How does one go about describing a band that was in all likelihood designed from inception to be indescribable? What exactly is Uglyography? An examination of the postmodern disease we label contemporary living? An avant-garde art project? An alternate reality experienced through sonic immersion in the absurd? All of the above?
Musically, the group feels to me somewhat like what They Might Be Giants would have become if they had instead been started by members of Steely Dan. Or.. imagine Devo intertwined with Sun Ra, but lo fi. Or what if Ween experimented on human test subjects. What if the Twilight Zone was a band instead of a television show, with Matthew Thomas playing an unrulier version of Rod Serling. You remember television, right? It’s like Youtube but someone else decides which videos queue next in the playlist.
There are records. Four of 'em by my count. The most recent, 2017's "Evil Rays", fuses elements of David Byrne with the Pixies. It merges punk sensibilities with large chunks of prog-rock and whatever happens to fly into bandleader Matt Thomas' ear on any given day. Their live game is strong, eschewing traditional lighting in favor of a constant video stream that accents the songs.
It speaks well of the scene that a band this groovy, and frankly this odd -- is able to exist within its confines. We're lucky to have them.
. . .
Brook Pridemore should be an institution. He should be inspiring thousands of fledgling copycats in leaky unventilated garages all across the nation. His face should be on coffee mugs and bowling pins. And he should goddamn well be playing to a packed house tonight.
Pridemore is brilliant, of course. Quirk rock lyrics drenched in carefully selected fuzz filtered through folk punk sensibilities. His pedalboard is frankly, fascinating to anyone who plays git. He runs a six string acoustic to thunderous effect. Ostensibly, this is vintage anti-folk -- a genre that sprung out of the weird earth like dragon teeth in the 1980s. Mostly a reaction to the cloying preciousness of what remained of the 60s folk scene, anti-folk is difficult to define: It's generally somewhat experimental, iconoclastic, and highly literate. Norfolk's singular connection to the form lies in former Thin Lads front man, Barry Bliss -- who has long since left our little hamlet to reside in the great rotten apple up north. Whether Brook and Barry know each other is a question I forgot to ask, but it's a big city.
I bought a record from him last go-round, I liked his work so much. That piece of vinyl has seen some mileage on the needle. I’d buy another one tonight but my bank account is dire as fuck right now. If red ink is the dark side, my checkbook is Darth Vader. I’m pretty much hoping somebody who owes me money walks in through the door so I can get a beer. So.. Yeah. No vinyl for me tonight. Maybe next time.
Maybe some of you absent fuckers can go on his bandcamp and pony up. He put out a new one last year, "Metal Is My Only Friend." It's pretty peachy keen.
Support small label, touring songwriters.
Or stop complaining about Maroon 5, yeah?
. . .
Norfolk natives, Dead Love Alive provided a competent opening set of stadium worthy alt-rock. Think Pornos for Pyros meets the Foo Fighters by way of Fall Out Boy. If you're into any of that kind of vibe, you should def check 'em out.
Next up at the Taphouse: the legendary Unabombers headlining a bill with Some Kind Of Nightmare, Rise/Defy, and SUP this coming Friday.
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Dead Love Alive