After a long concert drought, i found myself back at The EARL a mere four days after my last sojourn there, which had been, i think, my first all summer! How strange is it that all of these bands i like go on tour at the same time? The bands on this tour all even started out in the same city as Thursday's band, Asobi Seksu. I guess Asobi Seksu got out on the road just a few days earlier. Is this a good time of year to get out of New York City? I would have thought that autumn was nice up there…
Anyway, there were three bands on this bill, on a Monday. The EARL started the show more or less on time, with Cymbals Eat Guitars going on about 9:20. This is a four-piece indie rock act; basically your standard trio with a piano added.
Cymbals Eat Guitars, but not keyboards, apparently.
I was less than impressed. Their music was a generic mélange of any dozen or so 1990s indie rock acts you could care to name. Seriously -- name some and i bet that they were in there. For example, they had a song about a living room that started off with a Superchunkish guitar riff, and moved along like something that band would have done. That is great, and i would have liked it, if not for the vocals. Actually, it wasn't really vocals in any singing sense of the word: the guitarist kind of screamed/bellowed tunelessly. Seriously -- someone needs singing lessons!
He was trying to sing. I think.
The best part of their set actually came when they announced their last song, and their fans in the crowd boo-ed the end of the set. One of the band members said, "Well maybe we will do two more…" which prompted soundman Curt Wells to say over the PA, "No you won't. Don't make me turn this stage around!" Ha, good old Curt. They played about 40 minutes, which was at least 35 minutes too long. Oh well.
The next act, on the other hand, was an entirely different creation. This was a three-piece band called The Depreciation Guild, and it features the drummer from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart on guitar and vocals. The secondary guitarist from TPOBPAH also played guitar here, and they added in a drummer to create a standard power trio. With pedals -- they had a LOT of effects pedals. And a laptop, just for added electro beat goodness.
Pedals do not depreciate in value.
So i guess it was unsurprising when they started to play and the sound was reminiscent of Seefeel. The guitars were a fuzzed out wall that pummeled the listener, and the rhythms moved in odd ways but still propelled that wall of noise inexorably forward. The voice was a faint haze buried in the mix, like a hint of cinnamon sprinkled into a cake mix.
Just the barest hint of vocals.
Now, i should disclose here that i am a big Seefeel fan. I have all of their releases on my Zune, in case the need to hear them strikes me at an odd time. They did some fascinating things that no one else seems to have picked up on. Well, no one but The Depreciation Guild. In particular, what i heard at this show reminded me of Quique, Seefeel's excellent debut record, where the electro elements had not yet overwhelmed the shoegazerness of the band.
The Depreciation Guild rock out.
This was an excellent performance. Right up my alley, and after their set i went and bought a copy of their record In Her Gentle Jaws. On first listen, it is not as intense as their live set, but that is pretty typical.
The Depreciaton Guild apprecaites blue lighting.
So far the show had featured one icky band and one excellent one. The tiebreaker went to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
Will The Pains of Being Pure at Heart salvage the eveing?
Their effects aren't letting on....
This is a young band who i had seen in Austin during the first day of SxSW this year, and then a few weeks later in May here at the EARL. Both times they had put on excellent shows of deeply catchy, fuzzed out pop, and i expected this show to be no different. I think that this is a band on their way upwards in popularity, so see them now if you have the chance.
Peggy realizes she could have had a V8 with dinner!
They took the stage at about 11:15, and played until midnight. Not as long as i would have liked, but they did pack a lot of quality into that set. They played Come Saturday, the second single off their excellent debut record.
The Pains in action.
I think they played most of their brand new Higher Than the Stars EP, but i am not as familiar with that release yet. They definitely played 103 off of that release. They ended with a rollicking good version of their theme song, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, with a monotonous drum beat under soaring guitars and chanted vocals.
Kip and Peggy will never die.
Overall i spent the performance bouncing along happily -- sheer pop perfection that was all 4/4 time and happy voices. What more can you ask for?
The Pains under blue light.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are definitely a band to look out for. I noticed that this show was more crowded than the Asobi Seksu show the previous Thursday. The band has some buzz. Better jump on that bandwagon now!