The guys from Real Estate might be some of the chillest people in Indie-rock. They make sunny day relaxed pop punk, ideal for a lazy morning or a slow afternoon. As a five piece their music is simple but not minimalistic; their songs sound like they were written on a bright summer day inside of a beach house full of pot smoke. I personally enjoy these kinds of songs in the fall, when the grey winter is approaching but the sun still sparkles through the changing colors on the trees. It is the warm reminder in cold weather that the sun is going to come back.
On stage their music is almost like a lullaby as it relaxes you to the core. They play their songs with energy and enthusiasm but they’re not songs that are going to make you jump around, they are songs that are going to make you feel good with a certain pleasantness. Their front man Matthew Mondanile, who also releases chill-wave music under Ducktails, looks like a the nerd of Indie-rock. They shoot the shit on stage, bantering with the audience and striking me as guys who would love to kick it with their fans. They’re not pretentious or whiney- just laid back cool guys whose music will make you feel happy.
Their single “Its Real” is their most upbeat song and contains an incredible catchy chorus. Here’s some pics by Adam Forslund:
The opening band was Big Troubles. I saw them about a month ago also at The Crocodile but opening for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They’re very similar to Pains in the sense that they’re trying to be the new past. Their guitarist slides his instrument as if he is emulating Johnny Marr of The Smiths. Their vocals are the sappy whiney sound that exploded in the early 2000s that bands like Pains are still holding onto but the singers in Big Troubles lack the confidence or power to make their sappiness worthwhile.
Their newest album is called “Romantic Comedy” which seems completely fitting. While they played I noticed all of the girls occupying The Crocodile. They smiled and danced, completely infatuated with Big Trouble’s tunes. I stood trying to hide the look of boredom on my face. Its kind of like a romantic comedy; girls swoon while guys tolerate.
Wye Oak’s song “Civilian” is featured in the trailer for the new season of Walking Dead. It fits perfectly with the apocalyptic living-dead show because of its dark realism, a feeling ordinary people can relate to. The song has a suspenseful riff like an imminent attack. It builds to a climax with a deadly zombie attack. The trailer is perfect. I was interested in seeing their live show.
Say Hi and Grand Hallways opened. Say Hi was Eric Elbogen with his acoustic guitar standing on stage by his lonesome. He wears flannel and sings with a murmur, looking like such an ordinary guy. He writes music for a slow dance and makes you want to hold your girlfriend softly (but I know my girl doesn’t dig this acoustic crap). He would work better on a smaller stage.
In the spectrum of local folk-pop Grand Hallway is on the other side of Say Hi; they had seven people on stage. They sounded full; they were creating a lot of sound. The singer would strum an acoustic guitar, harmonize with the front keyboardist, and build into a moment where the electric guitarist could strum, the drummer could pound, the violinist could hum, and the other keyboardists could make more noise. Their music was good but it lacked a clear hook, or maybe the hook was covered by all the sound. I question if they really needed the three keyboardists. Their best song was their last number, it was stripped down and most of the members sat out. You could actually hear it sounding deep and beautiful.
I was hoping Wye Oak was going to strike some sort of balance between those two bands to save this show.
Within their first notes they blew Say Hi and Grand Hallway out of the water. Wye Oak is a duo comprised of Jen Wesner on electric guitar and vocals and Andy Stack on drums and keyboard. On record, their songs song like they were written for a folk musician but with an edgier attitude. When live that folk element is barley present. Wesner stays plugged in the whole night and is unafraid of noise, in fact she uses distortion like it is another instrument. She has a soulful voice and uses it with force; singing softly and nicely but also screaming and yelping. Andy Stack looks like a mathematician, calculated and in control. He works hard, switching from drums to keyboard, picking up mallards mid song and exploding on cue with Wesner.
Wye Oak is a band that likes to make an impact. They catch you with haunting folk-like tunes and then shock you with bursts of powerful noise. They hold nothing back. For who they are and for the sound they create, they push themselves as far as they can go.
Here’s some pics of Wye Oak by Adam Forslund:
Posted by flotz
Saturday, May 14, 2011 |
Why are The Melvins playing The Croc and not the Showbox Market at usual? Something seriously wrong here. Capacity planning all screwed up. Would love to get on that nostalgia train. Oh well. Here’s Honey Bucket: Honey Bucket - The Melvins by Milo87
Local boys Feral Children brought their distinct brand of experimental indie rock to the Crocodile on April 14, 2011 following raucous sets by Tacoma’s Lozen and Seattle’s Absolute Monarchs. Their sound is all at once haunting and fanatical, played hard and fast by talented musicians, each adept at their chosen instrument. Visceral is the word that kept coming to mind as I watched lead singer Jeff Keenan work the body rock, banging the shit out of his mini kit and screaming into the mic. The whole feeling was very primal. I enjoyed the set up on stage, the closeness of the drum kit, Bill Cole‘s sound and style crisp and unmodified in my ears, amplified and dynamic, it felt clean and offered a duality to the rest of the sound that I really liked.
Feral Children offer a very particular variety of combined sounds – pop, scream, rock and an underlying tender anguish that’s raw as fuck – and I totally dig it. But, when it came to the actual performance, I was less than thrilled. I expected more of a connection between the band and the audience however, and it was that lack of association that I found to be unsettling. I got the feeling that they were playing for themselves, for each other - to hear the sounds they were making – as opposed to showcasing what they do best – relating their unique brand to us and for us. They seemed really wrapped up in their own heads. Maybe it was an off night? Maybe the crowd wasn’t big enough to warrant that kind of relatability (yes, this is a made up word) between what was happening onstage and in the audience? I just wished for more of a performance for the houseful of dedicated fans and less of a jam session between a group of (clearly) talented and beloved local musicians.
The Crocodile is one of the best venues in Seattle when it comes to reasonably priced shows for bands who are on the verge of getting very popular. This show was a great example of this as Toro y Moi is leading the pack in the Chillwave movement with a new album called “Underneath the Pine” released earlier this year.
Cloud Nothings and Braids opened, which was fitting because both bands had a unique style, engageable and accessible to any new fan. Cloud Nothings is a fast guitars, fast drums band with a lead singer who has a streamlined high pitched voice, kind of what a awkward punk rock Morrissey would sound like. While they don’t necessarily fit in with the “Chillwave” genre, they were a fun opener. Braids pulled in alongside Toro y Moi with their relaxing but experimental sound. The four members harmonized while playing their instruments and sampling electronics. Their lead singer would break out with graceful Bjork-esque shouts, striking beautiful notes that would zip down anyone’s backbone. They held their songs together with erratic drum beats, including the guitarist who would bang on his own snare.
Toro y Moi’s stage presence was splendid. Despite the music being created mostly by Chazwick Bundick, he assembled a whole band to play with him, showcasing the instrumentation instead of the electronics. The music gives such a strange sensation because it relaxes your whole body with an almost numbing feeling but without even recognition your body is still moving and dancing. They started the show off slow, playing very downbeat hits but then the music would pick up, like a balloon popping, and the crowd would be swayed into a realm of excitement. Throughout this the stage was illuminated by a large psychedelic projection, a circus ball waving different colors like a lava lamp.
This was their first time selling out a show in Seattle, something that’ll probably happen again. When Bundick announced this was their last song EVERYONE in the place shouted “NO WAY!”. This was the only complaint of the night, they could have played much longer. I suppose this is what you get when going out to see up and coming bands -- shorter sets.