Monday, January 12, 2009

Live: Quiet Loudly and Pet Ghost Project

When: 1/11
Where: Arlene's Grocery

Last night, I stopped by the Petting Zoo benefit show, the proceeds from which will help provide shelter and care for homeless animals. The Petting Zoo seems to be good people and they have good taste in music, so if you missed the show, you should check out the organization and maybe even make a donation here.

Quiet Loudly - Quiet Loudly is a three-piece band from Brooklyn. I've been aware of them for a while now - they are in the Gunfight! extended family (sharing a bass player), and I first heard their demo late last summer. Since then, the band has self-released a whole album. They sent me a copy with a really lovely note, but I've been too busy to give it a proper listen - which means last night was my first exposure to most of their new material.

And it's good news! Though the demo was decent, it didn't hold my attention, and I certainly didn't think of it as anything to write home about. But I must say, the newer material is promising! It rocks harder and the songs sound much more focused, but the band hasn't broken with their signature angular, experimental style.

Quiet Loudly

One complaint: Quiet Loudly needs to learn to edit themselves - it sounds like much of their writing comes by accidentally playing around on guitar instead of from some vision or unifying idea. That sort of jamming may sound spontaneous and cool, but it's not that great, because the whole comes out to be less than the sum of its parts - in other words, cool-sounding sections can add up to a pretty incoherent song.

However, the weak moments didn't define the show - the music's percussive rhythms, masterful blues-inflected guitar solos and awesome walking bass lines made the majority of the set engaging and fun. What's more, as I indicated, the newer songs have begun to address some of the band's biggest problems, so things look even brighter for the future. Even if this band hasn't quite got it down yet, they are original and talented and definitely worth checking out live.

Quiet Loudly MySpace

Pet Ghost Project - WTF? I've heard one of this band's albums and I was pretty much in love with it - tightly-constructed songs, amazing sounds, strong melodies - some maturity and editing was needed but the band sounded like one of the most promising lo-fi acts I've heard in a long time. I even put them on my list of bands to watch in 2009.

So, what the hell happened last night? That's not a rhetorical question, I really want an answer! The band had very serious pitch problems with both vocals and guitar, they fell out of sync, the music was rambling and hard to follow and the whole thing sounded like the bands I used to hear in high school - an amateur mush of early 90's influences. Yes, I know lo-fi is meant to be messy, but this was something else entirely. How can a band of four obviously talented musicians with a known repertoire of great songs put on a show like this?

I really don't know what to think. Maybe they were just having a bad night. I'll give them another try and report back, but for now, I'd say there are better ways to help animals than to listen to these guys.

Pet Ghost Project MySpace

No comments: