Three really great bands tonight at the Mexican Summer showcase at Knitting Factory. First up was the Canadian four piece No Joy. The band was made up of two guys and two gals. The girls were on guitar duties and the boys played bass and drums. The band as my new friend Danny put it had the creamy 70's guitar tones reminiscent of Brian Jonestown Massacre but on many songs you could hear the Sonic Youth elements especially in the guitars. The girl guitarists and the bass player all shared vocal duties and each member played very concise musical parts while delivering a very large and fuzzy sound.
The San Francisco band Tamaryn caught my attention a few weeks back and been listing to their debut album The Waves non stop and was so excited to see they were playing CMJ. The band came out on a dimly lit stage and with beautiful colorful film textures projected on the stage as John Shelverton stood on the stage wailing precise guitar licks as the rest of the band followed on stage and rocked out then lead vocalist Tamaryn joined in the fun putting on an amazing live performance. They have a heavy 4AD sound with elements of shoegaze mixed with Cocteau Twins textures and even Curve. The crowd really enjoyed Tamaryn's set as I was rocking out to their set I noticed Nick Zinner standing right next to me. I really enjoyed the whole set but highlights included "Mild Confusion," "Sandstone" and "Waves." See the bass heavy video clip above of "Sandstone."
One of my favorite albums of the year is by Jana Hunter's new band Lower Dens. The four piece from Baltimore have made a gem of an album. The band didn't get a start till late in the evening and the crowd was thinned out but the people that stayed were just as excited about the band as I was and enjoyed every note of their set. They played a few new tunes and treaded us to classic tracks such as "Hospice Gates," "I Get Nervous" and "Tea Lights." The first time I saw them play a Death By Audio show and Sharon Van Etten, Kyp Malone of (TV On The Radio) and Anand Wilder of Yeasayer were in attendance. This show they had Nick Zinner and I ran in to Victoria from Taken By Trees in attendance . . . if that's any indication of how amazing a band Lower Dens are.
Words & Pics by Kevin Serra