With a foundation forged in the dynamic of actual brothers, Michael & Ben Ford, Airpark often refers to the music they play as “deconstructed pop.” I suppose there’s a truth to that statement, but digging deep I think a closer examination reveals some fairly diverse roots. A bit of Derek and the Dominoes. More than a little Beatles influence, of course. A touch of Stones. A dash of Zombies. Throw in some Steely Dan for good measure. All filtered through the lens of some cunning pop intuition? The end result is a fairly happy, groove inducing vibe that makes you want to move. The lead singer reminds me a bit of a young Roy Orbison meets John Lennon. The disparate elements all work together well.
Babe Club pulls members from fellow Charlestonian band, Susto, but with a different vibe. Jenna Desmond and Corey Campbell thrive on a chunky, indie rock feel that somehow manages to fuse the at-first-thought incompatible currents of Blondie's New Waviness with Hole (not the type of influence you expect to see in a band like this, but there it is.) It all ends up outputing into the kind of clever songwriting of someone like Aimee Mann, a singer that Desmond reminds me quite a bit of. This is a group I can’t wait to see again.
Pulling the local support card here is Court Street Company. This is a young band that's making waves despite the relative lack of scene across the midtown tunnel -- I know for a fact that they came in very strong with pre-sale tickets for this show, a impressive feat for a project this young. Drawing a crowd like this shows off their work ethic. The group played their first show acoustically as a duo at Borjo's in January of last year. Quickly recruiting a full complement to form a four piece, they moved eventually to playing festivals with larger local bands. These guys grew up in Portsmouth, they take pride in their hometown and want to represent it well. "Ours is a city with a lot of challenges, and it gets a bad rap. We want to highlight good things about it."
The group is interesting in that it really is an ensemble, with the songwriting equally shared and the singing co-owned so much that it's hard to decide whether there actually is a lead singer. There are echoes of Big Star here, with a strong Bare Naked Ladies component. Their excellent harmonies -- which are really key to why this sound works, recall moments of Duran Duran at some points, Weezer at others.
Ultimately, this is a band that is probably still becoming what they're going to be. But that fluidity is charming and compelling. With an EP in the works, there should be plenty to enjoy from these guys for quite some time. I look forward to continuing to watch their evolution. They're just likable as hell, and their fanbase is ferocious. I chatted with a young man (I think his name was Carlin? Carmen? Something like that..) who was ebullient in his love for the group, and it was hard not notice him taking pictures while I was interviewing them for background -- posted later to brag about them on social media, I'm sure.
And there's much to brag about, certainly. But it warmed my heart to see that much love going on. This is an adorable, hard-working, bright young band with a promising future in front of them. Keep an eye out, I think you're going to be impressed with what they do.
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Next up for LAVA Presents is Super Doppler fronting the bill this Wednesday at the Granby Theater. Click here to check it out.
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Charleston. Indie Rock / New Wave.
Court Street Company
Portsmouth. Indie Alt-Rock.