In an age when the violent disintegration of worldwide society feels perpetually just a breath away and in a country that is moving towards being one of the worst police states the world has ever known, Celebration's music is both timely and severely relevant. Their songs posit an embrace of Dionysian mysteries as the only feasible way forward from the ever-increasing weight of global political and economic evil and the debris of civilization grown to proportions that threaten to stifle the spiritual essence of human existence. Though it carries some of the tightly-wound hysteria and harmonic violence of 4AD predecessors like The Birthday Party and Bauhaus, Celebration's music is essentially modern soul music, which marries the sort of rhythmic hypnosis found in the music of Fela Kuti or James Brown to an arch-romantic sense of drama. And, though they do deal extensively with more classic soul music themes, (dancing, the potentially transformative power of romantic love, etc.) ultimately the bulk of their work serves as a sort of beacon of the ritualistic power and magical potential of ancient civilizations performed and unleashed in the modern world. Fittingly the musical union of singer Katrina Ford, organist/guitarist Sean Antanaitis, and drummer Dave Bergander hails from Baltimore, a city both crushed by institutional lower class mauling and aggressively bristling with pockets of mutant art and culture, and their heady music feels ideally suited for all night dance parties in the hearts of decaying cities, illuminated by burn barrel light.Since the release of their self-titled debut in 2005 Celebration have found their stature steadily growing due in large part to a healthy touring schedule which has found them traversing the US and Europe with friends and like minds TV On the Radio, Liars, Blonde Redhead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Blood Brothers. Both recorded and in the context of their ecstatic live performances, Celebration can provide a truly overwhelming experience as the music, at its greatest peaks, demands utter surrender of personal afflictions and worries, as well as the civilized minds' knowledge of global ills, to the cleansing and transmutive power of trance. All of this is in shining evidence on their second record, The Modern Tribe, an album that not only surpasses their debut but makes a moving case for Celebration as one of the most inspired bands making music today. Helmed, as was its predecessor, by the stirling modern art rock team of producer Dave Sitek(of TV on the Radio) and engineer Chris Coady,(who most recently lent a shimmering clarity to Blonde Redhead's 23) the results find not only the band but their sonic collaborators in greater artistic accord than ever. The eleven songs that comprise The Modern Tribe find Celebration in even more electric and full-blooded form, expanding the dimension and scope of their songwriting to include a more blatant and extroverted emotionality on stunning songs like opener "Evergeen" and the aptly titled "Heartbreak." Furthermore, they make the most unabashedly dance music they have yet produced, as on the sinewy, teasing "Pony" and even engage in full blown anthemry with "Tame the Savage." (whose soaring singalong coda, "They say the world has just begun to tame the savage heart of men," could be read as a sort of core mantra for Celebration's work) Overall, The Modern Tribe finds a more complete confluence of lyrical and musical content than on any record in recent memory, as the album's varied calls to shed the unhealthy layers of civilization's skin resound powerfully in the hypnotic, overwhelming beauty of the music. It is possessed of the sort of triumphant, world-healing energy harnessed by everyone from Michael Jackson to the Boredoms, and raw nerves of hope are threaded throughout the songs. The record's yearning for a psychically and spiritually healthier world is palpable and forthright; on "In This Land" Ford asks earnestly, "How can the killing go on when our love is so strong?" while the feverish "Wildcats" calls simply to "dance until the world returns." As referenced in its title, The Modern Tribe's essential theme is that even in a society in which evil reigns from the top down it is possible to forge beautiful and humanistic circles amongst friends, family, and lovers, and that the energy there created can truly affect positive change in the world. Indeed, in whatever dystopian future awaits us, Celebration could inherit the mantle of World's Biggest Band; it is easy to imagine them tearing the roof off of Thunderdome or rallying the child armies to the next revolution.
Hypnotic, elusive New York City experimental rock band Psychic Ills were formed in 2003 by Tom Gluibizzi (guitar/keyboards) and Tres Warren (vocals). The band issued two limited-run vinyl recordings (Mental Violence I in 2004 and Mental Violence II in 2005), both of which were reissued together as Early Violence with two additional songs through Social Registry. Following Mental Violence I, the duo was joined by Elizabeth Hart (bass) and Brian Tamborello (drums). Psychic Ills, who have opened for the equally psychedelic Warlocks, released their first proper full-length, Dins, in February 2006. The largely improvised Mirror Eye arrived in 2009. ~ Kenyon Hopkin, All Music Guide