Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Video: Zorch and FM Campers at Mohawk [Feb. 18]

There are lots of good producers in town who put on shows with a distinct personality. My friend James is the brain behind Giant Steps Productions. When I see a show put on by Giant Steps, I know what I'm getting: bands that are often experimental, sometimes loud and usually pretty good. James has eclectic tastes that reach beyond standard jangly indie-rock, and it shows in the kinds of bands he books. His recent Thursday night showcase at Mohawk featured aggressive synth-driven rock bands with unorthodox approaches.

When I listened to Zorch on MySpace, I dubbed them The Punk-Roctopus Project. I don't mean that to pigeonhole their music or to put Zorch in a box, but this band's penchant for dreamy and fluttery synthesizers mixed with bombastic drumming reminded me of a more raw and distilled version of Austin's experimental noisemakers The Octopus Project. The punk part comes in because this band is less melody-driven and more into going full speed ahead. They also sound math-rock in spots, but mostly they're just heavy. Even in the above video, where the duo goes as slow and methodical as I heard them go all night, they were still really heavy. I'll be seeing this band more.

How to describe the music of FM Campers? Well, most of the time, those MySpace categories a band has to choose are really generic and don't help. But FM Campers' choice of Live Electronics / Experimental / Pop is actually pretty accurate. This trio includes a guitarist with a ton of effects pedals on a folding table, a synth player who alternates between a piano keyboard and a computer keyboard, and a drummer who beats his kit up at a high BPM (with his back to the audience). It's hard not to compare this band to Animal Collective, based on the live electronic tinkering used to create a dreamy and psychedelic pop sound. I don't know if a band like this would exist without AC paving the way. I enjoyed FM Campers' set, though I'd have to see them again to determine how much I really like the music. It may have been the novelty that I enjoyed, but I can't be sure. Sometimes a movie requires repeated viewings before it grows on you; FM Campers is that kind of band.

File Under: Zorch, FM Campers, Mohawk