuals from Macrodose.
Saturday, Feb. 23
Prom 2019: The Rizzos, Powersnap, Jacke McKelvie & The Table Tops, and The Mad Doctors at The Gutter, 8 p.m.
Bust out your colorful tuxedos and prom gowns, and of course, don’t forget those corsages! It’s Prom 2019 on Saturday night at The Gutter. The event features music from some fast and loud acts, including the The Rizzos, The Mad Doctors, Jake McKelvie & the Countertops, and PowerSnap! New Myths will be spinning records in between sets and beyond into the wee hours of the evening. Oh, and of course, you can get your awkward prom photos taken at a very special prom themed photo booth courtesy of Blood Sweat And Beers. Most importantly, all proceeds from this special night of fun benefit Make The Road NY.
Cover photo courtesy Dan Francia.