Live at CMJ, Day 5: A Place to Bury Strangers

photos by Doron Gild
review by Sheryl Witlen

A Place to Bury Strangers. The band name itself sounds forlorn and lethal. Who would want to coin themselves something like that except for mega-death metal bands? With a force of sound that could put you into epileptic shock, the band doesn’t take time for introduction as their music washes over you like a field of fire. The mastermind behind the curtain of noise and madness is vocalist and guitarist Oliver Ackermann, an avid fan of 50’s and 60’s all girl soul bands and business entrepreneur, who’s accompanied on bass by Jono MOFO and on drums by Jay Space. The Brooklyn trio has broken the mold for any New York bands trying to create the loudest, tightest, fastest most furious music that the city could churn out, and have even been proclaimed by the Washington Post to be “the most ear-shatteringly loud garage/shoe gazer band you’ll hear.”

Before moving to Brooklyn, Oliver was part of a Fredericksburg, Virginia, based band Skywave. When the project broke up and moved onto different challenges, Oliver headed to New York, met Jay and Jono, and shortly thereafter not only created the band but also his own company, Death by Audio (a music venue, recording studio and collective-all in one), where he crafts custom-built and designed hand-wired pedals. Proving himself as crafty with his pedal manufacturing as he is wielding his song lyrics, Oliver has built equipment for artists such as Wilco, Spoon and TV on the Radio. It is Ackerman’s understanding of the physical chemistry and specific design of his pedals transforms the band’s sound completely as he sets out to make the most brazenly beautiful distortion and muffled, foggy and authentic layers of shoegazer goodness that places the band in a category above other bands with the same intentions. Some songs hint at the darkness that creeps in while you listen to bands like The Knife and even Depeche Mode or The Cure.

Signed to Boston label Killer Pimp and garnering the affection of critics and musicians alike, the trio has scored opening slots for Jesus and Mary Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Nine Inch Nails. With three EPs released within 2006, Red, Blue and Green they finally put out a full length album this year. With plans for an upcoming European tour, the band is no longer a secret for Brooklyn and Manhattan dwellers alone to treasure and fawn over. Now everyone can enjoy A Place to Bury Strangers’ pure deviant talent.

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