Paw Tracks Showcase
Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn
The fizzy lo-fi of Annie Sachs, a.k.a. Tickley Feather, enchanted audience members at the small-space high-ceilinged Cameo Gallery on Friday. Alongside four other Paw Tracks greats, and her self-proclaimed biggest fans (members of Animal Collective) in attendance, Sachs churned out eerie, whimsical electro bringing to mind Tracy + the Plastics with a great deal more subtlety. Her live vocals are a different story from her records—otherworldly—even Kate Bush or Emilíana Torrini-esque, and expertly placed over budget electronics. It was a treat to hear Sachs’ voice stand out, unadulterated. Her tone is that of experience while her live sound remains light and accessible, however, with two bizarre albums under her belt, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear what fanciful direction Tickley Feather is capable of going next.
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As long as The Foreign Exchange is performing, no one can ever even think about showmanship being dead. The eight-piece band that took the stage of B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grille on Friday night moved the crowd in a way that few acts are capable. And it all started at 1 a.m. As such, you would think a show starting that late would lend itself to a somewhat less-than-energetic audience. But that was simply not the case—this is New York City we’re talking about.
Cake Shop, New York City
No frills here. Slang Chickens bathed the cavernish Cake Shop in sleepy southern harmonies lifted by a charmingly confident frontman Friday night. The four-piece was stripped to the bone-–with three-part harmonies drifting across country guitar lines—but the group injected occasional shots of caffeine that kept it from dragging. Nothing awe-inspiring, but by the same token a solid set from a group worth checking out.
Bowery Ballroom, New York City
Imaad Wasif is chock full of two things: Hair and love. In case you weren’t certain of the latter half of that combo, Wasif took the time to remind the crowd at Bowery Ballroom… after every song: “I love the city. I love being insane. I love being insanely in love.” Though Wasif was somewhat awkward while trying to make conversation with the crowd between songs, he was at home while performing his brand of classic rock. All of his songs, all of which he was quick to point out were “love songs,” were well-crafted and well-performed. Wasif was the star of the show, but would have been helped if he had a more animated supporting cast—his bassist and drummer seemed disinterested no matter how much Wasif thrashed about the stage. I’m not certain I really felt the love like Wasif, but perhaps if I find the man he awkwardly hugged at the end of his set, he could shed some light.
The Temper Trap
Ace Hotel, New York City
Superb guitar parts. So much so that at first I had trouble understanding singer Dougy Mandagi’s vocals—and I’m not talking about a bad audio mix nor a heavy accent, just why he was bothering at all. “They’d be better off as instrumental post-rock band,” I thought (then promptly scolded myself for using such a silly term.) Prescient, then, that their only request to the sound guy was “more vocals” (in the monitors)—it all started to make sense after a few songs when other band members started joining in with twisty-turny background vocals, each secondary line every bit as interesting as the lead if you listened closely enough. Godspeed, you Aussie hotshots.