Memoryhouse with Twin Sister and Kindest Lines
10 p.m. Sunday
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361; www.oneeyedjacks.net
Like any new band, Memoryhouse was flattered when Evident Records reached out in 2009, offering to press its first 7-inch single, To the Lighthouse. "This guy was really nice, and he had legitimate credentials," says Evan Abeele, half of the Guelph, Ontario, group. Preorders were taken, recordings mixed and mastered. And then ... nothing.
"The original release date was March (2010), and we hadn't heard from him in January," Abeele says. "No one could get a hold of him. We were freaking out, because we felt so bad for the people who paid for it. We were getting more and more emails from people saying, 'Look, we love you, but we're kind of losing our patience.'"
Seven months later, Abeele, 23, and Denise Nouvion, 19, still have no clue what happened to the now-defunct micro imprint. A note from the band to buyers in July summarized the confusion: "Evident Records, to put it bluntly, has completely disappeared, leaving us with no other option than to assume the release of the 7-inch has been canceled."
"I finally got in touch with the person who runs Evident's website, who was able to override PayPal and get everyone a refund," Abeele says. "No harm done — except for the fact that the single didn't get produced."
The experience shook the dream-pop duo, but the pleasant slumber induced by February debut The Years, available for free at www.arcadesoundltd.com, was uninterrupted. By quartzlike closer "To the Lighthouse," Nouvion's languorous pipes become part lullaby, part barbiturate, leaving no wake as they quietly break the surface of Abeele's watery, classical-informed organ compositions. Nouvion, a photographer, was "tricked" into forming a pop band, Abeele says, laughing.
"She was covering a show that I happened to be at," he says. "She'd never actually sung or performed music before. I somehow convinced her that this is what we needed to do. It spawned from a multimedia project we were working on, with ambient music and photography, and all kind of snowballed from there."
The Evident fiasco didn't sour Memoryhouse on label relations for long. Soon after, Seattle's Suicide Squeeze commissioned a new 7-inch for a fall series, whose participants include Dan Deacon and Iron & Wine. "We actually recorded in a cathedral," Abeele says. "It was a really different experience, getting to record in hi-fi and have the kind of sound we've always wanted. ... We jumped at the opportunity."
The single, previewed on the band's website (www.memoryhouse.tumblr.com) in a hummed, piano-only demo, offers a glimpse at what surprises 2011 full-length Looms of Youth has in store, Abeele says. "We changed our process a lot with these recordings. It's much more organic now. There's live acoustic drums rather than electronic beats. We have real violins in them for the first time, really gorgeous acoustic piano. They're a bit more orchestral, which is where we always wanted to take it."
It's another step toward realizing Abeele's vision for Memoryhouse, which stretches from the chamber pop of Beach House and Grizzly Bear to German cutting-edge classicist Max Richter, whose 2002 debut gave the band its name. Out of print for years, the recently reissued LP was waiting, wrapped, under Abeele's Christmas tree. ("Really good job with the re-mastering, and the packaging is gorgeous," he says.) As for the possibility of working with his idol, a notable producer? "I wouldn't even know how to contact him. When Pitchfork did an article on us, Max Richter retweeted Pitchfork, which I find kind of humorous. So he at least knows we exist.
"He's an amazing producer. He produced that Vashti Bunyan album a few years back, Lookaftering, which is just a gorgeous album, one of my favorites. If there's any way I could get him to produce ours, I would jump at the opportunity. I think my head would explode."