Official warning: This Is Going To Be Great. In the close confines of Undertone, Thank You should open up your head: the Baltimore band play a freewheeling brand of post-rock, heavy on the whirlwind drumming and prismatic guitar, light on dullard fret wankery. New album ‘Golden Worry’ shimmers and swirls like some bastard cousin of Ponytail and Battles – it rushes forwards and sidewards, mathy and lysergic, with great charm. Up close and speaker pushing this will be loud and fine.
A nice supporting line too. Last time out, My Pet Monster were an intriguing mix of slacker guitar coasting and twee shambling, while James James are our Hot New Band of the moment, being Simon and Rich of King Alexander’s junkyard, meditative garage strangeness (and who will be playing at our Kellies gig next month AHEM). Give it up for the fine Shape Records DJ crew too, hopefully in full cheerleader outfits this time. Party times.
Thurs 19th May
MY PET MONSTER / JAMES JAMES
& SHAPE RECORDS DJs
8pm £5 adv wegottickets.co.uk / Spillers / 10 Feet Tall / £6 doors / discount with Buffalo Swn stamp (from Three Trapped Tigers show which finishes 10pm)
Thank You could only come from one city, at one moment in time. Like Pere Ubu’s Cleveland and Joy Division’s Manchester, post-industrial Baltimore serves as simultaneous playground, obstacle course, and muse to this show-stealing art-rock trio. Jeffrey McGrath (everything), Michael Bouyoucas (everything), and Emmanuel Nicolaidis (everything) are veterans of a cold era when the Baltimore music scene barely exceeded the carrying capacity of a warehouse elevator. Things change, and the band’s urgent collision of rhythm, melody, and noise has placed them at the creative center of today’s Baltimore renaissance, sharing stages and tours with such acts as Beach House (Sub Pop), Lungfish (Dischord), Celebration (4AD), Dan Deacon (Carpark), Zomes (Holy Mountain), Jason Urick, and Future Islands (both Thrill Jockey).
Here we have guitars, drums, and vocals — but also ’60s Vox organs, harmonica, mini-moog, jaw harp, sampler, and Fender Twin Reverb amps — all in the service of six hypnotic tracks of Baltimore-built avant-rock. From the first-jangling, then-jagged guitars of album-opener “1-2-3 Bad” to the triumphant swirls and squeals of “Continental Divide” and the dexterously deconstructed instrumental bridge of galvanizing closer “Can’t/Can,” these songs are intricate yet immediate stunners. Attacked with the ecstatic, fierce energy of a Thank You live set – and then perfected in the studio with ears attuned to dub, Eno, 20th Century classical, and Konono No. 1 – Golden Worry is a new world in which we listeners can lose ourselves: the sound of Baltimore at the vanguard as we enter the Two-Thousand Teens.