Phoenix Indie-Rock Band Knesset Is Big in Japan

Released last year, Coming of Age is an appropriate title for Knesset's first album, as the band is only now starting to step up locally. Pronounced KA-NESS-ET and named after the legislative branch of the Israeli government, these locals have played in the background of Phoenix since 2007.

"[Originally] we wouldn't play shows that often," explains Knesset's frontman Evan Fox. "We'd play shows, see what worked or what didn't and we'd stop for a few months, which is probably a terrible idea, which is why things are just now starting to pick up."

Knesset is scheduled to perform Friday, March 23 at Crescent Ballroom.

Their debut merges shoegaze textures with pop melodies reminiscent of early Death Cab For Cutie and The Appleseed Cast, maybe even with some Blonde Redhead. It's as warming as it is chilling, with enough post-rock fuzz and fuss mood for a really slow night.

Coming of Age was released on the Japanese label & Records (home of Camera Obscura and Bibio) and was published through Rough Trade in the UK, yet Knesset really just want to bring their album home. Fox realized after a tour in Japan last January, Phoenix should be his next target.

"Crazed fans, people asking for my autograph, sold-out shows. [Japan] was crazy," Fox laughs. "It inspired me because if people care that much somewhere else, I feel like people here need to hear this."

That's the plan anyway - and that's not the only idea Knesset's scheming up. Drummer Mike Bell, also of Lymbyc Systym and The Books, has been a core member of the band, but he's been distracted with touring, even once going around with Crystal Castles.

Anyway, now Knesset have introduced Brock Lefferts to fill in when and where Bell can't. Lefferts is noted for his solo instrumental work in A Cloud For Climbing, which is something like if Four Tet released a music box.

"Eric, our bassist, was like, I really think [Lefferts] has some potential," Fox recalls. "I've listened to his stuff and followed him on Tumblr. So we jammed and it was like I had found my musical soulmate again. Brock has so much vision and he's not jaded yet; he's a young musician. He's just really good and I'm looking forward to playing and collaborating with both of them on this EP."

Oh, that's right, the band has a new EP they're crafting, to be tentatively launched in May or June. For now, the only thing you'll have to listen to is Coming of Age - and it'll grow on you. It was mixed by John Congleton, the producer and engineer for ensembles like Black Mountain, St. Vincent, The Walkmen and most noticeably, Explosions in the Sky.

"[Congleton] added a lot of that dynamic, that explosive sounding element to the record," Fox says. "I tried to do it anyway, but he killed it."

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