Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart, The Depreciation Guild, Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Horseshoe Tavern (September 7, 2009)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon

A not-sold-out-but-healthy crowd came out this past Labour Day Monday for a New York City triple-header featuring The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, The Depreciation Guild, and Cymbals Eat Guitars. Toronto-loving PoBPaH have rolled through several times over the last 8 months [has it been 3 times?] but this time came promoting their recently released "Higher Than The Stars" EP. Pains drummer Kurt Feldman's band The Depreciation Guild are an obvious opener for PoBPaH as they've done on previous occasions. Having seen PoBPaH and TDG at their debut Toronto performance at Lee's Palace back in February 2009, I already knew what to expect from them, but was looking forward to seeing Cymbals Eat Guitars after being pleasantly intrigued by some of their MySpace samples.

It was Cymbals Eat Guitars who opened the night with a small crowd on hand although the crowd was at a distance from the stage when I'd entered the venue. Sporting a sound that from my musical frame of reference alternated between the fractured, askew guitar pop of Pavement and the heavier, atonal guitar crunch of Archers of Loaf, the crowd seemed a bit unsure at first but eventually patrons made their way closer to the stage. Perhaps with the added confidence of the crowd being closer to the stage, or maybe just by coincidence, the material and melodies just seemed that much stronger. Much credit to chief songwriter and vocalist Joseph D'Agostino whose gritty vocals and squall-filled guitar playing were exceptional. Their debut album "Why There Are Mountains" was released independently this year and has been picking up its share of buzz.

It's somewhat redundant I think to review TDG's and PoBPaH's sets even if both bands came supporting new product - The Depreciation Guild came promoting their new seven-inch / digital-download single "Dream About Me" and as I'd mentioned above PoBPaH have a new EP. As "genre" bands - the indiepop-shoegaze sound of PoBPaH and the more thoroughly entrenched shoegaze sound of TDG - they're about as musically good and as enjoyable as they're gonna be as long as your a fan of those genres. TDG's set continues to utilize a video projection cast against a white backdrop behind the drummer showing various colourful square patterns as if an Atari video game system had just gone on the fritz. TDG were quite upfront with their influences with tracks echoing the melodic guitar bombast and beats of My Bloody Valentines' "Soon" and the more atmospheric guitar sounds of Cocteau Twins.

PoBPaH seemed a little more mellow this time around. While their Toronto debut at Lee's Palace back in February had a little more rock crunch in the guitars, their Labour Day set seemed closer in sound to their album, with the guitars and vocals coming through with more dreamy effect. "Young Adult Friction" for me remains their best song to date(the alternating boy/girl vocals and the song's melodic urgency echoing the best indiepop songs I've ever heard) so it was a little surprising for me that they'd pull that song out as their second song rather than close their set with it or play it during the encore. In terms of stage presence, their book-ish quality was apparent though I wish they had a little more to say between songs - although keyboardist Peggy Wang did get in a good one in when she thanked the crowd for coming out on Labour Day and rationalizing that at least we didn't have to hang out with our parents.

Photos: The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart, The Depreciation Guild, Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Horseshoe Tavern (September 7, 2009)
MySpace: The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart
MySpace: The Depreciation Guild
MySpace: Cymbals Eat Guitars

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