Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lilac Shadows EP Release Show, w/ Jenny Besetzt & Airstrip (Kings, Raleigh, 3/31/12)

This was a show to celebrate the release of Lilac Shadows' Madness EP. But before they played, two other pretty good locals opened. I hadn't heard of Jenny Besetzt, and since they were playing first, I thought they were some wet-behind-the-ears kids. Plus, there was their stripped-down Facebook, and a Vimeo "teaser" with a couple of atmospheric song segments, and a bio merely stating that "Jenny Besetzt is about transcendence over those who see the world as only earthly and finite."

Well, they quickly let you know that they're no novices. They're a very tight and dynamic band... atmospheric and jumpy at the same time. A lot of rapid-fire electric strumming along with breezy vocals and keyboards (and a great light show) made for an upbeat start to the night (and some great pictures). Apparently, they have been playing around some -- for about a year or so -- and are from over in Greensboro. Go see'em!

Jenny Besetzt...

Airstrip was up next, a relatively new band led by Matt Park (ex-Veelee). Veelee was a duo, and this band perhaps has a similar sound, but it's more fleshed out as one would expect. You can recognize Matt's songrwriting style from Veelee. It's dark, with an abrupt edge, and he at times sounds like Thurston Moore or Neil Young. Dual guitars, you'd expect, would be very trebly. But Airsrtip has a heavy sound for an "indie/guitar" band. There's much emphasis on rhythm, with bass and drums driving many of the songs. Even the guitar is played kinda low and thudding, although there are some surfy accents, and Tre Acklen (also of Gross Ghost) even makes use of an 12-string electric.

Airstrip describes their music as "Nightmare Pop".

Yeah. That fits.


So after a dark middle set, the hosts of the party, Lilac Shadows, brought back the light show (literally and figuratively). The music moved back into similar territory as JB as well. This band shares at least 3 members w/ T0W3RS (Derek Torres, Sam Logan, Karen Blanco), and you'd expect some similarities, sound-wise. But whereas T0W3RS is more Derek's gig, this is Sam's. And where T0W3RS is more aggressive and staccato, Lilac Shadows is smooth and impressionistic. They play a kind of a soaring guitar pop with a synth/electronic edge. They can momentarily drift into droning, Velvet Underground-like instrumental mantras -- unafraid to stretch a song -- before reining it in to a galloping, rolling pop.

Lilac Shadows have a slight late '80s-early '90s British feel (as did JB). Railway Children, Woodentops... a little bit o' shoegaze, and a lot of quiet-loud-quiet. And again, great light show... made for great photos.

Lilac Shadows...

Here's a video of Lilac Shadows doing Fever Pitch.

Oh yeah, forgot. Dave Mueller (Heads on Sticks) DJ'd between bands, and was great. Nice use of 'Fess (not that Professor Longhair is ever out of place).

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