Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Champagne, Girls, & Hearts

Ich trinke champers mit Herzfisch, sagt niddynoo...

I took yesterday's weather as a sign that it was finally time to purge the last of the summer backlog and get on with matters at hand. The day had started abysmally: suffocated by a smoky grey pall of clouds and drenched in the hard, cold rain that the Pacific Northwest does so well. By mid-morning I was convinced it'd never get truly light, and the subsequent fierce gritting of pea-hail that set off the car alarms outside seemed purely gratuitous. I was musing that summer was well and truly over, when the clouds and hail and rain were suddenly ripped off like a dirty bandage to reveal a newly healed blue sky and a defiantly bright sun.

So one more chance, then.

Lest you think from previous posts that the summer was spent in a hippy-folk haze, I'll have you know that I found time in my schedule for other popular beat combos, thank you very much. In late July I toodled down The Biltmore (a venue I like more in theory than in practice) to see The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, with whom I had fallen in love earlier in the year. I shan't wax prolific, but suffice to say that they were charming and lovely and wonderful. Their fuzzy dreampop washed off the stage and over the audience like frothy waves of happy ache and yearning, while the band members themselves were graciously sincere and seemed genuinely pleased to be playing to us. Big, warm hugs all round.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Young Adult Friction (buy here or e-here)

Then there were the opening bands. First up were TPOBPAH labelmates Champagne Socialists, who I mistrusted from the start. Several slightly awkward lads (one apparently of rather good Glaswegian gang Bricolage) strummed and drummed, while a singer with a passing resemblance to Amy Winehouse went through the motions in an uncomfortably am-dram stylee. Oh dear. So imagine my surprise when I downloaded their 'Teardrop Tattoo' and found that their meh stage presence seemed to have camouflaged a pop song that, while rough around the edges, was actually rather evocative and tweely catchy, what with its "woo-ooo-ooo-ooo-oohs" and all. Apparently in the last month or so they've decided to call themselves Neverever, should you be inclined to investigate further. I might be.

Champagne Socialists - Teardrop Tattoo (a 7-inch single for you here)

Next up we had Girls. No, not those kind - it wasn't that sort of a show. I'm talking about two fellows from San Francisco who spun some fine songs out of strands of dreampop, the 1960s, melancholy, bittersweetness, and shimmer. Truth be told, I was unimpressed at first listen. But as thes stood their ground and worked their magic, I was drawn in and found myself both liking it and wondering why I did, particularly since some of their songs did go on for a while. I guess it was all of those beautiful strands...

Girls - Hellhole Ratrace (debut album slated for release on 6 Oct and you can get it here)

Right, summer is now officially over.