At these festivals, there's decisions decisions decisions to be made. Do I see the old favorite I've seen many times or go check out a new band?
Well I am very glad I stayed out late enough last night to see a band I'd not heard before, Love Language. I can't say enough about how great their set was. As my friend Farnum turned and said to me maybe 3 songs in: "It's great and so rare to see an indie rock band that actually, um, rocks."
And yes, Love Language from Chapel Hill, North Carolina rocked the Bunk Bar in Portland Thursday night. It would be hard to describe their sound - 2, sometimes 3 guitars; keyboards; terrific lead singer; excellent use of harmony vocals; steady and aggressive drummer; high energy and sense of urgency; strong compositions with big pop hooks but involved instrumentation. More than anything, they were a true band, a collective with a defined and individual sound. I could hear some elements that sounded like influences, but they were so all over the map that in writing they sound nearly ridiculous - My Morning Jacket, The Shirelles, New Order, The Stooges.
Of course our founder and CEO here at WYMA, John Hyland, is always a step ahead of me and reviewed Love Language's latest CD Ruby Red earlier here.
Here's "Calm Down" from their latest record:
One more, "Still Life" that shows the soaring pop they are capable of:
Expect The Love Language's new CD Ruby Red to appear in our best of 2013. And they are a tremendous live band who simply killed it last night.
Playing right before Love Language was Houndstooth from Portland by way of Austin TX. Singer Katie Bernstein has a compelling mesmerizing voice, and guitarist John Gnorski creates rich, bluesy Southern influenced, nearly Gothic sounds, reminding me at times of Mazzy Star, but harder. They were terrific, hypnotic, addictive. I really like this track "Canary Island" audio here. Here's a video of "Beach Bummer":
Artist web pages:
The Love Language
Houndstooth Facebook page