Tonight, the Chapel will play host to an excellent trio of acts, each brilliant in their own way: Foxtails Brigade, Everyone Is Dirty, and Spooky Mansion. All three bands are Bay Area locals, and all three have steered their art into striking new territory.
Fronted by the silken-voiced Laura Weinbach, Foxtails Brigade concocts an idiosyncratic blend of genres that hovers somewhere between twee indie pop, lounge singing, carnival music, and however you might pin down acts like Reverie Sound Revue, Panda Bear, and Merrill Garbus’s tUnE-yArDs.
Like those bands, Foxtails Brigade makes use of angular, unexpected intervals and vertiginous shifts in feel and composition. Their recent self-titled LP is rife with twinkling melodies of xylophone and picked guitar, strata of synthesizer filling out space within the songs. Trumpets, violins, and all manner of sound effects are tossed in like dashes of spice; all beats and instrumentation hit with laser-precise timing. The effect is a loopy blend of carnival-esque Alice in Wonderland strangeness — Architecture In Helsinki in collision with Dirty Projectors and the Sea and Cake. Weinbach’s voice is the defining feature, however; her impressive range and liquid-smooth timbre are seriously impressive, and her vocals are rightly front and center in the mix.
Everyone Is Dirty features similarly high-powered vocals, though set in a very different context. A blistering wall of guitars and full-throated drumming makes for a sound that is refreshingly, unabashedly rock and roll, mixing some elements of shoegaze and post-rock with traditional wailing solos and enormous riffs. They’re reminiscent of beloved rockers like Sleater-Kinney and Wolf Alice. On some tracks, frontwoman Sivan Lioncub adds soaring violin beneath her formidable vocals, tempering a very modern-rock sound with post-rocky flourishes. The band has synthesized the best of its influences: shoegaze, riot grrl, and grunge, among others. But Everyone Is Dirty are far from a one-trick-act. Slower and lighter songs like “Lost Thing” and “Wax Mannequin Mode” are standout tracks, featuring stellar songwriting. Their first LP, the excellent Dying Is Fun, came out in 2014, followed by a number of singles. A new LP, My Neon’s Dead, is slated to come out in September.
A bit on the newer side, Spooky Mansion has put out a 2016 self-titled EP followed by a few more recent singles. Despite being in the early stages of their career, they already have a captivating original sound, remarkable for its seamless mingling of the classic and modern. Spooky Mansion can veer from highly danceable sections featuring pleading, James Brown-style barks of exuberant funk crooning to vocal sections that inhabit a space not at all unlike hip-hop or spoken word. The whole assemblage drifts over groove-heavy, swinging drums locked in with lively clean guitar and vintage keyboard tones. Sometimes, the vocals subside and the instruments are allowed to take over and lift the songs to new heights, freeing the mind and demanding the listener launch uncontrollably into dance. Or, elsewhere, they may evoke languid summer nights, aloof and sedate, the late-night hours after the party has wound down to the core group of friends. Their later singles and a recent EP seem to suggest that they’re beginning to incorporate more electronic aspects, adding a further twist to their already unique stylings.
These bands are all local, and every one of them is, in their own way, pushing the boundaries of the Bay Area’s music scene. Seeing them at a spacious-yet-intimate venue like the Chapel is bound to be a special experience — support your local scene, and don’t miss out on some of the most interesting sonic innovators in the Bay.
Foxtails Brigade, Everyone Is Dirty, Spooky Mansion
August 2, 2017