Exit Clov
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Exit Clov

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Band Alternative Rock

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Dec
18
Exit Clov @ Black Cat (Backstage)

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Dec
06
Exit Clov @ Johnny Brenda's

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Dec
05
Exit Clov @ Knitting Factory

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

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Music

Press


2006 Sonic Bids Winner (All Good Festival)

2006 Insomniac Radio Artist of the Week

2004 Top 10 Favorite Downloads
(MP3.WashingtonPost.com)
For Abednego, http://mp3.washingtonpost.com/picks/fourthbirthday.shtml

2004 DC Band of the Year
(www.heresahint.org)

2004 Best Mid-Atlantic Releases of the Year
(www.LeftOfftheDial.com)

2004 Best New Artist Nominee
(Washington Area Musicians Association, WAMA)
http://wamadc.com/wama/wammies/wbal04.html

2004 Top 10 DC releases
(www.BigYawn.net)
www.bigyawn.net/features/dctop10-2004.htm - Various


Ya'll been schooled. Not since the late Great Mutant Skywheel has such a detectably educated assembly of talented musicians provided an entertainment factor commensurate with the impressive pedigree. ... One can idly imagine the potency of a mid Atlantic music scene if said students all took their classical training and traditionally classical violins and joined a modern minded progressive pop band.

... redolent of Stereolab, Lamb, and Mono, with comparably crisp hi-fi (truthfully, the entire production here is beyond reproach, remarkably by the band itself) and pleasant dual harmonies from the Hsu sisters, as impressive vocally as anything by the aforementioned trio of electro lounge acts. But when the twins switch off the synths and open those violin cases...they may as well conceal tommy guns. ... Rush's entire catalogue is arguably up for usurpation by the nascent Clov, even.

Ambitious? Whatever the group's goal, it's been achieved. (2005) - Stone Scruggs


Some bands are defined by a gimmick or easy hook. Others struggle to overcome one. Exit Clov, the darkly melodic D.C. post-rock act, is both blessed and burdened by the fact that talented frontwomen Emily and Susan Hsu are twin sisters-and beautiful, at that. Every article about the group starts with some form of that fairly straightforward biological fact. But there's a lot more to be said. Exit Clov is a sort of super-group, built from the Hsu's one-time folksy duo, plus drummer John Thayer and bassist Brett Niederman (former rhythm section of The Sneeks), plus slick guitarist Aaron Leeder of Adoption Agency. Together, they make five confident performers blending indie-rock guitar, girl-group harmonies, and nervous beats into lilting, rhythmical, minor-key jams. You could call this music "pop"-and it is pop, sweet and appealing-it's just that under that surface, the tone is so neurotic. You could call this "rock"-and it is rock, built on a solid foundation of bass and drums-it's just that on top of that groove, it's so pretty. The combination has won Exit Clov a WAMMIE nomination for Best New Artist. Maybe the secret is to enjoy both the sweet surface and the complex core at the same time, a split-minded post-modern stance that should fit right in with the songs on Exit Clov's new album. (2005) - Joel Sparks


It isn't easy to pin down the sound of local quintet Exit Clov. There are hints of folk, indie, trip-hop and pop. The group appeals to the hipsters who frequent places like the Velvet Lounge and the Black Cat. ... Exit Clov sounds more assured and focused than ever, so the future is looking good. (2005)

Identical twins Emily and Susan Hsu's ethereal harmonies drift in and out of focus around guitar and bass grooves. The Clovs tend to snarl their sweetest pop lyrics (sounding like someone split Tanya Donnelly of Belly in half) ... and do a happy Belle and Sebastian bop around the deeper stuff. Catch this fast-rising local gem closer to home. (2004) - Washington Post


It would be easy to dismiss twin singers Emily and Susan as mere eye candy, but a quick listen to Exit Clov’s third release, “Jolly Roget Sessions EP,” reveals much, much more. … Armed with violins, harmony, and a quick dash of oh-so-political-speak, the Hsus and their dude bandmates captivate… (2006) - Norman Transcript


The Bottom of the Hill club in San Francisco recently had their walls pulsating with the colorful punk-pop energy of indie rock band Exit Clov. … Sidestepping the road to becoming cutesy, marshmallowy fluff, the sweet sound of the Hsus’ harmonizing voices and the band’s instrumentals were like Pop Rocks for the ears. Exit Clov’s head-bobbing beats and face-scrunching riffs gave bite to the sisters’ sweet, easygoing vocals, resulting in a giddy, grin-inducing show. (2006) - Asian Week


The Clov has an impressive stage presence and energy. And, yes, it doesn’t hurt that the band is fronted by attractive twin sisters. They command the attention of the males in the room – and ahem, a good number of females too. The twins have amazingly harmonized voices that are so perfectly entwined they sound as if they started rehearsing in the womb.

The most captivating moment of the show is when the femmes show the full scope of their musical talents by rocking out dual violins. The other band members are equally entertaining. Drummer John Thayer pounds out the danceable beats, Aaron Leeder adds some sensual barefoot guitar works and Brett Niederman solidifies the dance beats with the bass. (2006) - DC North


The band's sound gave a sugary glaze to some delightfully subversive lyrics. Their critiques of CIA mind-control ("MK Ultra") and consumerism permeating youth culture ("Band Seeking") were almost Top 40 material due to their very pretty pop sound. It may take a visit or two to Wikipedia but once you get the references you can appreciate the set on a whole other level... (2006) - DCist.com


Two identical twin sisters singing in perfect harmony with a backdrop of progressive rock? What? Hailing from Washington, D.C., this quintet kicks hard but still keeps an edge. (2004)
- Kansas City Star


Fronted by twin (petite, cute, and delicious) sisters who trade vocal lines and create some etheral melodies, this band gets an A+ for musical talent. They were tight. The bassist and drummer were just in lock-step and it allowed the guitarist and the girls (who play anything from acoustic guitar, electric guitar, viola and keyboard) to lay down a breath of stylistic fresh air onto the evening. ... They have the tools to go far and their show schedule and the packed house for this show proves it. (2004) - DC Music Scene Rants


Exit Clov, the name, is an homage to Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. It also serves as a call to arms and a personal manifesto for the band. Exit Clov, the band, is a Washington D.C.-based quintet led by twin sisters Emily and Susan Hsu who claim to be inspired by the madness of their city. When you live in the political capital of America, it’s hard not to be influenced by everything around you. They’re a young band that sings to a young audience – their music is music for 21st century kids. Formed in 2003, the band released a series of EPs (a total of four) throughout their first three years of existence before recently releasing their first full length LP, Memento Mori.

While Exit Clov don’t sound like any one specific band, it’s no secret what kind of bands have an influence on them. Taking cues from everyone from Blondie to Metric, Exit Clov make pleasant indie-pop that has been described as “kaleidoscopic pop noir.” The angelic harmonious voices of the twin sisters stand out immediately, sounding not too dissimilar from another pair of twin female leads, Tegan & Sara. The rest of Exit Clov’s music can be a bit more eclectic – blending synth beats with soft violins, heavy guitar effects, and electric keyboards.

If you’re a sucker for a good hook, Exit Clov is your kind of band. They have a self-proclaimed love for a good hook, and they know how to work their way around one. The chorus of lead single “District Menagerie” is guaranteed to bounce around in your head until you find yourself humming or whistling it hours after your first listen. That’s not to say that every song is a pop standout; the band also knows when to slow it down and does so with gorgeous results. Album closer “Richie Valens” ends the album on a sweet note, a simple piano ballad that adds layers until the full band is rocking softly on a wave of cymbals and violins that they ride till the end of the song and the album.

Throughout Memento Mori, Exit Clov remains accessible while still maintaining a dark edge, even on the sweetest sounding songs. Echoing their surroundings, the band is politically and socially aware but doesn’t bludgeon you over the head with it like some do. Album opener “Strippers & Politicians” doesn’t sacrifice any of their pop sensibilities while it offers a bit of political discourse. “Strippers and politicians are made to dance around/but I’m free at my inclination not to make a sound/see this, this ain’t a show/so maybe you ought to go”

The rest of the album follows suit, balancing light indie-pop with slightly political lyrics. Some of the songs fall short of memorable, but the album is always at the very least pleasant. But when they get it right, they get it very right. Most of the songs on Memento Mori will suck listeners in with a great hook, then leave them implanted in their minds for the rest of the day – making them want to come back for more. - Consequence of Sound


A "memento mori" is an object that reminds us of our demise, like an hourglass or a skull. Although Exit Clov's new CD, "Memento Mori," doesn't exactly fulfill that purpose, it is haunted by mortality.

Previously, this local quintet pitted Emily and Susan Hsu's folkie melodies against pop-punk jauntiness and jam-band proclivities. This album has a more unified style, emphasizing the sisters' voices as they ponder love and death (and God and political repression). Guitarist Aaron Leeder, bassist Brett Niederman and drummer John Thayer still have plenty to do, but highlights such as "Death Is a Song" primarily showcase keyboard-violinist Emily and guitarist-violinist Susan.

These 11 songs include several with up-tempo refrains, notably the piano-driven "The Hate" and the bouncy "Kindest Creatures." But the group now uses raucous tones and lively beats mostly as counterpoints to gentle ballads. The result is a CD that could use a little more rhythmic variety and whose musings may not translate fully when performed live. Tunes such as "District Menagerie," a trip-hop meditation on life's disappointments "down on R Street," aren't designed for arenas. Still, "Memento Mori" is the band's most assured work, rapturous in a hushed way.

-- Mark Jenkins - Washington Post


There are so many indie bands out there doing the same frickin' thing—namely trying to be as "indie" as possible—that it's kind of a shock to the system when you actually get to see something unique at a live show. What qualifies as "unique," you ask? How about a five-piece rock band fronted by identical twin sisters singing close harmony over effects-laden guitar work and driving, synth-powered beats? Still not satisfied? What if that band also wrote songs that were catchy and hook-heavy, politically informed without being in-your-face, and unlike anything you'll hear on indie radio these days?

I caught D.C. hopefuls Exit Clov's live show at the Roxy in L.A. not too long ago, and despite my musical cynicism, damn if I wasn't foot-tapping, head bopping, and humming along with everybody else in the room. It's not just that Exit Clov write infectious grooves, it's the type of music they're putting out. Part hard rock, part new wave, part classical, and part something else entirely, their sound is hard to classify. So, when I recommended them to a skeptical buddy, he wanted to know, "Who do they sound like?" I was hard-pressed to answer—"RageAgainstStereolabChiliPeppersKrzysztofPenderecki" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

Fronted by diminutive twin sisters Emily and Susan Hsu (pronounced "shoe"), Exit Clov formed, as so many groups do, from the wreckage of previous bands. The boys were looking for a new sound and a new singer, the girls showed up, and voila! That's the short version, anyway. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Emily told me the band's name is taken from "a stage direction from a Samuel Beckett play called Endgame. Clov, the main character always says he's going to leave, but never does. So the name Exit Clov sort of signifies: 'Okay, do what you say you're going to do.'"

As part of their recent cross-country tour, Exit Clov played a couple of shows in my hometown, the fair city of Los Angeles. Starting off with songs from their new EP, Respond Respond, and moving into some of their older material, the band impressed throughout the show with their musicianship and polish. Especially formidable was their management of multiple instruments and sound effects, without creating a lot of audio clutter. They're a five piece, but up on that stage they sounded like ten. Drummer John Thayer kept things at a steady bop while the girls rocked everything from keyboards to cowbells (which my good friend Bruce Dickinson tells me is the key to musical success). Meanwhile lead guitarist Aaron Leeder played havoc with more effects pedals than Tom Morello, and bass player Brett Niederman threw down hits that damn near overpowered the sound engineer. And despite the girls switching instruments (sometimes mid-song), each number went off like a well-oiled rifle. Impressive, but not surprising since, according to Emily, Exit Clove practices "a ton." "Compared to other bands," she said, "it's important for us to keep our musicianship up to a high standard."

On the other hand, for all their polish and gleam, the band failed to engage the audience on the level that they'll have to if they want to break through as a powerful live act. Sure, the crowd wasn't huge, but it's crucial for a rock band, however burgeoning, to connect on a visceral level with whatever audience it's got. While there was plenty of semi-interested toe-tapping and head-bobbing, Exit Clov never

seemed to grab the whole attention of anyone apart from those of us there specifically to see them. Perhaps it's merely a question of building up the live-show rapport that comes with experience (or perhaps the teensy stage they played on didn't allow for much in the way of thrashing), but the band would benefit from some more good ol' getting down.

The biggest disappointment, though—and the biggest compliment I can give—was that the band's set was too short. We got a (too brief) taste of Exit Clov's original material, sure, but some covers, for example, might've been nice to hear. Emily told me that the band has done versions of Blondie's "Call Me" (my favorite Blondie tune, as it happens), and a couple other songs. Given how smart and musically challenging their original material is, it'd be a thrill to hear Exit Clov interpret somebody else's stuff. So, if you get to see them in your town, be sure to yell out some requests.

And that's really the bottom line: if you do get the chance to see these guys perform (covers or otherwise), don't miss it. They may not ever make it to the infernal halls of TRL, but Exit Clov is a band doing something right with music, not just something easy and marketable. They're not out to make some academic point about rock n' roll—or slap you with some Zack de la Rocha political message—either. They're just playing genuinely thoughtful, thoroughly accessible, fun pop music. If a jaded-as-hell Slant critic like me can be pleasantly surprised, why not you, our jaded-as-hell readers? - Slant Magazine


It’s not every day that you see a post-punk band with violins but then again, it’s not every day that you see a band fronted by identical twins, either. Led by sisters Emily and Susan Hsu, the Washington D.C. five-piece managed to quiet a chatty room at Lovejoy’s with their blend of post-punk propulsion, classical instrumentation and syrupy-sweet call-and-answer vocals. - PopMatters


For a couple of years now, my friend Sam and I have referred to Exit Clov (much to their chagrin, I’m sure) by the nickname “the cutest band on earth.” We mean it as nothing but complimentary. Here are the reasons for our dubbing:

1) The band is headed by not one, but TWO multi-talented and incredibly cute TWIN SISTERS, Susan and Emily Hsu, who play like a million instruments between them (or at least: keyboard, violin, and guitar) and sing in sweet (cute) 2-part harmony.

2) Their music is cute—poppy, playful, new wave—without being cloying; there’s a hearty slice of rebellion in the lyrics, which are just as likely to comment on overseas politics as the spoils of hometown DC. Cute is a dish best served intelligibly. Or something.

No, but seriously, this band is awesome. And most likely on the brink of their first major breakthrough. A fixture on the DC scene for more than half a decade now, Exit Clov have spent years tweaking their sound and playing shows…and have finally released their debut album, the delightfully sweet (and deliciously rowdy), Memento Mori.

From the first notes of first single “Strippers and politicians”, this album breathes sensuality and vivacity: clip-clop percussion meets passionate strings and vocals so airy they’re liable to float away. From there, it’s an emotional and sometimes volatile journey through 11 tracks, steeped in passion, darkness, moving piano lines, frantic, pulsing beats and images of foreboding.

“District menagerie” is a standout track, with intimate vocals and sweet, Postal Service-esque beats, while “The hate” is stormy and seductively menacing. The album ends on a soft note, with delicate ballads “Death is a song” (both alluring and heart-breaking) and “Ritchie Valenz” (like the climax in a romantic comedy.)

And while an Exit Clov break is welcome anytime, I particularly like listening to this album while slumped over my desk at work—the sensual vocals whisk me away to a faraway world—and the angst-y lyrics make me feel like I’m subtly rebelling against the man (even as I stare blankly at a computer screen.) Did I mention that Exit Clov is the cutest band on earth? Now that’s a combination I can get behind.

- Kate Bracaglia - Phrequency


Discography

COVER BOY
(2010 EP, Nervous People Collective)
*Record Store Day Release - 7" Vinyl
- Sing Your Life (Morrissey)
- Stepping Razor (Peter Tosh)
- The KKK Took My Baby Away (The Ramones)
- Mongoloid (Devo)

MEMENTO MORI
(2010 LP, Nervous People Collective)
- Strippers & Politicians
- Prison Letters
- District Menagerie (on regular rotation at Y-Rock on XPN)
- The Hate
- Free Zone
- Kindest Creatures
- You Think,
- We Bleed
- Blue Is Your Heart
- Death Is A Song
- Ritchie Valens

RESPOND RESPOND
(2006 EP, Livewire Recordings)
#17 CMJ most added (9/26/06)
- D I Y
- Beast Simone
- Violent Berries (Paste Magazine Sampler - December, 2006)
- Moving Gaza
- MK Ultra
- Communist BBQ

JOLLY ROGET SESSIONS
(2006 EP. Self-Released)
- MK Ultra
- Band Seeking
- Talkin Radio (2006)
- Working Class Hero

SASKWATCH
(2005 EP. Self-Released)
- Renegade (radio play)
- #1 Hits
- Orange Rust
- Camel Riders
- Saskwatch vs. Mouse

STARFISH
(2004 EP. Self-Released)
- Beast Simone (radio play)
- Talkin Radio (radio play)
- Benign
- For Abednego
- Killer Starfish
- Dead by Association
- Nikita
- Mojo's Downward Spiral

UP ALL NIGHT JAMMIN TO THE TALKING HEADS
(2005 Compilation. CmH Records)
- Naive Melody (This Must Be the Place)

TPS REPORTS, Vol. 1
(2004 Compilation. Red Stapler Records)
- Benign

Photos

Bio

Out of the madness of DC comes trademark Exit Clov tunes of revolution, ennui and societal idiocy -- smart music for kids of the next century. The band's name, a tribute to Samuel Beckett's "Endgame," is both a call to arms and a personal manifesto. Glossing sweet indie pop vocals over vitriolic bass, drum and guitar grooves, the combo introduces an exclusive sound referred to as "kaleidoscopic pop noir." Seamlessly fusing classical and rock instrumentation the Clov share influences ranging from Bartok to Blondie. Despite the schizophrenia, you won't find Exit Clov straying far from the hot and catchy, delivering antidotes for a generation of music fans who seek songs clever enough to outlast the times.

Exit Clov have to their credit two self-produced EPs (2004 Starfish, 2005 Saskwatch), the Jolly Roget Sessions (2006) -- on which they enlisted the help of Roger Greenawalt (No Doubt, Ben Kweller, Iggy Pop, White Stripes) -- and the energetic Respond Respond EP (2007), recorded, mixed and produced by Colin Cobb of Livewire Recordings. In early 2010 the band released their long awaited debut LP, Memento Mori through the Nervous People Collective. The album features the single "District Menagerie" which has earned airplay around the US and in several European countries.