River Whyless

River Whyless

Adam Torres, Gabriella Rose

Mon · August 13, 2018

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


River Whyless
River Whyless
Adam Torres
Adam Torres
Following the release of his latest album, 'Pearls to Swine,' and his 'I Came to Sing the Song' EP, both via Fat Possum in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Adam Torres has established himself as a powerful and poignant performer and songwriter. His explorations find him sitting equally within psych-folk and indie, and flavored by his affinity for his family's roots in the U.S. Southwest. The resulting music offers deep, introspective journeys, both intimate and memorable, making it clear why Torres has become a favorite of NPR, Pitchfork, and the like.
Gabriella Rose
Gabriella Rose
Indie-pop newcomer Gabriella Rose confronts darkness and angst with her upcoming EP. Lost in Translation wanders through the secluded halls of her mind, as she touches on poignant memories such as of the abrupt death of her grandmother, her own journey into adulthood; while also speaking to larger issues such as the death penalty. Molded in the raw poeticism of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, Rose’s stories come from a deeply broken place.

“Requiem” tells the story of her grandmother’s life, cast in a neon glow of yesteryear. This haunting melody depicts her own hopeless romanticism collapsing under the weight of the world. “I stop dreaming / I always hit the ceiling,” Rose sings, wistfully recalling a life of promise and ambition. As she draws upon Nico’s “These Days” and the Talking Heads’ “Naive Melody,” Rose weaves her tragedy into a silk tapestry; the ghosts from the past seem to guide this production. “My grandmother grew up with such big plans and had so much potential. She loved poetry and literature, and life,” she explains. “Then, her life fell to pieces around her, and she ended up losing her big house and way of life when my grandpa died.”

Her grandmother’s appetite for literature clearly rubbed off on Rose, whose rich storytelling is rooted in her new EP. “Lost in Translation,” a whimsical ode inspired by Sophia Coppola's film Lost in Translation, shows the young talent grappling with her relation to and apart from her peers. “The song is a wistful melody about how I wish I could reach people around me,” she says, framing imagery of the Greek myth Icarus as an impetus for the story’s revelations. “I see others sometimes like that: the ideal of what I would like to be. But then I see them fly too close to the sun and melt their wings, and it makes me incredibly sad...So, I don’t know if I want to be like them completely. It’s a dilemma.”

With “Dreams,” which shadows The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” Rose is “strangled by your memory,” she weeps into misty cloud bursts. It’s an anguished breakdown which allows her to express mistreatment by the hands of those she’s trusted. “Sometimes, I feel like relationships bring more trouble than they’re worth. But then I remember the times I’ve isolated myself and how miserable it was,” she says. “Usually, I expect the worst from people. I’m an insufferable pessimist.” That place of utter pain serves her well as an interpreter of humanity’s most dire and troubled states of being.

“Welcome to the Dollhouse” explores Rose’s mental health journey, weaving in and out of sorrow, vulnerability and an inability to understand those feelings, and her brief stay in a psychiatric ward. “Mental health is a topic I am extremely vocal about, and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. I know that a huge number of drug users are self medicating for mental health issues they can’t fix. It’s a method of escape,” she says. The lashing of guitar and the percussion’s dizzying haze intensify the sense of dread and self-medicating harm, lingering in splintered echoes in her vocals and rumbling throughout space and time.

“The Chair” is pinned with haunting chains and a gospel choir, and digs into the macabre nature of the death penalty. The lonesome thread line came to her after reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, in which the character of Perry embodies the complexities of a killer’s mental state and their need to wreak havoc; the book analyzes what is really at play far below the surface. “This song is for those who have died at the hands of the jury,” says Rose, who express great empathy for her fellow man in a way that’s refreshingly mature. “In many cases, killers are described as demonic and purely evil. However, I don’t think these individuals are too far gone. They are suffering from a terrible affliction, and I feel strongly that they need help. Every person deserves a chance to be loved, no matter what they've done or who they've hurt."

In the final number, a rain-soaked burner called “Angel,” Rose picks up an acoustic guitar for a somber, reflective, and potent performance. It’s an apt bookend, musically and thematically, and impresses upon the listener that she is in control of her own destiny. This life is haunted by tragedy, this fact makes it devestatingly beautiful. However, it's ours for the taking, and Rose illustrates the most perfectly imperfect of the world.

Her upbringing was carried out in a tumultuous fashion. Growing up in California, her father is both an incredible pianist and sound engineer, and her mother grew up pursuing the performing arts. Early on, Rose had no plans to pursue a musical career, and she was determined to break away from the fray -- with aspirations of being an author, poet or a playwright. She soon found inspiration in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, her grandmother’s classical music records, and such iconic pop songs such as Joan Baez’s “Rejoice in the Sun,” The Carpenters’ “Close to Me,” Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Rose was homeschooled until sixth grade, and came from a dysfunctional family life resulting from her parents divorce. This led her to become hyper aware of relationships and her place within them. A Pasadena, CA native, she later moved around to South Orange County, Northern CA, and then to Eastern, WA. Now residing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with her mother and stepfather, she’s beginning to put the pieces together of what her life and future can be. Rose is quick to acknowledge that despite the dysfunction of the past, her entire family has banded together around her music. Over the years, when visiting her rather eccentric father in North Hollywood, she recalls casual late night recording sessions, then diving into popular cult films such as Clockwork Orange, Pulp Fiction and Blue Velvet with a cup of coffee at midnight. Of course, things weren’t always so rose-colored, and she remains tight-lipped on those not-so-perfect circumstances. Regardless, she gleans each barb with an ounce of discerning truth that has only fueled her fire even more.

Her roots inject even more piercing context to her forthcoming Lost in Translation EP. Her voice houses her turbulent past, the loneliness, the uncertainty, the gloom. But in analyzing her truth, she comes to shine a light for those who continue to fight for their lives in the shroud of darkness. Rose is a vision and an artist ready to turn pop music on its head.--
Venue Information:
The Bartlett
228 W Sprague Ave
Spokane, WA, 99201