The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'sister cities'
Live bands: This evening's live music at the Tote was quite good; first up was Steward (aka Stewart Anderson), doing the very final gig of his recent Australian tours. It was a solo gig, with just a guitar, some crunchy noise pedals and a MiniDisc of drum loops (some of which sounded like an 808 being run through various distortion pedals). He didn't bring any Hello Kitty toys or other similar noisemakers, but rocked out nonetheless. If Stewart plays in your town, either solo or in Boyracer, go and see him and be reminded what rock is.
Next up were Sister Cities, a minimal side project of Architecture in Helsinki. Guitar, clarinet, ba-ba-ba harmony vocals, a toy piano and some very lovely, sweet pop. At one point they did what I think may have been a Bruce Springsteen cover (though not that he'd recognise it). Anyway, they're playing again on the 4th at the Town Hall Hotel.
Then came Origami; a slightly punky two-girl indie-pop band (founded by a former member of a certain casiopunk outfit I keep going on about); mostly jangly indie guitars, with a few surprises (some banshee-like screams, and at one stage an 8-bar funk breakdown). Stewart joined them on drums and played really well (though he didn't think so).
Finally, Sarah Dougher came on and played a set, in a singer-songwriter sort of vein; fellow Oregonian Amy Linton of the Aislers Set joined her on drums.
Towards the end of their set, Origami did a short (and rather doovy) guitar/Casio instrumental named Nancy Drew; which got me thinking about the connections between a certain type of indie-pop and retro/childhood references. Whether it's retro-hipster irony, indiekid neoteny, subversive punk culture-jamming, or some combination of all three.
Anyway, it was quite a good night.
Tonight I went down to the Empress Hotel, to see Letraset, Sister Cities and Jeremy Dower. It was quite a good night, in an electro-pop/ambient sort of way (and connected, promisingly enough, to the Chapter Music label). When I got there, the room was quite full, with people sitting on the floor. Letraset were doing their set with a bunch of modular synths, a Casio keyboard (run through one of them), an old Yamaha organ (also seen in Minimum Chips sets) and a trombone, and played much the same sort of music as on their Snowy Room CD.
Next up were Sister Cities, who were very good. They started with some ambient noodling on an iBook (apparently mostly applying effects/mixing in ProTools), and then went on to play some quite pretty pop with toy keyboards, jangly guitar chords and ba-ba-ba vocals. Apparently they're recording now, and I look forward to their CD when it does come out.
Finally, Jeremy Dower went on, playing some synths and a mixing deck, launching his CD "Music For Retirement Villages circa 2050". It was much as the title sounded like; glitchy easy-listening ambience with fragments of recorded birdsong and the occasional slightly familiar-sounding riff. Needless to say, I picked up the CD.
It's interesting to see the convergence of electronica and garage/indie pop, with computer music software and cheap synths lowering the entry barrier, and electronics having lost the stigma of MOR overproduction that led the yoof into the arms of three-chord grunge. It's about time someone took electronic music away from the twin realms of pill-popping, mindlessly muscular dance music and more-obtuse-than-thou experimentalism, defetishised it and reclaimed it as an equally organic approach to making music. Not that that's a new idea, mind you.