Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Album Review: Spindrift - Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1

It's probably no coincidence that LA outfit Spindrift does the odd soundtrack (or record approximating the soundtrack to an obscure cult movie, in some cases; though in this case each song will evidently turn into its own cult flick) record every now and again, given that their music has an inherently, wonderfully cinematic heartbeat. Latest offering, Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1, sees the band continue to mine their golden spacecake spaghetti western on acid in the desert sound.

To love Spindrift is a wonderful thing indeed, my friends. Their music is escapism, from the mess we live in to times and places not experienced by any but the lucky believers. Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1 begins ever so mystically, with the pan flute of a forlorn Indian tribesman, that floats into the void before it's hardly begun, leaving one to wonder what's over the next hill. The answer to that riddle is "Space Vixens Theme," which I'm considering playing as my entrance music whenever I walk into a room. It's an explosion of sound, ranging from the sultry grooves of 70s blaxplotation flicks to the sitar and lady vocals fit for the golden age of Bollywood, all and sundry swapping sonic bodily fluids with each other and the offbeat westernism-on-the-verge-of-insanity sound you might expect out of Spindrift.

"Hellbound," a song I'd had the pleasure of hearing live last November, is a breakneck-paced romp through a sun-drenched, sun-bleached, sun-choked landscape of stark deserts littered with animal bones and haunted by all sorts of rowdy ancestors. "When I Was Free" conjures up images of Nudie suits and Pioneertown to me, with its exaggerated twanginess and cowpoke on the range vibe. Listening to this song, and the record in its entirety, I can almost imagine each individual song as cinematic happening, so alive and epic is each offering. "Theme from Amboy" is more of that Spindrift western flavor, reminiscent of lawless loners (particularly in this case) roaming the dusty landscape looking for trouble. Call it modern folklore with a twist.

Once the dust has settled on this heck of a rollicking trip through the annals of history, time, space, and back again, one thing is clear. Well, two things. The first being that Spindrift is the best of their ilk at this sort of space spaghetti, without a doubt, and the second being that Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1 is probably one of my favorite records of this year. And that's that.

mp3: Space Vixens Theme (Spindrift from Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1)

Newsflash!: Bad Behaviour is Back for More with Kindlewood, Jonathan Vassar & The Speckled Bird, and Small Sur

Hot diggity dog, y'all. You know what time is almost is?! That's right. This Thursday evening will be time to once again gather in the friendly confines of Bella's upstairs and open our ears to some glorious, splendiforous music. Oh yes indeedy, the night of Bad Behaviour will once again be pretty dang special.

This month, it's time for something completely different. July is hot, and what better on a hot summer night than three bands playing beautiful, folksy, twangy, mystical mountainy, Americana (in varying degrees). Baltimore's Small Sur comes to town fresh off the release of their second LP, Tones, and will play a selection of breathtakingly lovely songs worthy of your undivided attention. Quiet is for sure the new loud. From Richmond comes the pastoral mountain folk of Jonathan Vassar & The Speckled Bird, a live favorite of mine who never cease to impress. And representing the Americana-lovers of DC, Kindlewood shall close the night with their dandy ditties.

Call it a win-win-win, my friends. This show is made with love, so come on out to Bella Thursday and share in the warm fuzzies.








[poster by the divine Rich Bernett)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Live Review: Ringo Deathstarr @ Golden West, 7/4/2011

While many people chose to celebrate the birth of the United States this past Fourth of July by engaging in your typical outdoor drinking and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the same boring fireworks that go off every year, I decided to wish America a big Happy Birthday by seeing some pretty fucking amazing live music. It's always a treat to see those little rays of Austinian shoegaze sunshine, Ringo Deathstarr, and they were just the kinda firecrackers I had in mind for a steamy Monday night in Bal'mer, hon.

After great sets from Dead Leaf Echo and The Vandelles, it was time for Elliott and Alex and Daniel to get to it. Since I've been listening to the new Ringo Deathstarr record Colour Trip and not much else lately, I was really excited to hear how the new songs went over live. I must say, it stands as a testament to certain venues (such as the Black Cat) that they can contain and enhance the impossibly loud sounds these three can make, because I'm not quite sure the soundsystem at Golden West was up to the task. Of course, this is one heck of a loud band. Most systems probably can't handle them.

The trip began their assault on Baltimore with "Tambourine Girl," one of many a Colour Trip offering that was a part of the set. The sledgehammer of noise was evident immediately, as was the fact that the soundsystem was sadly over-matched. The loud(er), gritty bits had even more bite, and the slightly menacing air to the song was more perceptible. The breathy, Alex-siren sung dance jam "Imagine Hearts" was next, overrun by feedback but overall the song sounded great. I was delighted beyond delight at the inclusion of several old favorites, such as the fantastic "Down On You." The crushing weight of the song and Elliott's husky vocals always shine live.

The fizzy bubbles of the kaleidoscopic "So High" filled the room with a sunny reverie, Elliott and Alex playing off one another with those great boy-girl vocals of theirs. I about fell over when the band dove headfirst into the sexy, sexy jaggedness of "Some Kind of Sad." It's a definite favorite, and can probably contend for song of the set in my opinion. During "You Don't Listen" I realized that the floor was shaking and the booth in which I was perched was vibrating along with the rhythm of the song, jangle tangled up in sweet, sweet fuzz. "I don't like you anymore," sang Elliott, "you will never understand what I need." Some folks were getting down up front, and they had good reason. It's hard to resist such a tasty stomping little number.

"Chloe" almost burned the dang house down with all that impossible sonic heft and magnificent aural seduction by way of beehive guitar and cooing (Alex) and come hithering (Elliott). A cover of EMF's "Unbelievable" (yes way) made it into the set, as did a glorious version of "Sweet Girl." Daniel's drumming was positively militant in its tautness. A medley of covers closed out the night, and included some Minor Threat, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty...it was a fun, silly moment to be sure, in an otherwise pretty dang seriously spectacular set. Even with those sound problems, can't nobody do this nouveau gaze thing quite like Ringo Deathstarr. It had been way, way too long since I saw these three, but after the Baltimore show and my subsequent drive down to Richmond for their show the next night at Sprout, I think I'm pretty well sated for at least another year. Well, maybe.

mp3: Imagine Hearts (Ringo Deathstarr from Colour Trip)

[photo by Megan Petty]

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Newsflash!: Super Hot New Logo

I just have to give a big ole virtual hug and a mountain of thanks to the wonderful and uber talented Matt Klimas (and did I mention wonderful?!) for designing one heck of a logo for this here blog. In his infinite awesomeness, Matt managed to come up with pretty much the best logo ever. And yes, I'm partial.

Matt also has
mad skills with the musicalness, so make sure to check out not only his design work but his musical happenings too. And don't worry, I'll drag him up to DC soon so y'all can hear some of the goodness for yourselves. You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Album Review: TTotals – TTotals 12”

Seeing as folks are already getting really excited about the 2012 election cycle, I figured I’d go ahead and join in. Bet you didn’t know that I’m a big proponent of the two-party system, well, when it refers to bands and not politics that is. TTotals (the first “t” is silent, y’all, there's no teetotallers here) partakes in the two-party form of band, one party being a singing guitarist by the name of Brian and the other being one heck of a drummer by the name of Marty. Their campaign promises are way better than the self-aggrandizing, lie-telling crap you’ll hear come November of next year (and pretty much starting now). Brian’s would probably involve promising to melt your face off with his guitar that alternates between viciously biting and honey-smooth, as does his voice. As for Marty, he’ll be pledging to set you on fire with his overpowering backbeat. What they both want you to remember is to “always shake off the haters,” pollsters.

These Nashville boys eschew the country sound that made their city a star, opting instead for a big bastard of a sound that reminds me of a few Fuzzy Logic favorites, namely the syrupy scuzz of ex-pats Mississippi Witch and the oh so dirty, bluesy raucousness of the first Archie Bronson Outfit record Fur. So special is their sound, they’ve given it its own genre: outer blues. Works for me. Their sensational 12” is a scant four songs long, and it left me at once incredibly sated yet still wanting a whole lot more.


First song “Upon Some Action” mixes molten hot rock & rollish behavior with some splendid shoegaze indulgence, while second song “Portrait of Man” is weighty and weary, creeping along like a gator on the hunt in some bayou swampland. Totally, utterly transfixing. Side B offers up two more tenacious gems, the spare, slow, transcendentally flourished “String of My Life” and “Take Care of Me,” a towering, droning wall of noise that sinks its teeth into you and gives you a few good shakes. It’s a perfect note to end things on, a bruising farewell to a breathless, brief encounter.


TTotals, my dears, is a very, very, very exciting band. I cannot wait to hear more out of them. And you best believe I’ll be at the Velvet Lounge tonight to see just what they can do live and in the flesh. You probably should be there, too.


04 Upon Some Action by Ttotals

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Live Review: Suns of Guns @ Black Cat, 6/29/2011

I've gotta tell y'all, I wasn't actually planning on reviewing the recent Suns of Guns set over at the Black Cat. I was just gonna go, drink some PBR, and enjoy myself while one of my favorite local bands tore shit up and burned shit down. But darned if they weren't too dang good for me not to write about. Bastards.

Since last I saw those Suns of Guns, they've whipped up a whole crop of bitchin new songs and added a member, a feisty lady on keys whose whole back-to-the-audience thing really adds nicely to the Suns of Guns fuck you ethos. I was particularly fond of the new song "Runners," a pulsating and pummeling monster that definitely suits the gritty dark filth this band is so very good at creating. "Ralph E. Static," one of the only songs I think I've heard, was typically snarling and grimy and flat out fantastic.

I will never tire of the throaty, nervy vocals and that churning, messy, noisy as fuck, dirty mess that comes out of their instruments. I say this all the time, but c'mon, y'all. If ever you get lucky enough to see this band, do it. End of story.

mp3: Purple Bats (Suns of Guns from On the Border of Snakeland)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Untitled Interview #136: Starring John Fanning (The Loom)

You might well have heard, friends, about one heck of a show going down tonight at the Velvet Lounge. Fuzzy favorites, twangy Appalachia-folksters from up NYC-way, The Loom, are smack dab in the thick of the bill (which also features the talents of The Caribbean, Archeology, and Mike Boggs of We Were Pirates). It's my second show with The Loom, which really ought to tell you something about just how dang good they are.

John Fanning, he of the misty mountain morning, front porch vocals, took a few moments to answer some questions, answers to which you'll find below. Spoiler alert: John digs him some Neutral Milk Hotel. Come on down to the Velvet Lounge tonight to see if you can hear this inspiration peppered throughout those glorious songs of The Loom.

Fuzzy Logic: How the hell are you?
John Fanning: Great! So excited to be coming back to DC on Saturday.

FL: What was the last song you listened to?
JF: "Volunteers" by Megafaun. Such a great hot-weather song. I can't wait to hear their new album.

FL: Playing music is:
JF: The most fulfilling, wonderful, and inspiring thing i've ever been lucky enough to be able to do.

FL: What album most made you realize you wanted to make music?
JF: Cliched, I know, but Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea." It just created this whole universe-unto-itself that made me really feel for the first time the magical and transporting powers that music holds. I bet a lot of people (myself included) have a period in their lives where they felt as if they were actually sort of living in the universe that that record created.

FL: Beatles or Stones?
JF: Zeppelin.

FL: Top 5 albums (of now, of this month, or of ever):
JF: Of this month-ish:

- Matt Bauer - "The Jessamine County Book of the Living"
- Battles - "Gloss Drop"
- Woods - "Sun and Shade"
- O'Death - "Outside"
- Bill Callahan - "Apocalypse"

FL: Favorite music-related movie?
JF: "The Devil and Daniel Johnston."

FL: Half-full or half-empty?
JF: Depends on the day. I try for half-full, but sometimes I end up on the other side. Usually depends on my caffeine intake at the moment.

FL: Which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
JF: My friend Jesse Rifkin had a band called The Wailing Wall that he recently disbanded. That said, we did a tour together last winter, and the songs he was playing then for the new project he's starting were just utterly mindblowing and really resonated with me strongly. I can't wait wait until they're recorded.

FL: What’s the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
JF: How fast can I possibly get to the coffee shop next door?

FL: Little-known Loom fact?
JF: Our bassist Dan grew up in Alaska, which as far as I can tell gives him about 10,000 cool points.

FL: The greatest record store in the world is:
JF: I've always loved Newbury Comics in Massachusetts where I grew up, probably because that's the one I associate most with my music-obsessed suburban teenage years, where I would get dropped off at the record store and just walk around the aisles for hours.

FL: Shaken or stirred?
JF: Espresso'ed.

FL: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
JF: If you're not stopping to enjoy all the things that you're experiencing, what's the point? I'm still trying to more successfully follow this advice.

FL: If you weren’t in a band you’d be:
JF: Miserable.

FL: If you were so inclined, whom would you form a tribute band in honor of?
JF: I think it would be really fun to be in a Neil Young & Crazy Horse cover band, if only for the sheer challenge of trying to play all those amazingly epic guitar solos.

FL: Best song ever written?
JF: Along the lines of the above, I'd probably have to say Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945." It just encapsulates such a broad spectrum of emotions - from absolute dread to unhinged joy - in just over three minutes, that it's kind of incredible.


[photo by Dominick Mastrangelo]

Newsflash!: The Caribbean + Archeology + The Loom + Mike Boggs @ Velvet Lounge Tonight!

Y'all. It would appear that July is evidently the month where I'm not supposed to get much sleep, because tonight, yes this very evening, is yet another fine specimen of a show that I have no choice but to attend. This one has the added lustre of being sponsored by yours truly, and I promise you it's one of, if not the finest bill in all the DC megalopolisland on this night.

You see, little sassypantses, tonight at Velvet Lounge you can see assembled in one place local stalwarts The Caribbean, rambunctious Portlanders Archeology, beautifully twangy The Loom, and a solo-ish set from Mike Boggs of local faves We Were Pirates. Seriously. All of these great bands in one place, conveniently providing you with the opportunity for one hell of a night of good music. I know where I'll be tonight, and I hope to see your smiling face later tonight at the Velvet Lounge.

mp3:
Mr. Let's Find Out (The Caribbean from Discontinued Perfume)



Friday, July 8, 2011

Album Review: Mittenfields – The Fresh Sum EP

It takes quite a lot to render yours truly wordless, believe you me. But listening to The Fresh Sum EP by local favorites Mittenfields I found myself grasping to find words to adequately express my sentiments towards this 5-song juggernaut. After all, the DC quintet has been one of my favorite live bands for a little while now (not to mention being one of the loudest bands in town), but hearing this first taste of what Mittenfields can do on record has been something else entirely. This EP is the sound of something totally new and wonderful for this here city best known for hardcore and go-go.

For the uninitiated,
Mittenfields is composed of a singing bassist (Dave Mann), a dandy drummer (Brian Moran), and three ridiculously talented guitarists (Donald Seale, Michael Ball, and Sam Sherwood). What these five made happen in the studio is nigh on magical. Sonic touchstones here vary from Pavement to the Arcade Fire to early Verve to 90s college radio, but Mittenfields has evolved a sound that is quite singular indeed. Each song feels like an epic, orchestrated on a grand scale, almost every note pulsating with an electric charge. Mann’s empassioned, occasionally appealingly muddy yelps are given dramatic flourish thanks to the intense, intricate strummings of Seale, Ball, and Sherwood, and Moran keeping time with authority and ease. The songs are at once hugely different yet seemingly fitting together hand in glove, thanks to all that dang talent this band possesses in spades.

The Fresh Sum EP impresses from the burning intensity of first song “My Mind is An Avalanche” to the closing seconds of the rambunctious “Goliath FTW,” and everything in between is a treat to listen to. For now, my personal favorite is “Mixed Signals (On The Rocks),” all starry-eyed slow motion, shoegaze, and wave upon wave of sonic splendor. Taking a more straightforward, rock-centric approach, “Swim In A Tight Parallel” is choc full of shouty vocals and mountainous riffage, given just the right amount of fuzz. “Cascades” begins with a wash of Verve EP-esque distortion, ever so lovely, before evolving into a sweeping, guitar-laden weighty sprawl. If this is what Mittenfields can do on just one EP, I for one can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.

mp3: Mixed Signals (On The Rocks) (
Mittenfields from The Fresh Sum EP)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Live Review: Art Brut @ Black Cat, 6/22/2011

In the seven or so odd years since I first felt the jarring, exciting thrums of Art Brut's "Formed a Band," I've had the pleasure of seeing the lads and lady in the glorious live arena on more than one occasion. However, until this Black Cat sojourn, it had been many a year since I'd been in the company of the Brut. And you know what, friends? I had, shamefully, all but managed to forget that Art Brut is one of my favorite live bands around. Thankfully, though, they gave me plenty of reminders. I shan't forget again.

They emerged to the strains of the tasteful, subtle nuances of Van Halen, probably one of the best introductory music selections I've heard. The band began with "Clever Clever Jazz," the first song off new record Brilliant! Tragic!. Y'know, the one where Eddie Argos actually sings for the first time on an Art Brut record. I'll admit, it didn't actually take all that long to remember why I so verily enjoy seeing Art Brut live. In addition to the music itself, the band exudes this wonderful, grounded (not to mention silly) air. Either they've been studying acting lately or this band still loves getting up on stage and playing for the punters. Oh, and they're hilarious. Before next song "My Little Brother," Argos deadpanned, "This one's about my brother...who's younger than me." We were then informed that, "My little brother is 29 now and a teacher, the last thing he needs is me going around and saying he's out of control," a remark that garnered quite a few chuckles. But that was just the beginning. Argos, nay the entire band, was in rarer than rare form on this night.

The band endeared themselves to DC forever by Eddie's proclaiming the Black Cat his "favorite venue in America." And then informed us that, "I'm babbling because I've been drinking." The crowd lapped it up, both the humor and the songs. One of my favorite moments in the set came just before playing "Direct Hit," when Eddie stated that, "The lead singer handbook dictates that after you play a new song, you have to play a hit." After a pause, he zinged, "We don't have any hits, but we have a song with "hit" in the title." Such older songs sounded absolute dynamite, as fun and razor-sharp and tongue-in-cheek as ever. New songs, too, sounded even better than I had expected. "Lost Weekend" was splendid, and I get a kick out of the nod to Nancy & Frank's "Somethin' Stupid" ("I'm sorry if I embarassed you/by saying something stupid like I love you"), not to mention the gleeful bounce of the song itself.

"This next song is about dancing in an art gallery," Argos began as the band let loose one of my absolute favorite Art Brutisms, "Modern Art" (or, as I've written in my notes, "Modern Fucking Art"). Ever one for the risky game of in-song improvisation, Argos took a break from hopping all over the stage to engage in some serious tale-telling about Van Gogh (pronounced GOFF, of course) and the Van Gogh museum and ended up improvising himself "into a corner," while most of the crowd joined him in sitting on the club's floor. It was a perfect encapsulation of the live Art Brut experience. "Modern art makes me want to buy a tee shirt," he sang, adapting lyrics to encourage a little consumerism. Requests were encouraged, and an oldie but very goody was thereby included in the set. "18,000 Lira" still feels breathlessly, wonderfully silly. And then, finally, caving into peer pressure from the audience, came the perennial Art Brut-ian "Emily Kane," a hands-down crowd favorite. Classic.

Deftly mixing old and new, the band jauntily skipped along through excellent newness like "Martin Kemp" and the beloved elder statesmenness of "Good Weekend." An encore was, happily, in the cards, and "Formed a Band" was the highlight. "Yes, this is...used to be...my real singing voice," laughed Argos, as his mates carved the air with their sharp, taut notes.

My first Art Brut show was at the Black Cat, many years back. So in a way it's fitting to see them here, once more putting on one hell of a show. The showmanship! The musicianship! The puns/jokes/humor! I ask you, darling friends, what's not to love? That was rhetorical, but I'll spell it out for you all the same. The answer, loves, is nothing. Top of the bloody Pops, indeed.

mp3: Modern Art (Art Brut from Bang Bang Rock & Roll)

100 Drummers #3: Starring Daniel Coborn (Ringo Deathstarr)

Long have I had a thing for drummers. Something about the way they sit, mysterious and enigmatic, behind their varying configurations of drums and cymbals, keeping time in a myriad of drummerly ways. Oftentimes, too, it seems that drummers are the forgotten member of the band, garnering less press than perhaps their bandmates do. But those intrepid keepers of the beat need love, too. In this series I want to fix this egregious, yet probably accidental, oversight, and bring to your attention some of my favorite keepers of the beat. And so, inspired by a line in the Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” I present to you, friends, 100 Drummers.

My next guest is not only one of my favorite drummers, but one of my favorite of all band folk. Y'all know how much I love me some Ringo Deathstarr, and drum delinquent Daniel Coborn is a big reason why. Just listen to some of his fancy stick work on any song on the new record and you'll begin to understand why Daniel is so rad. We also share a keen love of mocking, but that's another story. The objects of our mutual derision shall never be revealed. Below, Daniel gets drummerizational. Enjoy.


Fuzzy Logic: How old were you when you first picked up the drumsticks?
Daniel Coborn: I guess I was 14.

FL: Which drum is the best drum and why?
DC: The snare drum? It sounds cool?

FL: Who's your favorite drummer of all time?
DC: I like the original Devo drummer Alan Myers and a lot old dead Jazz guys.

FL: Singing drummers: On the cool side like Levon Helm or on the questionable side like Phil Collins?
DC: I wouldn't do it but if you can, I don't think there's anything necessarily uncool about it.

FL: Say you break a stick during a show and you have no spares. What do you do?
DC: Probably do a crappy job with one stick...but it's always important to have spares handy! I'm more of a stick dropper though, not a stick breaker...

mp3: Imagine Hearts (Ringo Deathstarr from Colour Trip)

[photo of Daniel Coborn by Megan Petty]

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Fourth of Jooly, Y'all!

It's around this time of year a whole lot of people start getting all apple pie, John Cougar, Chevy truck red white & blue. In honor of America's birthday, it's time to break out the firecrackers and beer and bathtub gin and all sorts of 'merican goodies.

I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy Fireworks day. Y'all be happy and safe and enjoy that long weekend. I'll be celebrating Lady Liberty by trucking up to Baltimore for some Ringo Deathstarr fun, myself. In the spirit of the holiday, here's a great, great cover of X's "4th of July" by The Early Winters. It's twangy, jangly, and straight up down home. Enjoy, y'all.

mp3:
4th of July (X Cover) (The Early Winters - more here)


Live Review: Sleepy Vikings @ Bella, 6/18/2011

In football, there is a defensive strategy known as the Tampa 2, wherein the point is to be super aggressive and kick all sorts of ass. It was popularized, appropriately enough, in Tampa. Now, out of that very same city, comes Sleepy Vikings, who while not quite as aggressive as the football scheme nor wearing any sort of protective headgear, still kinda kick all sorts of ass. After seeing these folks live, I'd venture to ask who needs the Tampa 2 when you can have this Tampa 6?

The six-piece from the Sunshine State was great from start to finish. Their sound, which for their being so young is quite impressive (this date was one on their first real tour), melds all sorts of goodness together into one big beautiful noise. You've got the fuzz of some good old shoegaze, lovely languid harmonies, and sweetly twangy, tangy folk all mixing together with a seaside specialness. You might could say they sell shoegaze by the seashore.

For being their first tour, the band had a quietly confident ease to their playing. Between songs they were adorably affable, telling jokes or relaying little stories. At one point we were told, "We secretly hate each other," and their giggles gave the truth away. While I wanted to pinch their collective cheek for being so dang cute, their music was polished and on point. Even the cover of the Britney Spears track "Toxic" (which seems to be popular cover fodder) was worthy of attention, so dark and sultry and powerful was it. For a minute there, I almost forgot they were doing a cover of a terrible pop song.

Seeing
Sleepy Vikings, my darlings, was quite a treat. This band ticks all the boxes with their dreamy noise, hitting the right mix of gentleness and grit and bringing it all back home something purty. They won me over, and I suspect when you see them live they'll do the very same thing to you.

mp3:
Flashlight Tag (Sleepy Vikings from They Will Find You Here)


[photo by Shanna Gillette]




Saturday, July 2, 2011

Live Review: The Strange Boys/White Fence @ Comet Ping Pong, 6/17/2011

If you said to me, "Megan, pick a pair of bands that you'd love love love love love to see together at Comet," odds are pretty good I'd pick The Strange Boys and White Fence. No kidding. After all, I'm a huge fan of The Strange Boys and their bratty throwback scuzz and of White Fence and Tim Presley's Syd Barrett holed up in the basement fuzzy psych. So seeing both together, well, I believe that's what gets called a win-win situation. And it's like someone read my mind, because the two of them ended up playing that very venue, a scant two days after my birthday (insert obligatory Happy Birthday to Me comment here, naturally).

White Fence was due up first, and as the two gentlemen set up their gear I kept thinking, "Wow, Tim looks really different these days." Turns out, Tim was among the few band members that missed their flight to DC, leaving this dynamic duo to churn out the set as best they could. Which, fear not, was really good as it so happens. With the golden grit of the guitar and the steady march of the drums, this adapted improvisation of White Fence did miles of justice to songs both old and new. It was like hearing the songs of a totally different band, the new vocals adding something entirely new even to songs I've listened to dozens of times before. What these gents did, though, was really pretty great. A small dance party erupted in front of the stage, as the guitar crackled along and the drums were bashed with much delight. He might be a bassist on every other night, but tonight he was indeed a drummer. From what I could make of the newer material, and perhaps it's just the way it was played, the new White Fence record, Is Growing Faith, is less Syd Barrett-esque musings and more in the vein of show mates The Strange Boys, lots of great dirty rock you can certainly shake to. The pair really hit their stride, making a noise both bulky yet simple, though decidedly aggressive. "We have shirts, but the records didn't make the flight," we were informed, which was a little bittersweetly amusing. It was a great set, no question, but something was missing. And not just the records.

I was equally as excited to see The Strange Boys, and with the exception of the previously-mentioned occasional member Tim Presley, it appeared that all Boys were present and accounted for. I was crossing my fingers for another sublime Strange Boys set, and the inclusion therein of "Night Might," my probable favorite TSB song. I instantly remembered why I love seeing this band live so much, they make such a pretty little racket together. And y'all, telepathy really can work, as "Night Might" was song number two in their set. Sounding a bit bass-heavy, this little barn-burner sounded even better than I had expected, all road-weary and wailing and bourbon-soaked scuzzy good fun. It wasn't long before a string got itself broken, and lord knows it's a good set when the strings bite the dust. "Between Us" was choked with smoke and booze, the guitars sounding particularly gold dust. "Be Brave" got a warm holler, all sass and circumstance and grit. The boys relayed a story about having played a great show in Nashville followed by a not-so-great show in Durham, and how that old adage about what a difference a day makes is so very true. All told, their set was just as good as I had expected.

I can't hide it, y'all I was pretty bummed not to get the true White Fence experience. But even with the missing members, the band was pretty dang fine. And The Strange Boys were once again on point. You know what's coming. Don't miss these bands.

mp3: Be Brave (The Strange Boys from Be Brave) (Via Foundwaves)

Newsflash!: The Torches + Tallahassee + Ms. Fridrich @ Bella Tonight!

Y'all! It's a long weekend (about dang time), and those of you local types that haven't braved the heaping helpings of traffic to get to a beach should really, absolutely, positively consider coming to hang out at Bella this very evening.

You see, performing for your musical enjoyment will be fantastic localites The Torches and Ms. Fridrich, with Bostonians Tallahassee providing the serious non-local flavor. It's gonna be a night of glorious, fabulous, and marvellous music, with heavy doses of Americana-folksy-rootsy sounds being made just for your delight.

It shall be a doozy, my little firecrackers, and so I do hope to see you there.

mp3: Mt. Moriah (Tallahassee from Jealous Hands)
(Thankee, Twangville!)