Critical 5 Concerts in NYC this week: new waves and old faves, Feb. 21-28
You've heard the phrase a thousand times: those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. This may explain why you're 35 and still a senior in high school, but when it comes to music, this sentiment is a bit tricky.
There's so much currency put on being "new" and "different" and "original" these days that those words almost become meaningless when describing a band's sound. So this week, we're highlighting concerts from artists who are either repping sounds that were in vogue before you were born, or those who have offered their own updates on them. New waves and old faves!
San Francisco's Tamaryn are the type of group who are typically described as "shoegaze" by lazy critics who can't be bothered to listen to an album recorded past the year 1991 more than once. Closer inspection, however, reveals a more nuanced and complex web of influences than that catchall term encompasses. Yes, the guitars are hazy and the lyrics are dreamlike, but this is not music for people who can't stop staring at their feet. This is like Cocteau Twins in a deep late '60s Byrds phase. It sees beyond.
When British punk fell apart in the late '70s, it birthed two camps. One camp consisted of art school intellectuals who wanted to move as far away from recycled Chuck Berry riffs and experiment with electronics and abstract poetry. The other camp was determined to keep punk as catchy, snotty, and violent as ever. The latter camp birthed London hooligans Cockney Rejects, who will be inciting plenty of broken noses and spitting on Friday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Our country's East and West coasts will each be sending '80s hardcore envoys in the forms of Murphy's Law and Youth Brigade, respectfully. Safety pins optional.
Bob Mould's career trajectory is damn near impossible to replicate. The former frontman for two seminal indie rock acts -- Hüsker Dü and Sugar -- Mould's solo career has found him trying out every role from heartbroken acoustic guitar slinger to electropop experimentalist. This past year found him taking a look back at his own career high points with a return to his blistering power pop past, in the form of the excellent LP Silver Age, an album which deserves to stand alongside his early bands' finest releases. Be sure to catch Mould in full-on rocker mode before he takes his next left turn.
Back in the early 2000's, Conor Oberst got out some of his political aggression with his post-hardcore outfit, Desaparecidos. The band explored the ways the personal became political -- and vice-versa -- with the fiery rage of youth, and managed to release one outstanding LP (2002's Read Music/Speak Spanish) before disbanding. The next few years found Oberst doing everything from romancing Winona Ryder to singing a song called "When The President Talks to God" on Jay Leno, but now Omaha's finest son has put the old band back together. The show before this one is sold out, so be sure to get your ticket early, unless you want to wait another ten years for the next Desaparecidos gig.
It's gotten to the point where any yahoo with GarageBand software and a BFA in installation art can coo sweet R&B nothings over some echo-laden beats and get at least a Best New Track recognition from Pitchfork. But Autre Ne Veut, the nom de sound of Arthur Ashin, actually has the chops to back up the hype. Ashin's songs are soulful but damaged, recalling the days when even the smoothest of cats couldn't help but reveal their tortured neuroses over gauzy slow jams. Think post-divorce Marvin Gaye or pre-urination R. Kelly. Ashin didn't name his upcoming Autre Ne Veut album Anxiety for nothing.
|Autre Ne Veut - Counting - feat. Mykki Blanco [Official Video]|