Popeye's Garage finished off their six-month run with a couple of strong local bills last weekend, including Field Recordings, Ghost of Chance, Dead Wives, and Escalator on Friday. This was actually my second time seeing Dead Wives (a local Danbury band) at Popeye's Garage; the first time was at the "Everybody Gets Rich" show back in July, which might've been Dead Wives' first show ever, even though they've existed as a home-recording project for a while now. The first time I saw them, I thought to myself, "wow, these guys are a dead ringer for a lot of the mid-90's Danbury area bands" (Creature Did, Atlas, Nevertheless, and so forth). The second time around, some Sebadoh, Dino Jr., and Guided By Voices started to creep into the equation, thought that was mostly because I'd since had a chance to listen to some of the demos. And while in person Dead Wives might not exactly bowl anyone over just yet-- the singer/guitarist can play a bit, but has almost no discernible singing ability, and the drummer constantly overplays himself-- the demos are a lot better than I expected. The transparently-titled "Lofi Daze" might be the catchiest song I've heard from any Connecticut band all year, even though it was recorded in '07, and "Crash Landing" is about as close to classic, early Nevertheless as you can get. I'm posting my three favorite Dead Wives tracks here, but there are several more on the two demos I have that are just as good. If any of these tracks interest you at all, you can download the most recent Dead Wives demo, "Demon Priest", in its entirety right here.
As I'd said before, I was looking forward to my first chance at seeing Ghost of Chance live, since their CD has some pretty decent Lilys/Teenage Fanclub-type songs on it (see "Jennifer", posted below, which has a hook and a half), but I think I'll have to see them again in a different room to get a better impression. Layers of sound, two guitars always doing different things, hushed vocals buried a bit in the mix, etc. etc-- it's an approach that works fine on the CD, but in a live setting I found myself wanting for something to grab onto, and not getting it. I'm not writing them off just yet, though, because I'm pretty sure the problem was with my ears, and not with Ghost of Chance.
The Field Recordings have a new album coming out, finally, called "The Elastic Nostalgia"; the photo shoot for the album cover was yesterday, though I don't know how it came out (actually, it's next week-- well, whatever). You can hear one of the tracks from the album ("We Will Become Strangers Faster Now", probably the track I like the most so far) on SoundCloud right now, though who knows how long it'll stay up. Although I don't think anything will top the last time I saw them at Larry's in Danbury, or the CT Indie house show before the cops showed up, their set on Friday was a pretty good example of what this band can accomplish on stage, even if the between-song jokes were kept to a minimum, and I don't remember them playing "Fixed Points" at all. Sometimes I walk around, looking at the merch and stuff, and I miss things like that.
Escalator played last, and their set was actually my favorite one of the night. It was sorta funny to see how the crowd situation was the reverse of what it had been up to that point; for the first three bands, everyone stood against the back of the room, but when Escalator played, everyone there was standing right up against the band (Stefan even crowd-surfed once). I think most people expect Escalator to be doom or sludge, because they're a two-piece, but they're really not; some of their riffs are about as speed-metal as a genuine hardcore band can get, and all of their songs are heavy and punchy as fuck. There's a new recording in the can, I'm told-- recorded somewhere in Brooklyn or NYC if I remember correctly-- and I can't wait to hear it, because when it comes out, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a monster.
The Field Recordings -
Ghost of Chance -