Friday, November 11, 2011

Medications - Cloud Nothings -- Black Cat - Nov 10 2011

Cloud Nothings - I enjoyed this band some time ago, but it has been a while so I am curious to see what has transpired. Not much, just some ferocious jaw dropping noise that explodes off the walls and assembles itself into shockingly melodic and tuneful songs.They had a strong and fast garage approach in the past that was significantly better than their peers, but it's up even another notch this time around. Kind of like what I (and everyone else) mentioned in reviews of Liturgy, the rollicking drums are what really elevate things here. But with this band, the guitars and bass are up to the task of also providing stunning sounds at varying high speeds. They create such dirty beauty with thick sludgy sounds at high speeds where it is difficult to tell if the core tones or overtones are providing the melody. Imagine Stiff Little Fingers, Sonic Youth, and Social Unrest all in a blender poured over the children of the Count Five as they cover the Dickies (or Comets on Fire at times). Even a broken bass string didn't slow them down much as the remaining three did an older tune that wasn't on the set. And things were back to extraordinary for the next number. Even the more basic garage pop-rock tracks were still excellent and gave a nice variety. Keep an eye on this band, they may be breaking through.

Medications - I have also enjoyed this local trio a few times prior to tonight. And again, the first song amazed me in its assertive power and fascinating off-kilter melody construction. Am I just in a really good mood tonight? No, quite the opposite, so both these bands are reminding me why I head out the door after a bad day. Great live music can really lift you up and Medications are doing exactly what they advertise. I was thinking of heading upstairs for the Sea and the Cake (in one of those infrequent double bookings) or the DC9, but am convinced I made the right choice. Medications performed many creative songs and varied the components quite well while maintaining their personal approach. They sound like they could fit into quirky and creative indie rock, but they just have a way of emitting more jagged progressive moments and twisted moves than even most indie rock bands do. I would say that about half the 55 minute set was filled with excellent songs and the other half were filled with cool jams. Most of the time I can have a band's sound down easily 1/4 or 1/2 way through the set. This one took the distance and multiple listenings would be ever better. They did a great job tonight in front of a good crowd and even did a legit encore from the folks that were not too cool to clap and holler.

No quotes, but my usual plug for my CD reviews in Folkworld magazine. Issue 46 is out with loads of CD reviews (even a few DC acts I slip in) along with some reprints of the folkier shows I have reviewed here.

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