Rusty Santos + Gang Gang Dance
Something says this wasn’t for too public of consumption, this show, more of a who’s who of Brooklyn musicmakers than a what’s what, so inveterate and clustered a fuck Cake Shop played host to. “It’s difficult, because I like them all as people–as human beings,” was the most a man stepped into out-of-sympathy, which means I must have seemed four steps further gone, what with my scribbling and bottom-lip biting, the weirdo who shows up at the local grade school piano recital or scours iMesh for college marching band mp3s.
Singer-songwriter in scare quotes Rusty Santos, jesus fucking christ. He’s a genius behind the boards, by no means the Animal Collective svengali but he knows how to make guitars sound awesome, electric mimicking acoustic mimicking electric, box-inside-box production that’s both prettier and noisier than it ever lets on. But on his own, blame his boyish looks and lopsided mop, Santos tries for misunderstood Steding-type, bratty turned batty, something like a pop star past his prime and discarded on arrival, mascara running and tuxedo shirt untucked, his lovelost cliches piling on with frequent recourse to “heaven” and “hell” and “we will be one” and “touching the sky” which rhymes with “lie” and Santos is totally “wondering why.”
He’s clearly taken some cues from Ariel Pink, but at least Pink has the celebrity-obsessed Hollywood recluse backstory to sell his records and more practice dicking around the audience, mania, etc.. If Santos is going meta lo-fi, maybe even parody, he could stand to oversell it. But that’s a terrible idea, since Santos does have a knack for dr. sampling, his first song a steady compounding of kneetaps and wordless coos, then later guitar scratches I could have listened to forever if Santos’s words didn’t get in the way.
As for Gang Gang Dance, tonight they were debuting new material post-God’s Money, further away from the sludge and drudge of their self-titled Fusetron drones and the relentless percussion breaks of Revival and Survival of the Shittest, more into New Age, hipster Enya type stuff. Maybe it’s adult-oriented reappropriation–the double drumming, part electric part acoustic, definitely keeps the Gang’s jammier, more ethereal parts moving, and the lead GGDancer’s vocal melodies have more form to them than not anymore, less reliant on the echo box, more blunt melodically–but I don’t know. Maybe it’s some bizarre take on “world music,” Babel rebuilding project, pre-national even. There’s a lot to talk about, of course, but other things–like how the night turned into a tall person pissing contest, tall douchebag after tall douchebag filing up to the front so nobody past them could see anything, and yes I’m talking about you, Snoopy-looking dreadlocks dude who would occasionally nibble on the tip of one dread like you were toking from your own brain–were more revealing.