Music

Parlor Walls - 'Cut EP' (audio) (premiere)

Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

We were fortunate enough to have Parlor Walls open our CMJ showcase with a totally transformational performance.

Parlor Walls is a “trash jazz” trio comprising of Alyse Lamb of post-punk outfit EULA, avant -- saxophonist Kate Mohanty, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Mulligan, Lamb’s partner in the multi-media art collective Famous Swords. We were fortunate enough to have Parlor Walls open our CMJ showcase with a totally transformational performance. The dexterity of each member, from Mulligan’s multi-tasking drumming and keyboard tapping to Mohanty’s beautifully interwoven sax playing, as well as Lamb’s full throttle command of the stage, made for as memorable a CMJ performance as any given by better known acts on the festival’s roster.

On debut EP Cut -- released through Famous Swords -- the listener can really sink in and savor the expert construction and moody dissonance of its five songs. Opener “Bloodsport” features a recurring instrumental break where sounds of indiscernible origin coalesce with Mohanty’s saxophone riffage. Follow-up “Me Me My” evokes some genuinely creepy minimalist / no wave atmospherics, while “The Key” pounds for two minutes and is gone. “Sundress” presents a moment of hazy beauty and calm before best of both worlds outro “Birthday", a song whose driving “don’t you know I’m perfect?” refrain feels wholly warranted.

A purely collaborative effort, Parlor Walls and the Cut represent a small pocket of Brooklyn that is artistically thriving. When speaking of the merits of collaboration versus solo composition, Lamb said, “writing from a singular perspective fulfills one kind of void, just as collaboration fulfills another... collaboration occupies more of a meditative space, almost trance-like, whereas writing by myself can become pretty technical and academic. So I do need both to survive.” Regardless of method, Cut reveals much promise for all future Parlor Walls endeavors.

Parlor Walls will be celebrating the release of Cut with Heavy Birds, Dead Waves and Future Punx at Shea Stadium on Thursday, November 12, at 8pm.

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