Chain of Flowers, Bootblacks, Ritual Humor
Wednesday August 31, 8 pm at Saint Vitus: $10
With a band name like Chain of Flowers, you might be thinking, “What have you signed me up for? Some hippie girl shit?” Well, not to ruffle any feathers but this band ain’t nearly as tough as all that. Rather, imagine a pale, gothy frontdude with perfectly applied pallor and lavender lipstick about to embark on the craziest acid trip of his short little life, and you’d be somewhere close to what screams out from this Welsh post-punk outfit’s cotton-candy-pink cassette tape.
The Chain’s output sort of sounds like the comeuppance of heavy dosing, offering an up-close view of what happens when you heave a heavy load onto frail creatures. All of this translates to a beautiful sort of buckling, which you’ll find on tracks like “Death’s Got A Hold On Me.” Awash in dense downpours of pure feeling, they communicate the same sort of dark cosmosis we’ve come to expect from psych. It’s an odd combination, this blend of psychedelia’s spaced-out meanderings and the hyper-focused, nearly mechanical onslaught of post-punk, but we think there’s something to it.
Bootblacks, on the other hand, is so perfect an execution of machine-led post-punk/cold wave that I’m always double checking to be sure I’m not listening to some long-lost ’80s band that opened for Joy Division once or twice. But it’d be hard to argue that Panther MacDonald’s act is a put-on/cosplay type of deal. It seems more probable that he was made in the ’80s and just born to play this music. I mean, the guy wouldn’t have to do anything– you could see him on the subway in a gosh dang pair of cargo shorts and a friggin gingham shirt, flopping around in flip-flops and you’d be all, “Yup, that dude totally plays synth in a cold wave band.”
Shannon & the Clams: Night 1 with Fletcher C. Johnson, Saylavees, Benni, and Night 2 with White Mystery, Big Huge
Wednesday August 31 at Thursday September 1, 8 pm at Market Hotel: $18
Say what you will about Shannon and her Clams (Burger Records ughhh– I know, settle) but Ms. Shaw was made for the stage. I’d have no qualms about calling you a downright dirty liar if you even hinted that their newish record, Gone By The Dawn, is anything less than some nostalgia-tripping, hazy-lensed Motown rock-n’-roll amazeballs. Look, just go see them, and I’m 99-percent sure you’ll dance your tush off, even if you’re blushing just thinking about what that might look like.
Oh, and there are two nights to choose from.
If you wanna keep the gleeful throwback vibes going, the first lineup’s so sunny that they make the Raisin Bran sun dude look like a grump. The Saylavees will be there, doing crowd-pleasing things with angelic voices and even diviner hair, both of which play a major role in their self-described “paisley” pop rock. I’d prefer leggy care-bear garage, but let’s not go around splitting gorgeous hairs willy nilly, k?
Night two drifts into some bleary-eyed back-turning of its own, but we’re plopped into a much more recently-completed past. If I was kind of drunk and tired, I’m positive that I’d mistake White Mystery for the White Stripes. Hell, I might even start an argument about it. The two bands are not unalike, that’s for sure– I mean, Alex White and Francis Scott Key White, anyone? But in the former’s case the brother-sister myth is actually for serious, and their sugar-sweet lyrics (thankfully, see: actual, gene-pool sharing bro/sis) don’t have quite the same underlying, slightly aggressive sexual tension that ran through the White Stripes like a particularly potent strain of pustulating virus, popping up when you least expect it and where it seems the wrongest. Instead, White Mystery’s mastered a sort of toddler bang-bang cuteness that can only be found in a family band.
Stringer, The ’94 Knicks, Youth Expire, Wild Rice
Friday September 2, 8 pm at The Glove: $8
Stringer, the headliners at this Fri Fri freakout show (cooping up inside a DIY venue is a superb way to start the holiday weekend, if you ask us) is all noise twang with, dare I say, a grunge edge. Is this the next level of ’90s nostalgia? Unironic Nirvana t-shirts? We shall see.
Here we have another example of just-as drained and gritty sonic varietals in Wild Rice, band making sounds that could’ve been streamed through a shitty stereo set using real, college rock station radio waves (it’s especially true for tracks like “Deb”). It seems that this band is still deciding whether to smooth out the flyaway guitar strings or let em hang out all crazy-like, etc.
Similarly, Youth Expire‘s “no-fidelity bummer gaze” is sizzling hot fresh, youthful, frolicky amp-crackling, no-dollar-who-cares, brow-crinkling slop noise, and we’re definitely gobbling up whatever it is that they’re cooking. All this uncertainty and bare-bones noise making is supremely comforting, especially seeing that we’re set to lose yet another great one, when Aviv– a venue that’s open to new, young, non-commercially-viable bands– closes this fall.