True Womanhood
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True Womanhood

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States
Band Pop Avant-garde

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"poptartssucktoasted"

Since telling you all that I was going to be posting more on the bands that send music to my inbox a couple weeks ago I have totally dropped the ball and failed at doing just that. It's not that I didn't want to, it's that I wanted to listen to records from the big boys that were leaking every minute right onto my hard drive! Now I know that doesn't make up for the fact that I haven't introduced you to any new bands in a while, but it should at least explain why I've neglected these bands! Anyway, it's time we atone for these grievous sins by introducing you to (or reminding you about) a DC band called True Womanhood.

The three piece act has just put out a brand new EP on Environmental Aesthetics called Basement Membranes, and after listening to it a few times we have become wrapped up in the warm, eerie sounds of the half dozen tunes found on it. Produced by A Place to Bury Strangers' sound engineer David Levin and mastered by J. Robbins, the short player offers a truly warped and authentic sound. Using shoegaze waves and lots of varied sounds the record shifts around between quieter songs that slowly ebb into your consciousness and songs that are more pummeling and immediate in nature. It's a cool mix of soft and hard that totally works for the band and has brought about comparisons to folks like Radiohead and Sonic Youth. That type of lofty praise has helped propel the band to where they are now, but it's the sound of this EP and the raw nature of their live show (at least I've heard it's raw) that will take them on their very own career path.

We're stoked by Basement Membranes, one of the first pieces of new music truly making an impact on our ears so far this year. This is the type of music that can soundtrack a quiet evening at home or turn you into a deafened fool in the live setting, and you have to like a band that can straddle that wide a divide so easily. We're expecting big things from this band so look out! - Poptartssucktoasted


"nyctaper set from glasslands with babies/beach fossils"

On the same night last month at Glasslands when we recorded Babies and Beach Fossils, I was also quite impressed with the music of one of the opening bands. True Womanhood is a trio from Washington DC that plays a type of avant-pop that’s hard to pigeonhole. With a drummer who plays on an unorthodox kit, the rhythms can be challenging but are complimented by tenor-based harmonies and melodic guitar lines. The band’s new EP Basement Membranes was released this past week, and the opening song from this concert (”The Monk”) appears on that disc.

We recorded this set with the two Neumann mics mixed with a board feed. The post-production required some channel conversion to balance out the recording, but the results are excellent. Enjoy!


True Womanhood
2010-01-06
Glasslands Gallery
Brooklyn, NY USA

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard + Neumann KM-150s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 2x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > Flac Frontend (level 7, align sector boundaries) > flac

Premiere Download offered at
http://www.nyctaper.com
nyctaper@nyctaper.com

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper
2010-01-12

Setlist:
[Total Time 29:24]
01 The Monk
02 Grey Man
03 Mantle
04 Night Prowler
05 A Diviner
06 Dungeoness

- nyctaper


"brightestyoungthings EP listening party/interview"

all original photos: Alyssa Lesser

When True Womanhood bounded onto the DC music stage/scene/whathaveyou with their art school self-awareness and their trippy shoegaze songs and weird instruments and more references than most bands could handle, people stopped and took notice. Whether you enjoyed that particular reverby sound when it first came around back in the MBV days, or you were just catching on, there was no mistaking it: the kids were alright and cooler than the other side of your pillow.
Now, they’re back with “Basement Membrane” their 2nd EP (but first properly recorded one, and produced as creatively as you’d expect it to be), which comes out today (on Environmental Aesthetics) and we sat down with them to talk about ladies’ bands, skills and upcoming non-CD-release shows they’re playing.
Buckle up.

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BYT: We interviewed you guys first in September 2008, if you could look at yourself then and wish you knew one thing you know now, what would it be?
TW: My goodness, starting things off with a tough one. Ultimately we wish we knew then how much potential we have as a three piece band. Last spring we lost a member of the band and it threw us into turmoil as we were in the process of recording our EP. Right now we are in a great place and the creative track of the band is far better off than last year. Losing a member mid stride forced us to get creative and find new ways of playing our music.

BYT: It definitely seems like you succeeded in that. In the last year and a half, you’ve seemingly played a million shows, what were some of your favorite bands you played with/moments?
TW: Our show with Women at DC9 was a definite highlight. It was our second show (first in DC) after losing a member of the band and I feel like we really proved to ourselves, and our fans that continuing as a three piece was the right way to go. This show was also when we first dreamed of setting up a festival tour with True Womanhood, Women, Girls, Little Girls, Girl Talk, Girl School, Sun City Girls, Ladytron, Ladyhawke, Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, and Boyz II Men.

BYT: Nice, you should have called it “Ladies Night” (or maybe not). Anyay, lets talk about “Basement Membrane” – were there any attempts to get on a label for this one? And if so, what happened?
TW: We have been approached by a number of labels of various different sizes, all run by sincere, talented and hardworking people. In the end we decided to go with Environmental Aesthetics from Baltimore. The label is home to a number of hot, young bands from Baltimore and beyond- very exciting stuff. www.easounds.com

basement membranes cover.jpg

BYT: Tell us how this record may differ from your first EP?
TW: Our first recording was very much a demo. It was recorded with the cheapest microphones of all time and thrown together in a week. Basement Membranes was recorded using cutting edge technology such as “click tracks” and something called “mixing.” Musically, Basement Membranes is far more diverse, exploring many different moods, tempos and textures. It’s a pretty good representation of our first year together as a band.

BYT: Cool. So, lets listen to some tracks off of it now
TW: Gladly. Here are the 1 through 4 of the 6 songs on the EP

The Monk
This song appeared on the demo but we liked it so much that we decided to give it a second go with better production.

Dignitas
This is our homage to the DC go-go beat. The sample sounds were taken from an anime tv show and blasted through a vintage plate reverb.

Magic Child
The droning sounds at the beginning and end of this track were made by slowing down a recording of tiny tinkly bells. We then blasted this sound through a 100+ foot hallway, effective using the building as giant reverb tank.

A Diviner
This song used to be impossible for us to play and it turned out to be nearly impossible to mix. Note to self: timpani and bass always need to hard panned away from one another.

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BYT: Where does True Womanhood see itself in 3 years (i’d say 5 but 5 seems so long)
TW:Hopefully big enough to be used as a shreds video on youtube. As always, we look to Slipknot for career advice.

BYT:In the DC music world, who are you most excited about right now and why? What are some of the best things happening & what stuff are we missing?
TW:We are really excited with the DMV’s growing profile in hip-hop. Obviously Wale is getting huge but the DC native that is really blowing us away is Tabi Bonney. His new album, Dope, is out now. Mandatory listening.

BYT: In general, what music are you all listening to now, and yes, give specific examples?
TW: Recently we have all been listening to a lot of The XX, Antony and the Johnsons, Bjork, Beach House, Fever Ray, Pictureplane, and Joy Orbison. Four-Tet’s new album is a winner and will probably be played a lot in the coming months. Whenever we are in the van we listen almost exclusively to WPGC 95.5 FM.

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BYT: We learned that Melissa used to play basketball this past Friday (hanging out at the Cat is always helpful (for collecting artist info)-ed), any skills the rest of the band has that we don’t know about?
TW:Noam is currently developing into a nearly competent water color artiste while Thomas is a closet Xbox 360 fiend. Also, all members of True Womanhood can read at an sevanth grade levvel.

BYT: Classy. And finally-You’re playing a CD release show @ Strathmore this Friday with Exit Clov (who are also releasing a CD), how did you decide on that location? Any plans on doing another show more downtown?
TW: The show at Strathmore this Friday is Exit Clov’s cd release party. Our release party details are still TBD and will coincide with the physical release of Basement Membranes. We were contacted by Exit Clov and Strathmore about the show and we jumped at the opportunity. When else would we have the chance to play our music while surrounded by such lavish splendor? For everybody who is coming to the show- the theme is Eyes Wide Shut.

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Want more:

Socialize with them online here: http://www.myspace.com/truewomanhood , get their EP here starting today (clickclick) and stop by Strathmore on Friday for their non-CD release show - brightestyoungthings


"washington post live review"

True Womanhood -- about to embark on nearly three months of touring, to answer another bit of criticism lobbed at the locals -- is creating its own genre: double timpani space swirl. Drummer Noam Elsner's rumbling rhythms have become the band's defining feature, and they actually serve as a nice modern update of the percussion-heavy sound favored by old D.C. - washington post


"rcrd lbl"

D.C. trio True Womanhood sound like sequestered-in-their-own-basement types–"Magic Child" roars along wiry and claustrophobic, guitars unwinding like they've been wrapped up in rubber band cocoons, drums rolling on sixteenth notes to keep up. It's all very...frenzied. Funnily enough, the EP it's pulled from is called Basement Membranes, which is available now through Baltimore upstart Environmental Aesthetics. Memo to bands: locking yourself in a confined space can result in wonderful things like this. - sam duke


"milk milk lemonade"


Our bad little habit of researching music blog aggregators for the saturation-factor before a listen to music files landing in the old inbox nearly had us missing out on today's featured artist. Luckily enough for our collective ear, the accompanying message sent was kind and brought a smile as we ended up surrounded with the sounds of an energetic young band that most definitely deserves an extended listen. True Womanhood is a Washington, D.C. trio consisting of musicians Thomas Redmond (guitar, vocals), Melissa Beattie (bass, aux) and Noam Elsner (percussion, aux) who have only been a musical troupe for the better part of this past year. In a fairly brief period of time, the band has been steadily building a well-earned stir and have just released a debut EP, titled Basement Membranes, which was made available last week through Baltimore label Environmental Aesthetics (EA MySpace). Beyond the easily spotted vocal inflection of a certain Mr. Yorke and underlying influence of Sonic Youth, it might have been the unexpected rough-edged ...Trail Of Dead guitar feed and jilting off-beats that turned our passive smile into an evil grin. All comparisons aside, True Womanhood is a band well worth following closely. Here you go...
- milk milk lemonade


"jezebel music live review"

Last Wednesday, an adorable swarm of stripey-teed, bespectacled Williamsburgers filed in to Glasslands for bands whose very monikers spoke volumes to the nature of the crowd: Total Slacker, The Babies, and perhaps a bit more far-fetched, True Womanhood. Although the main event was The Babies, (comprised of members from Vivian Girls and Woods), I thought True Womanhood had considerable novelty appeal and definitely won Miss Congeniality for the night. Thomas Redmond, Melissa Beattie, and Noam Elsner’s melodic doomsday drones brought out the vampire in all of us, and by the end of their set, even the bartender was rocking out.

Utilizing maudlin drum loops, beer-soaked, distorted basslines, and Doug Martsch-inspired vocals, the trio of psych rockers filled the space with a palpably hypnotic echo. The sound is a product of organic songwriting, never taking the obvious route back to a hook, barraging the ear with a pattern of recognizable basslines, and then shying away. Luckily for us, this gave way to the under-indulged timpani, whose deep and kettled voice brought new life to the roll of the kick drum in experimental indie rock. Elsner’s drumming is a sight to behold, as is Beattie’s childlike, Duff McKagan attitude toward her bass. The songs could have been tighter, but the kernel of a great structure was there, and at Glasslands, who’s counting?

by Drew Citron - jezebel music


"pasta primavera"

About a year ago I received a 5 track demo from a fairly new DC band True Womanhood. Their sound was truly unique. Not overly complicated – guitar, vocals, drums, and the occasional strange sound I couldn’t quite place. The trio of Thomas Redmond (vocals, guitar), Melissa Beattie (bass, aux), and Noam Elsner (percussion, aux) have since played a slew of area shows and have been highlighted on many blogs. They have just released a new EP Basement Membranes on local Baltimore label Environmental Aesthetics (home of Weekends, Lands & Peoples, In Every Room, and more) and holy crap is it good. I knew when they put out the digital single of “Magic Child” a little while ago that they had seriously grown as artists, but hearing this explosive EP has put them on another level. I’m guessing that working with J. Robbins and Death By Audio had an effect for sure. The difference between these new versions and the older demo versions is pretty drastic. The rhythmic intensity on the EP is simply breathtaking and powerful. I know that seems cliche – but its the friggin truth. Also, as I stated on our post about the “Magic Child” single, Thomas Redmond’s voice has blossomed into its own powerful entity within these songs. Previously it seemed to just blend and waver between its other musical counterparts, but now Redmond’s vocals charge to the front. There’s not much else to say but GET THIS EP then beckon them to get a-workin’ on the LP.

mp3: True Womanhood – A Diviner

mp3: True Womanhood – Dignitas

Be sure to catch them when they come to Baltimore on April 7th at the Golden West Cafe. More dates here. - pasta primavera


"all our noise"

Seems like ages ago now, but the first AON Session we recorded was with True Womanhood. And now today marks the official release of their debut EP, Basement Membranes on Baltimore’s Environmental Aesthetics. A little Radiohead, a little Sonic Youth, lots of haunting atmosphere and brooding percussion.

Recording time was split between J Robbins (of Jawbox, Burning Airlines and Government issue fame) in Baltimore and Death By Audio up in Brooklyn. The production on the record feels pretty varied, which seems to work really well toward emphasizing the dynamics of the band.

Early versions of a few of these tracks, “Shadow People,” “A Diviner” and “Rubber Buoys” made it onto our session, but on this EP, the band is much tighter and clearer in their execution.

This weekend, the band joins a a stellar line-up for the Aural States Fest, split between Sonar & the Talking head in Baltimore on Saturday, Jan. 30.

EP Track listing after the jump.

1. The Monk – 04:43
2. Dignitas – 06:17
3. Magic Child – 03:48
4. A Diviner – 03:09
5. Rubber Buoys – 04:18
6. Shadow People – 03:55 - all our noise


"aural states review + show promo"

True Womanhood is quite the talented trio, garnering much praise from J. Robbins himself. Even from the frail and uneven sounds of their self-recorded demo, DC’s True Womanhood have always conveyed a certain amount of mystique and intrigue. It would appear they only needed some sage guides for their musical journey to funnel all that creative energy. Their freshly J. Robbins-mixed & David Levin-produced EP sees them cashing in big on their promise, finally enabled to develop that small peek of a vision into a wide gazing aural spectacle that could wow even the most jaded of ears.

One of the fastest maturing and evolving groups in the area, it was a no-brainer to have them play a set at this year’s festival. Lead-singer and guitarist Thomas Redmond took some time to rap about their EP Basement Membranes (digitally released today so buy it here), and other miscellany:

AS: I know you were running back and forth to record part of your EP at Death By Audio over the summer, and part at the Magpie Cage with J. Robbins. Can you break down your motivations for recording with each studio, and the contributions they had to this EP?

Thomas Redmond: Our producer for Basement Membranes was David Levin, live sound engineer for A Place to Bury Strangers, founders of Death By Audio. David’s knowledge and capabilities regarding sound recording are vast, so we were thrilled to have the chance to work with him. Beyond that, Death By Audio is the kind of place that gets it all right- a killer underground live venue, practice spaces for countless amazing bands, and an effects pedal factory that pushes the the boundaries of extreme noise. Once we had all our instrumental tracks recorded, we went into the studio with J Robbins in Baltimore to mix. J. is amazing and an absolute pleasure to work with. The songs really came together, and with J’s expert assistance, I was able to record some pretty sweet vocal tracks.

AS: When we talked last year, you mentioned that you were really trying to more effectively explore different moods. I think you definitely achieved success on this front, particularly with the tracks “Rubber Buoys” and “Shadow People.” Could you say a little about how each of those tracks developed, and what types of things you are doing musically?

TR: These are actually the first two songs that the band first started performing live way back when. As our oldest songs they were, by far, the most difficult to record. “Shadow People” is essentially just a drum loop and a metal guitar riff. It took us a long time to settle on a direction for the song to go but some tribal drumming and vocals sung into giant wooden pipes did the trick. The song has already been played on DC101– score! ”Rubber Buoys” was also a tough song for us because its beat is built around the iron volcano, a big metal funnel, which proved very hard to record. Eventually we got it by running the iron volcano through a distorting vintage tape echo and adding some reverb. Another stand out section in that song is the bridge which features what sounds like a string quartet. It’s actually a sound I got by playing guitar through two consecutive reverse gated reverbs.

AS: You really managed to eke out a myriad of textures in your sound. Where do you find inspiration for your array of experimental sounds, things like the iron volcano funnel?

TR: During our various travels we are always seeking out big metal things that go boom, clank, and pow. The iron volcano is just a small part of our arsenal. As big fans of electronic music, our goal is to create “acoustic electronic” music by using found objects (as well as our own homemade samples of objects) and playing them in electronic styles, but live. The idea is to search out new, more organic textures for electronic rhythms and apply them to our songs. We are continuing to move even further in this direction and even adding some new tricks to the guitar and bass.

AS: How did you get involved with Baltimore-based Environmental Aesthetics for the release?

TR: A lovely afternoon lunch in the beautiful courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in DC’s Chinatown. When John from Environmental Aesthetics first approached us, Basement Membranes was nowhere near completion. Over the course of finishing up the recording with J. in Baltimore, we became familiar with the Baltimore scene and a pattern started to emerge. We thought, what do all these young, hardworking bands have in common? The answer- Environmental Aesthetics!

AS: What are your big plans for 2010?

TR: Festivals, tours, and a full album that’s already underway.

AS: Who are you excited to see at the fest?

TR: Everyone! We are especially excited to see J. Robbin’s new band, The Office of Future Plans, and we are excited for him to finally see us live as well! Some other bands we will not miss are Lands & Peoples, Benjy Feree, and Dustin Wong. - aural states


Discography

*True Womanhood Demo - 2008
*Magic Child/Dignitas 7" (death by audio records 2009)
*Basement Membranes EP (environmental aesthetics 2010)

Photos

Bio

Four-foot industrial blades hanging like chimes. A disassembled church organ rigged with wires running into a computer. As much art installation as rock concert, the most conventional things on True Womanhood�s stage are the timpani drums. And these homemade instruments are not mere sonic curiosities but integral parts of the band�s tightly crafted, inventive songwriting. Grounded on friendships going back to middle school, band members Thomas Redmond, Melissa Beattie and Noam Elsner play in an instinctual style that is sonically and emotionally loud.

The trio has emerged out of the doldrums of post-Dischord Washington, D.C. with a collection of haunting pop gems that are surprisingly mature given the band�s youthful exuberance and predisposition towards experimental music. Their debut EP, Basement Membranes, released in January 2010 on the Baltimore label Environmental Aesthetics, was recorded at mainly at the DIY venue and effects pedal factory Death By Audio in Brooklyn, before the finishing touches were applied with the help of J. Robbins (Jawbox) at his studio in Baltimore.

In the short time they've been together, True Womanhood has had the opportunity to perform both in and outside of their home city with hip, national acts such as HEALTH; A Place to Bury Strangers; The Antlers; Times New Viking; Crystal Antlers; The Babies; Titus Andronicus; Women; Beach Fossils; Indian Jewelry The Mae Shi; AIDS Wolf; etc.