It's hard to tell how serious My Teenage Stride are as a band. Some of their songs seem like attempts at mimicing other bands (The Wedding Present, The Chills) and main man (and MTS's only constant) Jedediah Smith is prone towards jokey stage banter, like introducing themselves as other bands in between every song. ("Thank you! We're Megadeth.") I guess it doesn't matter when the songs are as catchy as they are, and Smith's sense of humor comes off more thoughtful than "ha ha" in his lyrics. Tonight's show at Cameo is yet another iteration of MTS, as this band blows through band members like The Fall. The new group are tight enough, even when pulling out old chesnuts this lineup hasn't really ever played.
This seems to have no affect on the band, as it is, as they're currently putting out some of their best-ever material via a series of exclusive releases on Emusic. Much like the Wedding Present did in 1992, My Teenage Stride are putting out a "single" every month in 2009. If the rest of this year is as good as February's "Creep Academy" (which will be amongst my Singles of the Year), 2009 looks to be very good to them. Even if they didn't play it tonight!
Greenpoint-via-Jersey combo pow wow!, meanwhile, are currently in the midst of making an all-out assault on NYC's popscene. I've been digging their recordings (most of which you can download for free) but this is the first time I've actually seen them play. Like a party band version of The Strokes (or maybe a less laid back Little Joy) are the kind of band you wish would play at Ruby's in Coney Island every summer weekend. Though their recordings are decidely low-fi, live you can tell they've got straight-up pop ambitions, with a soulful streak that rears its head with a shambly cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," a ballsy move but one they actually pull off. The crowd are already converts, dancing, and at one point forming an ad-hoc chorus line. Thank god for cheap PBR.
MP3: pow wow! – 23 19
This was my second time at new Williamsburg venue Cameo, the first being the Casiokids/Slow Club/Mumford and Sons show before SXSW. They're making headway towards it being a proper place to see bands but my biggest criticism from before remains: turn up the lights please.