Young Love recording artists Quitzow and Setting Sun launch extensive U.S. tour and new albums merging classical, folk, pop and electronic rock sounds.
New York State multi-instrumentalist artists Quitzow and Setting Sun launch an extensive co-headlining U.S. tour this week, showcasing songs from both bands’ new 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. Check out the fantastic animated video for “No Devil Me No More” HERE. 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 dates beginng June 24th in Philadelphia. Please see complete dates below.
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 national tour 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/July, and plans to tour Europe in the near future.
More about Setting Sun:
“Levitt wails with toned-down tinges of Kurt Cobain’s emptiness and Elliott Smith’s pain.” – West Coast Performer
Lovers of great songs with inventive and honest sounds can take heart. Setting Sun’s third record, Children of The Wild really delivers. This new record has (so far) been best described as “an odd atmosphere, probed by twizzling sounds, and the feeling that this is the soundtrack for the aftermath of a crash landing.” With an intimate lyrical delivery, each word is slowly tasted before being spoken and is set against driving beats, lashing cellos, soothing instrumental interludes and a rich cortege of violins, synthesizers, and homemade sounds. Amidst the layers of edgy counterpoint melody, lifting harmonies and soundscapes, the song is still the focus.
Setting Sun began in 2001 in a San Francisco apartment as some good old fashioned soul-searching by Gary Levitt where he wrote and produced their aptly titled debut CD Holed Up. Having lived and created in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Setting Sun’s sound bears the mark of them all. 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. This third record was self-produced by Gary Levitt with many friends lending their playing skills. Most noticeable on the record are all the strings, expertly played by band and label-mate Erica Quitzow.
Recorded entirely in their 19th century Victorian house, Quitzow and Setting Sun share a home recording studio. Initially set up 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 members 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 San Francisco 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 producer Nellee Hooper’s (Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins) studio, putting Holed Up on the shelf. The band that formed was named Inner, and the record, containing two songs written by Levitt, received critical acclaim and international airplay. After relocating to Los Angeles and touring to support the record, Levitt left the band to re-focus on his own music.
Back to Setting Sun. Young Love Records released Holed Up to many positive reviews coinciding with the group touring regularly, performing as a three piece. Levitt also embarked on two separate month-long solo tours, playing every night, often paired with daytime radio and college shows, and sleeping where he could. He eventually settled home 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…
Quitzow & Setting Sun On Tour:
06/24 Philly @ The Khyber
06/25 Shepherdstown, WV @ War Memorial (All Ages)
06/26 Baltimore MD @ Lo-Fi Social Club
06/27 Leonardtown, MD @ Room with a Brew (All Ages)
06/28 Greenville NC @ Spazzatorium Galleria
06/29 Johnson City, TN @ Acoustic Coffeehouse
06/30 Atlanta, GA @ Lenny’s w/ Cat Riley & nerdkween
07/02 Memphis, TN @ Murphys w/ The Warble
07/03 Tahlequah OK @ The Hallway (All Ages)
07/04 Denton, TX @ Andy’s Bar w/ Admiral David D
07/05 Tulsa OK @ Soundpony
07/06 Amarillo, TX @ The 806 w/ Wolf Cub
07/07 Albuquerque NM @ Atomic Cantina w/ Bellemah
07/08 Farmington, NM @ Totah Theatre (All Ages)
07/09 Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland
07/10 San Francisco CA @ Rickshaw Stop
07/11 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
07/12 Arcata @ Jambalaya w/ John Ludington
07/13 Portland OR @ Kelly’s Olympian w/ Testface
07/14 Seattle, WA @ The High Dive
07/15 Olympia, WA @ The Royal
07/16 Boise ID @ Neurolux
07/17 Salt Lake City UT @ Boing! Collective
07/18 Denver CO @ The Lions Lair w/ Princess Tiger
07/19 Omaha, NE@ Oleavers w/ Landing on The Moon
07/20 Chicago, IL @ Ronny’s w/ Dirty Diamonds
07/21 Lansing, MI @ Mac’s
07/22 Detroit MI @ Smalls
07/23 Pittsburgh, PA @ Howlers Coyote
07/24 New York, NY @ The Annex (Club NME)
Quitzow – Art College Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: June 10th, 2008
01. Sponsor (It Didn’t Mean A Thing) (MP3)
02. On TV!
04. Art College
05. Better Than Ever
06. Stay Away from John
08. Slept In My car
09. Cats R People 2
10. Rhythm Machine
11. Unripened Fruit
Setting Sun – Children of The Wild Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: June 10th, 2008
01. What We Wanted
02. No Devil Me No More (MP3)
03. How Long
04. Carry Me Away
07. Love My Love
08. Not Waste
09. Inside My Love
10. Morning Song
11. Happy Joy