Friday, January 16, 2009

Live: Coyote Eyes

When: 1/15
Where: Vanishing Point

I went out last night with the intention of checking in on El Jezel, a band I haven't heard since I started this site (and consequently have never had a chance to write up), but when I got to the show, everything seemed to be running about an hour and a half behind schedule, and since I have a job that requires me to wake up in the mornings, I had to leave before El Jezel took the stage.

It had been a long trek (stupid subway problems) and I was pretty bummed - but the night was saved when the next band took the stage. They are called Coyote Eyes, and I'd never heard of them before. It was a happy discovery!

Coyote Eyes are not the greatest thing since sliced bread, they aren't even particularly innovative or unique. But that doesn't matter, because they are, quite simply, a damn good listen. Their fragmented rock has catchy hooks and melodies, but it stays interesting and edgy through controlled forays out of traditional scales. Using dissonance in pop music is one of my favorite indie rock tricks when it's done right - that is, when it doesn't sound accidental or random - and Coyote Eyes are one of the few contemporary bands I've heard pull it off in this style, this well.

Without a doubt, my favorite songs were those sung by bassist Marta. She has an exceptional voice and brilliant melodies. Guitarist Manny Nomikos shares lead vocal duties and his songs, while not really bad, were certainly far less memorable. His more enjoyable contribution to the music came from his guitar parts - and what I kept noticing about those was his unusual and satisfying approach to rhythm. It wasn't that the rhythms were particularly complex, it's that they were interesting, well-conceived and made use not only the moments of noise but also the moments of empty space.

My one big complaint - the songs were almost all too long for the accompanying ideas. Like so many bands, Coyote Eyes seemed nervous that we might overlook something, but I'd rather overlook a great part than have that part driven into the ground from too much repetition. The band is new though, and with time, they may learn to edit themselves more carefully. And even if they don't, I'd still like them - they've got a lot of heart and a lot of good ideas and they are worth checking out next time you get a chance!

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