Sometimes, I treat the local music scene like one of those blind bags where you don’t know what you’re getting until you open it.
There’s one kind of magic to repeat shows with favorites whose music speaks to you, where you know the lyrics and have favorite songs and get wrapped in an experience that you know you’ll love. There’s a different kind of magic to wandering down to a favorite venue to see what’s what, in that sort of I dunno mood where you want beer and adventure, and getting swept up in the unexpected.
So that’s why I was at Café Nine for a Manic Monday of what turned out to be progressive rock. On the way down State Street, I stopped to ooh and awe at St. Stanislaus (this is another story and has to do with paczkis), where some nice ladies invited me to join them in evening adoration. I demurred in favor of the church of rock ‘n’ roll.
I’m calling this sound “shorecore” because if a mermaid slithered up onto the Long Wharf Pier to demand what the hell is WRONG with you?, this is that (with rampant percussion).
You might decide to be lured into shipwreck anyway because… that voice, that sweet level voice telling you dreams of redemption and doom… you could sail home safely, or your broken, seaweed-wrapped body could be a song, and Emily Rose makes the second option sound appealing.
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Eavesdropping is one of the pleasures of Café Nine, so when “they’re from Sasketchewan” floated context-free through the pre-show murmur, I thought nothing of it. Well. The progressive rock midliner is from Saskatoon and therefore not impressed with the livelier forms of Connecticut winter. (“It was a summery blizzard” needs to be on a T-shirt.)
For symmetry, I should call this “moosecore” and insist that the defining characteristic of moosecore is to play electric guitar with a violin bow. (Never tried this? Keep up!) This is “Hurricane,” from their new record Afterglow.
Autopilot is currently on a tour of the eastern seaboard, as far south as Washington, D.C., so if you’re intrigued by the sound and want a casual evening out, check the schedule and be there.
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The 2019 award for Best Banter goes to Sam Carlson’s soundcheck narrative of making vegan pasta sauce, which he has great confidence in. It was also determined that one of the band’s pals in the audience did, in fact, do laundry on Monday — an impressive six loads, which I think is more textiles than I own.
Laundry Day turns out to be one of those beloved local bands where everybody in it has played with a whole bunch of other people, and instead of playing six degrees of separation, or the more usual Connecticut Music Scene two degrees of separation, it’s more “oh, you and X are actually the same person.” (They are, specifically, Alex Burnet and Sam Carlson on guitar and vocals, Rama Kooks on bass, Jared Thompson on drums.)
The sound… think “Kurt Cobain conquered his demons and took Nirvana in a more party rock direction.” Or “Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and The Church crashed on the same couch, woke up in one another’s bodies, and decided, hey, let’s just do a side project together.”
I was debating whether calling the sound “slacker rock” would inadvertently offend someone’s music vision, only to discover the band uses that term for themselves. I guess when you call your EP It Kinda Sucks, you are self-aware.
The “slacker” impression is partly from the lyrics (how much do I love the bit about being mistaken for a Yalie?) and partly from the deliberately lo-fi sound, with a slide and fuzziness that feels relaxed and casual, even though it’s obviously a style since these songs cohere.
The magic of this set — and it was magic, by the end of the night, people were leaning on each other as they swayed to the music, people were dancing in front of the stage, the goodwill in the air was as palpable as the beer — was that the band conveys no stress at all about performing. They may go home and worry about the rent or “making it big” or the next song, but on stage, it’s the dream of rounding up your friends, grabbing some instruments, and playing what you feel while the crowd goes wild.
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