August 10, 2010

Review: Cave | Pure Moods

Cave -- Pure Moods[We are pleased to welcome to these electronic pages disc jockey extraordinaire and man-about-town Jeff Breeze. Mr. Breeze truly needs no introduction, so we'll just plug his fine local music program on WMBR and ice cream blog and get out of the way. -- Ed.]

The roads that stretch across the Midwest do so on a more continental scale than those that wind through the hills of New England. Out west it is often just acres and acres of crops, with civilization clustered near highway pull-offs. It's on those roads that the sounds of Cave were refined. The Chicago-based quartet was actually formed in mid-Missouri, and has travelled the roads between the two well enough to know which counties are ruled by Jackie Gleason-like sheriffs and in which you can put a brick on the accelerator and crank up the Kraftwerk.

Previous Cave records on Permanent and Important caused Drag City to take notice, which incited the venerable Chicago label to release Pure Moods (on 12" or download, but not CD). The three-song EP, issued May 18, is the best document of the band so far, wherein some of its most truly motorik impulses take control, and the set finds Cave coming into its own as a band.

Opener "Hot Bricks" is the reason that you still listen to AM radio -- so you can check the traffic report before starting the music (of course, dropping the needle at home should suffice for getting you into this headspace as well). In reality you'll want to wait until you are out of the slow lane before pressing play on the iPod, because once the momentum is flowing, you'll be transported to some sort of Midwestern Autobahn that has billboards with way too many consonants and diners devoted to David Hasselhoff instead of Elvis. While the lyrics to "Hot Bricks" are lost in the mix (and maybe a desire for obfuscation), the different ways of singing the title to the second track on the A side, "Teenager," along with a righteous guitar riff, will have listeners thinking Damo Suzuki found a good band again. It's an anthem for the inarticulate kids finished with high school and not ready to leave for college yet, fearing once they're college kids, they never really can be teenagers again. With an impenetrably tight rhythm section and noodly keyboard washes, Cave tips their collective cap to Can as well as Captain Beefheart while inspiring dancing in our youths.

The B-side of the album, "Brigitte's Trip (White Light/White Jazz)" is a 13-minute tour de force of passion and control as the players ignite the spirit of all of the influences that you want to imagine. Analog synth sounds wash across guitar freakouts and a voice lets out a cry. However, it's not a cry of pain, but one of exuberance. Cave isn't desecrating the sounds of the past, they are reprising them and praising them and filling that spirit with the bacchanalia of today. Cave launches almost two months of North American tour dates tonight in Columbus, OH; the quartet will circumnavigate Europe and the U.K. from early October through its Dec. 6 ATP festival appearance. The U.S. dates are posted below; local readers should note the band plays at The Temple in Jamaica Plain tomorrow night. -- Jeff Breeze

Cave: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

08.10 -- Now That's Class -- Cleveland, OH
08.11 -- The Temple -- Boston, MA
08.12 -- Cafe Nine -- New Haven, CT
08.14 -- Cake Shop -- New York, NY
08.15 -- Issue Project Room -- Brooklyn, NY
08.16 -- The Bank -- Baltimore, MD
08.17 -- Johnny Brenda's -- Philadelphia, PA
08.18 -- Gooski's -- Pittsburgh, PA
08.19 -- Cafe Bourbon St. -- Columbus, OH
08.20 -- Russian Recording Studio -- Bloomington, IN
08.21 -- Alvin's -- Detroit, MI
10.01 -- Mojo's -- Columbia, MO
10.02 -- Cropped Out Festival -- Louisville, KY

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