This Sunday KEXP is sponsoring the next in FRICTION‘s monthly series of showcases featuring the best up-and-coming bands in the New York area and around the world. From the U.K. comes a band you’ve heard plenty on this station, These New Puritans, on their first U.S. tour. Rounding out the bill are Brooklyn acts School of Seven Bells and Effi Briest, with Anicet spinning between sets. Go here for more information, MP3’s from the bands, and links to tickets.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Didn’t FRICTION just have a fantastic showcase last week?” Yes! Athens band Dark Meat was joined by Ex Models and The Naked Heroes for a highly memorable evening recounted here by Sheryl Witlen:
Female drummers — they help change the face of music and inspire lady music lovers everywhere. Not only do they climb on stage, most of the time backing up their male bandmates, but then they steal the show with pure sass and spitfire. Merica Moynihan, one half of The Naked Heroes, is a swirling redheaded blur barely visible between the skillful flicks of her long 70’s styled and her flailing, drum bashing arms. Combining sensuality and skill, Merica is one fierce force who captivated all of us in attendance at Williamsburg Music Hall for the latest edition of the FRICTION music series. The other half of The Naked Heroes, George Michael Jackson, regained his share of the stage back with his stage banter, exhibitionist displays (the two tossed their shirts two songs in) and bleeding vocals. Together, they make their musical parents proud, rivaling The Black Keys or Black Sabbath, and at one point towards the end of their performance they belted out a stellar AC/DC cover that could have brought tears to even the most burly of biker men. Through deep soaked blues rhythms and touchingly controlled guitar streams, theirs was a set that surged with energy and turbulence. If you enjoy absolute chaos from a band that only has two members to its name, then you are in for an experience when it comes to The Naked Heroes. Just watch out for Merica — she’s as vivacious as they come.
Next up were locals Ex Models. In each FRICTION showcase, there is always one band that just flat out rocks. There is no other way to describe what you are hearing and seeing as you search for the ear plugs you discarded in between sets. A certain beauty can be found while listening to bands that generate sounds like Ex Models do — when the room is so loud you have to concentrate to find your own pulse over that of the band’s. Captured by their intensity, I was stunned. Good music is supposed to have this effect, and through aggressive set progression and fierce dedication to their instruments, Ex Models have certainly crafted their form in the hopes of making you one of their own. Brothers Shahin and Shahyar Motia joined forces straight out of college and struck the Brooklyn scene with their songs about philosophy and sex, all the while garnering interest from Ac Fu Records, comparisons to David Byrne, and labels such as the “new wave of no wave.” Joined by Zach Lehrhoff and Jake Feidler, the brothers continue to push their music into new genres creating a counter culture of rock music in New York much like Team Robespierre and The Heavy Creatures. Active on the local scene, the members of Ex Models have their hands in various other projects but unite to create sounds of pure disintegration and madness.
Dark Meat! It is hard to say their name without feeling immediately embraced by happiness and excitement. Dark Meat — this seventeen piece ensemble of complete musical madness does Athens, Georgia, right proud. As I was watching this brood of merrymakers dish out their deal, it struck me that this is what happens when you have parents from the 70’s and 80’s who exert a major influence on what their offspring listened to. Independent spirits each, Dark Meat is comprised of so many different personalities on stage that it was hard to decide who to watch. At one point in the set, a drummer ran into the middle of the venue floor and sat down with and started pounding out beats from his post. Another member trotted through the audience with a massive horn instrument, weaving and dodging dancers with grace and style. It was a show meant to be played in a field in the middle of a hot summer’s day. With their cheeks smeared with swashes of pastel colors and glitter, Dark Meat made me think of a modern day production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which the players are keeping a delicious secret from the audience. The room was transformed into a Renaissance festival with people dancing and clapping with abandon. That night, Williamsburg became a forgotten locale and we were all on Dark Meat’s territory. My favorite song of theirs was touchingly introduced as “a lullaby for ghosts” and caused everyone to sit down on the floor and listen during this enchanting moment — at least before the delicate singing dissolved into a noisy gathering once again and the spell was broken. For the encore, Michael and Merica from The Naked Heroes joined the band on stage for a foot stomping closer that left the audience beaming with pleasure.