Thursday, August 23, 2007

Interlude: Golly, Eisley!

Something extraordinary occurred on Monday night at Joe's Pub.

While standing outside, waiting in the rain (more or less the theme of this month), I thought of last September, when I was a fresh college student in an strange new environment, standing outside in the brisk fall air outside a new venue, huddled against the concrete, waiting for the doors of my first show in the city to open. I thought of the August of 2005, when Eisley played a free show at the Bowery Ballroom, and despite spending the month in the sterile confines of a Bronx lab, a mere subway ride away, I missing out.

It's been a great year of concert going; had I some digital list, the checks-marks would appear throughout its upper reaches, each transcribing another experience. But despite appearing in my third post here, Eisley remained a regrettable miss, perhaps tempered with the anticipation of the inevitable, as everyone plays New York. I finally got my wish, and the experience was everything I'd hoped it would be.

Eisley is a family band, not merely because its members share the same last name, but in the seamless way they coalesce. Most prominently, Eisley's dual singers Sherri and Stacy harmonize in heartbreaking fashion, often switching lead from verse to verse while maintaining the melody of each of their dream pop gems. On stage, they offer charming, grin-inducing banter, sublimating the downsides of touring into wide-eyed enthusiasm. Disregarding the appeal of the music momentarily, I think it was this attitude that really made the night special. Too often, touring becomes a routine for a band, and continual, ceaseless concert attendance can have the same jading effect on, well, me. I haven't quite hit the point where the concert experience has become a formality, but at the same time, it's been a while since I've had such a refreshing experience.

The band split its set between Room Noises and their new album, Combinations. These new songs deal less in the abstract fantasies of the band's older work (Sherri mentioned being tagged "Unicorn Barbie Rock," but said she appreciated the creativity of the sentiment), and while they may end up appealing more to a more mainstream audience and snarky critics alike, the band retains much of its otherworldliness. "Many Funerals" approaches a dirge-like intensity and is one of the band's heaviest songs. Single "Invasion" features an alien synth, which wasn't quite duplicated in the live, acoustic setting, but the ethereal chorus more than compensated. Speaking of vocals, "I Could Be There For You," features the singing of guitarist Chauntelle and brought some of the loudest cheers of the night.

But as good as the new album is, it was immensely gratifying to hear Room Noises-era tracks. These songs have been swirling around in my head for two years, and they continue to be some of the prettiest, most enjoyable ones in my collection. The mournful "Telescope Eyes" was my introduction to the band, and the self-affirming "Marvelous Things" cemented my appreciation, and hearing both songs live was something else. "Golly Sandra," with its stuttered twang, and the call-and-response swirl of "Memories" were also amazing. Basically, I like 'em all. Somewhat unexpectedly, the band closed with "Sea King," one of the more fanciful earlier cuts, and I was somewhat sad to see Sherri refer to it as "Unicorn Barbie Rock" not merely as a joke, but with a hint of self-deprecation. That's silly, because one of the best things about Eisley is how they remind us of the wonders of childhood.

If you check out one set in the entire blog, make it this one. This band is absolutely worth hearing, and if you enjoy it, support them and go see them. Oh, and the band plays "Invasion" on the Conan O'Brien show on August 30th. Can't wait.

1. Intro
2. Come Clean
3. Many Funerals
4. NYC Banter
5. Memories
6. Go Away
7. Just Like We Do
8. I Could Be There For You
9. Telescope Eyes
10. Golly Sandra
11. Tour Banter
12. Taking Control
13. Irving Plaza Banter
14. Marvelous Things
15. Whistling Banter
16. I Wasn't Prepared
17. Rolling Stone Banter
18. Invasion
19. Combinations
20. If You're Wondering
21. Encore Break
22. Sea King

Entire Set: Sendspace

Buy: Here
MySpace: Eisley
Official Site: Eisley


Nicholas said...

And you forgot to mention that I went to the concert with you! Nah I'm just joking. Anyway the concert was amazing and everyone should listen to the live set, especially since it was an acoustic concert and you don't get to hear that on the albums.

Thanks for convincing me to go to the concert Roland. It was great to finally see you and was definitely worth it to go.

matt said...

Thanks for this post. And they're playing in London tonight. Damn I wish I still lived there.

sfenn said...

Thanks for this. I saw them in San Francisco a couple weeks ago and found the show to be equally refreshing.

Anonymous said...

I second sfeen's thanks for posting this.

Eisley is awesome!

they're also on the cover of RAGGED. all you Eisley fans need to see it cause the photos are so cute!

its free to download here:

SilverLinings said...

Thanks for posting this, Eisley shows are hard to find. That it's an acoustic show makes it even more special.

ace athena said...

The acoustic side is cool, but I prefer their new Rickenbacker sound. See the article about it at

Roland said...

To all the spammers: I will delete your ads, so stop wasting your time and mine.

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