2018Loamlands w/ Nana Grizol, The Dead Tongues
MarchDoors 8:00, Show 9:00 - $10adv / $12
When Loamlands began, I wanted to break out of the folk-punk cocoon that I had spun around myself for eight years. The only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to write thoughtfully. I was on the cusp of something new, but I wasn’t quite there yet. I rarely plugged in. I was terrified by the idea of writing a song that revolved around something other than a feeling. I had internal guilt around loving the major label classic rock and country music my parents listened to. I never imagined wanting to croon like Loretta Lynn or play the perfect guitar lead — because "punk", because "fringe", because "queer". I slowly started to accept my own influences. I fell in love again with Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt and Kim Deal. And then I got them all tattooed on my arm, never to forget the powerhouses that I grew up on, that saved my life.
Sweet High Rise chronicles this journey of reaching outside of my self. When I learned - at a free school - that NC pride was born out of the protest and riots following the murder of two gay men on their way to a swimming hole in Durham I wrote Little River. Seeing the constant barrage of police, borne out of the institution of slavery, killing people of color, queer folk, and countless marginalized communities and getting away with it, I wrote "Get Ready". How can any thoughtful human not be angry at the current state of our world? Those people know that they will stay in poverty under the current system while the word “progress” is used as a pat on the back for liberal policy makers and developers. The same story is repeated under a different guise; slavery still exists — it’s just more covert. Prisons still cage folks and make them invisible to any passersby attending expensive reproductions of The Lion King or whatever at the multi-million dollar theater across the street.
I’ve been in the South, and in Durham in particular, most of my life. I see the same things happening to my small town that I’ve read about for years in history books. Speedy gentrification is raising property taxes and kicking poorer folks further towards the outskirts of town. We know this. On this record, I’m telling stories. Stories about love, about abuse, about Durham’s brutal history with LGBTQ and police violence. I’m telling stories of my own, stories that I’ve encountered, stories that enrage me and that maybe not everyone knows. These are reflections of a queer dirtbag in love, of owning the desire to kill all abusers, of small town break ups, of the pent up anxiety that comes being on the cusp of identifying as angry and of standing strongly as genderqueer when I am misidentified as "she" or "he." This record is a release.
I'm honored to have been able to place these ideas in the hands of musicians and pals like Will Hackney, Phil and Brad Cook, Matt McCaughan, Jon Ashley and Collier Reeves. I’m glad to be here and going further with friends. Thank you for helping me along the way.
- Kym Register, 2016
When he formed Nana Grizol in Athens, Ga., in 2007, he secured an outlet for expressing how confusion and constant pining became ingrained into a young, queer male in a small town. Despite Athens' liberal leanings and bevy of artistic collaborators, Theo walked in liminal spaces as a queer surrounded by straight people.
Nana Grizol's first two records "Love It, Love It" (2008) and "Ruth" (2010) chronicled that mixed experience. With "Ursa Minor," the first Nana Grizol record in six years, Theo Hilton is unequivocally certain about who he is and what he wants to say.
He's traveled and studied, moving from Athens to Seattle to New York and, currently, to New Orleans. Along the way, the role of social justice advocate came to suit him. Through song, he casts a critical eye on "Ursa Minor" to concerns environmental, like the effect of oil refineries in the Mississippi watershed, as well as how neoliberal policies chew up and spit out innocent human lives.
He's loved and lost and been reaffirmed. The new songs reflect an artist fully aware of what he's learned, what's changed for the better, what still sucks, and what, exactly, we're going to do about it.
On "Ursa Minor," a loyal cast of collaborators return to give wing to Theo's songs. Robbie Cucchiaro (Music Tapes) adds trumpet and euphonium lines that echo both the golden era of Elephant 6 recordings and the brass bands of Theo's current home. Laura Carter (Elf Power, Orange Twin Records) supplies secondary drumming, clarinet trills, and trumpet calls, a familiar cradle for new songs. Jared Gandy (Area Men, Witches), on bass and guitar, notches another year in a two-decade collaboration with Theo. Matte Cathcart (Area Men, Door-Keys), an ally pulled to Athens, Ga., from Bloomington, Indiana, rounds out the quintet on drums. Everyone, except Theo, lives in Athens. Recorded and co-produced by Andy Lemaster at Chase Park Transduction Studio in Athens, "Ursa Minor" completes a transition from 4-track recordings to big, clean production without sacrificing intensity.
In addition to themes of queer identity and capitalist aggression, the songs on "Ursa Minor" take cues from literary and academic tomes. Throughout the album's 12 songs, look for references and inspirations to works such as Cindy Milstein's "Anarchism and its Aspirations," Richard Wright's "American Hunger," and Carson McCullers' "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," among others.
Nana Grizol will tour the U.S. in Spring and Summer 2017.