Tonight: Two Door Cinema Club + Bad Veins + Milk Carton Kids + Cults + More

livenation_1105_TwoDoorCinemaClub_eFlyerYeah, I realize it’s a mere, lowly Tuesday, of all things (November 5th, to be precise), but damn, looking at the calendar for this evening, my jaw just drops. There is a nice-sized pile of excellent stuff happening this evening; here’s what you should be doing:

Two Door Cinema Club/St. Lucia/Bad Veins @ Bayou Music Center
Two Door Cinema Club @ Cactus Music (6PM)

This one edges its way up to the top just barely, mostly by virtue of being two awesome bands I love, rather than one. Free Press Summer Fest 2012 was my introduction to both Two Door Cinema Club and Bad Veins, believe it or not, and I’ve been a huge, huge fan ever since.

For the first of the two, I’d only heard a teensy bit of Irish band TDCC before seeing them live and was amazed at how massive and ridiculously catchy the music was; it’s great in recorded form, but honestly, it fares best in a big, roomy setting, with lots of space for the sounds to expand and reverberate. Musically speaking, they’re one of only a couple of bands I can think of who truly, truly grabbed hold of the electro-pop blueprint set by The Postal Service and then actually did something new with it, and I defy anybody to listen to “Undercover Martyn” and not find themselves grinning like an idiot. I’m somewhat partial to the band’s 2010 release Tourist History, but last year’s Beacon is pretty great, as well…

Then there’s Bad Veins, a two-man-band from Cincinnati that manages to craft these ridiculously beautiful, intricate pop songs that are uplifting and painfully bitter at the same time, infusing them with a desperate kind of energy that — again — really comes out once frontman Ben Davis is flailing and contorting himself across the stage. The songs are layered beyond belief, to the point where you’d think they’d be un-performable live, but Davis and his cohort (newish drummer Jake Bonta, who replaced the drummer playing with him at FPSF 2012, Sebastien Schultz) pull it off, thanks in part to the various gadgets and instruments thrown around the stage.

Sadly, I didn’t get a hold of Bad Veins’ 2012 release, The Mess We’ve Made, ’til midway through this year, or it would’ve lunged up to the top of my personal top-ten for last year. And it still isn’t as awesome as seeing the music performed live…

e55cd7fe59242fc443e3c558fb75a063The Milk Carton Kids/Sean Rowe @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
There are a whole lot of pretenders out there these days to the soft-voiced-yet-sincere legacy of Simon & Garfunkel, it’s true, but trust me on this: they’re all lame.

Well, all but one, anyway. That one lone duo that stands above the crowds is Los Angeles’s The Milk Carton Kids, who fellow SCR scribe/photographer Jason Smith has been raving about for a while now, and with very, very good reason. The pair’s most recent effort, this year’s The Ash & Clay is delicate and gorgeous, fragile and soft but still somehow powerful, in that same way that the Simon & Garfunkel once were.

Beyond that comparison, though, there’s a dusty, less-citified rootsiness to the music, bringing in hints of Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams, and David Rodriguez, all of whom have traveled down far more rustic roads than the aforementioned duo ever did. Seeing these guys play on the Mucky Duck stage, with that awesome quiet the place tends to have, promising to be freaking magical.

Cults/Sacco/Mood Rings @ Fitzgerald’s
Last of the bunch is tonight’s show up at Fitzgerald’s with retro-pop outfit Cults; I’m coming late to the party on this one, it’s true, but I’m now fully into it, head-over-heels for Brian Oblivion‘s woozy, Spectoresque guitars and rhythms and Madeline Follin‘s otherworldly, Freda Payne-meets-Björk voice. If you take a step back and squint, the duo (again with the “pair” bands tonight; the hell?) brings together elements of The Raveonettes and Goldfrapp, but they shake things up with a heavy dose of dreampop haziness and some truly funky soul. I’ve only given Cults’ new album Static a few listens so far, but holy fuck is it good.

Runners-Up:
Ryan Scroggins & The Trenchtown Texans @ The Continental Club
RVIVR/Stay at Home Mom/Kosé/Tom Grrrl @ East Side Social Center (8-11:30PM)


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