I was there primarily to see Violens, the new band from some of the Lansing-Dreiden folks, though I'm not sure exactly which ones. Definitely singer/guitarist Jorge Elbrecht, and probably keyboardist Iddo Arad. Maybe more, but hard to say. L-D were an enigmatic bunch who didn't believe in album credits or band photos... or even playing in the live incarnation of their band.
Violens are more forthcoming about the who's and whats. It's also a more cohesive sound. Lansing-Dreiden incompassed everything from synthpop to metal, but Violens seem more influenced by '80s UK pop, both of the jazzy variety favored by Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout, and those that prefered delay pedals like A Bell is a Cup-era Wire and The Sound. (In that respect, they also reminded me of '90s Swedish band Eggstone.) And like L-D, they still love the reverb. They also like volume. Why didn't I bring earplugs? The ringing in my ears seems especially prominent today. The best moments of the show combined the jazzy and the delay-ridden rocking out. And my favorites of the night are not to be found on their MySpace, so I think there's a lot to look forward to with these guys.
You can get Violens' song "Violent Sensation Descends" from RCRDLBL. They've also got an EP, which wasn't for sale last night, but you can get it at Insound.
Violens next show is June 5 at the Mercury Lounge where they're playing with Chairlift and Mixel Pixel. Tickets ($10) are on sale.
But as I said, the whole bill at Union Pool last night was very good. All three bands are signed to Cantora Records that is probably best-known at this point for being the label who released MGMT's first EP. Tonight proves they've really got a good ear. The weather was horrible yesterday and I figured between the torrential rain and showing up at 9pm there would be nobody there. But the place was already pretty packed when I got there, and I think as many people were there for opening band Amazing Baby as their were for Violens.
It was Amazing Baby's first-ever show, though you'd never know it. They came prepared and kind of knocked everyone's socks off. Though I'm probably wrong, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Amazing Baby don't sound like any other band in NYC. To draw comparisons... maybe a heavier, more-psychedelic Roxy Music? That sounds about right. Who are they? The band seems to be primarily an offshoot of rawkers Stylofone, but the live permutation, last night at least, also featured ex-Diamond Nights guitarist Rob Laakso and Jane "Spider" Herships on bass. There were also two female backup singers and a keyboardist. (Maybe that's where the Roxy comparisons come from for me.) They're the kind of group you could imagine going the denim-leather/lightshow route but just let the music do the talking. And that came through loud and clear. I'm pretty sure they're my new favorite NYC band and seem ready for domination.
MP3: Amazing Baby - Head Dress
MP3: Amazing Baby - Supreme Being
Amazing Baby's MySpace has these plus three more and you can download all of them.
If you're intrigued, Amazing Baby are playing tomorrow (5/11) at The Annex.
Go ahead, bring Mom, it's an early show -- supposedly they're on at 9pm. They're on around 11pm I've just been informed. And if you can't make that, they're playing Glasslands on Thursday (5/15).
In between Amazing Baby and Violens were Savoir Adore who are also making a kind of music that seems scarce these days -- pure pop. This is the sort of stuff that seemed so prevalent in '80s indie music, be it Let's Active or The Go-Betweens or The Reivers. Not that they sound dated in any way -- I don't think this kind of pop ever really goes out of style. (Even though it kind of currently is.) Deidre Muro and Paul Hammer compliment each other so well, both vocally but also the way their guitars intertwine. Keyboards seemed superfluous at times, except when they were set to Melotron, which they usually were. Apparently most (all?) of Savoir Adore's songs are for a concept album yet-to-be explained involving characters named Mr. P, Dr. Rousseau and a wooded forrest, but you needn't know any of this to dig what they're doing:
MP3: Savoir Adore - We Talk Like Machines
MP3: Savoir Adore - Mr P. Professor of Thought.mp3
Both these songs, plus two more, are available on their Cantora Records page. Savoir Adore are opening for Los Campesinos! this Thursday (5/15) at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and then play Lit on May 23.
So to recap last night's show. Three bands, all different, all great. My friend Don was armed with his nice digital SLR and took some photos which you can find here.