I don’t get out to see live music as often as I used to; children are wonderful, as well as exceedingly time-, energy-, and money-consuming. But live performance is where a song breathes.

So we’ll do a quick double-bill at home tonight, what do you guys think?

Night Beds, from Nashville, put on a good show. I can say that with confidence, since I actually managed to get out to see them recently, and it was a lovely evening.

Improbably-named lead singer Winston Yellen has a formidable set of pipes; his keening falsetto reminds me of Ryan Adams in full-on sad bastard mode (though he looks more like Billy Riggins). The band’s music was a sort of pillowy ambient country that reminded me a little of Japancakes. It was an appreciative and invested crowd; you could’ve heard a pin drop at those points when the musicians wanted you to.


At the other extreme, all-female UK band Savages have gained a reputation as a ferocious live act. I have not seen them play in person, but from watching this clip I can tell you that they are TIGHT (it’s apparent that they have put in a lot of practice hours), they play with passion, and they are clearly influenced by/emulating some of my favorite bands of all time – not just the Bunnymen/Banshees/Joy Division/early U2, but maybe even a pinch of Sleater-Kinney. Regarding their album Silence Yourself, I do wish there were more hooks in something so heavily-indebted, but maybe next record:

Seen (or played) any good shows recently?


Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.


  1. Hmm, will have to check these out later, dealing with a sick little dog right now.

  2. I liked the first one, smooth and smokey like a lot of the stuff coming out of Nashville these days. The second one, though… I started out thinking, eh, I’ve heard this, and then the chorus got me. Look like they’d be fun to see.

    • Yeah, the album is definitely very derivative (and 10 years too late for the *last* post-punk revival), but the word on the street has been “see them live” and I can see why.

      The bassist looks so ridiculously mellow compared to the others’ intensity…eyes closed, off in her own world, chewin’ some gum, but still rockin’ it.

  3. This has been a great year for concerts in my area that I really wanted to see. Unfortunately, circumstances did not work out for me to actually be able to attend. I missed Opeth (who I had seen before), Steven Wilson (who is at the top of my “must-see” list), and Two Gallants, who played in Orlando while I was out of town on vacation. Bands really do not like touring in Florida, since it goes nowhere. The exception seems to be bands coming over from Europe or getting ready to head that way.

  4. i’ve missed so many good shows this year it’s depressing to even consider. the future is murder.

    savages is pretty good – the bass player is really good, and the drummer is tight – but something about her vocals kinda annoy me. they kinda remind me of a place to bury strangers, though obviously a bit less obnoxiously noisy. similar dna, though, obvs.

    • RE: the vox – That vibrato can be a deal-breaker for many. I know people who just couldn’t take Sleater-Kinney for that reason. It’s maybe sort of the female version of yarbling.

      If I were going to criticize any of the members, it would be the drummer…lotta wasted energy/motion there in her left hand. But it *looks* super-cool and it feels very satisfying to whack at a drum that way, and she’s keeping the beat, so it’d just be nitpicking.

      Guitarist definitely takes home the “technically coolest” award. No muss, no fuss, gettin’ the noise in with maximum efficiency and elegance – she even manages to keep her face mostly shadowed for extra “mysterious” points.

      • i do admire their commitment to the visual starkness. it’s cool.

        and yeah the drummer’s a bit showy but only in the context of post-post-postpunk.

        i’ll see what the wife thinks. she’s more of an interpol (cool) / british sea power (bleeaarrghhh) kinda person when it comes to this stuff.

        • For a moment, despite the context, I didn’t realize that “British Sea Power” was a band (though I think I may have seen them at sxsw a few years ago), and I was thinking, “Wow, that’s a really strange thing for someone to be into. What, is she a naval historian or something?”

          • yeah she’s big into law enforcement and colonialism. makes shopping for the holidays a total pain in the ass though. it’s all handcuffs and carronades.

          • I actually liked some BSP – there was a song on the first one that I really liked:

            “God help us if the radiation leaks
            God help us if nobody knows for weeks”

            Plus the album cover looks like a scholarly tome: The Decline of British Sea Power.

          • OK, I’m with dhex on this one. I’d rather read a Patrick O’Brian novel.

            I do kinda like Interpol, but there times when that dude’s voice gets on my nerves after a while, so I can only listen to them every now and then. Mostly when they pop up on a Pandora station.

          • BSP are not an everyday thing for me (I only have two of their albums) but there’s some good stuff there, even if they’ve never quite lived up their promise.

            I think it has to do with your tolerance levels for British theatrical eccentricity – the first album came across at points like a Bunnymen tribute, so that sucked me right in.

          • And the first two Interpol are good too. The second one is less consistent but its highs are maybe even higher than the debut.

            The third one is pretty weak, though “No I In Threesome” transcends its hilarious title to become something actually affecting – a narrator who wants to save a failing relationship so badly that the title’s threesome isn’t some louche fantasy, but is actually a desperate last attempt at “connection via distraction”; it’s not “set aside your inhibitions” so much as it’s “set aside all the baggage & resentment that we’ve built up between us and let’s not fight for just a few hours”.

            The fact that we know (and probably so does the narrator) that this is nearly 100% certain to be a doomed effort, somehow makes it all the more poignant.

            Which is a weird emotion to get out of a song with that title.

          • turn on the bright lights is one of my favorite albums. i can’t even begin to care how much of a joy division tribute it is. (it’s a fair amount, both vocally and with the focus on the basslines)

            antics is a pretty good album. your love to admire is not particularly bad, but not particularly good either. the last one, the self-titled album, is actually quite good.

            banks’ second solo album is dang great, oddly enough, even if the production is kinda cutesy. he’s kind of a stupid lyricist in that he verges on nonsense a good 90% of the time, but it’s extremely evocative, even sexy, nonsense.

          • Banks gets a lot of grief for his lyrics, but I like them for the same reason I like Bernard Sumner’s – because they are unexpected and sort of clumsy/weird/nonsensical, they make you laugh and pay attention (and they are totally fun to sing), and so they are memorable.

            I never listened to the s/t 4th Interpol but I see I have it, so I will play it now.

            I liked the “Julian Plenti” stuff I heard – I have 3 tracks off Is Skyscraper. I thought they showed a lot of promise.

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