February 24, 2009

Thank You, And Good Night: An Evening With Thank You.

Large, warehouse-type space; dingy, scuffed wood flooring and DIY-chic paint job; floor kit, riser kit and four large monitors, lit by warm red spotlights; this is the scene my notebook painted as the first act took the...um...floor, opening for Baltimore's Post-Kraut trio Thank You. Shred Aquarium quirkily clamors to life, sounding something like Bill Frisell's Naked City days, bringing only a meandering, overdrive-laden guitar and rolling toms and snares to the Post-Rock equation that all too often requires nearly three times as many warm bodies. Between songs, it appears as though the duo is naming their tunes spontaneously - as if the tunes might write themselves to life; "This next song is called...Abada Abada Abada SHREK!". The clumsy rock proceeds. Shred Aquarium gives up the floor to Mi Ami, a Post-Punk/Shoegaze quartet from Cali. After berating half the crowd for squatting, the group explodes into a tumultuous conglomeration of shrieks, squeals, fuzz-wah bass and Dance-Punk drums. Around 9pm CST, Thank You takes the stage, joking with the crowd as they calibrate their organs, guitars, jingle bells and gym whistles. The group opens with "Empty Legs", the opening track from 2008'sTerrible Two, which chugs along at the mercy of a driving drum beat before erupting into a buzzy guitar opus. Chicago's West Suburbs rattle through the foggy windows of the AV-aerie as Thank You pounds out each tune mercilessly, abruptly closing with the skittering "Pregnant Friends" and wishing all a pleasant evening. The trio of Michael Bouyoucas, Jeffrey McGrath and Elke Wardlaw celebrate the release of their third LP, and first on Chicago's Thrill Jockey label. For more Thank You tour dates, check www.thrilljockey.com.

February 16, 2009

Thank You @ AV-aerie.

Come join me and the folks at Thrill Jockey records for a night of great music! Thank You will be performing with special guests Mi Ami on Tuesday, Feb. 17th @ AV-aerie. Doors 7pm/$8. www.thrilljockey.com

February 14, 2009

Thank You: "Terrible Two".

The Baltimore trio of Jeffrey McGrath, Michael Bouyoucas and Elke Wardlaw seems to spend the same amount of time other acts spend on practice and songwriting blowing whistles, beating cowbells and shouting over the ruckus – though tastefully so. The post-rock formula has certainly been applied to the band’s latest effort Terrible Two, although a refreshing twist of Haywardian drumming and yelps sharp enough to cut through even the most seasoned of CBGB’s early 80’s crowds ensures any post-punks a good enough time.

Perhaps the premier example of this unique sound is our opener “Empty Legs”, which pounds to life in a medley of toms and whistles, steadily chugging to a guitar crescendo and all at once thumping to completion.

Following closely behind it, in much the same fashion, is a slightly less intimidating, krautrock-infused track in “Embryo Imbroglio”. Both tunes go the extra mile in proclaiming an undying devotion to their prog and post-rock roots while simultaneously keeping them an arm’s-length away in order to plug an original – and much needed – take on the largely misrepresented post-rock subgenre into the indie machine.

“Self With Yourself” features some highly rhythmic staccato guitars and bass, as well as a kitschy organ interlude. “Pregnant Friends”, this reviewer’s favorite of the lot, jumps to life as vocals are born into a soupy mélange of organ and percussion before being "shushed" into a completely new chaos, as an electric guitar screeches in terror.

By the 5 minute-mark, we're simmering in the fat at the bottom of this calorific stew, and a chorus of garbled squeals slurps up what's left. Terrible Two closes with an atmospheric and improvisational dronefest of organs, symbols and soft tom hits, utilizing a dynamic urgency, which carries the track to interspersed points of climax. A playful, "Atrocity Exhibition"-esque beat captures the middle of the track, and an organ hum slowly bleeds over top. Imagine Pram without Cuckston, and you’re pretty close.

Our boys in Thank You have done one of the most over-saturated and under-productive subgenres a mighty favor with their release of Terrible Two on Chicago’s wonderful Thrill Jockey label; perhaps they should be more aptly named “You’re Welcome”.


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February 5, 2009

Psychic Ills: "Mirror Eye".

"More Psych-Rock!" cries the oceans of blood the world over, and Psychic Ills meets these demands with a surprisingly fresh take on such an easily discredited subgenre. Mirror Eye makes for an understated journey through the depths of our inner being - one simulated acid trip after another. You've spoken, and they've heard; Pyschedelic Rock has become the voice of the new year, with the hugely successful release of Animal Collective's Neo-Psych masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion and Oneida's Thank Your Parents triptych soon to see its sophomore companion. The question is: does Psychic Ills' Mirror Eye backstroke or doggie paddle through the emergent sea of Neo-psychedelia? The key ingredients to any effective Psych-Rock release are all there: severely sustained, ringy guitars in a slightly over-cooked stew of reverb and delay, incomprehensible vocal instrumentation as well as spacey flange-swells and piano peckings placed lovingly (or haphazardly - you decide) throughout. Adam Forkner may raise an eyebrow, yet the competition is weak from the songwriting's perspective. Where earthy acts such as Yume Bitsu and Shalabi Effect masterfully utilize the spacey ambience and Middle Eastern influences within such already-fortified tunes as "Imps", "Blue Sunshine" and Yume's magnificent Golden Vessyl of Sound, Mirror Eye drowns its audience in the self-indulgent stoner rock of any moderately-capable garage band. The songwriting is slightly non-existent, and all that rings true after each note is the one before it; the brush hits the canvas again and again, and the painting looks something like my great grandmother's arts and crafts hour gallery. 

Back to my original question: Does Mirror Eye backstroke or doggie paddle? We may have our answer if it ever resurfaces...

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February 1, 2009

Kitty Digs Podcasts.

It's official - kidslooklikekats.com is now available via Podcast! I've submitted the introductory episode to the iTunes Music Store, so keep checking the website or iTunes for updates and new Podcasts! The Podcast will be a basic reiteration of each album or music review I post here on the site, but with a bit more detail into my opinion - plus any additional comments or ideas I may feel the need to express. I'll be giving a more detailed description of each week's Kitty Digs as well as some insight into what's to come in future updates and posts. There will be many more features added in over time as I become more comfortable and more focused on the Podcast - perhaps some artist interviews and such, and possibly even some live music that you would otherwise miss entirely.

Until the Podcast is available through the iTunes Store, here is a link to the introductory episode, which will give you a taste of what's to come and what to expect as the show progresses. You may click on the link directly or copy + paste it into iTunes to add the episode to your Podcast library. Feedback is welcome, as always!

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