Friday, May 8, 2015

These Arms Are Snakes, Paris Texas, and Communiqué -- Creepy Crawl, August 1, 2004

A shared common experience among humankind just entering their college years is the day at some family gathering when Aunt Edna gets all excited because, in the 15-odd years since you’ve seen the lady, you had the audacity to grow up. “Oh look at you. You’re all grown up now! I remember the time when you were playing on the railroad tracks and that Union Pacific train came within inches of squashing you like a bug. You should have seen the look on your daddy’s face. He would have whipped you with a hickory switch if he could have found one.

Ahhh…Did I tell you the story about the Kansas State Fair of 1929?”
If one wants to equate that to record labels, then one should take a close look at what the hell has happened over at Lookout! Records in the past few years. The label that brought you Green Day, Operation Ivy, The Smugglers, Hi-Fives, Mr. T Experience, The Queers, The Donnas, and others has branched out in ways I never could have predicted. Let’s face it: in 1997, Lookout! didn’t have much in the terms of diversity. They were the King Shit of Pop Punk Mountain and that was about it. However, recently the label has hosted such un-Lookout! bands as the Drive Like Jehu screech of The Cost, the immensely talented Pretty Girls Make Graves, Ted Leo, and Engine Down. And one cannot forget Communiqué, who brought up the curtain on this evening’s night of music at the C.C.

Bred out of Oakland, California, Communiqué is pure, unadulterated indie pop. I’ll be honest; I don’t like 85 percent of the indie pop that’s out there, past, present, or future. However, even with this prejudice, I will fully admit that I liked Communiqué a great deal. Vocalist Rory Henderson croon is tailor made for the ditties that band throws out. With keyboards, two guitars, bass, and drums, Communiqué’s short set was filled with upbeat pop tunes designed to stick in your head for days. Want to hear what you missed? Their debut record Poison Arrows is out now. Go check it out.

Named after the Wim Wenders film bearing the same name, this Madison, Wisconsin, quintet played a tight, high-energy set. Imagine a poppier Foo Fighters and you would have a good idea of Paris Texas’s sound. As their set played out, vocalist Scott Sherpe, a tall and lanky fellow, led the infectious energy, leading rounds of claps and crowd chorus sing a-longs, cupping his hand to his ear a lá Hulk Hogan, hoping to channel the positive energy in the room. The highlight came when Sherpe proclaimed that “St. Louis is the land of seahorses,” whatever the hell that meant. No matter, Paris Texas has grown a long way from their early days and their new LP Like You Like An Arsonist is well worth checking out. Catchy. Catchy. Catchy.

As expected, These Arms Are Snakes were the complete opposite from the bands that preceded them, yet they strangely fit. Comprised of members of Botch and Kill Sadie, the boys had a sound that would fall somewhere in the Unwound, Sleepytime Trio, At the Drive-In, and Frodus territory. One tune would be mellower with dreamier, Birthday Party–style guitar and the next they would go sceamo, but never did they cross over into the metal-core region. In support of a couple EPs, This Is Meant to Hurt You and a split with kindred spirits Harkonen, the band’s physical energy was equal to the music that they played. As they played, vocalist Steve Snere took to the floor mid-song, choosing to sing the vocals among the crowd. He later gave in to the rock demons and dropped to floor, flopping around near the end of the set. However, the night couldn’t have been completed without a round of ritualized shots with tour-mates Communiqué. TAAS is a great rock band and with a new record, Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When its Antelope Go Home, out on September 21 on Jade Tree, the cult will be growing s
oon. 

No comments:

Post a Comment