Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Baltimore's Lower Dens dropped by Bowery Ballroom in support of their third, and best, record Escape from Evil.
Lower Dens take pop melodies and strip them down into synth-noir, tingling tones of motorik drums, thudding bass, and rippled guitar. Their sound is neon in the dark. Covered in a soft glow, Jana Hunter led the band through a strong set that relied heavily on their latest material. Singles "To Die in L.A." and "Sucker's Shangri-La" struck high notes and accentuated the mood of the night while "I Am the Earth" oozed at the seams, allowing the band, in perfect syncopation, to lead the track in a solid march until finally breaking free in crashing harmony. "I Get Nervous" was a highly received throwback amongst the new gems and reinforced some of the dreamier vibes of the night. Their rhythms were locked tight, never once missing a single beat and Hunter's voice was booming, capturing the entire room and filling it with her presence. The band's previous dream-pop sound still rings true as cascading guitars still make their status known, but their turn towards neo-synth has taken a firmer grasp on their songs and has pushed the band in such a fantastic direction. However bashful she may have appeared between songs, Hunter faced the crowd with brilliant focus and determination. Alternating between guitar and owning the mic, her attitude was flawless and her charisma immaculate. As they closed their set, they asked for the lights to be dimmed and phones to be kept away, an uncommon thing in 2015. For one final moment, the band hunkered down and drilled into "Brains". It was a stunning ending to a great evening. One that highlighted a band that has paid their dues producing great albums and has now found a sound so pure and exciting that witnessing on stage is a true pleasure.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Jim and William Reid, better known as the core of the Jesus and Mary Chain, have hit the road to support the 30th anniversary of their landmark album Psychocandy.
Do bands really break-up or do they stop playing long enough to cash in on a reunion tour? Add it to the endless list of pop music's burning questions. Following their break up in 1999, the Jesus and Mary Chain reformed in 2007 and now, after touring off and on for almost a decade, they're finally playing Psychocandy in full. Taking cues from classic Phil Spector pop (the drum intro from "Be My Baby" can be found several times on the record) and mixing blinding guitar shrieks, the record helped launch the shoegaze movement and inspired generations of noise makers to come. The simplicity of the song writing fused with wailing guitar blasts gave way to massive walls of sound (another Spector nod) that pitted the snarl and gloom of post-punk with the glee of sunshine-pop. It's a record that shatters the standards of pop, filling the voids with layers of noise. Thirty years past their debut, the JAMC still cut like a knife. Opening their set with "April Skies" and "Head On" was a masterful way to kick off the evening and set the bar high. "'Some Candy Talking' wasn't on the UK release, so we're gonna play it early" murmured Reid and the track exploded with a prime response from the crowd. By the time "Just Like Honey" started, the crowd was in full sing-a-long mode, hands clapping along to the iconic drum, setting forth a pace for which the night would follow. On a whole, the masterpiece was delivered in stunning form. Little to no talking disrupted the set and the nostalgia gained for the music over the last thirty years has only done the band favors. Their erratic behavior never surfaced and their statuesque demeanor allowed for the music to speak for itself. Motionless on stage, the wrangled guitar took the focus off the band itself and rather on the experience of the sound. These days, classic records are played in full on a regular basis, but when the record in question is a stone cold classic, it's not something to be missed.