Much of ARMS' set was new songs from the band's proper debut, a "sci-fi break up album" that's due, hopefully, this summer. Judging by what we got last night, ARMS are definitely reaching for the stratosphere and may well achieve liftoff. The new songs sound big, with equal-sized hooks, played with an assurance. I was really impressed by their set -- they could be this year's Antlers with whom they occupy the same sonic space. You've got two more chances to see ARMS' during their February residence, you should really go if you can.
Hospitality almost stole the show for me. It had been a while since I'd seen this trio, who only gig sporadically but must practice often because they were tight, confident and surprisingly loud. While some of their music leans in the demure, Belle & Sebastian direction, some of the new material kinda rocked in an undistorted kind of way. They played a number of new songs I hadn't heard before, all of which were good. Hospitality's long-overdue debut is coming out this summer. 2011 could really be their year too.
Somehow I'd never seen Radical Dads before despite them gigging all the time. I'd always assumed Robbie Guertin played guitar for the band, as he does for Uninhabitable Mansions and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. But he's actually their drummer -- and a really good one. Musically, the bassless trio sorta reminded me of the early '90s DC indie, and could have fit on Simple Machines Records alongside Liquorice, Tsunami or Scrawl.
Openers were Translations, whose bassist also plays in ARMS. Their double A-side debut was one of my favorite singles of last year and this was my first time seeing them. There's a sort of dustbowl sound to them, a little Dwayne Eddy twang that works well with Andrew Fox's vocals that are part Robert Pollard and part Don Henley. There's a new wave bent to them as well and at times -- like on the sprawling "The M.O." -- it really opens up and soars. The band have new singles out this spring, something to look forward to.
Jessica Amaya shot some great (looking and sounding) video of ARMS and Hospitality which you can see below, along with more pictures of all the bands from last night.
Hospitality - "Betty Wang" @ Piano's 2/9/2011
Hospitality @ Piano's 2/9/2011
ARMS @ Piano's 2/9/2011