Live show: Audio Jane with Portrait Party and Private Language

Four-fifths of alt-rock headliner Audio Jane at Cafe Nine.
Four-fifths of alt-rock headliner Audio Jane at Cafe Nine.

Indie rock was Thursday night’s theme at Café Nine, and since I wanted to broaden my horizons before I became completely obsessed with regional Americana, there I was, IPA in hand, for a show that rocked hard with Connecticut style.

Since embracing vinyl, I’ve been doing some reading and listening on Connecticut’s rock bands of the 1960s, so it was a special delight to hear Private Languagea trio from Fairfield whose garage-rock sound brings in elements of Americana (in the first song below, “Red Roses”) and just a hint of R&B (in the second, “What I Meant…”). Two keys to the Connecticut sound seem to be rampant eclecticism and a heaping spoonful of snark, both of which Private Language offers.

It might be more apt to call their sound “laundry room rock,” since that’s where Ryan Sindler (guitar) and Nicolai Corley (drums) started playing together before adding Matthew Peddle (bass). If so, it’s a gritty sound with a lot of banging, and things come out smooth and fresh in the end.

Keep up with Private Language on Facebook, where they’re privatelanguageband.

Next up was a short set by Portrait Party, a progressive rock trio (Jason LaPierre, guitar; Dan Deutsch, drums; Chris Connelly, bass) from eastern Connecticut that cites jazz and avant-garde influences. You can hear the jazz vibe on “Be The One.”

Portrait Party is a very new band, formed in July 2018, so when they announce “these are all originals we’re playing” — these candidates for the debut EP they’re working on. They’re opening for NYC psych rockers Upright Man at Stella Blues on March 14, so there are chances to catch them again.

Keep up with Portrait Party on Facebook, where they’re weareportraitparty.

The main event was Audio Jane, an alternative-rock band fronted by Sarah Pech, which combines a strongly 1990s grunge vibe (my first thought was Mazzy Star) with a healthy dollop of shoegaze. The result is a dreamlike aural landscape of secrets and revelations, hints and allusions, hopes fulfilled or trickling away.

My video gives a hint of the sound, but honestly, I was sitting too far back to capture nuances (should have fought for that front bar stool after all), so I’m going to point you to the Bandcamp audio files for a clearly mixed version, too. Here’s “Quiet Night,” which goes all-in on the dream-like feel (Bandcamp).

Nothing says “local music” like the moment that the bass player pops out of the shadows and announces “this is my first gig with this band.” It was adorable and I expect it to catch on as a thing bass players do, the way frontpersons around here say “tip the bartender.” Audio Jane has a very recent album, Letters, that is downright hypnotic.

Here’s a song about summer, “Slow Summer Days,” (Bandcamp) that aches with nostalgia, the way it feels when the fall of autumn leaves accelerates into winter.

You can keep track of them on Facebook where they’re AudioJaneBand, and you may be going to Hartford or Springfield for your next fix.

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