So I didn’t make it to the Crystal Stilts or the +/- shows, but I did wind up at The Plough and Stars last week to see this band originally from Rhode Island that M likes called Scarce. (The photo above is from a previous show from this year.) The band has an interesting history involving a near-fatal brain hemorrhage, which you can read about here. That recounting ends with their breakup, but on their MySpace page you can find more information about how they got back together.
They had a show at T.T.’s a couple weeks ago that I missed, but the show at The Plough and Stars, while probably an anomalous introduction to the group (being acoustic and sans drums), was quite enjoyable. In their acoustic incarnation Chick Graning’s voice contributes a lot to my feeling that the group reminds me of Archers of Loaf’s Eric Bachmann’s subsequent bluesy band Crooked Fingers. There’s also a bit of Frank Black’s solo sound (also bluesy) mixed in. On their album, however, the group rocks much harder, so I think the acoustic sound is rather a separate beast.
Either way, though, I’ve been enjoying what I’ve heard. At the show I saw, the duo (which includes Joyce Raskin on bass and pretty much equally-divided vocals) were clearly having fun, and the whole set had a nice, relaxed feeling. The chord progressions have a nice amount of surprises thrown in that keep the songs feeling fresh, and the duo’s vocals work nicely together. After they finished they took a break and then came back with a short set of older songs. Highlights among the newer songs were “The Hurricane” and “Between My Teeth” (neither of which have been recorded yet, alas), and “Ocean Blue”, a song that Raskin supplied yearning, almost chanteuse-y vocals to. Of the older songs one that particularly stood out was “Sense Of Quickness” from their first album. If you’re looking for a CD they’ve got some for sale on their MySpace page and some mp3s on Amazon.
I’m looking forward to seeing the group again, acoustic or not, although it seems they’re going to be taking some time off to record their new album. Also have really been getting to like the shows at The P&S, which are small but nice and laid-back and clearly for fans of good music instead of fans of whatever trendy band happens to be in town. Will be trying to get myself over there more in the coming months.