Saturday night I saw two bands with standup female drummers. Before heading to Mercury Lounge see Glasvegas (standup drummer Caroline McKay), I went to Death by Audio to catch Crystals Stilts (standup drummer Frankie Rose) who were playing with their Slumberland label-mates caUSE co-MOTION. I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to see either of them. Death by Audio's set times would be loose if they actually posted them anywhere, and when I asked the two door persons what band was on next, they looked at each other before looking back at me and shrugging their shoulders. I had to leave DBA by 11:30 to catch Glasvegas… who knows when Crystal Stilts would go on.
To my surprise, Crystal Stilts went on before caUSE co-MOTION, taking the stage around 10:15. The room was packed (it's not that big, but everybody seemed to be there to see them) and almost pitch-black. The band seems to like to play in the dark. I've actually seen singer Brad Hargett unscrew lights before performances. I guess it suits their moody sound but they could learn a little from Glasvegas in this department, some strategically placed lights would do them a world of good.)
Despite not being able to see them very well, you could certainly hear them and it was another good show by one of my favorite NYC bands. A band I've seen way too many times in the last six months, though to be fair, they've been hard to avoid, they play about twice a week here in NYC. Some might say it's too much gigging, but what it's really done is make Crystal Stilts really tight. There's little-to-no downtime between songs, even less stage banter (pretty much none), just good song after good song.
Crystal Stilts full-length debut, Alight of Night, is out October 28 and is one of the year's best albums. Great songs and production that is just high enough fidelity to do them justice. And they actually improve on the songs that were previously on their self-titled EP. That said, some of my current favorite Crystal Stilts songs have yet to be recorded.
The annoyingly capitalized caUSE co-MOTION (seriously you try typing their name more than once) are always a good match to Crystal Stilts, as they also love echo and reverb but traffic in short (under two minutes), spiky, nasally, pop songs in the Pastels or Joseph K mode. Where Crystal Stilts are fairly motionless, caUSE co-MOTION spazz out on-stage, especially the bassist is prone to high jumps. Songs can be a little samey but they whole thing is over before you realize it. They're good. Check out their compilation of 7" singles, "It's Time!", which is also out October 28.
MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – Which Way is Up? (pre-order)
caUSE co-MOTION open for Franz Ferdinand this Wednesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, so get there early if you have tickets. If you don't, it's sold out but they'll be playing CMJ a bunch of times and then out on tour with Crystal Stilts where they'll finally make it out of the five boroughs…
Oct. 04 Brooklyn, NY Death By Audio
Oct. 23 New York, NY Pianos (Force Field PR CMJ Showcase)
Nov. 01 San Diego, CA Che Cafe
Nov. 02 Los Angeles, CA The Echo / Part Time Punks
Nov. 03 Oakland, CA House of Nostromo
Nov. 04 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 05 Sacramento, CA Luigi's Fun Garden
Nov. 06 Eugene, OR Samurai Duck
Nov. 07 Portland, OR Holocene
Nov. 08 Olympia, WA The Big Room
Nov. 09 Seattle, WA Chop Suey