The Album Leaf - In the stuidio this name may be more of a project for Jimmy LaValle, live this is a vibrant and intriguing full band sound. The players move around from drums, violin, guitar, bass, trumpet and keyboards. This is primarily instrumental music but there is a touch of vocal coloring and one full fledged song with lead vocals. They begin with some nice spacey krautrock and then add electonic pop with a touch of psyche ultimately invoking the post rock label if you need just one. It is reminiscent of Caribou and the really striking feature is that the electronics take a back seat to the players. The drums are repetitive yet creative. Keybaords are colorful and don't overly rely on synthesizer sounds. The pace is brisk and there is plenty of melody. A couple of the songs toward the end established a serious groove which had the large crowd entranced. It is always a great pleasure to see a fine studio band really nail a live show with energetic playing, not to mention smart lights and projections which were woven into the music and did not just blast aways images and flash. This is smart music that will pull you in emotionally as well.
Tycho - And we have another solo project from the west coast who has a full band with him as well. This time it is a three-piece with drums, bass and lots of keys/samples/and guitar. Instrumental post rock music is again the focus and these bands are a near perfect match as this set takes over the same head space as the last one left us in. The atmosphere created here has a dreamy vibe, dream-electronica as opposed to dream-pop. The rhythms are strong which is nice. The music is a little more stretched than that of the Album Leaf. That does not bring me in quite as deeply, but others may feel different. And of course it is preferable to see complementary bands stake out their own turf, and not keep everything too steady. There was an appreciative crowd that filled about 3/4 of the Black Cat tonight. And I believe they made an excellent choice for their live music tonight.
Quote of the Day: Very little from the stage, but I was so happy to overhear this scintillating item from a long conversation occurring while the opening band was weaving their magic... "I check Facebook once a month!"