In Waste Of Paint, our writer/artist team of Jamie Peck and Debbie Allen will review goings-on about town in words and images.
This weekend had a diverse array of musical entertainments, from the nails-on-a-chalkboard sounds of a crapcore experimental group to the genre-bending garage-hop of Bosco Delrey. We even got out of North Brooklyn!
Friday we ventured to the Prospect Heights yoga studio/art space LaunchPad, where a group of musicians called yy/dd/mmmm (not to be confused with the harder-rocking, recently dissolved act dd/mm/yyyy) were putting on a one-off experimental performance. Before it began, sax player Nathaniel Morgan admonished us to “not speak to anyone about this performance for the rest of your life”; I’m sorry if this counts. Anticipation built as they set up violin, cello, sax, synths, processors, vocals, drums, a mirror hooked up to a mic, and what looked to be 50-100 bottles of nail polish. What was going to happen with all that glass and pigment? Unfortunately, the answer was “not much,” as the guy on mirror duty spent about half the performance painstakingly placing the nail polishes on the mirror and moving them around to make small “shh”-ing sounds, which were punctuated by the occasional cell-phone-like chime from the synths. This seemed like a beautiful lullaby compared with what came next, though—metal rubbing against metal, as well as a flurry of atonal screeches and squawks from the string and woodwind sections that dared us to break an unspoken social code and cover our ears. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, so Debbie drew “horrible metal birds being slaughtered in the rainforest.” At least it evoked something.
After that, we retreated to Death By Audio to let the Americana-inflected guitar pop of Air Waves salve our bleeding ears. Led by singer/guitarist Nicole Schneit, this band sounds pleasant under most circumstances, but moreso when recovering from a Dadaist noise attack. Buoyed by electric piano and the occasional harmony from a male bandmate, Schneit’s voice has a raspy, sweet simplicity that evokes Kimya Dawson without venturing as far into twee town. Air Waves processes country and folk influences in a similar way to The Babies, letting them shine through in a way that seems natural and uncontrived. A packed room of silent listeners nodded along, even before Schneit buttered us up by remarking, “Thank you, you’re great—and you’re all so good looking. It’s incredible!”
Saturday we stopped by Bushwick’s Big Snow Buffalo Lodge, a recently opened venue from alums of Shea Stadium, for a bill presented by DJ/promoter Lady Bree. Following a high energy opening from riff-heavy Japanese rocker-girls Hard Nips, Bosco Delrey (no relation to Lana) took the stage with a new backing band that included such familiar faces as Alix Brown from Golden Triangle on bass and Will Berman from MGMT on drums and synths. Oft described as electro/hip-hop label Mad Decent’s “rock outlier,” Delrey’s incorporation of electronic elements inspires such absurd descriptors as “hillbillyhall,” “dance-grunge,” and the one I used earlier. Really, it sounded like bluesy, soulful garage-rockabilly run through “lo-fi” effects pedals with enough vintage synths and dance beats to create a sound simultaneously haunting and danceable, not to mention much more rock and roll than his synth-heavy recorded material. I should also note that Delrey called me out at one point for checking my phone to see what time it was (I had another show in a different neighborhood to catch!), snarling “read Wikipedia while we play.” It was embarrassing, but it made me respect his moxie. Not just anyone can pull off a coif that tall and a leather jacket that shiny.
We finished out the weekend at 285 Kent with a long, loud set of pitch-bent shoegaze from Dive, helmed by Beach Fossils guitarist Cole Smith. Like Smith’s other project, they’ve got punchy post-punk bass lines and bright, tinkling guitars with the perfect amount of reverb. But unlike Beach Fossils, Dive also has a hint of Krautrock in their dark, driving beats. This is nothing new in the world, but there’s something to be said for perfecting a form in which you find value, especially one as lush and enveloping as this. Smith set Dive apart from similar acts by looking like he gave a shit when delivering his sad, echoing vocals, even going so far as to scream a few times during the swelling crescendos. If everyone cared about music as much as these guys seem to, the world would be a better sounding, less internet-fight-prone place.