Thursday, August 15, 2013
Math duos are always tricky for me to evaluate, since a lot of progressive music banks on how busy or full a composition can be, so obviously fewer performers can be detrimental. That said, Witches have a few things in their flavor to avoid being stale. Compositionally, there's great flow between sections in each song, avoiding the stunted transitions that trap many similiar groups. Overall, their sound smacks of a minimal nature while still sounding incredibly full. That might not make much sense on paper, but give it a listen and maybe it'll hit you.
I will be having the distinct pleasure of seeing them this Friday and have been looking forward to finally catching a show by them. Also looking forward to some possible new tunage? A boy can hope.
All of Them Witches
Sunday, August 11, 2013
It's difficult for me to put into words the feeling that you get by being constantly blown away by incredibly talented and passionate bands, ones seen before and anticipated; high-fives, hugs, jumping, and dancing were pouring out of the wood work in Ithaca last night.
Buffalo's very own Del Paxton (ex-Beach Parade) opened the proceedings with their precision take on 90's emo with some math rock flirtations. For them being such a new group you'd be hard pressed to tell at all. Great use of vocals and occasional harmonies, which I'm always a sucker for. While not normally my genre of choice, it's a testament to the excellent songwriting and powerfully inspired kit work of these lovely gentleman that have me excited for their bright future. (video from the show)
Vasudeva (NJ) — in some sort of mind reading tactic — played my FAVORITE song of their's off 2011's Roots of the Tree, "Back to the Feeding Ground". It honest-to-christmas-christ took me a full 45 seconds to recover after being blasted by such a lush and full sound in that wonderful basement. Huge amount of energy and tons of fun to watch. If you're not familiar, soundwise we're talking busy instrumental post-math with lots of glorious tapping. Wasn't super familiar with their new material, but just like their last release there are a large amount of melodic leads and impossible tapping passages with powerful drums. (video from the show)
Hailing from Montreal came Gulfer, who have been on my radar since their split with the lovely Fago Sepia. Hugely excited to finally see them in action and there was no disappointment at all — faaaaar from it. Math rock at its finest to be frank. Tight turns were navigated deftly by bass and drums, while the guitar seemed split between clean strumming and knotty tap workouts. It's in the variety of their songwriting that I have always loved Gulfer. They show their strengths well, moving from jazz influence to indie rock to harder breakdowns, but always with a grounding sense that never brings you too far from them. It's technical for sure, but never makes you feel weighted down. (video from the show)
And lastly... Cattle Drums. Third time seeing them, and each and every time I am even more blown away than the last. It is no exaggeration: they are the band to beat in any genre right now. The level of emotional connection they bring is second to none. Why, you may be ask? Well, lyrically there is no comparison. Think spoken word stream of consciousness that is a mix of philosophical musings crossed with bathroom scrawlings that can be profound and anthemic in the same moment (sometimes tragically inane). While this is happening, guitarist Gulab Singh is laying down some of the rawest riffage I can think of in twenty-thirteen. Stopping and starting when needed and holding on to an especially awesome lick for exactly the right amount of time, followed closely by relentlessly busy drumming. A mutant mix of dirty punk, metal, math rock and indie rock. Either aspect by itself would be more than enough for two bands but smashed into one is like watching the opposite of a train wreck. It was a burner of a set for sure. (video from the show)
A large thank you to my good friend Bubba from Ithaca Underground who was instrumental in this coming together as well.