April 22, 2016

That Was The Show That Was: Alex G, Porches, Your Friend | Middle East | 12 April

That Was The Show That Was: Alex G, Porches, Your Friend | Middle East | 12 April

[PHOTO CREDIT: Dillon Riley] UK-based Domino Records, long home for considerable talent via its transatlantic operations, has caused a stir with the recent signings of some buzzed-about American indie rock bands Alex G, Porches [thank you for dropping the ridiculous period in your name. -- Ed.], and Your Friend; we raved about the latter act's single "Heathering" here in January. Domino recently sent the three acts packing across the U.S. on a kick-ass tour that wrapped last week, not long after a hotly tipped, entirely sold-out stop at Cambridge, Mass.'s storied Middle East Downstairs.

Your Friend, the one-time bedroom pop project of Lawrence, Kansas' Taryn Miller, began the evening with a hypnotic set that more than delivered on the promise of her ambitious, engrossing debut LP Gumption. The recently commissioned, full-band incarnation of Your Friend is -- unsurprisingly yet thrillingly -- a much louder affair onstage, but in achieving the bigger sound the band never sacrifices the subtleties of its music's dense, swelling movements. By taking all the beguiling elements of Gumption and in effect blowing them up, like ten times over, the band reaches the audience in ways groups that mine vaguely similar sonic moods often fail to do. The five-piece backing band imparted additional dynamics and rhythmic feel to Ms. Miller's music, especially in passages where drum machine patter progressed to live drumming, and particularly chest-thumping kick drum. Miller's searching vocals -– crucial to Your Friend's appeal to our collective ears -- were similarly impressive, and shone on numbers including the aforementioned "Heathering," as well as "Come Back From It" and the album's haunting title track [check the arresting, recently released video here]. The set was an auspicious showing for a project that will see increased attention for Your Friend's next moves, as more and more music fans seem to be turning on to Gumption.

New York's Porches, still surfing the fizzing acclaim surrounding the release of their newest LP Pool played to an enthralled audience. While somewhat self-serious in its disco- and R&B-indebted workouts on record, the songs were given a sort of playful bent onstage, a feeling enhanced by fronter/mastermind Aaron Maine's deadpan banter and sly dance moves. While the band ran through some lovely takes on Pool material buoyed by lively live drumming, it was the dancier renditions of earlier Porches songs that impressed most. A shuffling, beatific version of "Franklin The Flirt" and "Headsgiving" were stunning reminders of the band's appreciable sonic progression.

Philly’s Alex G capped the evening with an all-killer, no-filler set of jams taken almost entirely from 2014's critically lauded DSU and the Domino-issued follow up Beach Music. The strongest material off Beach Music like, say, "Kicker," ranks among Mr. Giannascoli's best songs to date and were unsurprisingly highlights. Better still, though, were performances of some long-revered b-sides, some from earlier Alex G Bandcamp releases, such as "Sarah" and "Soaker." These drew massive cheers from the die-hards scattered throughout the club's cavernous downstairs space, and underscored the strong depth of the Alex G catalog. -- Dillon Riley

Alex G: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds
Porches: Bandcamp | Facebook
Your Friend: Facebook | Internerds

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