Monday, March 31, 2008

Interlude: The Kids Don't Stand A Chance

A week ago, I went relatively unprepared to the Bowery Ballroom. With endless event listings at one's fingertips these days, there's usually a mental buildup to each gig. As a result, some shows can exceed expectations, while others falter because they don't conform to what's expected. Although I knew the night's opener via CMJ, the two bands that closed were relatively unknown to me. I streamed a few songs from Sons and Daughters and enjoyed them, and with little else going on, I took the familiar 6 Train downtown.

The Brunettes

It was really nice to see the Brunettes back in town again. The New Zealand four-piece was a delight at Soundfix in October, but seeing them in a more traditional venue allowed for more of a visceral experience. The delicate strings and chimes were still present, but a muscular bassline gave the band's quirky pop songs a bit more prominence. The first half of their set contained mostly songs from Structures and Cosmetics, their most recent effort, but things got somewhat unfamiliar towards the end. As the one band I had some experience with that night, it didn't disappoint.

MP3: The Brunettes - Small Town Crew
MySpace: The Brunettes
Official Site: The Brunettes

Bodies of Water

The most striking thing about Bodies of Water was their lack of a lead singer. All four members of the band sang in equal amounts and sounded great. Their songs weren't entirely straightforward, and the choral setup made things a little hazy as far as meaning. But as a prime appreciator of melody first and lyrics second, there was a lot of upside for me here. This was definitely far removed from your run-of-the-mill indie rock, and I think we all appreciated the change in pace.

MP3: Bodies of Water - These Are the Eyes
MP3: Bodies of Water - Doves Circled the Sky
MP3: Bodies of Water - I Guess I'll Forget the Sound, I Guess, I Guess
MP3: Bodies of Water - We Are Co-Existors
MySpace: Bodies of Water
Official Site: Bodies of Water

Sons and Daughters

I've always had a soft spot for Scotland. From the lush orchestration of the Delgados to the heart-on-sleeve Camera Obscura, there's no shortage of appealing bands from the region. But Sons and Daughters don't fit the sweet, shy Scottish template. The quartet come out with instruments blazing, and singer Adele Bethel's outfit was most definitely not twee. At first, it was exhilarating, exactly what I came there for. But it didn't really last.

While Sons and Daughters have plenty of explosiveness, they really lacked variety. Granted, it could be my general inexperience with the band, but there weren't any particularly songs that really grabbed me. For all the energy on stage, they seemed stuck in one gear. I suppose I am somewhat jaded to anything that's not intimately familiar or really different from the norm these days. But you're encouraged to decide on a band for yourself; I'm just here to make that experience as convenient as possible. And I will take my own advice and give their album(s) a thorough digestion before coming to a final conclusion. As with all things in life, this isn't over yet.

MP3: Sons and Daughters - Dance Me In (Click-through)
MP3: Sons and Daughters - Johnny Cash (Click-through)
MySpace: Sons and Daughters
Official Site: Sons and Daughters

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