Wavves @ Less Artists, More Condos
Nodzzz @ Underground Lounge
Morningside Heights is probably one of the last places I would voluntarily trek to on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, but I happily returned to my old stomping grounds today to check out Nodzzz and Wavves. WBAR has been keeping the kids cool with acts like Crystal Stilts, Fujiya & Miyagi, and Telepathe over the last couple years, so I wasn't surprised when they came together with Todd P to bring some of the most anticipated acts of late. I'd never been to Underground Lounge during the day, nor had I ever ventured away from the front bar area, but somehow it made sense to me that the "performance space" was more like a dark corner in someone's exposed-brick basement. The small raised stage could barely support a drum set and some amps, and the room was more than cozy. Basically, it was a perfect place to listen to some Californian garage pop/punk bands during the daytime.
Usually, lo-fi/garage pop tends to be a hit-or-miss for me, but Nodzzz is exactly what I needed to get over my endless winter blues. Their music makes me want to skip and jump outside, which I would never do under any circumstance. I don't really get it, because I don't think they're particularly good in the traditional musical sense. But their lack of musical precision is exactly the reason why I can't stop listening to them. And, I always enjoy half-serious lyrics. With songs that were mostly under the two-minute mark, Nodzzz delivered controlled doses of their catchiness. I would love to see this band again somewhere outdoors.
Of the acts that I caught, Wavves was probably the most hyped one. Nyctaper said that Wavves had found fame on the Internet, and to a certain extent, it's true. You can't click through the major music websites and blogs without some mention of the Wavves buzz. While he's 22, Wavves aka Nathan Williams looks like a young child prodigy of some sort. As I was waiting for him and his drummer, Ryan Ulsh, to set up, I overheard some students talk about how much they admired Nathan's genius and how Wavves made them think, "Dude, I just want to make some experimental music." Roll eyes. As a live act, Wavves was far less distorted than he is on record, and he sounded more like straight garage punk. I don't know if this is the case at all his shows, but don't take this as a complaint. The sound was still ear-ringingly loud, and the music was just as fun. Creating fun in a cramped, warm basement with no air circulation is no ordinary feat, but Wavves did it. No surprises that Wavvves, which will officially drop in March, is already making some preliminary Top of 2009 lists. Personally, Wavves hasn't given me any musical revelations (and some of you will fiercely disagree with this), but I can't help but enjoy listening to the songs, either recorded or live. If anything, Wavves has made me think that noise can be done in a way that's listenable and not too abrasive.
How was Blank Dogs? I left before they got on.
Losing My Accent - Nodzzz
So Bored - Wavves
Pre-order Wavvves here.