The Escape Artist - In chatting with the band I learned that I had seen them, but it was over two years ago. They have a new lead guitarist joining the drums, bass, guitar/vocal line-up. Their sound has shifted lightward, but is still in the shoegaze world. I think dream-pop is the closest genre, but they have some progressive moves which make things interesting. They increase the heaviness at opportune moments and shift the guitar tones around a bit to keep things interesting. If anything, they could continue to work on creative interplay and even take this concept further. They are clearly on the right track and most modern rock fans will find something to like here. Hopefully I will have a progress report sometime before late 2014.
TeePee - The 'headliner' chooses to play in the middle tonight. They are a four-piece band from Miami that is primarily the vehicle for the songs of guitarist/vocalist Erix S. Laurent. two guitars, keys, and drums are the foundation here and there are some female back-up vocals which add a nice touch. Even if I had not heard this magnificent set by itself, I would have become interested when I saw that their listed influenced started with two murderers, Joe Meek and Bobby Beausoleil (but these are not for shock value as they made some great music). So start there and add some sort of combination of Swirlies, Feelies, Kattatonia, Neu!... oh, there's more, but it's best just to roll with these galloping beats and ferocious undercurrent to the smooth delivery of a catchy song. This band drives it home with a smooth yet action packed journey. They are touring the east coast and hopefully more of you will take a chance than the maybe 20 people did tonight. They are a well polished gem with sharp edges. I certainly hope they do this town again soon.
Mittenfields - I have not seen this enjoyable local quintet in a bit. They are warming up to get started on the recording of a new long player. And based on what I heard tonight, it will be one worth waiting for. As ever, they feature the triple guitar act where all three players are quite active in intricately working together as well as blasting out a wall of shoegaze. The drums pound away and bassist/singer Dave Mann sings atop and plays underneath. I am glad Dave can stay so active handling his part in this quality band while working on his massive festival which is coming up soon (see below). I always like the songs that this band puts out and more than ever, they sound like they could be an easy fit on Nuggets 2 (the world garage rock-pop-psyche comp). There were a few moments of tuning issues perhaps and a couple moments where the drums could sync in better, but these passed by quickly enough. Most important is picking up on their subtle moves, which are as interesting as their noise. And hopefully they'll dream up even more interesting moves in the studio. We shall see. But until then, don't miss the live show.
Promo of the Night: It is coming up on that time of year for two exciting events.
Up first is the long running Sonic Circuits Festival which features exciting experimental music in a variety of guises from challenging to accessible, yet unique. This year you can experience the incredible guitar works of Glenn Branca, the place where Thurston Moore met Lee Ranaldo oh so many years (and great Sonic Youth albums) ago. There are some Pere Ubu and Feelies veterans and interesting sounds from around the globe. This runs from September 28-30, but there are some warm-up events, as well as shows all year round.
And if that isn't enough music for you, the much newer but exponentially expanding STTPFest is bringing over 200 (maybe 300!) bands playing all in the heart of DC clubland from October 5-7. Many stages are free, some very small fees, and there are wristband packages, and loads of interesting showcases featuring the cream of DC bands and many more from cities afar, including Europe. You definitely want to check the schedule and allot at least a little time for this one.