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Monday, September 8, 2008

Talbot Tagora, Past Lives, Dead Science

posted by on September 8 at 16:19 PM

2714108489_acf68f8ddb_m.jpg Past Lives’ Jordan Blilie goes for the jugular at CHBP. Photo by Crickontour.

To supplement Eric’s post below, here’s my own $.02 on this fine show.

First impressions of Talbot Tagora: They seemed like a fusion of post-punk ramshackleness and youthful garage-rock rumbustiousness. Their brief songs bounce, romp, roar, and rumble in an efficient manner that suggests a fondness for early Fall (the British band, not the season) and Swell Maps. Guitarist and bassist appear to be playing different songs than the drummer, but this disjunction works really well, like a bicycle whose gears don’t interlock but on which you can still cruise.

Talbot Tagora’s drummer fascinates me: she looks to be about 14 and weigh maybe 90 pounds, but her kinetic attack rewardingly messes with standard rock time; it’s as if the Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker has become possessed by Keith Moon.

First impressions of Past Lives: Not as spazzy as the Blood Brothers, Past Lives churn out raging, angsty rock that provides ample opportunities to freak out between the tense passages. Vocalist Jordan Blilie has mastered that Nick Cave ca. Birthday Party trick of sounding like he’s being electrocuted. Eric used the exact adjective that I scribbled in my notebook to describe drummer Mark Gajadhar: “athletic.” I also included “swift” and “punishing.” Devin Welch continues to be one of Seattle’s finest guitar clangor and angularity (clangularity?). Morgan Henderson is a rock on bass and keyboards. Past Lives create anthems for young people who need to vent—in an artful manner. Expect big(ger) things.

(Far from) first impressions of the Dead Science: swelling to a 12-piece suits the core trio of guitar/bass (sometimes upright)/drums really well. The four-part brass section, plus harp, viola, violin, and cello added complementary hues to these urbane musicians’ already vivid chamber-rock turbulence and knotty prog-rock theatrics. Sam Mickens’ tremulous falsetto flutters 180º away from the standard blues-rock growl, but its mannered fragility somehow thrives amid the Dead Science’s swarming, intense sorties.

If the Dead Science’s songs were people, they’d be drama majors. They’re more likely to make you think of Shakespeare than shake your ass, but there’s really nothing like them in Seattle.

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