TLD contributor Flora Theden caught up with Ages and Ages, who will perform Monday at Mercury Lounge and Tuesday at Bowery Ballroom.
Seven-piece choral pop/rock band Ages and Ages will perform at Mercury Lounge on March 31 and Bowery Ballroom with Lake Street Dive on April 1 to celebrate their sophomore record, Divisionary, which was released earlier this week. More of a collective than a band, Ages and Ages is gaining acclaim for their choral rock sound produced by overlapping harmonies created from the vocals of all seven members. Accompanied by hand claps, shakers and noisemakers, don’t be surprised if the contagious group singing ignites the urge to frolic through fields of wildflowers, a la the Flaming Lips and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
Ages and Ages is returning to Mercury Lounge and performing at Bowery Ballroom for the first time, a venue which Rob Oberdorfer, bassist and vocalist, says is one of his favorite in the country. “Both shows should be cool for different reasons,” says Oberdorfer. “A little packed room has a different energy than a big, classy theater.”
The single, Do The Right Thing, is a secular gospel song with inspirational harmonies, piano and violin. The track came to life in Oberdorfer’s room when he haphazardly struck a C chord and stomped out a beat on the floor. “This mechanical mantra voice came out with the words ‘do the right thing, do the right thing…’ and the rest just started to fall in place,” he says.
The verses of the track address the complexities of doing right amidst a culture of greed and destructiveness.
“I wanted to paint a line between being correct – or following rules – and being right regardless of rules or expectations. That idea actually gets to the point of the word ‘Divisionary’ because it makes the case that doing what’s right often means you’re gonna piss some people off in the process. Which makes it confusing sometimes,” says Oberdorfer.
Tim Perry, guitarist and vocalist, spent ten days on a silent mediation retreat formulating the direction of Divisionary in his head while he was unable to read, write or speak. He attributes the calm, centered vision at the core of the album to a thoughtful and spontaneous writing process, which is evident from the celebratory vocals, triumphant melodies and introspective lyrics.
“Tim writes the songs, presumably by transcribing the voices of angels he hears in his head,” says Oberdorfer. “Everyone seems to have a different evolution. Some of the tracks on the new record were essentially built up from his bare bones demos, and others were more hashed out through practice and live shows.”
Monday, March 31 // $12 // Doors at 6:30pm, show at 7:30pm // 217 East Houston Street
Tuesday, April 1 // $20 // Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm // 6 Delancey Street