the loving sounds of static
saturday night was the first show for daylight's for the birds, a band formed from the rubble of the imploded on air library (whose early shows and first EP i loved). unfortunately i got to sin-e too late to catch the band's bassist paul duncan playing a solo set. as a bassist, he's very good, so i'll have to check out his new cd on home tapes.
this band faces the same problems as their former incarnation, which i've touched on before: vocals getting lost in the mix. the soundman did his best to resolve the issues, but the two things that needed to happen were singer claudia deheza singing louder (and perhaps being given a hotter mic) and some of the other instruments turning down onstage. sadly, fellow OAL alumnus phillip wan's parts were also mostly obscured, although what came through was melodic and inventive. that aside, the band has talent and potential, especially when you factor in the songs on their myspace page. the poppier aspects of OAL failed to gel for me, but now the beautiful blurriness has become crystal clear instead of meandering somewhere in between. the new drummer is rock solid while not bludgeoning the beat, and the rhythm guitar chimes away beautifully. at times, the two instruments meld together in the classic shoegazer wash of ebbing and flowing harmonic noise, without relying on it as the cornerstone of their sound.
also eschewing traditional shoegazer techniques (while being informed by them) are the winter pageant. instead of walls of distortion and/or pop confectionery, they favor ethereal drones and expansive prog-like song construction. several changes have occurred since the last time i saw them. for one thing, they've replaced one of their guitarists with two others, which seems superfluous until you notice the additional layers this creates. they also seem to have replaced their last bassist with another (who also picks up a guitar for one song). however, the most striking difference is the mixing. singer byron's every breathy tone could finally be heard above the swirling ocean instead of drowning in it. even when heavily effected (which at times seemed a bit of overkill given the amount of effects on nearly every other instrument), his gentle tenor cut through and reminded the audience of a human soul at the center of the music.
mobius band is yet another ghostly signing that defies the label's categorization as a dance label. while most of their output (as well as their even more underground imprint spectral) is focused on a detroit-centric techno sound, this band seamlessly weaves their electronics into sunny indie rock tunes. the drummer's mostly-live kit was augmented by a few discreet electronic pads that blended in together perfectly. both the bassist and guitarist took turns strumming their axes and poking at the analog synth racks, often in the same measure. the singers' voices are both pleasantly nondescript in a midwestern sort of way (though they seem to hail from massachussetts and are now partially based in brooklyn). this is the kind of band that would be on morr music if they were german, as they frequently bring to mind the sound of the notwist axis. however, there's something far less precious about their songs as well as their presentation - there may be as much r.e.m. in their dna as d.n.a. in their rem. if they come up with a perfect pop tune, it's because they let it fall into place instead of constructing it with teutonic efficiency. neither better nor worse, just a slightly different vibe. it definitely works for them, and it worked for me too.
the title of this post comes from the new album by mobius band.