When Tessa Murray cracked a big smile and said “Thanks we’re really happy to be here” at her band Still Corners‘ show at Glasslands, I was a little surprised. Her icy stage presence seemed descended directly from the Warhol camp of stoic Superstars, her only movement was to turn her head to the side just so when she wasn’t singing. The epitome of cool. Her voice told you everything you needed to know anyway, kind of chilly too (and breathy at times), but very pure and powerful. It took me aback when she first started to sing. Wow.
This was Still Corners’ first-ever U.S. show, a stop in NYC before heading down to SXSW. Brand new Sub Pop signees, the band have only a few songs most of us had heard — lovey melancholic singles “Don’t Fall in Love (which they didn’t play) and “Endless Summer” (which they did). I left duly impressed by the rest of the band as well. There sound is part ’60s soundtrack music (Barry, Morricone), part psych pop (Strawberry Alarm Clock, VU) and a big dose of motorik Kraut, as heard in a very Neu!-esque instrumental.
One of the two guitarists was armed with an arsenal of vintage pedals, including an absolutely killer vibrato that send chills up my spine. A guy I knew casually, who just happened to be there and knew nothing about the band at all, leaned over to me and said, “It’s like Portishead without the trip hop!” And you know, that’s about right. And that’s a compliment. I also thought of The Soundcarriers too. I can’t wait to hear more.
If you’re going to SXSW, Still Corners are playing a slew of shows including one on Thursday at the Dot Com Day Stage in the convention center I curated for BrooklynVegan. (Frankie & the Heartstrings and Erland & the Carnival also play.) If you can, see an indoors show or one in the evening. They are definitely a “night” band. If you’re not going to Austin, Still Corners are touring with labelmates Papercuts in the U.S. after the fest. Do go if you can.
To most people, Endless Summer is a good thing. I’m not so sure these guys mean it that way. Tour dates and a couple more pictures are below.