The Black and White Years
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The Black and White Years

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
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""From the heavy, electro pulse and jabbing vox of intoxicating opening salvo "Up!," B&WYs pound heavily on Yeasayer's indie imprimatur, yet diced through a New Wave tremor they continue to surf.""

Texas Platters
By Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 19, 2010

"From the heavy, electro pulse and jabbing vox of intoxicating opening salvo "Up!," B&WYs pound heavily on Yeasayer's indie imprimatur, yet diced through a New Wave tremor they continue to surf."

The Black & White Years
Patterns - The Austin Chronicle


""From the heavy, electro pulse and jabbing vox of intoxicating opening salvo "Up!," B&WYs pound heavily on Yeasayer's indie imprimatur, yet diced through a New Wave tremor they continue to surf.""

Texas Platters
By Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 19, 2010

"From the heavy, electro pulse and jabbing vox of intoxicating opening salvo "Up!," B&WYs pound heavily on Yeasayer's indie imprimatur, yet diced through a New Wave tremor they continue to surf."

The Black & White Years
Patterns - The Austin Chronicle


""Austin’s The Black and White Years new album ‘Patterns’ is a beautiful synth-pop shamanistic journey into the soul.""

Not sure if you guys are big Bowie fans, but I love the man. With a diverse body of work that includes everything from folk music to 80's pop to Drum and Bass, the dude has gone through quite a few changes in his career. The biggest jump was probably from folk to funky. I wasn’t alive at the time, but I always wonder if he was changing his style or finally recognizing the sound that he’d always wanted to make?

This is the question I asked myself a couple weeks ago when I received a copy of the new album by Austin’s Black and White Years. From the dreamy “Up!” to the echoing, heavenly loops on the closing track “Promises,” this album is distinctly different. The college rock drums and guitars are gone, replaced by rich layers of sound and melodic synth lines. For me, “Patterns” is a well-thought techno-pop album that shows the bands true voice.

For me, “Patterns” feels a little like a journey through the inner self. With it’s dense layers of sound, there’s something organic and shamanistically spiritual about the album. In fact, it kinda makes me feel like I’ve taken mushrooms. Plus, the lyrics carry us through one man’s journey that begins in a place that’s empty and pointless and ends with the discovery of what’s important to him. But don’t let that scare you away; it’s ultimately a danceable, uplifting album that I can’t stop playing. - Republic of Austin Blog


""Austin’s The Black and White Years new album ‘Patterns’ is a beautiful synth-pop shamanistic journey into the soul.""

Not sure if you guys are big Bowie fans, but I love the man. With a diverse body of work that includes everything from folk music to 80's pop to Drum and Bass, the dude has gone through quite a few changes in his career. The biggest jump was probably from folk to funky. I wasn’t alive at the time, but I always wonder if he was changing his style or finally recognizing the sound that he’d always wanted to make?

This is the question I asked myself a couple weeks ago when I received a copy of the new album by Austin’s Black and White Years. From the dreamy “Up!” to the echoing, heavenly loops on the closing track “Promises,” this album is distinctly different. The college rock drums and guitars are gone, replaced by rich layers of sound and melodic synth lines. For me, “Patterns” is a well-thought techno-pop album that shows the bands true voice.

For me, “Patterns” feels a little like a journey through the inner self. With it’s dense layers of sound, there’s something organic and shamanistically spiritual about the album. In fact, it kinda makes me feel like I’ve taken mushrooms. Plus, the lyrics carry us through one man’s journey that begins in a place that’s empty and pointless and ends with the discovery of what’s important to him. But don’t let that scare you away; it’s ultimately a danceable, uplifting album that I can’t stop playing. - Republic of Austin Blog


""Austin's the Black and White Years seemingly leapt out of a portal from the late 1970s""

By Jen Paulson 05.07.08 12:44 PM

Opening the evening with a set of extremely danceable, discotheque-ready tunes, Austin's the Black and White Years seemingly leapt out of a portal from the late 1970s. And though their music was in stark contrast to the Presidents, the band easily solicited new fans, possessed by the songs off their Jerry Harrison-produced (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers) debut.

- Spin


""Austin's the Black and White Years seemingly leapt out of a portal from the late 1970s""

By Jen Paulson 05.07.08 12:44 PM

Opening the evening with a set of extremely danceable, discotheque-ready tunes, Austin's the Black and White Years seemingly leapt out of a portal from the late 1970s. And though their music was in stark contrast to the Presidents, the band easily solicited new fans, possessed by the songs off their Jerry Harrison-produced (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers) debut.

- Spin


""Austin's Best New Local Band 2008""

The Austin Chronicles Critics Pick - January, 4, 2008
Andy Langer's Pick For Austin's
Best New Local Band
The Black & White Years - Austin Chronicle


""carries all the Heads' trademarks: scattershot guitar, snaking synths, and quirky, hyperintelligent lyricism""

Remain in Light
Burning down the house: The Black & White Years at the Beauty Bar, Jan. 17

Only seven people attended the Black & White Years' official SXSW showcase last year at Opal Divine's, but as fate would have it, that included Velvet Revolver shredder Slash and former Talking Head and Modern Lover Jerry Harrison. "He came to our house, and we played a set for him in our living room, two nights in a row," recalls singer/guitarist Scott Butler of the latter. A month later, the Austin art-punk quartet was in California's Sausalito Sound studio with Harrison and Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone, hammering out the follow-up to the B&WY's debut EP, Real! In Color! "When we walked in, they were remastering the Talking Heads catalog for 5.1 surround sound," recalls keyboardist/guitarist Landon Thompson. "David Byrne's guitar was bouncing around the room." The resulting eponymous LP, to be released by Houston's Brando Records at Stubb's on Feb. 22, carries all the Heads' trademarks: scattershot guitar, snaking synths, and quirky, hyperintelligent lyricism. This weekend the band tries its luck at the European counterpart to SXSW, the 2008 MIDEM conference in Cannes, France. "We're too broke to be overwhelmed," Butler concludes, "but things are looking good."

- Austin Powell/Austin Chronicle - Austin Chronicle


""the anxious yelps of singer Scott Butler""

True to its name, The Black And White Years treads a fine line between soulful funk and reggae (the black) and twitchy art-rock (the white), much like its obvious forebears in Talking Heads. Fitting then that the post-punk trio so impressed that band?s Jerry Harrison at this year?s SXSW that he jumped at the chance help craft the follow-up to their infectious debut Real! In Color!, due this fall. Of course, no band that gets compared to Talking Heads these days actually sounds like Talking Heads, but damned if The Black And White Years doesn?t come awfully close?wrapping reggae stabs of guitar around sinewy bass grooves and topping it off with the anxious yelps of singer Scott Butler?and there?s even a hint of Of Montreal in there for the kids. The white boys done did it again. Opening: Haunting Oboe Music, Moses And The Burning Bush. - The Onion


""a snaky, pulsating mass of abstract sound that recalls the best Berlin Bowie/Eno collaborations. ""

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008
Kneejerk RXN : The Black and White Years



I was trolling the net recently and happened upon some random information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Charles Bonnet was Swiss naturalist, who in 1760, documented the fact that his nearly-blind 89-year-old grandfather experienced visual hallucinations despite the fact that Pappy had all of his mental faculties intact. The article went on to suggest that CBS was likely a fairly common condition among the blind population, albeit underreported and completely unexplained due to the fact that people are hesitant to talk about it for fear of being labeled crazy. Interesting stuff indeed, and more than a little reassuring for me, as I apparently suffer from a similar condition; one that I refer to as Deney Terrio Syndrome.

I, at times, am overcome by an irrational belief that I can dance. This affliction strikes many Americans at wedding receptions (Kool & the Gang, anyone?), but for myself, symptoms tend to manifest themselves following the downing of 5+ martinis, especially as mixed up at The Monte Carlo in Minneapolis. However, I also find that certain, often peculiar, songs can elicit these hallucinations. For years I have lived in fear of Pick Up The Pieces by The Average White Band. More recently, episodes have been triggered by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley's All Night and North American Scum by LCD Soundsystem. And now, I am forced to add The Black And White Years' Power To Change to the restricted list.

I never really got into Talking Heads. Sure, they had some great songs (specifically Psycho Killer and Life During Wartime) and I understood their influence, but we never connected. Based on the endless comparisons of Austin's BWY to Talking Heads, I was more than happy to ignore their self-titled debut on Brando, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me.

I'll start by saying that comparisons to Talking Heads are spot on, thanks in no small part to producer Jerry Harrison, who not only played keyboards in that band, but was also an original member of the much-celebrated and much-loved Modern Lovers. In recent years, Harrison has successfully manned the producer's seat for the likes of Violent Femmes, Live and No Doubt, but until now, has never tread too closely to the Talking Heads style; however, BWY's quirky rhythms and "everything but the kitchen sink" approach clearly make them simpatico.

This album is really a pleasant surprise and holds up surprisingly well to repeated listens, but for me, everything comes together on Power To Change. Drummer Steve Ferrone (of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers) and bassist John Aldridge get the song moving with a groove that borrows liberally from the aforementioned Life During Wartime as well as Bob Marley's Exodus. From there, Harrison builds verses purposefully; adding layer upon layer of keyboard and percussion to create a snaky, pulsating mass of abstract sound that recalls the best Berlin Bowie/Eno collaborations. Top it off with vocalist Scott Butler's inspired yelping and transient tics and what you are left with is pure ass-shakin' pabulum. Garnish with olives or lemon twist, and clear the dancefloor.

- My Old Kentucky Blog


""a snaky, pulsating mass of abstract sound that recalls the best Berlin Bowie/Eno collaborations. ""

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008
Kneejerk RXN : The Black and White Years



I was trolling the net recently and happened upon some random information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Charles Bonnet was Swiss naturalist, who in 1760, documented the fact that his nearly-blind 89-year-old grandfather experienced visual hallucinations despite the fact that Pappy had all of his mental faculties intact. The article went on to suggest that CBS was likely a fairly common condition among the blind population, albeit underreported and completely unexplained due to the fact that people are hesitant to talk about it for fear of being labeled crazy. Interesting stuff indeed, and more than a little reassuring for me, as I apparently suffer from a similar condition; one that I refer to as Deney Terrio Syndrome.

I, at times, am overcome by an irrational belief that I can dance. This affliction strikes many Americans at wedding receptions (Kool & the Gang, anyone?), but for myself, symptoms tend to manifest themselves following the downing of 5+ martinis, especially as mixed up at The Monte Carlo in Minneapolis. However, I also find that certain, often peculiar, songs can elicit these hallucinations. For years I have lived in fear of Pick Up The Pieces by The Average White Band. More recently, episodes have been triggered by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley's All Night and North American Scum by LCD Soundsystem. And now, I am forced to add The Black And White Years' Power To Change to the restricted list.

I never really got into Talking Heads. Sure, they had some great songs (specifically Psycho Killer and Life During Wartime) and I understood their influence, but we never connected. Based on the endless comparisons of Austin's BWY to Talking Heads, I was more than happy to ignore their self-titled debut on Brando, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me.

I'll start by saying that comparisons to Talking Heads are spot on, thanks in no small part to producer Jerry Harrison, who not only played keyboards in that band, but was also an original member of the much-celebrated and much-loved Modern Lovers. In recent years, Harrison has successfully manned the producer's seat for the likes of Violent Femmes, Live and No Doubt, but until now, has never tread too closely to the Talking Heads style; however, BWY's quirky rhythms and "everything but the kitchen sink" approach clearly make them simpatico.

This album is really a pleasant surprise and holds up surprisingly well to repeated listens, but for me, everything comes together on Power To Change. Drummer Steve Ferrone (of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers) and bassist John Aldridge get the song moving with a groove that borrows liberally from the aforementioned Life During Wartime as well as Bob Marley's Exodus. From there, Harrison builds verses purposefully; adding layer upon layer of keyboard and percussion to create a snaky, pulsating mass of abstract sound that recalls the best Berlin Bowie/Eno collaborations. Top it off with vocalist Scott Butler's inspired yelping and transient tics and what you are left with is pure ass-shakin' pabulum. Garnish with olives or lemon twist, and clear the dancefloor.

- My Old Kentucky Blog


""Everything sounds familiar, but it's rarely ever sounded better.""

BY AUSTIN POWELL
The Black & White Years
(Brando)
The Black & White Years hearken back to a simpler time – 1977 to be exact. The local quartet's eponymous debut sounds like an updated version of the Talking Heads, with angular post-punk guitar carefully structured over jittery synths and polyrhythmic beats. Probably not coincidental, then, is the LP's production by former Talking Head keyboardist Jerry Harrison, who ensures that every layer of sound has its own space to breathe, particularly in opener "A Wetter Sea" and Technicolor ballad "My Broken Hand." Like David Byrne, vocalist Scott Butler seethes with cynical, hyperintellectual lyricism, most evident on "Power to Change," which reads like a summation of God, Germs, and Steel. The disco-glam of "Everyone" and closer "Zeroes and Ones" lean closer to Of Montreal circa The Sunlandic Twins, while "Hysterical Sickness" and "Evil Ape" add hot flashes of surf guitar, the latter boasting a psychedelic organ and mariachi trumpets. Everything sounds familiar, but it's rarely ever sounded better. (Thursday, March 13, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room, 9pm.)
- Austin Chronicle


""Everything sounds familiar, but it's rarely ever sounded better.""

BY AUSTIN POWELL
The Black & White Years
(Brando)
The Black & White Years hearken back to a simpler time – 1977 to be exact. The local quartet's eponymous debut sounds like an updated version of the Talking Heads, with angular post-punk guitar carefully structured over jittery synths and polyrhythmic beats. Probably not coincidental, then, is the LP's production by former Talking Head keyboardist Jerry Harrison, who ensures that every layer of sound has its own space to breathe, particularly in opener "A Wetter Sea" and Technicolor ballad "My Broken Hand." Like David Byrne, vocalist Scott Butler seethes with cynical, hyperintellectual lyricism, most evident on "Power to Change," which reads like a summation of God, Germs, and Steel. The disco-glam of "Everyone" and closer "Zeroes and Ones" lean closer to Of Montreal circa The Sunlandic Twins, while "Hysterical Sickness" and "Evil Ape" add hot flashes of surf guitar, the latter boasting a psychedelic organ and mariachi trumpets. Everything sounds familiar, but it's rarely ever sounded better. (Thursday, March 13, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room, 9pm.)
- Austin Chronicle


Discography

Albums and EPs
* Patterns LP (CD, 2010) Black and White Years, LLC
* Nursery Myths EP (CD, 2009) Black and White Years, LLC
* The Black And White Years LP(CD, 2008) Brando
* Real! In Color! EP(CD-R, 2006) Self-released

Photos

Bio

The band was discovered at SXSW in 2007 by Talking Head and Modern Lover, Jerry Harrison. Harrison offered to produce the band's debut LP at his studio in Sausalito, CA and it was released in 2008 on Brando/Rocket Science.

The LP spawned the single “Power to Change" and it received national attention via modern rock and college stations reaching #1 on Albany's WEQX and #5 on Austin's 101X with full time adds on Indie103, CD101 and Portland's KNRK.

"Power to Change" was awarded Song of the Year at the 2009 Austin Music Awards. The band received a total of five honors including Best New Band, Best Bassist, Best Producer (Jerry Harrison) and Best Rock Band.

Since then, they have played festivals such as CMJ Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin City Limits Music Festival, MIDEM and Wireless Festival in London.

They released Patterns, the follow up to their Jerry Harrison produced debut, on November 16, 2010. In 2010 their song "To Modern Science" was used in Tap Tap Revenge 3 and a notable hoax featuring a fake commercial for the next generation of Apple's iPhone; the fake ad accumulated almost a million views across the Internet.

The band is currently writing new material for their third LP due sometime around Summer 2012.

BWY Summer/Fall Dates:

Sun, 7/31 Little Rock, AR Sticky Fingerz
Mon, 8/1 Nashville, TN The Basement
Wed, 8/3 Brooklyn, NY Cameo Art Gallery
Thr, 8/4 Saratoga, NY Putnam Den
Fri, 8/5 Boston, MA Foundry24
Sat, 8/6 Manhattan, NY Piano's
Mon, 8/8 Columbus, OH Skully's
Fri, 8/19 Austin, TX Lambert's
Fri, 8/26 Denton, TX Hailey's
Sat,8/27 Austin, TX Batfest
Fri, 9/02 Norman, OK Opolis
Sat, 9/03 Lawrence, KS Replay Lounge
Fri, 9/09 Houston, TX Fitzgeralds
Sun,9/11 Austin, TX Wild Frontier Fest
Fri, 9/16 Austin, TX Swan Dive (ACL aftershow)
Fri, 9/23 El Paso, TX The Lowbrow
Sat, 10/15 Utopia, TX Utopia Festival
Fri, 10/28 Laredo, TX Old No2
Sat 12/31 Austin, TX Lambert's