[The preview for this review can be found here.]
Ech, I know this is late, but I’m still catching up on the uphill backlog. So, I did make it out to the The Pains of Being Pure at Heart concert Upstairs at The Middle East a couple of weeks ago. I caught two of the other bands, The Depreciation Guild and Pants Yell!. The one I had been looking forward to was The Depreciation Guild and, as often happens, they eschewed the dreamier, layered electronics of their recordings for a more typical guitar-centric live set. The newer songs they played seemed to bring out this kind of blander U2-ish poppy side which I really wasn’t into, and their background projection, comprised of flashing squares of color, quickly grew tedious. But I still want to go back and listen to their album, which they have as a free download on their website.
And, as seems to also be happening often, the band that I hadn’t particularly cared for before the show was the one of the two openers I saw that I liked better live. Pants Yell! are from Cambridge and their songs are fairly light-hearted explorations in angst, a la Morrissey. The songs and hooks were catchy, although they did have a tendency to repeat their hooks verbatim a bit too often. But this may have just been due to the lack of supporting instruments, e.g. trumpet, that appear on the recordings. A laid-back and enjoyable set, despite what I believe on American Idol they call “pitchy” vocals, not to mention a guitar that could’ve been a bit more carefully tuned. Although I suppose both did add to the group’s charm, not unlike that charming man Morrissey’s perpetually sharp vocals. 😉
Similarly, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart also suffered from obviously uncentered vocals, although the boyish enthusiasm of the lead singer was also charming, and somewhat refreshing compared to the aloof moroseness one often encounters with too-cool-for-school indie bands. Their set was high energy, nice and new wave-y, and overall as enjoyable as their recordings. Speaking of which, they just put out their first album this month, and it looks like a good buzz has been developing. You can download a couple of mp3s from their official site and a couple other tracks on their MySpace page. And if you’re interested, here’s an interview from last December on Stereogum.com. Oh, and BrooklynVegan has some pics from a show in November if you need something to post over your bed. 😉