It felt weird leaving the house before 7:00 last night for a show in New Haven, but The Space is an all-ages spot so it actually matters if you get there before 8 o'clock. Even though The Space has been around for 7 years or so I'd never been there before, so I took some time to walk around the place, trying to stay out of other people's way (one girl pointed to a chair I was standing next to and said "Are you sitting here?", to which I replied "No, I'm standing over here").
Titles went on first, and since they hadn't played in about six months they eased through a really short set of all new songs, during which Brad (the singer) tried to stretch things out a bit by telling really dry stories in-between each song while the rest of the guys in the band laughed at him ("go on, you're doing a great job"). If you're thinking this sounds like my kind of entertainment, you're probably right. "Up With The Sun" was my favorite Ct. release of '08, and the next Titles album ("Dirt Bell") is already sounding like it's going to have even more great material; "Bottom of the Lake" and "Who to Hold", the last two songs of last night's set, were particularly stunning. A Titles song won't always have a rousing chorus, or a telegraphed crescendo, or even seem like a fully finished idea some of the time-- in fact, their slower songs seem to be getting even shorter-- but there always seem to be a point in their best songs where I start to marvel at what's going on, and then go back and try to figure out how it arrived at that point in the first place.
I like the King Tuff record alright, and the Happy Birthday song ("Girls FM") on the Sub Pop web site that everyone seems to have heard also, but two songs into his set last night and I started wandering off-- it was just ridiculously dumb. I was actually on the stairs on my way out the door, only the next song sounded friggin' great (I think it was "I Wanna Stay"), so I went back in. This time I stood at the back of the room, where the sound was fuller, and that seemed to solve the problem for a while. A part of me is willing to go to the mat for anything that resembles Rasperries-styled '70s pop-rock in a world full of Passion Pits, but not at the expense of putting up with someone else's lazy bullshit. Eventually I wandered off back to the stairs, and wouldn't you know the band started sounding great again, so I guess the whole point was that Happy Birthday sound really nice if there's stairs around.
Happy Birthday -
(these files are now listen-only)