Neon Lights at Union Hall, Saturday, July 7!
Lucky number 07.07.07. Okay, that's many numbers. Here's another...one. As in one more Neon Lights presents tonight at Union Hall!
We had a blast last night and I would like to give a big thank you to El Jezel, Mancino, Thrushes and De Novo Dahl! But more on that later, for now we must return to the writings of Jeff K telling us (in excerpted form) about the bands on tonight's bill...
"Our eighth and final Neon Lights bands (exhale) for this go round is Ola Podrida. Chief songwrier David Wingo had already established himself as a composer for the quietly adored films of indie director David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls, George Washington) by the time he got around to recording his arresting folk pop compositions in Austin, TX. Wingo roped a couple of old chums (Robert Patton and Matthew Frank) into returning to his in-between Texas home of Brooklyn in order to give the performance of those home recordings a go. Plug Research bit on the lovely set, releasing Ola Podrida in April. As the band is further fleshed by the addition of former American Analog Set members Andrew Kenny and Johnny Christ, our NL faithful are in for a delicate yet fulfilling treat.
Ola Podrida - "Photo Booth" (from Merry Swankster)
With an Iron & Wine strum and a voice that's the aural equivalent of a favorite bicycle slightly rusted, David sings of lazy days and casually lusty nights spent "down each others pants in the photo booth." While Brooklyn is no stranger to that sort of skeevy public groping, the surprising sweetness of the line's delivery places it far far away from the sticky city. Bent notes and an eventual organ swell give the song a charming rocking chair twang. It evokes the sort of hazy pastoral afternoon spent with a lover, lying in grass and watching the sun slowly depart, because that was the only activity you had penciled into the datebook.
As with De Novo Dahl, it's almost easier to pull out a list of outlets Ola weren't critically smooched by. Select towers of judgment...
the Austin Chronicle
Gorilla vs Bear
Said the Gramophone"
"Saturday night's penultimate band are Brooklynites by way of Boston, Via Audio. I said previously that Saturday would have a bit of Texan connective tissue running through the bill, and as our sharp patrons know, Boston and Brooklyn ain't in Texas. Via Audio get their Lone Star cred on loan from Spoon's drummer/producer Jim Eno. Baby James was so enamored with the band's self titled EP that he searched our kids out and offered his knob twiddling expertise for their full length debut. The product of that agreement is Say Something, due out on Sidecho Records in September. A taste...
Via Audio - "Modern Day Saint" (from Merry Swankster)
This track starts with a bang and ends with a whisper. The rhythmic jabbing riffs at the beginning fake that the Spoon connection is more than just technical. As the song unfolds, you realize that the main similarity between the two groups is really just a commitment to immaculate indie pop. The breezy boy/girl vocals and the "everyone in the studio must sing" chorus are a communal puppy dog party. The bent notes and snaking guitar lines that soon intrude are like a single shaky shopping cart wheel. Smooth togetherness wins out in the end, as gentle oohs pile on, cloud stacked on top of fluffy cloud.
. . .
A long list of sites have signed off on Via Audio. The sheer magnitude of such endorsements got them a spot in Idolator's Track Marks feature as that week's "Biggest Band in the World." A smattering...
My Old Kentucky Blog
I Rock I Roll
the Yellow Stereo
For a list of band member turn ons, (nearly rendered entirely theoretical by a 90's Image comics reference that proves some hip deep nerdiness) go to Hipsterotica"
Tacks, the Boy Disaster
"As will become quickly apparent, Saturday's line-up has a bit of an Austin, TX bent to it. The only current Texans, however, will be the fine gentleman of Tacks, the Boy Disaster. Lead songwriter Evan Jacobs (short interview with EJ here) spent some time in the trenches with acclaimed Texas exports the Polyphonic Spree and Midlake before venturing out with a group all his own. His piano-driven songs are plainly beautiful, but not simplistic in the least. From last year's beloved Oh, Beatrice EP, we have two prime examples...
Tacks, the Boy Disaster - "Paris" (from Merry Swankster)
"Paris" features a deceptively propulsive beat, hanging in the background behind acoustic guitars, a hanging piano loop, and Jacob's dare I say Art Garfunkel gone Elephant 6 vocal. The most exciting thing about the song is how its sound organically swells and ebbs, incorporating pretty vocal melodies and delicate instrumentation, but never breaking into overblown syrupy sweetness. It's sad, but not lonely...
Far from an uncorroborated whim of ours, Tacks, the Boy Disaster has been loved promiscuously by media outlets blog and not. Choice selections from the choir...
the Austin Chronicle
the Daily Texan
Gorilla vs. Bear
My Old Kentucky Blog
The band also recorded a session for the rightly esteemed Daytrotter.com. Four songs free to download live on perpetually in their archives, here."
"As I'm neurotically concerned that you people just do not trust me (despite the overwhelming evidence of authority given to you by your lying ears), I make it a point to fill this Neon Lights profiles with indisputable evidence that the JK / MS seal of approval is merely one from a multitude. But this approach hits a rather large wall when we come to the case of Saturday night's first band, Botany Bay. Of course, main B. Bay resident Eric Schwortz has left a pixel trail deep and wide as the Silicon Valley with his other fine troupe, the Secret Life of Sofia (celebrated in story and song here, here, and here, for starters). But Botany Bay is new. Brand new. Original packaging new. Debut performance new.
The only one who's yet to go out on this particular embryonic limb is my trusted tag team partner D, and we all know how good her balance is...**
Botany Bay - "Old Age is for the Birds" (From Merry Swankster)
BB's sad elegy for all of our inevitable declines fittingly starts with an anxious bare bones strum. Schwortz's sad and rich vocal tones recall sad and dead indie icon Elliott Smith's, though he's definitely not singing to the floor as Smith sometimes would. When approaching the lovely double tracked chorus, the guitars get choppy as if they've just had a sip of the hip new cola drink and are ready to rage up, arthritis be damned. But reality sets in, backs remember their knots, and slower, more deliberate playing resumes, anger melting quickly into regret A first act intriguing enough that Saturday's late comers will kick themselves over missing the second."
As always, please follow the links to read Jeff K's complete posts and hear more songs from tonight's Neon Lights artists! We hope to see you there!
* Actually, Mr. Eno will be making an appearance tonight with Via Audio at Union Hall. This is how they roll.
** Well, I am a Libra and therefore into Ming vases and uh, justice.