Ken Maiuri’s Clubland: Sierra Grille in Northampton hosts indie-rockers; deejays in charge at new Infusion Lounge in Easthampton (with audio)

Last modified: Friday, February 07, 2014
Northampton indie-rock trio The True Jacqueline has been through some lineup changes since it started in 2007, but the band sounds newly supercharged and sure of itself on “Like Way Out,” its brand-new five-song EP.

The threesome celebrates its release with a show tonight (Dec. 19) at 10 p.m. the Sierra Grille in Northampton, sharing the bill with Hot Dirt (from Holyoke) and Orca Age (from Brooklyn).

Despite the digital format of the final product, the songs were actually captured on analog cassette tape, and it gives the band’s music and performance an immediacy and power not always heard on their previous records.

“I Can Read” closes the EP on its wildest side, with a great squealing hook and psychotic feedback guitar work that hearkens back to classic indie-rock trios like Yo La Tengo or Dinosaur Jr.

Guitarist/vocalist Noah Cerveny, bassist/vocalist Kate Niemczyk and drummer Brian DiPippo use their three instruments (and some distortion pedals) with creative force. Sometimes the bass switches between low-end anchor and high-end melody, like on the hard-slamming yet wistful “Cookie Dog.” Or the drums take over center stage with speedy fills and violent outbursts, like on the manic “Cloud Metal.”

Cerveny, the one constant through every lineup change, thought the warm, saturated sound of analog tape would serve the new, noisier batch of songs well, so the group hunkered down in a friend’s basement with an old-school Tascam 688 machine and recorded most everything there, then added vocals and extra guitar parts at their Easthampton apartment.

“We were all in bands in the ’90s, and we essentially did what bands used to do before (Apple recording software) GarageBand existed,” Cerveny said. “That was a big part of it for me: the nostalgia of recording songs on a four-track in a friend’s basement late at night. The cool things that can happen out of necessity.”

Tape does have limitations, he says.

“You can’t really edit takes, and you have to work within the number of tracks you have. Coming up with creative solutions to these problems gives a record uniqueness.”

One example of that uniqueness found on the EP is the sound of passing traffic, randomly caught by the vocal microphone in the band’s apartment. You can make out the swoosh of the cars mixed in among the woozy, hazy electric guitars on “Cookie Dog.”

Infusion Lounge

Live deejays are often called upon to get a roomful of people dancing, but good ones are skilled in picking the perfect sounds for any atmosphere, even one where people are mostly chatting or relaxing.

Studebaker Hawk and Thorian Maxwell, two longtime Valley record-spinners, are in charge of the music for a new regular event called Infusion Lounge, which will take place on the third Thursday of every month at Popcorn Noir in Easthampton. Its debut is tonight (Dec. 19) at 9 p.m. There’s no cover charge.

“We both have a lot of love for smooth soul, laid-back samba, bossa nova, exotica, atmospheric electronica and deep house — especially when we find music that bridges that gap between these styles,” Hawk said. “Music that you can dance to, but is more appropriate for creating a nice atmosphere to socialize or just enjoy a cocktail.”

That gives Hawk and Maxwell lots of room to move, and the event’s Facebook page finds the two music heads throwing possible ideas around via YouTube clips. Their sets could feasibly include everything from a dusky Sade hit to an Italian club favorite from Tullio De Piscopo to a funky percolating obscurity from the short-lived supergroup of Jah Wobble, U2’s The Edge and Can’s Holger Czukay. A trip around the world without having to leave your seat, although the music may make you want to — so you can dance, and also so you can ask what cool song they’re playing.

Also likely to appear in the duo’s Infusion Lounge mix is some Balearic beat, which began in the clubs of Ibiza in the mid ’80s. “Slow atmospheric dance music,” is how Hawk describes it. “To get the feeling of dancing under water.”

The two deejays have been friends since they were students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They currently produce a show called “Acapulco Nights,” which features their work as well as mixes from guest deejays from around the world. It can be streamed or downloaded at www.acapulconights.net.

Before the Infusion Lounge kicks in tonight, Popcorn Noir will host its regular Mastering Mixology event, which features cocktail lessons, demonstrations and samples, starting at 8 p.m. This month is the “Winter Warmers” edition. Tickets are required for the Mixology event, but not for the music to follow.