In the interminably deep quiet of the involuntary soul, we gather here today for the church of sound.
There are five bands playing tonight. Even if four of them suck, it will still be worth it for the rare appearance in town of the dreaming auger of beat street: Herschel Hoover is in town, and that’s worth its weight in gold.
. . .
As soon as the first band — Life Love and Lunatics, from out of South Carolina, finishes their set, some sort of weak fusion jazz electric piano starts piping in through the overhead speakers.
It’s as if the solid, unpretentious rock and roll to which we were being treated has been viscerally ripped out right from under our feet. The illusion stripped bare, the room stands revealed as an elevator pass to easy listening hell. For the love of all that is holy, get the next band on. Stat. Before we all morph into tax form preparers desperately trapped in dilapidated strip malls haphazardly constructed from the oak hewed straight from the Woods of Self Murder.
. . .
Bottled Up rips through their songlist like men on a mission. Surf Alt-Rock. If I’m not mistaken, the handle is a reference to an old Devo tune. Echoes of the B52s. Strains of the Del Rays run through a back slap reverb pedal on brown tab acid drenched in cheap whiskey and the company of a one night stand you plan to regret. Melodic and enticing.
I want to hear more of these guys.
. . .
The thrill of the evening lies unexpectedly in the tall, tall grass with Brooklyn’s Oceanator — fronted by Elise Okusami, who I believe handles the bulk of the group’s songwriting.
This music is dense and lush, with shrapnel sharp hooks and a slow, rage fueled burn that unexpectedly bursts full on into maelstroms of vulnerability, only to skittishly climb back down the rickety ladder that made it possible at all for you to scale such treacherous heights in the first place.
Listening to this band, you feel like you’ve survived something. Pride that you’re still standing. That an artist of her caliber is willing to walk you through the fire.
I could try to tell you what they sound like? But I’m not sure I have the references. It **feels** like what I felt the first time I saw Nine Inch Nails. Or Patti Smith. Or Natalie Merchant. But this work has next to nothing in common with any of that music? Listen to the sample track above to get your own take on it — But maybe their nom de plume is a clue? The ocean is filled with depth and danger, much like the work this trio produces.
Do yourself a favor and get into their catalog before massive crowds start churning out and this kind of intimacy is no longer possible.
. . .
Glenlord Ghost. Dreampop? Shoegazey Steely Dan? With members from multiple states based currently in Hampton.
There’s an intensity here that I like. I’ll throw their album on the pile and spend some time with it, I’m overdue for a spate of reviews soon, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.
. . .
The Muzak demons have returned in between sets. Why?? Why does music such as this exist? What fresh hell pushes anyone anywhere to continue to produce such crimes against the ear?
It is the doom of men that they forget.
I glance over at Tyler with querulously: “What the fuck are we listening to, man?” He intones sadly, “I don’t know. It’s what the kids are into these days.”
This is torturous. Send moar whiskey.
. . .
The evening comes to a close with Herschel Hoover, from out of DC — a musician I hold a deep respect and affection for. While it’s true that his particular brand of Surf-infused Noise Rock is near and dear to my heart, he’s a consummate craftsman within the genre. The first thing you really want to pay attention to with this man is how well he takes care of the kids he brings out with him on his tours. You can tell that they look up to the guy, and that sort of reaction from people in small scenes is only come by honestly. The second thing? His tone. My god, his guitar is so perfect for the music he plays. Folks who don't play don't know how difficult it is to shape your sound to such a meaty, delectable chunkiness. This is the kind of tone it takes a lifetime to perfect. And no small amount of talent.
In an age of tireless self promotion through the impersonal zone of the wired world, Hoover brings a soulful quality to both his interactions with other bands as well as his audiences that makes you believe in humanity again. That alone is reason enough to pick up his cd, but that fact that he also rocks out in such a unique manner makes any of his shows worth three times whatever paltry amount they’re charging at the door. Local music scenes work because of people like Herschel. Cherish and support him, because he cherishes and supports you.
This is the kind of art that makes the world a better place, and these days?
We need all of it we can get.
Life Love and Lunatics