Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Subpop Showcase (Part 1)

Subpop has long been a record label that I have had respect for. Since the early Nineties they have been a powerhouse in the indie rock world. So it was no surprise that this years CMJ showcase was one of the most anticipated shows. I felt that this year’s talent showed a lot of potential, however many of these bands sounded very similar. They all seem to be sharing a country indie rock sound. One that seem to rely on acoustic guitars and pedal steel to create its sound. Many of these bands seemed to lack real depth in their music. But the bands that were the most successful were the ones that weren’t limited to a new trend in indie rock. First up was Chad Vangaalen who is a singer songwriter that has elements of folk and blues in his music. Chad’s set was very impressive. Chad plays all of the instrument on his albums so I assumed he performed alone but the entire set was performed with the accompaniment of a drummer. Members of Rogue Wave also joined him at times. He also preformed a very inspired version of Bruce Springstein’s “Dancing in the Dark”. Download Clinically Dead from Chad’s newest album “Infiniheart”.
Next up was Holopaw They were by far the weakest of all the bands the nights bill. And although the set did get better this band lacked a sound all their own. They also lacked any really stage presence, which might have helped contribute to their very weak show. They also shared the indie country rock sound that was so prevalent in this showcase.
After Holopaw I began to worry that this showcase was going to be a let down but then I was quite pleased by The Fruit Bats set. Although the Fruit Bats shared a similar sound to other bands on this showcase they still managed to separate themselves from the rest. First starters they had a lot of stage presence and their lead singer often teased about all the people that were there to just see the Wolf Parade. He also commented that they hadn’t played NYC in 2 years which is a shame.
Fruit Bats
Fruit Bats Downloads
Lives of Crime
A Bit of Wind


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