“Erica Q rocks the mic like an ethereal hybrid of Jeff Buckley, Siouxsie Sioux, and Toni Halliday.” – San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Levitt wails with toned-down tinges of Kurt Cobain’s emptiness and Elliot Smith’s pain.” – West Coast Performer
New York State multi-instrumentalist artists Quitzow and Setting Sun have announced west coast tour dates in February to showcase songs from both bands’ forthcoming albums on Young Love Records. The two groups share more than a label and tour dates, however. Quitzow, the namesake of songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist Erica Quitzow features Setting Sun songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Gary Levitt alternately adding bass, drums and vocals to its live shows. Likewise, the Levitt-led Setting Sun band includes Erica Quitzow on violin and backing vocals.
Along with this kinship, both groups share an open interest in cross-breeding musical forms, merging classical strings (violin and cello especially), folk, chamber pop and hints of early electronic rock. The results are truly refreshing. Setting Sun has been compared to Merge artists The Radar Brothers, Elliot Smith at his darkest and early Nick Drake. Quitzow invites nods like “Solex meets Liz Phair” and “combining the fun of Peaches with the intelligence of Lori Anderson.” The intrigued are invited to hear for themselves during the upcoming string of west coast dates from the 5th to 12th of February. Please see complete dates below.
Quitzow / Setting Sun Live:
02/05 Los Angeles, CA @ Silverlake Lounge
02/06 San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside Lounge
02/07 Sacramento, CA @ Old Ironsides
02/08 Arcada, CA @ Mosgos
02/09 Eugene, OR @ Shady Pines
02/10 Portland, OR @ Ash St. Saloon
02/11 Seattle, WA @ The High Dive
02/12 Olympia, WA @ The Royal
Quitzow - Art College Album Tracklisting:
Release Date: May 13th, 2008
01. Art College
03. On TV! (MP3)
05. Better Than Ever
06. Stay Away From John
08. Slept in my Car with a Kitchen Knife
09. Cats R People 2
10. Rhythm Machine
11. Unripened Fruit
More about Quitzow:
“Juggling mind-blowing moog/Rhodes/bass while singing,” playing Tchaikovsky in The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and creating Fender Rhodes loops layered with MPC drums, moog bass, cellos, violins and vocals, Erica Quitzow brings a wide diversity to her records and live performances. With a self-titled debut album and an upcoming second release, Erica is involved in various musical projects exploring new influences for her inner child gone wild, neo-post electro-pop sound. The new record, Art College, out in spring 2008 on Young Love Records, is a collection of sing-along pop song collages with orchestral arrangement over hip hop, electro-clash, and downtempo beats decorated with adventurous harmonies. Instrumentation is performed primarily by Erica and includes MPC, Reason and live drums layered with Moogs and korgs, Rhodes, Casios, classical and electric guitars, bass, cellos, violins, various percussion instruments with her alternately playful and woeful vocal style. The record was self-recorded in her upstate New York home with production and mixing assistance by band and label-mate, Gary Levitt.
Erica’s debut album, Quitzow, was self-recorded in her previous Los Angeles home and was built on the same acoustic/electronic collage elements as Art College. Again, she played most of the instruments, creating a high-drama palate, and always going for the extreme. While the use of strings in songs like “Drink-Up” sometimes conjures images of Rasputina with a similar Sabbath-style heaviness, often comparisons are elusive as in the cartoon-like playfulness of “R. Crumb.” Elsewhere, “Know Me” is complex and layered, evoking a Todd Rundgren soundscape with passionate screaming vocals reminiscent of Patti Smith.
The live performances include music from both records and ranges from solo cello/guitar and vocals to full band renditions. The upcoming west coast and national tours will be with a five piece band including cello, live and electronic drums, bass, backing vocals and percussion, with Erica on moog, Korg, guitar and vocals.
Among the other projects Erica is involved in is playing violin, cello and singing back up for the Setting Sun live show, as well as playing drums and keyboards on the recordings. Gary Levitt, leader of Setting Sun, is her partner in running Young Love Records and plays bass and sings back up for Quitzow. The bands tour together, share various band members, and assist each other in recording. Erica sometimes plays violin for The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, working to develop the orchestrations on her recordings by studying the compositions of Tchaikovsky and Copeland, among others. She records strings on an array of projects, recently working with Tony Levin, Garth Hudson, and Malcom Burns on Sarah Perotta’s record, The Well.
Past projects include singing and playing bass in the critically acclaimed Heavy Pebble, a New York/San Francisco based experimental band that toured the west coast. More recently she played moog, Rhodes, and bass with Jennifer Turner (of Natalie Merchant’s band) in Los Angeles indie-pop band, Inner. The first record was recorded in Nellie Hooper’s London studio. (Bjork, Massive Attack) This band toured practically nonstop for its three-year incarnation to rapidly growing audience, a positive press response and national college radio play.
Quitzow will tour the full US in June, and plans to tour Europe in the near future.
Setting Sun – To The Next Place Album Tracklisting:
Release Date: May 6th, 2008
01. What We Wanted
02. How Long
03. No Devil Me No More
04. Carry Me Away
07. Love My Love
08. Not Waste (MP3)
09. Inside My Love
10. Morning Song
11. Happy Joy
More about Setting Sun:
Lovers of great songs with inventive and honest sounds can take heart. This third record from Setting Sun really shines. Aptly titled To The Next Place this new record shows Setting Sun going just there. With an intimate lyrical style, each word is slowly tasted before being spoken and set against driving beats, lashing cellos, soothing instrumental interludes and a rich cortege of violins, synthesizers and homemade sounds. All the while never losing its focus on the song with its layers of edgy counterpoint melody, lifting harmonies and soundscapes.
Having lived and created in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Setting Sun’s sound bears the mark of each of these environments. The grime and grit of New York, the quirky artiness of San Francisco and the lilting sunshine of LA... all are orchestrally present in the music. Levitt now resides in upstate NY in the beautiful Hudson Valley where he has completed this third record.
The album was self produced with many friends lending their playing skills. Most noticeably on the record are the string arrangements expertly played by band- and label-mate Erica Quitzow. Set up in a spare room of the house, Quitzow and Setting Sun share a home studio, Young Love Recording Studio. Initially built to record themselves, Gary soon began taking on outside clients. “I love helping other artists work on their music,” says Levitt. “If they come in with just bare-bones sketches of songs and want to expand on them, I'll come up with ideas that add to the songs but don’t compete with them.” Gary also plays bass and sings harmonies for Erica’s band Quitzow.
A veteran of the indie music scene, Levitt started as a member of feverish NY band The Kung-Fu Grip. After four years of relentless touring, they made their way out to San Francisco where they paired down their numbers to a tightly focused three piece, all providing vocals for their cathartic, shock art sound. Levitt simultaneously formed Heavy Pebble with Erica Quitzow, becoming a hit in the music scene in San Francisco and touring the west coast, playing their quirky pop songs with post-modernist film collage projections to crowded houses and critical acclaim. After various line-up changes and key members leaving, both groups disbanded.
Upon having these long term projects fall apart leaving Levitt with no material to perform, he decided his next project would be solely his own. Levitt sequestered himself in a friend’s SF apartment with some borrowed gear and “two cheap microphones” to record what was to become Setting Sun’s debut, the appropriately titled Holed Up. Marked by a sense of palpable urgency, the album seamlessly fuses Levitt’s chief references—warm acoustic guitar, melodic counterpoint bent Beatles/Bowie pop, loud/quiet Pixies/Nirvana dynamics—into a catchy and inversely intimate lo-fi blend.
As Holed Up was nearly finished, Levitt was invited to play guitar for Virgin recording artist Jennifer Turner. He flew to London and recorded in Nellee Hooper’s (Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins) studio, putting his own album on the shelf. The band that formed was named Inner, and the record, containing two songs written by Gary, received critical acclaim and international airplay. After relocating to Los Angeles and touring to support the record, Levitt left the band to focus on his own music.
Back to Setting Sun... Young Love Records released Holed Up to much critical acclaim coinciding with the group touring regularly, performing as a trio. Gary also embarked on two separate one-month-long solo tours, playing every night, often paired with daytime radio and college shows, and sleeping where he could. He settled home eventually and began writing and recording his sophomore CD, Math and Magic.
Curious to hear Setting Sun’s potential with outside production assistance, Levitt embarked on the recording of his second album with producer Richard Chiu. With a different approach than the solo explorations of Holed Up, Math and Magic is more polished, produced and collaborative than its lo-fi experimental predecessor. The intimacy of Holed Up is not lost, but perhaps served on a cleaner plate. Released on Young Love Records in 2005, songs “The Only One” and “Found it by Midnite” can be heard in the short film ‘Paper Jam’, which won several awards in the festival circuit including Best Music. Setting Sun has been getting increasing attention from the film and television industries. As more people get exposed many find the music to be a natural fit with the moving image.
With this breakthrough third release, 2008 is sure to take Setting Sun To The Next Place.
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