Friday, January 21
Better Than: Reading Catch-22 all alone at home.
Friday night’s blizzard-like conditions only serve to remind us that everyone’s favorite winter-themed, synth-happy, NYC-transplanted indie-rockers are playing yet another show. Snowden have only released one official LP in eight years (2006’s Anti-Anti), but they’ve kept afloat via a constant string of EPs, excellent songwriting, and relentless touring, all helping the band amass a large and loyal following willing to follow them anywhere, weather calamity notwithstanding.
Openers Fan-Tan have a thick sound dominated by swirly synths and heavy guitars; lead singer Ryan Lee Dunlap has an interesting habit of stretching out his syllables until they sound like full words, akin to Wedding Present/Cinerama leader David Gedge. On songs like “Some Men” and “Damage,” they come off as a smaller, better version of an ’80s-inspired band like the Killers. But the full crowd is ready for Snowden when they take the stage at 11:30, exactly as advertised; an intimate venue like Mercury Lounge perfectly suits the band’s style and size, and they’re greeted with raucous applause like the minor hometown heroes they are. The set starts strong, front-loaded with more well-known songs like “Anti-Anti” and “Like Bullets”; they take their time getting where they’re going, mixing in full-on rockers with slower jams such as newer track “No One in Control.” Leader Jordan Jeffares’ laconic delivery belies the energy of the music — lyrics about doom and gloom tend to go down much easier behind a driving drumbeat.
Hailing from Atlanta but currently calling Brooklyn home, Snowden have been somewhat quiet save for last year’s Slow Soft Syrup EP (available as a free download here), five songs that mark a perfect continuation of the band’s trademark sound, with tracks like “Anemone Arms” sounding fully fleshed out and heavier live. “When the room is ablaze/Just wanna get out alive/I could be a poet but we don’t have time,” Jeffares sings on the Modern English-esque “So Red,” and the crowd sings it right back to him. “Slow Soft Syrup” is not a misnomer for this band’s always-palatable brand of smooth synth stylings — it’s the perfect moniker for a band borrowing equally from post-punk, Britrock, and late-’80s synthetic gloom. And at this time of the year, what more could you ask for?
Critical Bias: It’s great to see a workhorse band still touring and releasing excellent music, and apparently plenty of other people agree.
Overheard: “Don’t let me drink too much, I just started Prozac.”
Random Notebook Dump: Some nice-quality YouTube vids of a few songs by both bands here.
Snowden Set List
Filler Is Wasted
Between the Rent and Me
No One in Control
Don’t Really Know Me
No Words No More