kiss the eclipse

i haven't been out to a loveless music group event in awhile, even though i've wanted to go. this past thursday had a lineup of four bands i really wanted to see, some for the first time, at northsix, a bigger venue than LMG usually books.

although i arrived way too early, fortunately rex nexus was filling the cavernous space with the harder side of shoegazer music, and doing a good job too. it was all the more impressive when he told me later that his entire CD collection had been stolen two weeks ago and he was spinning temporary burned copies of his own mix CDs and promos given to him by friends and bands.

alcian blue have some nice dreamy sounds on myspace. however i'm sorry to say this didn't translate live. the cure-influenced vocals and delicate washes of keyboards were steamrolled by the sisters of mercy-like drum machine and over-loud distorted guitars. that mix can work sometimes, but not for this band's music.

daylight's for the birds (top photo) have a new singer and bassist since the last time i saw them, as well as some nice new songs. amanda doesn't yet have the stage presence or character of her predecessor claudia (also formerly of on air library along with DFTB mastermind philip), but she does have a lovely voice, and i'm sure the rest will come together as this relatively new band finds their footing. some of the songs really gelled nicely, their pop qualities superior to the later OAL attempts, while their guitarist has his perfect shoegazer guitar sound down pat. those saddened by the former band's departure should take comfort in the growth of this new incarnation.

i'd meant to catch unlove when LMG had a show at pianos, but unavoidably missed it at the last minute. fortunately they were also on this lineup, bringing more pop and rock sensibilities to the night. i was interested to find out the bassist is also in tungsten 74, who i wrote about at another LMG night last year. he mixed a supportive/melodic approach with backwards and synthesized pieces, while the guitarist stalked around his area playing angular two-string riff fragments. the drummer was rock solid without being boring, and the singer's keyboard skills gave lie to the accepted wisdom that pretty frontwomen are incapable of doing anything other than looking sexy and singing. a muddy vocal mix was just about the only marring factor in their show. if all their songs were as arrestingly catchy and energetic as their first, they could be the next downtown indie circuit buzz band.

the main attraction of the evening was a place to bury strangers. although they didn't have quite the same impact on me as when i saw them at knitting factory, in many ways the show was better. they played in the dark with only sickly blue-green projected video illuminating them. the vocals were echoey yet more understandable, the guitar was a howling wall of sound. the drums should have been hooked up to the PA in order to process and pump them up to match the distorted reverberating power of their demos and KF show, but only the kick drum punched us in the chest like we needed. such technicalities are nothing to do with the band itself and their clear talent and dedication to a sound. the chief architect is clearly guitar pedal wunderkind oliver ackerman, who uses his own death by audio pedals to ear-bleeding effect. their sound mixes dark rockabilly, deathrock, and other dark abrasive underground sounds, but ackerman literally adheres to the term "shoegazer" with his deliberately downcast eyes locked on his pedals. the set ended with explosive guitar feedback that satiated the audience's desire to be saturated with sound.

the title of this post is the name of a rare song by my bloody valentine.