Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Interlude: Over The Jump

It is so very nice to have my camera back (even if it doesn't quite compare to that guy's). A couple hours after picking it up at Union Square on Friday, I put it to good use, heading down to the penultimate free show at the Seaport. As has been the case all of August, the crowd was dense, which is really great to see. Although there wasn't any rain for a change, it was a bit muggy and there were some bothersome flies hovering about, but things got better more interesting as the night moved onward.

I arrived just as the Last Town Chorus was beginning their set. The Brooklyn collective coalesces around singer and slide guitarist Megan Hickey, whose intense songwriting was made more accessible by friendly banter of a distinctly local flavor. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the fact that the entire band was sitting, the music didn't really make you want to get out there and dance, and live consumption probably isn't the best way to hear it for the first time. Still, the beauty and occasional ferocity of their performance made it enjoyable, and I gotta appreciate Spin's description of Megan as "a corn-fed Cocteau Twin," and the fact that she likes them, too.

Check out the ever timely B(oot)log for a live set and chromewaves for a review of their recent Toronto gig with Camera Obscura. The Last Town Chorus plays at the Bowery Ballroom on Thursday, and they open for the Weakerthans at Webster Hall on October 30th.

MP3: The Last Town Chorus - Modern Love (Live)
MP3: The Last Town Chorus - Change Your Mind
MP3: The Last Town Chorus - Oregon

MySpace: The Last Town Chorus
Official Site: The Last Town Chorus

Camera Obsura

It's thrilling that the once-shy (well, shyer) Camera Obscura has blossomed over the past year or so, becoming an indie pop staple and delighting the ears of an ever increasing fanbase. When I first heard Underachievers Please Try Harder a couple years ago, I thought it was pretty, but that it didn't possess enough oomph to win me over completely. Let's Get Out of This Country sure does, as you've probably heard. Thus, while Traceyanne seemed a bit taken aback by the size of the crowd, the band is totally worthy of the great reception.

That's not to say that they melted faces or anything, but there was generally enough noise - bolstered with the addition of the occasional trumpet, shaker or tambourine - to keep me very happy. Megan and her steel guitar would also join the band during their encore. At the same time, the slower numbers have really grown on me. Underachievers cuts such as "Teenager" and the grin-inducing "Suspended From Class" sound great live, even though they don't have quite the swoon potential of "Lloyd" or the newer album's title track. There aren't too many bands that have quite achieved this great balance between louder and softer songs (all of which are melodic), and pulling it off live is an ever more impressive feat.

And so Camera Obscura wraps up what looks like the touring cycle for this album. They're part of the growing number of bands that I've seen twice, and it's been a pleasure each time. I can't wait to hear what the band does with its next album. I'm in the process of getting some live stuff up here, but until then, check out some studio cuts.

MP3: Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
MP3: Camera Obscura - If Looks Could Kill

Blog: Camera Obscura

So, a great night...but it wasn't over yet. I've been interning at the MuseBox over the last few weeks, and it seemed quite rude to go home without checking out what looked like an incredible time at the After The Jump kick-off party. In what's becoming a routine, I took the L to Bedford and found, after a little disorientation, the top of the roof.

Butane Variations

Unfortunately, our late arrival meant we missed two bands and DJ David Bruno. Apparently Butane Variations played a three hour set (!), and while they seemed reasonable enough, with the nice addition of violins, the night soon became more of a visual spectacle rather than a musical one. This was the most incredible place for a concert that I've been to (sorry, missed the boat ride on Sunday, how was that?), with the Empire State Building peeking over the bassist and the wide expanse of Brooklyn enveloping us. Man, I love this city.

MP3: Butane Variations - Angels
MP3: Butane Variations - Golden Hawn
Official Site: Butane Variations

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