Dead Gaze, Swimsuit & Velvet Davenport (in review & video)
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Dead Gaze – This Big World (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Velvet Davenport – Get Out (Feat. Ariel Pink And Gar War) (MP3)
During CMJ, I caught grimy Mississippi noise-pop band Dead Gaze at a Shea Stadium show set up by the label Group Tightener (who are putting out the band’s 10-inch). The group, a trio at the time, headed by frontman R. Cole Furlow’s effects-processed vocals, played a set of fuzzed-out pop songs with elements of bluesy rock and grunge.
Their return to NYC, a Friday night set at Glasslands on 11/12 opening at the Blank Dogs’ CD release show, was a more tempered version of that performance. They were a quartet now (previouly guitarist Robert Chisolm subbed in quite ably for the band’s regular drummer, who couldn’t make the CMJ trip), and the music seemed even more focused on Furlow’s processed vocals, which shifted subtly but distinctly for each song. On some, his voice was akin to the nasally bark of Nathan Wavves, on others like the tinny impassioned delivery of Daniel Johnston (with breaks into falsetto that hinted at a skilled voice underneath).
Also at that Glasslands show was Swimsuit, a new-ish band from Michigan that features Fred Thomas of City Center/Saturday Looks Good to Me on guitar. Their jangly pop is all about counterposed vocal harmonies, with Fred’s emotive voice alongside those of the female bassist and guitarist. All three lead their own tunes, and pitched in on one another’s. A delightful exchange of riffs shuffled along their several instrumentals (which were hinted at a while back, when Fred wrote about Swimsuit’s sound: “Did you ever watch that show Kids In The Hall? Remember the theme song? All of our songs sound like that.”)
Fans of SLGTM’s various incarnations will find a lot to like from the group, who plan to record a full-length this winter (their first 7″ was for sale at the show). And speaking of Fred’s post-SLGTM output, he recently posted a new album-length collaboration with that band’s frequent singer Betty Barnes. It’s titled Mighty Clouds and is currently streaming.
Adding another genre-shift to the Friday night bill was the delicately layered summer-of-love psychedelia of Velvet Davenport (who have an April 2010 Daytrotter session you can grab in addition to the MP3 above which features both Ariel Pink and Gary War). Blank Dogs’ overdriven lo-fi ditties capped the night, but I unfortunately had to skip out before they began.
Videos of all bands at the Glasslands show and more, below…
Dead Gaze at Shea Stadium October 19 2010
Dead Gaze at Glasslands November 12 2010
Swimsuit at Glasslands November 12 2010