Last Tuesday at the Hemlock, school-night goers were treated to the spontaneous and decidedly weekend-spirited collision of locals The Fucking Ocean and Vancouver’s rising madmen, They Shoot Horses Dont They? of Kill Rock Stars. TFO, playing without the services of their regular drummer, opened their stage to a cast of nearly ten talented friends and local musicians. A frenzy of musical chairing ensued but their set sounded fresher than ever amidst crumpled stage post-its on microphones, snap-crackle-pop instrument cable swapping, borrowed guitars and hints of audition fever. Ripping the hipness out of dance and post punk, TFO showed why they’ve been one of the Bay Area’s most infectious live acts to catch over the past year or so. Sincere cool is not easy to wield upon the skinny jean masses.
They Shoot Horses Dont They? followed with a rousing set of horn-induced, jagged indie rock, calling to mind the carnival rhythms of Philadelphia’s breakthrough freaks Man Man. Winning over the crowd halfway through their first song, the touring band was flooded with offers to crash on people’s floors by night’s end.
As reported a little while back on our site, The Fucking Ocean has completed a new 5 song EP to be released soon which was previewed during an interview on Western Addition Radio, which you can download here.
And lucky for you, they are playing two more shows, starting tonight:
Thursday, September 6th
w/ Help Yourself & DJ Adee Licious (All Men Are Evil Except My Girlfriend)
Friday, September 7th
w/ Meho Plaza, Mi Ami, and Late Young
Still a bit loose in the legs from the night before, I headed over on Wednesday to the Edinburgh Castle (coincidently booked these days by Marcella of TFO) to catch a trio of subdued, beautiful folk and pop psych acts: Lesser Lights, The Aerosols and Pancho Sanza. It had a been a few months since I ascended the stairs to the crown room of the castle, a venue which I feel epitomizes the DIY ethos of the city’s local music scene, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the sound and stage set-up completely revamped.
The folks at OUTTA SIGHT curated the evening’s roster, to provide attendees with a dose of handpicked live “indie/folk/psych”. One of the presenters is Raul Sanchez, whose semi-acoustic monthly Penny Arcade has graced the venues of the city for sometime now, featuring such alumni as Sugar & Gold, The Papercuts, Bart Davenport, Willow Willow and M. Zelaya of The Harbours. Lesser Lights, a.k.a. Nate Baker, opened the evening by the hushing the room completely with a breathtaking set of sparsely plucked tales inspired by 60s/70s unsung blue collar folk, narrating haunting travails of our nation’s young history. Baker’s vocals resonate like a vintage instrument of their own, imparting a sadness as rare as a hardened man’s remorse.
Pancho Sanza, featuring Patrick Abernethy (from the ashes of Beulah as well as a current member of Rogue Wave), followed with some songs from their eponymous EP released earlier this year. The group noticeably displayed a penchant for the harmonies and understated rhythms of early Brit folk, and also reminiscent at times of the less hokier side of Simon & Garfunkel.
Closing the evening were The Aerosols, who fittingly boosted their amps to the warmed up room for a crescendo of fuzzy pop psych tunes. An encore was demanded, but the modest gents declined. The band will be playing next month on October 26 at the Hemlock, with The Mantles and Bramble and Briar.
OUTTA SIGHT will take place every fourth Wednesday in the coming months at Edinburgh Castle.