Au Revoir Simone | Union Pool | 4.13.2009


One of the things I like about Au Revoir Simone, beyond the obvious reasons you like any band or artist, is that they don't try to be anything they're not. There's no attempt to compete with the Ladyhawkes, Little Boots, or even Lykke Li's of the world. Not that they don't like that sort of more overt dance music — I'm pretty sure they do in general — or that they would be bad at it if they tried (see the remix of Friendly Fire's "Paris" which is better than the original). It's just not what they do.

While Erika, Annie and Heather all play keyboards and there are drum machines, you never feel like Au Revoir Simone are electronic. It's more of a pastoral, minimal, organic, dreamy. And live. They play pretty much everything live when you go see them, which becomes apparent when there's a goof, and that's so much more interesting that seeing someone peer at their laptop, wondering whether they're actually doing something or checking Facebook.

There were a couple goofs (nothing major) at Monday's show at Union Hall, but the crowd was mostly friends from the neighborhood, and the girls (and the audience) laughed it off with much charm. It was more a party than the launching of a World Tour. Which it kind of was. Au Revoir Simone are now in Europe, starting a three-month, multi-continent exursion to which Union Pool was a warm up. So the set was mostly songs from their new album, Still Night, Still Light, which comes out next month.  

Fine , I think it's their best yet. Despite being produced by Thom Monahan, who specializes in neo folikes like Vetiver and Devendra Banhart, the record is mandolin and banjo-free. If anything, it's more stripped-down than either of their two previous releases, and maybe that's why it works so well live. The album's best songs were the night's highlights too, especially first single "Shadows" and set-closer "Knight of Wands," which I couldn't resist joining in on the "clap clap" in the intro. Annie Hart tossed promo copies into the audience in between songs, nearly taking out an eye or two, but mild lacerations seem a small price to pay for getting an early listen.

SETLIST: All or Nothing | Sad Song | Another Likely Story | Shadows | Anwhere You Looked | Take Me As I Am | Trace a Line | Lark | Tell Me | Knight of Wands

MP3: Au Revoir Simone – Knight of Wands

You can pre-order Still Night, Still Light from Au Revoir Simone's website — including what looks to be a pretty sweet 10" double vinyl version. I shot video of "Shadows" at the show, which is after the jump, along with all posted tour dates. 

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1/3 Au Revoir Simone + Slow Club = Really Big Band | “The Killing Moon”

I originally had this as part of my Moshi Moshi party report but it seemed too good to bury at the bottom of a post. In between band sets, Annie Hart and Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone did some fine iPod DJing. A cover of Echo & the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" caught my ear in particular so I went up to Annie and asked who it was. She smiled really big, saying it was her and Slow Club and that they'd recorded it earlier in the day using Garageband and the internal microphone on her laptop! They're dubbed themselves The Really Big Band, though I suggested The Slow Harts. (That's actually a good name for a band I think.) Annie was nice enough to send it to me and let me share it here.

MP3: Annie Hart and Slow Club – The Killing Moon

She wanted me to stress the part about recording it in an afternoon and with the laptop microphone as if to dissuade any criticism of sonic quality but I think it's quite good even if the ending, like the Killing Moon itself, comes too soon. (I don't know why the last 30 seconds of the mp3 are silent either.)

While we're on the subject of Au Revoir Simone, their new record, Still Night Still Light, is in the can and will be out in May. It was produced by Thom Monahan of Pernice Brothers fame. (And Monsterland before that if you listened to indie rock in the '90s, they were good. Check out "Peanut Butter Karma" on their MySpace memorial.) He produced the new Vetiver album as well. Au Revoir Simone play three shows at SXSW and then are off to France. Lucky girls.

Mar 19  2:00p Brooklyn Vegan/Agency Group Party Austin, Texas
Mar 19  4:45P Music for Listeners/Moshi Moshi Records Party @ The Red House Pizzeria Austin, Texas
Mar 20 11:45P Maggie Mae’s Rooftop – Friday night at one a.m. Austin, Texas
Apr 18  8:00P Alhambra Theatre – Les Femmes S’en Melent Festival Paris
Apr 19 8:00P Grand Mix – Les Femmes S’en Melent Festival Tourcoing
Apr 21 8:00P L’epicerie Moderne – Les Femmes S’en Melent Festival Paris

Also check out this crazy, double-speed version of "The Killing Moon" from 1983 that sounds more like the Echo of Crocodiles instead of Ocean Rain. Kinda cool: