Since the onset of our modern aggressive genres over 30 years ago, there has been an evolution within each one, a split of progression and regression. One approach consists of trying to be as brutish and simple as possible, while the other is based on the idea that you can make music that sounds intelligent while maintaining an aggressive sound. An example would be the split in British Punk, with one side going towards a Thrash-like style(as in bands like Discharge). During this same period of time, there was the birth of the Post-Punk movement, with bands such as Bauhaus and Joy Division. This divide has occurred many times over since the 1980’s, with Emo and Metallic Hardcore in the late 80’s & 90’s, and Metalcore and Melodic Hardcore in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Now a point of true change has been reached, with the harsher side heading in a Grindcore/Sludge direction, and the more mellow sound falling within the New Wave movement. The music that is coming from this genre certainly does crash down upon the listener like a wave – a wave of freshness. The bands within vary in style and sound, each group being honestly different from each other, yet still of the same thread.
One of the heaviest hitting bands within this movement is La Dispute. With a style that is unique, they have completely redefined what this music can be. Like an artist out of the Dada movement from the early 1900’s, all the rules have been thrown out the window; everything is accepted and reinvented. What we are dealing with here isn’t something that a bunch of hipsters ripped off from She and Him and called new, it’s actually different. Many influences exist in this band, but there is not a thing that can be pinpointed specifically.
Onto the show!
Before I even made it to the venue, I was informed that it was already sold out (which to me was a surprise, since they’re not a widely known band). I suppose that since the last time they came through with Thrice, they gathered many more fans the night of that show. As I walked into the Masquerade, I saw the room was packed from wall to wall with people, who were squeezing into any spot available. It was definitely a sold out show.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it in time to catch Sainthood Reps, which I certainly wasn’t happy about, being that I was interested in checking them out. I did, on the other hand, make it just in time to catch All Get Out right before they got into their set. All Get Out’s music rang with sounds of Punk and Americana, carrying a deep amount of soul that brings a person to revert back to primal urges and tear the floor up with the kid that resides in everyone. At least that kid should be in everyone; otherwise you might need to check your pulse. When the stage wasn’t blocked by people jumping about, crowd surfing, and stage diving, you could observe the band themselves essentially doing the same on stage with definite honesty and heart. It’s something that tends to get overlooked by people outside the scene.
After watching All Get Out and wandering around for a bit, I found myself waiting on the side for Balance and Composure to finish setting up. As each moment passed I felt the pressure of the growing crowd behind me build and push up against me a little bit more. I barely noticed the shifting crowd, for I was placing all of my concentration onto the stage before me. The band strummed into the night with their typical airy chords, which carry the listener to a different state of mind. They followed through with agonized yelps and strongly structured music, as the set went on with songs like ‘Progress, Progress’ and ‘Separation’ showing their talent even in this young stage of their career. When comparing this night to when I saw them over a year ago, they have definitely grown as a group, and seem to be much more comfortable with each other than they were back then. Balance and Composure still has a long road ahead of them, but the journey should be quite rewarding.
As the night drew to a close, people stood about waiting with an anticipation I had never seen for a band of La Dispute’s stature. Once they finally darkened the room and the band took their place, the room exploded with the satisfaction of a kid on Christmas morning. La Dispute played in a way that was so unusual and brilliant, it was as if one were watching a desperate painter put his heart and soul into his final painting. Each song pushed harder and brought out even more emotion than the last, forcing the whole room to build up more and more with intensity. The continual swirl of crowd-surfing and moshing flowed like the ocean in a hurricane. This was something pure, something that screamed with the passion of years past, before the alternative scenes were turned into something shallow and used.
What happened was not just a show, but was art in the making, right before our eyes. La Dispute is more than just music; they inject a sense of art into a live, heartfelt experience. If this is where we are going with music, than I couldn’t be happier.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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