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
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 24, 2011