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BEACH HOUSE w/ Papercuts and The Meeks Family





  East Atlanta, GA  
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Some weekends, it seems as if there is nothing at all to do, and some weekends there are multiple shows stacked up against each other. EvilSponge went to this show, but Martyr & Pistol, an Athens band we often reviewed a few years back, was opening for Joe Lally at The Drunken Unicorn. We went with slowcore dreampop as opposed to epic goth post-rock and ... whatever the hell Lally is doing these days. (Vistuoso bass singer-songwriter? Something like that...) I, for one, am very happy with the choice we made. This was a damned fine show...

Except for the opener, The Meeks Family. The Meeks Family is actually the new band of Brooks Meeks, formerly of The Close. The Close played around Atlanta for years, and really had a consistent sound. That is, everything they played pretty much sounded like indie pop with vague Britpop influences. To be honest, i had gotten bored with band long before they broke up.

Brooks Meeks, reborn as a country singer.

Well, the good news is that Brooks has broken free of the genre that trapped him earlier. The bad news is that for some reason he decided that country music was the way to go. Ugh. I am from Ohio -- i had not heard country until i was almost 20, and to be honest it bores me to tears. Brooks whined his way through the songs, with him emphasizing his southern accent while playing honky tonk guitar to a simple drumbeat accompaniment.

The rare good drummer photo: Drummer Meeks.

After just a few songs, i got it, and decided to head to the front bar to watch the Saturday night EARL meat market in full swing. Watching drunk guys stagger at drunker girls was more fun than sitting through country music. Brooks, i applaud you for trying something different. But that is all i applaud for.

Now, to be fair this was the very first show of The Meeks Family, so maybe they haven't worked out all of the kinks yet. One can hope. They did play a mercifully short 20 minute set, so i was able to return to the music room before the meat market got too annoying.

The next band that set up was a touring act from San Francisco that i was unfamiliar with. They go by the odd name of The Papercuts. The thing is, for a band i had never heard of, the various members looked familiar, particularly the tall, long-haired, heavily tatooed bassist. I sent Alex of OK Productions to find out what other acts he had played with, and it turns out he was the bassist in Tarantel! Post-rock, heck yeah.

Tarentel's bassist, in his new job.

Anyway, Papercuts are a four-piece band, including Tarentel bassist, a vocalist with a lovely hollow-bodied guitar, a female drummer, and a guy in a hoodie playing organ. Their music was a light, early 60s sounding pop music. It reminds me of what The Autumns or The Czars seem to be doing, and it came across very well on stage.

Did he get a papercut from the guitar?

In general, their songs were mellow, yet catchy. The rhythms were driving, and the chiming guitar combined well with the droning organ. They played about 35 minutes, and i thoroughly enjoyed it. I will look for these people to come back on tour.

Papercuts in action.

With two short sets, headliners Beach House managed to take the stage at 11:50 PM. This is a Saturday night at The EARL, and the headliner was on before midnight! Have i fallen into some parallel universe in which things run early? If so, can i stay here?

Beach House are a two-piece consisting of a guy who plays guitar and sings, and girl who plays keyboards and does most of the vocals. The singer of Papercuts added some drumming at times, nicely supplementing their drum machine beats. The band played in white suits, with shiny plasticy "palm trees" hanging from the ceiling behind them, and a sort of underlighting that simulated the rippling effect of water. All part of the act (get it? it's like you're seeing them play at a beach!), but it made photography really difficult...

I get the simulated "under water lighting", but how am i supposed to photgraph in this?

Their music is really slow, with chugging drum machine beats, droning organ, chiming guitar, and rich vocals. The female singer, Victoria Legrand, has a lovely voice. She's not a soprano, so it's not too high-pitched, but she has a really good range. The male voice of Alex Scully does a fine job of accompanying her. The guitars i found very intriguing, and it took me a while to figure out why: Scully plays trebly arpeggios through a hint of tremolo, which is basically what Robin Guthrie was doing in Violet Indiana. A wonderful sound, and Legrand's singing and organ drones paired with it rather nicely.

Victoria Legrand is surprised by the camera flash from mid-crowd.

I thoroughly enjoyed their set. It was mellow and really beautiful. The EARL, however, was packed out with people coming to be seen, and heard. So the crowd talked a bit much for the type of music being played, and i even heard a few people complain that the show was "too slow". Well, that's the type of stuff they do! Am i the only one with the sense to check out an unknown band's MySpace page for samples before venturing out to a show?

Alex Scully, squinting so as not to be blinded by the camera flash.

However, despite the annoyingly talkative crowd, Beach House held me entranced for 45 minutes. Yes, they played a short set for a headliner, but the music was so lovely that i really can't ask for anything more. Even though i had only heard a few of their songs before this show, i left a fan, with crisp new vinyl under my arm.

This was only the third show of the Beach House / Papercuts tour. If they come to a town near you, and you want to see some pretty, well-done, mellow music, i urge you to check it out.

Related Links:

Brooks of The Meeks Family on MySpace:
The Papercuts MySpace:
Beach Hoouse Website:
Beach House MySpace:


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