75 Dollar Bill return to Roulette to celebrate the release of their new double album I Was Real (Thin Wrist Recordings / Black Editions). Having emerged as a vibrant musical force with their previous effort WOOD/METAL/PLASTIC/PATTERN/RHYTHM/ROCK (Thin Wrist 2016), 75 Dollar Bill have spent the last few years bringing their music to new people and places, delivering what NYC locals have had the chance to hear for years, and experimenting with the ever-deepening set of musical ideas for which they are known. The fruits of this work can be heard on their expansive new double LP I Was Real. Recorded over a four year period, in four different studios, with a range of ensemble configurations featuring the band’s closest friends and collaborators, I Was Real is the band’s most ambitious album yet. The music that unfolds on the album’s four sides doubles down on the group’s penchant for sprawling, unusual grooves and blown out microtonal guitars, while at the same time introducing textures and tonalities that point in completely new directions. For this event, the group will present a set of new and reimagined material from the album, with a special soon-to-be-announced group of guest musicians. 75 Dollar Bill is pleased to be joined this evening by Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society, whose own double LP, Mandatory Reality, was released by Eremite Records in April.
75 Dollar Bill:
Rick Brown: plywood crate, homemade horns, percussion
Che Chen: guitars, percussion
w/ Special Guests TBA
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society:
Joshua Abrams: guimbri
Lisa Alvarado: harmonium
Mikel Avery: drums
Jason Stein: bass clarinet
75 Dollar Bill make electric, richly patterned music that can shapeshift from joyful dance tunes to slowly changing trance minimalism – an uncategorizable hybrid which draws on early electric blues, the modal traditions of West Africa, India, and the Middle East, Sun Ra’s space chords and the minimalist and No Wave histories of their hometown. Formed by percussionist Rick Brown and guitarist Che Chen in 2012 with idea of a duo comprised of only rhythm (Brown’s plywood crate) and melody (Chen’s modal, microtonal guitar), 75 Dollar Bill has continually expanded to include new sonic materials and an extended family of friends and players that often appear with them live and on record. The group has now played countless live gigs and residency engagements around New York City, international festivals and impromptu street performances, been a wedding band, a 25-piece marching band, busked on the street and made a string of LPs and self-released cassettes to document the activity.
Joshua Abrams formed Natural Information Society (NIS) in 2010. Working from Abrams’s orchestration of traditional and contemporary instrumentation, NIS creates long-form psychedelic environments informed by jazz, minimalism and traditional musics. The group’s 2015 album, Simultaneity, appeared on many year-end lists including Rolling Stone, Uncut, and Wire. Mandatory Reality, the band’s latest recording, was released by Eremite Records in April 2019.
Photos: Alex Phillipe Cohen, Ike Day