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Friday, March 22, 2013

Future Sounds

Last night I saw an amazing show at R Bar in Manhattan.  I was invited to attend the show by my new friends, in the band, Of Clocks and Clouds.  There were three bands playing: Of Clocks and Clouds, Ginger & the Ghost, and Eva and Her Virgins.  Very different, yet they all gelled together very nicely.  R Bar had Burlesque and face painting going on in the background as well as a very colorful and eclectic crowd.  I felt very at home here, as I saw a girl with a pink Mohawk, various tattoos and piercings, as well as people who donned costumes like it was Halloween.  I appreciate and prefer the strange and eccentric atmospheres and this venue felt very much so in that element.  I'm sick of going to bars and venues seeing hipsters, scenesters, hip-hop wannabees, and other posers.  It was nice to be somewhere original where I was around people who looked artistic and colorful.  Such a relief!

So let's get down the discussing the music.

(-:   Note: All photos and clips below this text are taken by me.  If you use them, at least give me credit.  :-) 

Of Clocks and Clouds:

 It is no surprise that they put on a great show.  Actually, I have to confess that I liked them even more than the first time I saw them.  I knew all the songs, and was watching them for them rather than listening to everything I listen for when I'm watching a band for the first time.  I actually could sit back and just listen rather than having a zillion thoughts pour through my brain.  Their set had even more energy and electricity than the first time too.

I think it had to do with many things.  First, the venue fit their personality and style much more than when they were at Spike Hill.  The other bands playing also worked well with their style and energy.  One doesn't often think about venue and how it can damper or heighten a band's synergy, but it does matter.  This is one reason I refuse to EVER go to an amphitheater concert again.  Not unless I have front row seats to a back to back show by Aerosmith, Kiss, and Queen.

Second, Ross, the band's original drummer was playing with Joe and they felt more at home in their skin.  Even though the last show had Joe's brother drumming, it does make a difference when a band has replacement players.  It's a reason why I hesitate seeing bands like Smashing Pumpkins or Van Halen.  They don't have the original line-ups and that makes me weary of them as a band.

A final reason for Of Clocks and Clouds stellar performance was the energy of the crowd.  The crowd at R Bar loved them.  L-O-V-E-D!!  They had shouts and cries of adulation from the audience who truly was enjoying their music.  I have a feeling that they gained a lot of new fans after their set, as they played flawlessly.  As I said, they had a lot of fresh, electric energy.  They were 'on' for sure.  Even I was mesmerized as if I were seeing them for the first time.  The music tapped into raw emotion, and actually, I didn't want their set to end.  Much like the audience, as they all chanted 'encore' and 'one more' after their final song.

Of Clocks and Clouds do not have a CD as of yet.  They are about to start filming for their first music video.  It is impressive, as they are pretty new on the scene.  I talked to Joe after the show and he told me how this band started as a 'bedroom' project.  He met Ross at his former band's show and they talked about forming a band together, enter Of Clocks and Clouds.  I was intrigued to hear that, at one time, they had more than two people.  They went through a couple of bassists even.  Though, being a bassist, I know what trouble they can cause (heh heh).  Bassists are the real divas of the band!  Believe me!

 I'm glad it's just Joe and Ross though.  They don't need any additional members.  Just as Polyphonic Spree works with 20 plus members, Of Clocks and Clouds works with just two.  Ross's drum playing melts perfectly with Joe's guitar solos and control over synth/sound effects.  Adding any other members would spoil the recipe.  It would just become too much/little, too sweet/salty, too acidic/soapy.  The drum and guitar solos feed off of each other and fit in, like a jigsaw, with the synth/electro backings.  For now, you can get Of Clocks and Clouds music off of Soundcloud and Bandcamp.  Honestly, though, I hope they put out a CD (preferably live).  They'd be fine with a studio version, as they are good but live, they are great!

I still think Of Clocks and Clouds echoes this raw 90's rock sound.  It's like industrial/hard rock/grunge with some twinge of indie/electro-synth.  You can't stop moving to each song and it's hard not to love them.  Songs like 'Travelling at Light Speed in Hyper Reality' is quickly becoming my favorite.  The opening is a promise of a high energy futuristic blast off right into outer space.  You can hear the reference to bands like Kraftwerk.  And I love that machine robotic sound in the song that a lot of music I like is producing nowadays.  Then there are songs like 'Need you Now' which echo to something darker, like Stabbing Westward (remember them?)  I've said they're a fusion of/reference to Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Stabbing Westward, (lower key) NIN, Gravity Kills (an STL band) and Kraftwerk with a little bit of reference to newer bands like Apparat and Tanlines.

I know I like to make references to other bands but truly, Of Clocks and Clouds are original. They are themselves.  You should check them out for yourself because they aren't going anywhere.  I LOVE that they bring this 90's rock sound and fuse it with the hip and now.  It's as if Joe and Ross, like Bill and Ted, had an excellent adventure travelling through time and we're all back in 1996 watching a band blow our minds while they fuse sounds of the future with sounds of the now.



Ginger & The Ghost:

Holy shit, I have a new band crush.  To say they blew my mind is a total understatement.  I'm so glad they came to us from Australia (Melbourne).  They are going to be a hit!  I know it!  I have had their set running through my head all day long.  I wish I would have bought a CD because I am smitten.  Lord oh lord am I smitten!

First of all, they have the fucking theatrics of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.  They make rock back into a spectacle, as it damn well should be.  Missy, the lead singer was dressed in a blue sparkly leotard and had on a coat vest with shredded, white pieces of fabric.  She donned a crown on her head and had on various pieces of striking jewelry.  The guitarist had on a similar styled jacket, that was torn pieces of cloth and leather.  Underneath, a simple shirt and pair of pants.  They each also had face paint/make-up that made them resemble faeries from Shakespeare's own forest.  I truly felt like I was watching a band with Titania and Puck as its sole members.  Their energy was magnetic and unlike most of what I've experienced in live music before.

There is something tribal, raw, spark igniting, and well feverish about their sound.  Missy's vocals are like a mix of Kate Bush, Gwen Stefani, and Cyndi Lauper.  Missy has the same 'witchy ways' of Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine; witchy meaning entrancing and mysterious.  Missy, though, has a nice vibrato and uses stylistic/reverb effects on her vocals that make them even more unique.  Their total sound is like M83, Of Montreal, MGMT.  Do you know the video for 'Electric Feel' by MGMT?  It's like a band emerged out of that exact sound.  They fuse this danceable indie pop, electro-synth sound so very well.  It's not all inorganic sounds.  Oh no!  They are very organic.  At points, they switch off to different instruments.  Like a Rainstick for instance.  Missy strums on, what looks to be, an electric zither giving you that distinct old-thyme sound.  In fact, parts of their songs sounded just like the slower songs on Smashing Pumpkin's album ,Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.   It has to be the zither!   They had chimes and the drummer had a mean bass drum that both he and Missy would bang on for effect.

Truly, this duo looked like extras from Mad Max or a children's story like Where the Wild Things Are. Something fantastical and sublime, right out of your most pleasant dreams.  The music, too, was part of that dream world.  They're leading us all into the desert as the world ends.  But you don't care.  You want to detach from reality with them.   In fact, listening to them made me feel young and took me out of my own body.  I felt silly for not being dressed up like them.  I wanted to hop into the forest and have them lead us all into faerie land.  PS: I do believe in faeries!  I've seen them with my own eyes!

You really can't take your eyes off, Missy, the singer.  She dances and sways with the music.  She is totally in the moment and feels every beat, every note.  Their music, their act is magic.  And, like I said, it sweeps you away to a magical Narnia, Neverland place where we're all young and beautiful.  It's hyptotic, eerie, and sexy all at once.  Missy has this Blondie (Debbie Harry) and Pat Benetar vibe.  I love that both singer and guitarist are barefoot.  Very earthy and mystical.  It calls to mind Burning Man, which Missy said she attended.  In fact, their song, 'Red Balloon' arose from that experience of hers.  Every song is danceable and catchy.  And this is a band that you HAVE to see live.  It is a full body experience.  You can't just listen to them on the radio or Itunes.  You have to see them live!

And, I hope they do a show just with Of Clocks and Clouds because the two work very well together.  Of Clocks and Clouds perfectly fed right into Ginger & The Ghost.  It was like I was in charge of the mixing (I do make very pleasantly harmonized mix CDs or so I've been told).  Really, though what works about both of these bands is that their music tells a story.  It involved your entire being and soul to hear their music.  It's beyond music.  It is art!  True art!





                                                  Video for 'Where Wolf'

                                     video for 'One Type of Dark'

Eva and Her Virgins:
 So though this band doesn't fit my personal style of music.  In fact, I doubt I would have found them if they had not been playing with the other two bands.  However, I did enjoy their show and they definitely have a lot of raw talent.  They definitely represent the dark side of crazy.  I was surprised to hear that they're from Colombia (the country).  I wouldn't have known, if someone else would not have mentioned this fact.  They represent the dark goth hardcore circus/biker side of American culture well!

Eva and Her Virgins is four individuals: a lead female vocalist, a bassist, a guitarist and back-up vocalist, and a drummer.  I certainly liked their original look.  It was dark and industrial.  Like they were playing for a biker bar of goths and punks.  The drummer was shirtless and had on sunglasses.  The bassist had a black wife beater and black pants.  The guitarist and synth/back-up vocalist had a black hoodie and black jeans.  The lead vocalist had on a black tutu, what looked like a corset and gold/black glitter that looked like mud all over her shoulders and arms.  This band was not about good looks or polished sounds.  Which is fine with me.  I prefer that punk/underground rock sound.  Music is not all about perfection and plastic looks.  Not at all!

So I liked the originality of this band, for sure.  Actually, what I thought was their first song was only a warm-up.  I liked the raw power, the aggression and anger of their sound, however.  There whole set was very very punk.  The lead singer reminded me of Wendy O. Williams of Plasmatics fame.  She had the same gritty, unpredictable energy going on.  At points, the lead vocalist would straddle the metal pole that was on the stage, meant for burlesque shows.  She would make all these interesting facial expressions, grimacing and showing disgust.  She'd pound her head, hit herself, and make gun motions at her head.  You cannot copy this originality.  In fact, the singer's facial expressions reminded me of one Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters in the expressiveness and outlandish caricature of each look and taunt.

The lead singer looked like she had just rolled in mud and had not slept in days.  However, out of character, she would smile and wink at the audience so I knew it was part of the act.  The singer purposefully played with the sweet, coy and gruff, crude perception of a female.  I liked that very much!  Lead singers who are also females don't have to be fucking Taylor Swift!  Every time she screamed, it was like a tea kettle going off.  She would tug at her microphone, wrap herself in electric cords, and crawl around all over the stage.  At one point, she even jumped up onto the bar and stage dived into the audience.  She sprayed the audience with water from her water bottle and at times looked drunk and disoriented.  It looked like she just woke up from a coma and was getting reoriented with her surroundings.

I liked how the lead singer's being makes reference to Shirley Manson (of Garbage), Joan Jett, and Wendy O. Williams.  Truly, a female Sid Vicious.  As a punk ballerina, she truly made the band.  The other members were good but she was definitely the key to their act.  Not to say, however, that 'the Virgins' were without talent.  They are really into their music and the back-up vocalist/guitarist also had interesting facial expressions and you were drawn to him as much as the lead vocalist. But 'Eva' is certainly the center and glue of this band.



                                                 video for 'Hammer'
I want to take a minute to thank all three bands for their wonderful performance.  Performance art it was.  I was not bored.  Not at all!  And I thought all three acts worked really well together.  Truly raw and full of neon current.

I also want to reference other bands I feel are worth mentioning below.  I've talked about them in previous blog posts.

Other bands/artists to watch and/or check-out:
  (A cheat sheet from my other new music posts)

  • Bosco Delrey
  • Tanlines
  • Wild International
  • Doran Danoff
  • Foxygen
  • Cuddle Magic
  • Birdy 
  • Bottin
  • Cameron Stenger
  • A House of Waters
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Alabama Shakes
  • Cults
  • The Milk
  • Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics
  • White Lies
  • New Look
  • Animal Kingdom
  • M83
  • Filthy Dukes
  • Passion Pit

Check out all the bands mentioned.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

  Rockin' out in the free world,


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