Dntel at the Rickshaw Stop, 8/3/11

On Wednesday, The Rickshaw Stop hosted a great bedroom pop triple bill: DNTEL, the One AM Radio and Geotic.

I arrived halfway through the ambient guitar work of Geotic, the ambient side project of Will Wiesenfeld from Baths. At first I didn’t even realize that Will was performing. As I approached the front of the crowded venue I discovered him seated alone washed in a haze of pale purple and pink on the small stage. The dreamy riffs backed by a wash of ocean sounds were soothingly dreamy. His tenderly plucked guitar work kept my interest throughout.

The act I enjoyed the most was One AM Radio. I’ve been listening to their recent release, “Heaven Is Attached By A Slender Thread” for the past few weeks. I’m always intrigued to see one-man bedroom pop come to life in a live context with multiple musicians. I wasn’t disappointed on Wednesday night. Composer and songwriter Hrishikesh Hirway has brought guitarist Scott Leahy and Keybordist Fontaine Cole into the fold. The three musicians create a delicate yet propulsive sounscape. The energy and mood of the music is what I find intriguing. It’s calming in an Album Leaf kind of was but with just enough beat that you find yourself gently swaying and bouncing along.

The live One AM Radio experience was completed by the visuals projected behind the band. It was a slow and strange sequence of dreamy young actresses from an obscure 60’s film. They brooded (but never spoke) on the screen behind. When I asked Hrishikesh about the visuals after the set, he told me of his dedicated editing efforts to remove all traces of dialog from the clips.

The headliner of the trio of bands, DNTEL, took the stage promptly at 11. As everyone in attendance was aware, DNTEL is the long-time solo project of Jimmy Tamborello, a.k.a. half of The Postal Service. DNTEL’s set was mostly instrumental on Wednesday, but the highlights for me were the melodic songs with vocals provided by Hrishikesh. My favorite piece was a (dare I say) “dreamy” version of “The is the Dream of Evan and Chan.” As any one-man laptop band knows, it’s hard to keep an audience engaged while clicking on a laptop trackpad, especially with instrumental tracks. I would have loved to have seen even more live vocals in the set. Perhaps Fontaine from One AM Radio could be enlisted to do vocals on “Rock My Boat” or “Roll On.”

There seemed to be a great camaraderie betwen all the artists. Hrishikesh organized a series of remixes from all three bands that are being made available for show attendees in a very green way. Instead of a CD or LP pressing, each person in attendance got a beautifully designed wristband with a url to download the EP. From what I understand, the three bands are not only touring together but also traveling together in the same mini-van as they embark on their month long tour. Having few band members and even fewer instruments does have its perks on occasion, and this is one of those times. I wish them well.

And on a final note, each time I meet a band, I always try to ask them about a non-profit cause that is dear to their heart. Both One AM Radio and Geotic would love for you to find out more about the Pablove Foundation. It’s a non-profit organization fighting kids’ cancer with love.

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