Tag Archives: Noise rock

Concert Review: Wavves, Ganglians, Many Mansions @ Great Scott (9/27/09)

Bands: Many Mansions, Ganglians, Wavves
Venue: Great Scott (Allston, MA)
Date: Sunday, September 27, 2009

Many Mansions
This band embodies what has become of the psychedelic trance/drum and bass genre. Their set up was different for sure: one man controlling the drum and bass machine, the effects pedals, and singing while the other dude was just on stage to (apparently) play with the visuals on the projector. And the visuals were weird as hell. Some of the images: an African boy running in a field, an African guy nailed to a cross and decaying, trees, a bunch of people moving away from a building, people break dancing, and an African woman doing a dance in the forest. These images did all sorts of crazy things like spin, flip, illuminate, and fade. The visual arts component was better than the music. I felt bored by the music, at least initially. A few of the electronic drum schemes were catchy and maybe one song was actually “good,” but other than that this band just didn’t do too much for me.

Ganglians
The best I can describe Ganglians is proto-Wavves. They played a lot of catchy noise-pop that certainly the crowd was into. There was definitely an element of their music (the bass lines, probably) that really allowed for dancing and grooving. The lead singer was rocking out and everyone in the band looked like they were having a blast. I sensed a lot of Jay Reatard garage-pop, especially in the drumming and singing. There was one number in particular that had a near identical drum part as “Blood Visions.” A song I highly recommend checking out that they played is “Blood on the Sand.” “Hair” had me mistaking this band for the War on Drugs with its active keyboards. Overall, this was a really good second band!

Wavves
After ten minutes of “technical difficulties,” the crowd got a little antsy. Like…maybe Nathan Williams consumed Valium and E before the show and couldn’t figure out which amp to plug his guitar into. Or maybe not since the only amp on stage was a huge Marshall double-stack mammajamma. Safe to say that no public breakdown happened last night. Williams, with his New York Death Adders hat and tee, welcomed the crowd saying “Hi, we’re Wavves” before blasting into “So Bored,” my favorite song! Everyone easily recognized this song because it’s Wavves’ biggest and just started going nuts, singing along, dancing, etc. The next set of seven or eight songs potentially ended with the word “Goth” or “Demon,” I just can’t remember. That’s because there was, at least for me, an unexpected amount of moshing. The first I got hit I was kind of like wtf okay that’s cool. But then I looked behind me and people were getting pushed around like crazy, bumping into each other. So the next twenty minutes turned out to be an awesome re-visitation of old No Age shows, because of both the music (noisy punk) and the crowd response (moshing). The final song they played was “No Hope Kids,” an awesome song to end the show! Pure pop beneath the massive wall of noise. Unfortunately they only played for 30 minutes, but it was a lengthy 30 minutes. After sweating my ass off from all the moshing and losing track of time, it felt like just enough.

Final Comments: Wavves put on a great show and the experience of watching them play was very top notch. Wouldn’t it have been better if I knew a majority of the songs performed? Probably. I didn’t let them bug me and in the end I walked out of Great Scott knowing that I had a shitload of fun. That said, this show is not comparable to some of the best shows I’ve seen. I would give it somewhere in the B+/B range.

Crowd during Wavves
Crowd during Wavves
Once Nathan Williams got stuff to work, all was well
Once Nathan Williams got stuff to work, all was well!

CD Review: Earthly Delights

Name: Lightning Bolt
Label: Load Records
Release: 2009

1. “Sound Guardians” – 8.5
2. “Nation of Boar” – 7.2
3. “Colossus” – 7.5
4. “The Sublime Freak” – 8.4
5. “Flooded Chamber” – 6.7
6. “Funny Farm” – 8.3
7. “Rain On Lake I’m Swimming In” – 8.9
8. “S.O.S” – 7.0
9. “Transmissionary” – 7.7

Comments: Here is a case of a band that I’ve heard a shit load about, but never really sat down and gave a meaningful listen. LB’s “noise rock” tag is appealing, but for me that “noise rock” must make some kind of sense in order to be listenable. LB has a two man set-up: a drummer and bass guitarist. Formerly in the band was a man now called Soft Circle. Yes, that guy. These days he plays loopy experimental stuff by himself (drums, guitar, vocals). Believe it or not the only things he did in Lightning Bolt (which he lasted in for all of three days…kidding) was sing and play guitar. Anyway…let me not side track too much. Getting into this album, my thoughts are kind of scattered. I conjure up a lot of elements upon listening: heavy metal, screamo, extreme noise-punk (there Brian Gibson that’s three words not two)…just to name a few. Maybe I’m just not ready for this kind of stuff. Or maybe it’s LB perfecting their image of being “loud and aggressive.”  I see a lot of great bass guitar riffs and random drum beats, but I don’t see a lot of structure. Is that what we call “art rock” nowadays? Even the best sounding tracks just barely squeak by as decent. Am I listening to noise or music? Is there a difference at all? I can tolerate noise, which is why I give some of these tracks higher grades than they probably deserve — at least from a critical perspective.

Grade: 7.8

CD Review: A Brief History of Love

Band: The Big Pink
Label: Rough Trade
Release: 2009

1. “Crystal Visions”9.5
2. “Too Young To Love” – 9.2
3. “Dominos” – 9.4
4. “Love in Vain” – 8.7
5. “At War With The Sun” – 8.9
6. “Velvet”9.7
7. “Golden Pendulum” – 9.2
8. “Frisk” – 8.8
9. “A Brief History of Love”9.5
10. “Tonight” – 9.3
11. “Count Backwards From Ten” – 9.4

Comment: I’m not sure how I actually came in contact with this band or this record. I found it just today in My Library. It’s due out on Tuesday? This situation confuses me. I’m pretty sure this band is from the UK. They sound darkish noise-punk/shit gaze. What I mean is the music is loud, distorted, lot of shit going on at one time, etc. You can’t really groove, but rather nod your head slowly. If I had to compare The Big Pink to some modern day bands I would compare them to The Morning After Girls and The Warlocks. Louder though. Add a drum machine, too. I hear some Humbug-era Arctic Monkeys too, but much much louder is The Big Pink. This CD is highly impressionable yet I question whether it has any lasting appeal. In certain areas (the green tracks!), this is really really catchy!

Final Grade: 9.2

CD Review: Get Color (HEALTH)


Band:
HEALTH
Label: Lovepump United
Release: 2009

1. “In Heat” – 8.0
2. “Die Slow” – 9.5
3. “Nice Girls” – 8.8
4. “Death +” – 8.6
5. “Before Tigers” – 8.7
6. “Severin” – 8.9
7. “Eat Flesh” – 7.3
8. “We Are Water” – 8.6
9. “In Violet” – 8.5

Comment: This album is reminiscent of early Animal Collective, except a tad bit noisier and a tad bit more random. If you are noise/electronica/slowcore kind of person, this will please you. The deal with albums like this is that the listening experience is subjective. Unlike with most other albums that came out this year, there are going to be a wide variety of sentiments that come with the listening experience. My 8.5 might be a 10 to one person and a 5 to another.

Final Grade: 8.5

CD Review: Lessons in the Woods or a City

Band: Talbot Tagora
Label: Hardly Art
Release: 2009

1. “Mixed Signals Through Miles of Pilgrimage” – 9.2
2. “Ichthus Hop” – 9.0
3. “Bounty Hunter” – 8.7
4. “Solar Puppets” – 8.9
5. “Hunger Strike” – 8.7
6. “Black Ice” – 8.2
7. “Mouth Rainboy” – 9.1
8. “Hidden Note” – 9.0
9. “Hairspray” – 8.8
10. “Johnny Lazor” – 8.6
11. “Replacing the Northwest” – 8.7
12. “Perception Stick” – 9.0
13. “Belt of Cancer” – 8.4
14. “Ephemeral Summer” – 8.9

Comments: You’re going be like “whoa this is Wavves” (or better yet an incredibly unpolished No Age influenced trio) while listening. There’s really nothing revolutionary going on on this album besides a lot of experimenting with guitars and drum beats that scream, intentionally or otherwise, lo-fi surf-punk. Somewhere and somehow, at least on some of the songs, sense can be made. Noise rock making sense! That’s the No Age comparison. Most of the tracks don’t have an overly catchy flair — they are more like sophisticated jams. So say, for instance, you went to a Talbot Tagora concert for the first time without ever listening to them before. You’re going to have a good time rocking out. And if you have listened to them before, you are going to have a bitch of a time deciphering songs. Admittedly I got a little bored with this after a while. I kind of just wanted to change it up and get my noise fix from the Losing Feeling EP…or the Talking Heads (alphabetically next on my playlist).

Grade: 8.3 (I haven’t done this yet, but I have to take off .5 points because it lacks originality to a sad point.)

CD Review: We Be Xuxa


Band:
Mika Miko
Label: PPT
Release: 2009

1. “Blues Not Speed” – 9.4
2. “Turkey Sandwich” – 9.3
3. “I Got A Lot (New New New) – 9.6
4. “Wild Bore” – 9.2
5. “Sex” – 9.5
6. “Totion” – 9.5
7. “On the Rise” – 9.6
8. “Beat the Rush” – 9.7
9. “Johnson R. Cool” – 9.1
10. “Sex Jazz” – 9.4
11. “Keep on Calling” – 9.3
12. “Turkey Barnyard Mix” – 9.5

Comments: Sounds like an all-girl version of early Black Lips material, except a little bit more punk and a little bit more catchy. It’s no wonder why Ian St. Pe said this is a band he is really digging.

Grade: 9.4