Violens | Seaport Music Festival | 8.22.2008

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A picture-perfect evening made for what was probably the most enjoyable Friday at the Seaport of the Season for me, with Violens turning in the best performance.* Or maybe the most surprisingly great, as they've only got four songs released and my previous experience seeing them live was a good but… with a surprisingly great sound mix, the lovely weather, the band's excellent songs, tight playing and  a set of influences that so closely mirrors my own… Violens shot up my list of favorite new bands over the course of their 40-minute set.

Violens_seaport_1 As you may know, frontman Jorge Elbrecht is also part of the art collective Lansing-Dreiden (very post-punk in concept no doubt), who released two albums in the early Aughts. While L-D focus more on the art side of things, Elbrecht has Violens as a musical outlet. Less than a year old, Violens are made up of members of the L-D Section touring band (which Elbrecht wasn't part of [I don't think], despite singing lead on the records…again, very post punk) and they've become a tight little unit, capable of light, jangly pop ("Already Over" and  a Smiths-y set closer) and serious shredding. "Trance-Like Turn," which is a New Order-y techno-rocker on the Green Owl compilation where it's found, takes on more ethereal, dreamy feel… until Elbrecht rips it up. He's said in interviews of his love for The Monochrome Set and Mr. Bungle and it's clear here he's serious. I was seriously impressed.

Here's a couple songs I shot:

Trance-Like Turn:


And this rocker is called "Grey Reigning":


I'm anxious to see them somewhere like Mercury Lounge where we get a more intimate setting but good sound. And I know it's somewhat rediculous to expect a band this new to have an album out this quickly, but I am ready for another EP already.

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MP3: Violens – Violent Sensation Descends
(via RCDLBL; buy the Violens EP from Insound)

They've got a new EP coming out, actually, but you gotta go to Fashion Week to get it. Violens are scoring designer's Patrik Ervell's unveiling of his Spring '09 collection, reworking their songs as marches. And they'll be giving out copies of those reworkings at the event.

Also: Violens play Philly club Johnny Brendays this Saturday (8/30) and then head off to the UK to play a bunch of shows with MGMT and Amazing Baby in November:

Nov 3 Ambassador Dublin
Nov 5 Academy Leeds
Nov 6 Rock City Nottingham
Nov 7 Academy Bristol
Nov 9 Barrowlands Glasgow
Nov 10 Academy Birmingham
Nov 11 Academy Manchester

* Best Seaport Music Festival Show that I saw… missed Dirty Projectors last week.

Grand Archives | Bowery Ballroom | 6.13.2008

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Grand Archives kind of look like Lumberjacks (skinny lumberjacks) and make gentle, harmony-laden music that would be perfect for maple syrup commercials. "Whether it's flapjacks, waffles or for the Master Cleanse, make sure your syrup is real Vermont Maple." I joke but I really don't mean that in a derogatory way and I guess I'm specifically talking about their song "A Setting Sun" which reminds me of CSNY's "Our House" which I feel like was used to sell pancakes (or coffee… it was Maxwell House, wasn't it) back in the early '90s. Grand Archives make great breakfast music.

MP3: Grand Archives – A Setting Sun (buy it from Sub Pop)

If you're unaware, this is Mat Brooke's new band — he of Carrissa's Weird and then Band of Horses. I like their self-titled Sub Pop debut a lot. It is exceedingly pleasant but in the best possible way. And they're fun to watch too, good performers and, crucially, they nail the all-important harmonies. Plus they always throw in a choice cover. When I saw them at SXSW earlier in the year they did a medley of the Beegees' "I Started a Joke," the Zombies' "Care of Cell 44" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown." At Bowery on Friday we got Sam Cooke's "Just Got Paid" which you might know from Cat Stevens, Jimmy Buffett or Johnny Kemp's versions of it, all of which were hits. Good show.

Grand Archives tour rolls on…
Jun 17 LOCAL 506     CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina
Jun 18 THE EARL     ATLANTA, Georgia
Jun 19 EXIT/IN     NASHVILLE, Tennessee
Jun 20 STICKY FINGERZ     LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas
Jun 21 STUBBS JR.     AUSTIN, Texas
Jun 22 THE CAVERN     DALLAS, Texas
Jun 24 SANTA FE BREWING CO.     ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico
Jun 25 PLUSH     TUCSON, Arizona
Jun 26 CASBAH     SAN DIEGO, California
Jun 27 THE ECHO     LOS ANGELES, California
Jun 28 SLIM’S     SAN FRANCISCO, California
Jul 13 SP20 FESTIVAL     MARYMOOR PARK, Washington