Wednesday, November 9
Better than: Listening to your parents’ dusty vinyl collection.
“Is there anything we can do for you?” Quilt lead singer Shane Butler asked his audience, “We want you to be psyched.” This was a curious word to use in reference to the Boston band’s entertaining abilities, as it possessed a double meaning; the music made by his band is quite exciting (and so, able to make people “psyched”), and there’s a vivid streak of psychedelia running through its hypnotic tales about cowboys and crosses. During last night’s show, celebrating the release of the band’s self-titled debut (Mexican Summer), they made the unexpected twists and turns of their songs seem absolutely logical and natural—even when Butler let loose a quasi-birdcall during the spirited “Penobska Oakwalk.”
There were other surprises to be had, too; at one point, Quilt’s retro-psych drifted into bluegrass territory—complete with stomping and hollering—while during “Lost and Lewd” Butler proved his ability to amble around and fingerpick at once. When Anna Rochinski wasn’t flooring the crowd with her impeccable soprano, she kept busy, turning up the synth, adding tambourine, and making the band’s sound even more cavernous with some well-chosen organ riffs.
Quilt didn’t go on until 1 a.m., which meant that much of the Glasslands crowd had cleared out. The intimate vibe made their set seem more like a casual party than a proper show, and the band’s gratefulness to its label only added to that vibe.
Opener Total Slacker has probably played with every DIY band that comes through NYC, which made them an appropriate pairing for the new-to-NYC Quilt. Lead singer Tucker Rountree added a couple of spoken-wordish interludes to his band’s set; the closing track “Crystal Necklace” particularly stood out, in large part because the drawn-out jam session dropped into the song’s midsection had Rountree even soloing behind his back.
Critical bias: My favorite new band of 2011.
Overheard: “Aren’t they dating?”—someone commenting on the relationship between Total Slacker’s Rountree and bassist Emily Jane.
Random notebook dump: Butler’s attitude is about as threatening as that of a puppy in a cage. (An audience member told him to turn up the ‘tude after he offered up his band’s psych-ing services.)