Moonlight Mask - There is a big crowd here on a Saturday night, which does not bode well when listening to a solo artist. Sure enough, there is a ton of conversation between the music and my ears as I move around to find the least annoying spot, not that there are many choices with this crowd. I was interested as the first song had an excellent vocal melody as he deftly transitioned around the treble clef with spacey guitar and a backing track of simple drum machine and bass. But as the set went on, the songs became less interesting and worse, incomplete. He offered fragments and rather unfocused ideas for much of the remaining set, so this time I won't blame the audience for being more interested in their conversations. I can be casual at home.
Emmy the Great - The audience comes to attention for this quiet and talented trio. Emmy (Emma Lee Moss) is the songwriter, lead singer and plays various keyboards and guitars with a guitarist and a drummer who plays in the Wye Oak fashion of using one hand for drums and percussion and another for a keyboard mostly doing the basslines. It is very careful and mannered sound that unfolds into lightly lively textures that are a perfect backdrop for the thoughtful vocals that carry just enough of a pop hook to pull you in. There is richness throughout these songs and sounds, even as it seems light on the surface. Normally this is the music I prefer in the quiet late hours at home, but Emmy and the band have captivated and engaged the audience. That happened even as most of her early set featured her new album, which is not quite out yet. She promised and delivered some older favorites at set's end. This was a lovely set and I am looking forward to hearing her album this month. My guess is that it will get many, many listens this year.
Facebook Grab of the Night: A new way to see a very old album cover.