Tiergarten Stream “Magnificent Desolation” via Thrd Coast
EP Out This Friday, June 17th
Release Show on Wednesday, June 15th at Union Pool
photo credit: Paris Mancini
LISTEN TO THE “MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION” EP
Tiergarten and excited to share their debut EP Magnificent Desolation in full via Thrd Coast. The EP takes its name from a Buzz Aldrin quote, and the themes of space and isolation run deep in the Tiergarten sound, with enormous layers of distortion and pounding drums that recall The Smashing Pumpkins at their finest. It’s enveloping in production with a slick sheen and crushing hooks. Their influences range from “the angst of ’90s-era, plaid-clad alternative musicians, early-2000s space-age pop, and resurgent punk rock” but Tiergarten’s debut pushes forward into a chaotic future.
Thrd Coast shared, “They certainly have a punk vibe, but one that lingers beneath the surface, never reaching that familiar realm of expletives and confrontational shrieking. Magnificent Desolation may have darker shades, but it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s enticing, a new structure of post-punk-psych (etc., etc.) for us to interact with—a mecca, if you will, just like the band’s namesake.”
06/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool w/ Ghost King & Forever Saturday
07/17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Sunnyvale
Pressed for words about what it felt like to be standing on the moon, Buzz Aldrin described seeing “beautiful, beautiful, magnificent desolation.” “He’s in the middle of this ocean of emptiness,” says Alex von Klemperer, frontman of Brooklyn’s promising and pummeling Tiergarten. Hence, von Klemperer’s decision to call their debut EPMagnificent Desolation sounded right on-point with where Aldrin’s head was at all those years ago, out in space. These are songs that soundtrack one’s staring into the void, the vast darkness of the cosmos, feeling everything— anger, frustration, alienation, sadness—and still emerging with resolve.
Tiergarten was named for an inner-city park in Berlin, evoking a city known as a mecca of art and culture that still sounds impeccably German. The name alludes to von Klemperer’s mixed parentage, too, a sly nod toward the man’s post axis-powers, Japanese-German parentage. This mixed background has seen von Klemperer embrace cultural pluralism on a grand scale, living at times in very distinct parts of the world and exposing himself to the most far-flung reaches of film, art, and music.
It’s no surprise, then, that Magnificent Desolation is tough to quantify. It’s a sonic love-letter to ‘90s alternative rock at first, channeling the hallowed heaviness of Failure, the swirling shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine, and at times the self-effacing crunch of The Smashing Pumpkins. But from von Klemperer’s equal affections for ‘2000-era alternative acts Autolux, QOTSA, and Interpol a more modern cool emerges.
Don’t let such stylistic influences reduce Tiergarten to a band regurgitating the hipster dreams of Brooklyn transplants, though—buried in the vastness of that noise are sign posts, noting where von Klemperer has travelled and what’s inspired him enough to merit being explored through song. EP opener “Architect” conjures real-estate scion Robert Durst, the likely but never convicted serial-murderer at the center of HBO’s fantastic True-Crime documentary, The Jinx. “He’s from my town, Scarsdale and went to my high school,” notes von Klemperer. He’s planning to revisit the circumstances of Durst’s life on Tiergarten’s next album. Elsewhere on the album, “Macabre” evokes the work of Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, becoming the darkest moment on Magnificent Desolation with its surreal, lucid flashes of sex and violence.
Lead single “Aeons (Infinity Glow)” was the last song written for the album before hitting the studio, and has emerged as the band favorite. “We told Jay on the day of recording that we came up with an ending for the song,” remembers von Klemperer, “taught him the part, and hit record.” Jay Marcovitz’s bass rounds out the thick angles of von Klemperer’s guitar and Mitchell Talaver’s pounding drums. Marcovitz (formerly of Dirty Dishes) mixed and mastered music for von Klemperer before, and they’ve become good friends since. “After having terrible writers block and feeling desperate, I asked for Jay’s help,” says von Klemperer. He was moving to LA in May, so we were on a time crunch to write and record. This record would not be possible without him.”
As such, Magnificent Desolation doesn’t sound like a solo vanity project of von Klemperer’s, but instead a true group effort. Rounding out the recording trio, Mitchell Talavera’s drumming became a crucial part of the album’s sound. Talavera’s perchance for precise, pummeling fills not only complements von Klemperer’s riffs, but communicates a respect for the subtext and nuances of the songs that penetrates the core of their shared cultural interests and fascinations. Hence, Tiergarten is not transactional, not pragmatic, and absolutely essential to the band’s success is their bond of mutual understanding. von Klemperer and Talavera met in the library at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, where they both worked. “I thought he was a patron when I saw him and said, ‘Sir, you can’t be behind the desk…’ but another co-worker confirmed he was actually a new employee,” remembers von Klemperer. “He had a dark look to him. He was wearing a black hat and had a thick mustache. He reminded me of Lee Van Cleef from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
Maybe Mitchell’s dark look is what brought them together, or maybe it was their meeting in a library, a very silent place not unlike Buzz Aldrin’s time spent on the moon. “That library was a quiet space, the opposite of what was going on in our heads…” says von Klemperer. “We were determined to make noise, but had no idea what it would sound like.” Magnificent Desolation, like any good debut, captures Tiergarten descending from the precipice of figuring that out, drawing from a vast sea of emptiness to create something whole and meaningful.
Magnificent Desolation is due out June 17th.