The We Shared Milk - Man, is that an awkward 'the' in their name. Bursts of volume from this Portland, Oregon trio quickly make me forget about that and focus on their rather intriguing music. Just when I think this is rather basic indie rock, the guitarist blasts away into some fuzzy sludge and has me scratching my head. This sounds a bit like Dinosaur Jr., if the three guys went to their second instrument of choice. Some of this is straight forward enough rock, but there's the occasional menace and snarl which really forces a sharper focus. 27 minutes worth of music and I'm still curious but very interested. If this were a recipe, I would tweak the spice of the vocal lines which don't always seem to match up with the music. Otherwise, these flavors are vibrant and exciting. The early crowd was rewarded here tonight.
The Sea Life - There are an awful lot of people on stage with drums, bass, keyboards, and three guitars. Various members sing with occasional success in the harmonies. Musically, this Maryland band plays a classic-to-modern pop style that works well enough. It rather depends on the song as a couple seem to rise up to something special with others that allow my mind to wander too much. If this were a recipe, I would remove a couple ingredients as I am not hearing the value of so many instruments in the end product. Some of their endings were a little rough and too casual for my liking. But the music was good enough and I particularly enjoyed a song that had a similar melody and playfulness of the Flamin' Groovies "Shake Some Action". They have a new album out next week and play at the Black Cat on October 13th, so you can judge for yourself.
The Dig - And if this Brooklyn quartet was a recipe, I would share it with all and cook it up and serve it with a smile. These guys played a strong and personal brand of pop music that was heavy with rock power, shoegaze swirls, and tricky instrumental shifting. The vocal work is dazzling with the bassist and guitarist sharing lead duties and harmonizing well with their varied textures. The rhythm section is the key foundation element to keeping things fresh and interesting as the bassist really lays down throbbing lines and the drummer is sharp with his powerful punctuation. The guitar moves in and out of loud-to-moderate volume bursts and the keyboardist deftly switches back and forth to a second guitar, even in the middle of several songs. I saw these guys years back when this was the Red & the Black, and it appears that they have grown some fans by now with 40-50 here this time. The spirited crowd rightfully dug everything this band dished out in the 54 minutes on stage and they yelled loud for an encore through the house music, which is a rare for the DC club scene. The recent album I reviewed here was quite good and the live show is even more amazing. This was night one of an extensive tour and hopefully the audience will be growing at each and every city.
Quote of the Night: From the Sea Life... "This is an old song I wrote about six months ago."