Thursday, June 5th, 2008
Photo by Frank Yang
It’d been almost exactly a month since I’d last attended a proper club show – astonishing, I know – so it’s not surprising that rolling into the El Mocambo on Tuesday night felt a bit unfamiliar. Thankfully, there were some familiar faces on the bill to ease the transition back into the world of live music just a bit.
Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends have become favourites of mine over the last few months, from their Toronto debut last October through their SxSW Hot Freaks appearance and the recent release of their self-titled album, so though I missed their visit in March opening for Nada Surf, I was pleased for the opportunity to see them play again.
The other times I’d seen them play, they’d come across as scorching but on this night, whether deliberately or not, they came across as more of a smoulder. Rather than fill the set with their more immediate, rocking material they kept it rather mid-tempo with a surprising amount of new material and establishing themselves as probably the only band on the planet to cover Think Tank-era Blur. As an established fan, it was nice to hear the new material and “Monkey Brains”, which is on their MySpace in demo form and which was a highlight last year at the Drake, continues to sound better each time out. But as far as winning new fans over – and I’ve seen people slackjawed after their shows – I don’t think this was necessarily them putting their best foot forward.
Conversely, I came to Sea Wolf with considerably lower expectations – I’m partial to their sound but their debut full-length Leaves In The River and past live shows have failed to fully engage me. But sometime between last June and now, they’ve figured out a key ingredient to rectifying that – an ass-kicking drummer. They’ve changed stickmen since last time and the extra volume and energy the new guy brought to the kit made a world of difference, giving Alex James Church’s compositions – finely crafted and orchestrated but rather stiff folk rock – some much-needed swing. The looser and louder Sea Wolf weren’t a revelation but a definite improvement and enough to move them up a good number of rungs in my estimation.
Photos: Sea Wolf, The Jealous Girlfriends @ The El Mocambo – June 3, 2008
MP3: Sea Wolf – “You’re A Wolf”
MP3: Sea Wolf – “The Garden That You Planted”
MP3: The Jealous Girlfriends – “Roboxulla”
Video: Sea Wolf – “You’re A Wolf”
Video: The Jealous Girlfriends – “How Now”
MySpace: Sea Wolf
VBS visits Lightspeed Champion and Handsome Furs in their rehearsal spaces, video camera in hand. Lightspeed Champion are at Lee’s Palace next Wednesday night – June 11 – and Handsome Furs are there on August 22.
eye talks to Death Cab For Cutie and previews their show at Olympic Island this Saturday, while Minnesota Public Radio has the band in their studios for a session which is available to stream or download. The Ottawa Citizen, Hour.ca, The Monreal Gazette, Kansas City Star and Seattle Weekly also talk to various band members about various topics.
Video: Rogue Wave – “Chicago x 12”
And also coming out of Minnesota with a radio session are Shearwater, who stopped in at the University of Minnesota’s Radio K to record some tracks from their just-released and Pitchfork 8.0-ed new album Rook. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on June 23.
Stream: My Morning Jacket / Evil Urges
Erase Errata will be at Sneaky Dee’s on July 7.