Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Live: Jeff the Brotherhood, Dinowalrus, Sisters

When: 12/7
Where: Mercury Lounge

I'm almost getting caught up on my live reviews...

Sadly, I missed Coin Under Tongue, the first of four great bands to play Mercury Lounge last week Monday. When I arrived, Sisters were setting up the stage. I've said enough about Sisters to try to keep this short. Sisters are two guys of different heights who play noisy indie pop songs with exceptional melodies and youthful exuberance. Aaron Pfannebecker makes a really lot of noise with his guitar and Matt Conboy sounds like at least three drummers playing at once. They are endearingly awkward but also confrontational, and make the music our inner 90's-reared teenagers would make if they could play instruments that well. [MySpace]

Dinowalrus were up next. Pete Feigenbaum mentioned to me over e-mail after my last review that their new material is more "baggy" a la Happy Mondays. And watching this set with that in mind, I could definitely see the band turning towards more bobbing acid-house grooves. It's difficult to compare Dinowalrus to anyone, though, past or present. They are definitely doing their own thing. Masterful beats, noisy drones, sparkling guitars, bizarre blasts and electronic pulsing - the band covers a lot of ground, synthesizing a myriad of influences into a single, cohesive style. It's not easy music, but it's not unbearably challenging either - the beats and melodies are strong enough to translate the experimentalism into something easily head-nod-able and very certainly fun. [MySpace]

The infamous Jeff the Brotherhood headlined to a pretty big crowd. Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall play some of the best guitar rock around, using only three guitar strings and drum kit. Their heavy guitar riffs and great songwriting draw from psychedelic and grunge. With one foot in the late 60's and one in the early 90's, JtB are somehow still fully 2009.

Jeff the Brotherhood (photo from myspace.com)
Jeff the Brotherhood (photo by someone named Kahan, I think)

The Orrall brothers, like the other former members of adolescent punk outfit Be Your Own Pet, are children of the Nashville music industry, in this case, the sons of musician Robert Ellis Orrall. If I were them, I'd probably be sick of people pointing out my music pedigree, but it does help explain Jake and Jamin's commanding stage presence. Most musicians their age (early 20's), even when they consciously put on a great show, don't seem to fully step into the role of rock star as performer. Rock star as musician is great, but a concert is an experience that transcends just the notes played. Jake, with his slight 'stache, leather pants and pointed stare, cuts a memorable figure on stage without doing anything over the top. He pulls off a guitar hero pose or two while Jamin's relaxed smile balances the scene.

They may be young, but their old-school common sense and musical skill prove them more professional and mature than most indie rockers will ever be.

What the fuck am I talking about? Geez. Their music is fucking good. That's all needs be said. [MySpace]

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