Summer is halfway through. That's frightening, but it's been an incredible couple months of live music, and Saturday, July 12th's show was the best of them all. Todd P, along with Impose and my great friends at Crashin' In, curated a spectacular celebration at the Yard, an outdoor venue in Brooklyn that I've been meaning to visit. The singer of Titus Andronicus put it best, when he called it the best day of his life. Unfortunately, Chairlift canceled, and some subway-hopping meant that I missed opener Soiled Mattress and the Springs, who played their final show. Still, one of the best shows I've been to in two years of concert-going. Can't beat that.
Soft Circle is Hisham Bharoocha, formerly of Lightning Bolt and Black Dice. He performed like a one-man Battles, using guitar and keyboard loops, and propelling his set with some sick drumming. It's not surprising that he was "drummer 4" in the 77 Boadrum drum festival last year, and that he'll be doing it again this year - dude is nasty on the kit. Although mainly instrumental, some distorted vocals - a la "Atlas" - added to the mix. I was really impressed with his playing, and the juggling of sampled and live effects, creating something unique and danceable. An auspicious beginning!
Soft Circle plays Cake Shop with like-minded rockers Tussle on September 13th, and Bharoocha plays Los Angeles' 88 Boadrum on August 8th.
MySpace: Soft Circle
RCRD LBL: Soft Circle
I couldn't help but be intrigued by Knyfe Hyt's outlandish wardrobe. It takes a certain kind of band to stride onstage in bath robes, but I'm not sure if it's a good thing. It was undeniably noise: the ear-splitting sort, with guitar abuse and vocals that recalled distraught kitties. In other words, not really my thing at all. Exposure to something different for sure, but I'll be passing on their album.
MySpace: Knife Hyts
Los Angeles' Crystal Antlers pummeled their way through a spirited set. With two dedicated percussionists and a keyboardist, it was a very energetic affair, and there was so much going on that it was easy to overlook the vocals, which were buried under the instruments. While exhilarating, I can't say it was that memorable; most of the energy dissipated after they went offstage, but they seem to be worth exploring.
Continuing the L.A. block, four piece Abe Vigoda took over. While no less percussive than the preceding groups, the band had a melodic angle, with dual vocals and shimmering guitar lines. Some moments were Dan Deacon-esque, not so much in absurdity, but rather the bright-eyed, Disney-esque hooks. An appealing, enjoyable set. Their new album is Skeleton, which just came out.
MySpace: Abe Vigoda
Trio Vivian Girls has been receiving decent amounts of buzz over the last couple weeks, so I was eager to see them with my own ears. One immediate observation was the brevity of the songs, which seemed to end just as they got going. Still, I wouldn't call them minimalist: it's garage-y rock, but the shoegazey vocals make their music a bit softer around the edges. I'm not entirely sold yet - they don't have the most immediate hooks - but the set has piqued my interest. They'll be at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on July 29th with Tilly and the Wall.
Telepathe was fresh off a Seaport show (with Abe Vigoda and No Age, who were supposed to headline this show, but didn't make it). Judging from name alone, I was expecting something unusual, and hopefully electronic. They fit that characterization loosely, using samples from a laptop, but it was the weird vocals that distinguished the band. Singer Busy Gangnes was just that, hopping on a concrete slab and into the crowd, while singing cryptically into the mic. It was off-putting, but memorable. I think they might be better on record.
Six bands down, seven more to come.