Thursday, October 22, 2015

Landshapes - Tigers are Bad for Horses -- DC9 - Oct 21 2015

by John Miller

Tigers are Bad for Horses - Very quiet not too much of a crowd tonight; a keyboardist and singer. This is familiar; I feel like I have seen, rather heard Tigers are Bad for Horses before. The few people that are here slowly get up from their booths and make their way to the front as they take the stage.

The music is slow; the keys have an interesting tone. The patch reminds me of 80s produced pop a la Narada Michael Walden. Since it’s just a duo the keys are obviously a significant part of the compositions.  Instead of simply playing them to add atmosphere, the songs themselves are built around what he is playing, not the backing tracks that accompany the duo. It is unique in that the artists I am usually seeing are quite the opposite. The difference is stark and as a result it is easy to hear there is real talent behind the song writing.

While the keys are more traditional than most that's not to say there isn't atmosphere to the compositions. The backing tracks sprinkle small sonic pieces: hits and vocal samples that are eventually looped against the Sewdieian keys. I hear interesting games being played with the tones as well; saw waves and more modern flourishes as well.

Vocally, it’s confident. She does not hide behind the other pieces that make up their pieces. Whether that's due to poor producing or a lack of confidence in ability, often I find that with these smaller groups, the vocals can be washed out by everything else. Tonight that is not that case. The vocals reminds me of a recent album that we reviewed here; elle le fantôme's album, paint it blacker but in key. Granted that reference may be a little difficult for those that are not regular readers of the site. Regardless she's good and the songs remind me of College; though with less emphasis on atmosphere.
Landshapes - Another English band tonight. With all the acts I am seeing recently from across the pond it almost feels as if I should take up residence there. The very first thing I notice when walking upstairs is that it's a lot louder than what I have seen recently here at DC9. Lots of fuzz. Not that the previous acts have been sub-par, far from it, but it is a nice change of pace to the somewhat easy going acts I have grown accustomed to seeing the past month.

The fuzz is mixed; we move from fast, heavier stuff to slowed down naturalistic sounds; wind, bugs, birds chipping along. The lead guitarist sounds like she could be playing a Theremin, lots of fiddling with her peddle set up; twisting and turning, shaking her instrument as to if to will them to come to light.

The audience has grown considerably, moving with the band as they make their way through tonight's abbreviated show. My tardiness was not an issue tonight as only Landshapes and their opening act took the stage. There is this sense that in between the fuzz and effects there are these pleasant indie rock efforts that are trying to take shape. It's an interesting dichotomy.

It’s a really solid four piece and I cannot help but feel awful for them as in between songs we are told that during this, their first American tour their van was recently 'burgled'. As unfortunate as it is, I have heard many a story recounting thefts of musical equipment but to be so far away from home and have your livelihood stolen must be deflating to say the least. The fact that they are putting on such a solid show despite the pilfering of their gear is a testament to how good they are.

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