Monday, November 7, 2011

Braids Pepper the Audience with Gold

In my opinion, a bill is always best when it includes a diverse array of bands that play a wide range of styles. I was treated to quite an eclectic lineup when I caught Born Gold, Pepper Rabbit, and Braids at Great Scott on October 20th. All three bands have enjoyed steadily rising buzz throughout the year. This made the show a must-see for anyone looking to catch a performance from the best of new and emerging artists.

The show kicked off with the crazy party-ready electropop of Born Gold. Previously known as Gobble Gobble, the band have made a name for themselves through their memorable performances that can only be described as weird and fun. This includes the use of props and a surprisingly elaborate light show. They started in a massive fog generated from a smoke machine as one of the members stood in the crowd on stilts while playing a sampler duct taped to a shovel. The band does a lot of interacting with the audience and can often be found crowd surfing over a sea of people that are aggressively dancing. Some of the props employed during the performance included a huge inflatable ghost and giant handheld drums. Most of the tunes came from their recently released album, Bodysongs. Songs like “Boring Horror” showcased their ability to pair extremely busy electronics with a catchy chorus and thumping beat. You can download Bodysongs in its entirety for free at the band’s website.

Bodysongs LP MP3s by Born Gold

Pepper Rabbit played a moody set of straight-laced indie rock and were a stark contrast to Born Gold. The three-piece performed with two keyboardists and a drummer with interspersed guitar and bass. Almost all of the songs came from their 2011 album, Red Velvet Snow Ball. “Rose Mary Stretch” was a definite standout with its bright guitars and soaring chorus. “Alison” was another infectious tune that was lead with a jangly piano loop and irresistible harmonies. I spend a few songs wondering why the lead singer was wearing a winter jacket until he finally took it off and asked the crowd if they knew why he had been wearing it for so long. The up-and-coming band put on a solid set and proved that they were strong songwriters worthy of their recent buzz. Visit their facebook page to get a free 3-song EP.

Rose Mary Stretch by Pepper Rabbit

Murder room

Pepper Rabbit - "Murder Room" from stereogum on Vimeo.

Braids play experimental and psychedelic music that brings obvious comparisons to Feels-era Animal Collective. Their performance was one that screamed of hard work and effort. They played a seamless set that mixed synths, loops, guitars, and syncopated rhythms into a captivating aural concoction. They were even found sampling smacking lips as an atmospheric backdrop for their track “Lemonade.” Other highlights included their longer and more adventurous songs like “Glass Dears” and “Native Speaker.”

Vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston was stunning as she maneuvered through complex melodies. Her vocal prowess was particularly evident on “Plath Heart” which is one of their catchiest songs. It reminds me of Yeasayer due to its use of tribal style percussion and its unpredictable yet accessible structure. Standell-Preston was especially impressive that night since she revealed that she had a cold but proceeded to hit pitch after pitch. Another aspect of Braids that I love are the lyrics, which are typically sexually charged but never juvenile. All of the lyrics to their songs are posted on their website which is something I appreciate and would like to see more bands doing.

Braids have released one of the most impressive debuts of the year with Native Speaker. It even made the short list (one of 10) for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize, which is an award presented on an annual basis to the creators of a full-length Canadian album - based solely on artistic merit without regard to genre or records sales. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make my year-end list as well. In my mind, the most impressive part of this band is that they self-produced their debut and it apparently cost less than $500 to make. It is quite simply one of the best sounding albums of the year. With this performance, they have shown that they have the live show to match. They will certainly be one of the more interesting groups to keep an eye out for in the future.

BRAIDS 'Lemonade' by kaninerecords

1 comment:

  1. O yea, it's 1:30 in the morning now. Just got back from hanging out with Webb for his b-day in case you forgot. I just want to thank you for never introducing me to The House of Love, there awesome. By the way everyone, I am bringing shoe-gazing music back (making it cool to listen to Ride, Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine for once lol).

    - Port Moresby