Monday, August 18, 2008

Interlude: Represent!

Publicity is an ironic profession. The sad reality is, despite being intimately involved with a particular artist – contacting media outlets on their behalf, packaging their CDs or finding paths to success – it starts feeling like a grind, rather than a celebration of their music. Over the summer, I’ve been interning at Astralwerks, a pioneering label in electronic music. However, it’s fair to say that the glory days are past, and much of the current roster just isn't that innovative. Anyhow, one of our bands, We Are Scientists, played a few weeks ago here, and despite burning their CDs and organizing their press clips, I wasn't not entirely familiar with their sound. The live setting was an opportunity to remedy that, and I must say it's easier for me watch a set than to play out an album.

Apache Beat

There seem to be an overabundance of rhythmic, danceable, female-fronted indie rock groups (usually with synthesizers). It's a setup that rests on the powerful stage presence of said female, in this case Ilirjana Alushaj's pipes, and she did a fine job. The nocturnal lighting was the ideal backdrop for Apache Beat's druggy beats, and although they don't have a full length due until next year, it was a very complete performance.

MP3: Apache Beat - Tropics (CFCF remix)
MySpace: Apache Beat

Oxford Collapse

Oxford Collapse – whom I had seen about a year ago at the Knitting Factory – was on the brink of releasing their new album, Bits. My former opinion of the band was relatively uninspired. Although they rock out, there was a homogeneity that made each song sound like the next. Perhaps the newness of the new material made it more interesting, but I think they’ve made some innovations on this new one, and perhaps tightened up a bit as a band. While still inclined to repetition, there was a little more breathing room in the material, and a more compelling dynamic between the singers. Essentially, same methodology (fast guitars, punk-skewed vocals), but better execution.

MySpace: Oxford Collapse
Official Site: Oxford Collapse
MP3: Oxford Collapse - Please Visit Your National Parks

We Are Scientists

We Are Scientists seemed to embrace the nerdy side that their name implies, with a stage presence that seemed intentional awkward. At times, the duo seemed to be ignoring the audience entirely, delighting themselves with inside jokes and chatter. But the hometown crowd loved their jerky, post-punk aesthetic, and the enthusiasm was infectious. When singer Keith Murray jumped into the crowd, the energy level shot even higher. Their new one, Brain Thrust Mastery, has some appealing hooks to go along with the rhythm, with singles like “After Hours” aspiring towards anthem status. It's really nothing mind-blowing, but for a moment there, it was pretty great.

MP3: We Are Scientists - Inaction
MySpace: We Are Scientists
Official Site: We Are Scientists

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