There are many reasons to arrive at shows in time to see supporting acts. In addition to being treated to more entertainment for the price of admission, watching opening bands often lends much-needed support to acts that are still building an audience. Perhaps the best outcome is a mutual discovery, wherein the band finds that audience and the crowd is exposed to music that theretofore had been under the radar. This is the case with Laminated Cat, whose Umbrella Weather was released late last year. Opening for the Apples in Stereo on recent dates surrounding the release of that band’s excellent Travellers in Space and Time, Laminated Cat did not necessarily play to the full-capacity attendance enjoyed by the headliner, but the young band’s performance was revelatory.
On a superficial level, the Maine band’s “scruffy young brothers” vibe recalls the emergence of Kings of Leon years ago. Musically, however, Laminated Cat could not be further removed from the shiny product that Kings of Leon eventually became. Avowed admirers of Elephant Six releases and the Beatles, the members of Laminated Cat create a beguiling mixture of psychedelic folk/rock. Umbrella Weather—recorded by Craig Morris, Tanner Smith, and A.J. Griffin with supervision from the Apples in Stereo’s Robert Schneider—does bear the sonic influence of Elephant Six acts, but it also brings to mind the sorely missed Beachwood Sparks and early Sparklehorse. The album was released through Garden Gate Records, whose “mission is to release music that should not go unheard, that the world needs to hear… sounds for the ears of the future”.