Saturday, October 20, 2007

brooklynvegan's showcase @ r bar, 10/19/07

after grabbing some lunch, i headed straight over to r bar for brooklynvegan's superawesome superfree showcase, featuring, among others, hype-heavyweights yeasayer and black kids, and my personal favorite, islands. unfortunately, i had to sit through a few rather less than excellent bands in order to see the good ones, but that's how it goes. islands deserves a full writeup, which they will get after their all-ages todd p show tomorrow, but everyone else in BV's lineup get theirs right here.

1. health - i arrived in the middle of health's set, and almost walked right back out the door. apparently, this is what noise rock actually sounds like. health = thrashy battles ripoff? gross. yet the place was packed, as it would remain to be throughout the day. when BV speaks (and offers free music), people listen.

2. mika miko - another strikeout - l.a. gutter thrash punk. watching mika miko, however, created three independent trains of thought in my head, though only one was worth following up. what i thought, and that you're welcome to comment on as well, was that punk really has no place in our culture. i mean, the ramones and the sex pistols and other seminal punk bands used their music to try and tear down the cultural edifice of complacency and acceptance - a musical revolt. and, for a time, it worked. it dramatically altered both the social and musical landscapes of great britain and the united states, and left an indelible mark on a vast majority of the music that has been created since punk's demise. and, argue this point all you want, punk is dead. hell, rock is practically dead, whatever that means. so why the hell is punk being played now? is it still a revolt? is it a dance movement? i don't know.

other thought trains:
a) this sounds like the kind of music the girls in the virgin suicides would have played if they hadn't killed themselves instead.
b) why the hell did i come so early for yeasayer?

3. yeasayer - they've been tipped as one of the hottest bands of 2007 for awhile now, and their cmj shows just confirm it. today was actually the first time i had heard them, though it wasn't at the show; fortunately, kexp had recorded a session with them yesterday, which i podcasted this morning. yeasayer live in person is even better than yeasayer live podcasted. i was initially put off by the "tribal" descriptor that kept popping up (mr. mammoth is no fan of "world" music), but the "tribal" people are talking about isn't the world kind. yeasayer, a band with three ex-choirboys (and we're talking gospel here, people), sounds like a group of shakers who channel nature spirits through volume. yeasayer's music is esoteric and engaging, drawing listeners in with deceptively soothing melodies then buttressed with, for lack of a better word, tribal rhythms. but instead of using african sounds, yeasayer incorporates native american sounds, giving their overall performance a levelheaded pagan feel. these aren't guys who worship trees, but they're clued into the magic of nature. yeasayer frequently reminded me of the black angels, in the sense that both clearly honor the native american musical tradition, something that sets both bands apart from the mainstream. in short, though, yeasayer were fucking fantastic. they have a record release party on tuesday for their first full-length at glasslands, and you can see them at glasslands tomorrow as well, right before they embark on a european tour.

4. black kids - as if they haven't had enough press already. well, here are my two cents: overhyped, overrated, and overwhelmingly mediocre. their lo-fi charm is very endearing, and very successful at hiding their real lack of talent. last time i checked, earnestness is not a substitute for skill. maybe i missed that memo. black kids were catchy, but totally juvenile, with all their lyrics having to do with middle school partying or childish crushes. reggie youngblood's voice is "distinctive," yes, but not in a good way. more in the "not a good singer" way. aside from the bassist, black kids seemed virtually unable to play a consistent melody, as most of the band dropped their hands during songs to sing along. r bar was packed, however, with a throng desperate to hear the young sensations; i wonder how many of them were as disappointed as i.

5. saturday looks good to me - slgtm played a blend of 50s and 80s pop with a midwestern sound, a la the team love crew. they seemed generally unexciting. the singer had some jeff magnum-esque melisma going on, and the bass was solid, but none of their hooks really caught my ear. anyway, i was too psyched for islands to really think of much else.

6. islands - full review soon after their todd p show today! islands go on around 6 at continental army plaza in brooklyn!

2 comments:

Noah Klein said...

THAT'S MY UMBRELLA!
i've been looking all over blogs for that picture, thanks.

Eduardo Osorio said...

Hey Noah. There are some other pics of your umbrella:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94835996@N00/sets/72157602548701822/