Mothersday - The first of two Baltimore bands gets things rolling on an overbooked Thursday night at the Velvet Lounge. This trio plays a myriad of guitars, basses, computer screens, drums, and microphones. They play their version of folktronica with a style that varies between dream pop and David Lynchian nightmare pop. There is just a smidgen of Spiritualized in the vocals, but the music is well short of that complexity. It does not lack for charm and intrigue and they kind of remind me of what I remember or Tunng, who I have not heard in a while. The last number through a real curveball which was quite exciting as it had crazed percussion and rocking bass guitar. The only thing I felt off was the never ending switching of instruments with slow transitions. A little tightening there and additional valleys to go with these peaks and these guys are truly on to something personal and fun.
Gezus Kake - This twin guitar Baltimore quartet has nary a synthesizer or computer in sight and instead just blasts away with rock fury and volume that was a bit excessive. The singing was rather straight forward but there was a nice undercurrent of post punk skronk at times which elevated this set. The drummer had not toms and not even a floor tom, but in spite of me trying to find something lacking, his skills were up to the task of providing a big beat with some creative flourish. Ultimately, they don't have the songs to match the sound, at least for a full set. Oh, and when you are told one more song, don't try to cram in two as your 30-minute set cramped the next two bands. Although the soundman taking his time earlier and forgetting to mic an amp lead to this band getting a late start.
Pleasure Curses - I have seen this band once before and was drawn to Morrisey comparisons, which did not dominate as much tonight. That may be due my focusing more on the music which was strong and vibrant, even though there were just two of them playing an array of keyboards, guitars, basses, and an electronic drum pad. They had some projections, half of which were on a guy's shirt which actually was a positive as it was white unlike the dark curtains behind the stage. The music flowed well and definitely had Mancunian touches, so I guess that connection is still there, but seemed even more broad-based tonight. This is a duo that is easy to enjoy and can fit well on a number of bills around here. I recommend them for anyone who likes thoughtful pop music and for the dance crowd that wants to challenge themselves to something beyond the DJ scene.
Hi-Life Wedding - What do you get when a woman from Missouri meats a man from Australia in Taiwan? Why, a very interesting electronica duo, of course. I do not see any computer screens among the tables of synthesizers and electronic boxes and they do spend more of their time creating music than watching it come out of a computer. They both sing, he with a twisting edgy style and she with a smooth comforting tone that moves from cool to warm without pushing to the extremes. It makes for an effective combination above the rhythms and melodies of their electronica style. She adds some bass guitar to many of the tracks which is always a good addition in my mind. I also liked the sequencer runs as the sense of movement and flow worked very well in this engaging set. It was a shame that over a dozen people had left due to the late hour, as the Velvet Lounge did the bands a disservice by trying to cram four bands into weeknight hours. Still those of us remained enjoyed Hi-Life Wedding and much of what happened earlier, so it was a good early start to the weekend. And hopefully they will return as it seems that they enjoy navigating many ends of this earth.
Quote of the Night: From Pleasure Curses and a listener...
"This one's called 'Out of Way'"
"Out of Way, not Uruguay"