The Unraveled Team came out to Radio in Somerville, MA to support one of our artists, DRLNG. We set up shop with samples of Unraveled Originals, and helped ourselves to strange drinks and free cupcakes. We had to leave before hearing much of The Milling Gowns, or any of Canary Oh Canary, but we got to see Eksi Ekso and DRLNG play. Here’s what we saw and heard, put to text.
Image above of the audience.
Image above of Eksi Ekso.
Ek-see Ek-so, not Ess-kee Ess-co. Got it? Right. Eksi Ekso played a progressive strain of pop with some abrupt rhythmic changes that kept things interesting. They were fronted by two tall guys with severe haircuts – one on guitar, vocals and baritone sax, and another on laptop and horns – and neatly backed up by a drummer. The guitar playing was textural and sparse except for the occasional chord-heavy buildups, while the laptop provided orchestral sweeps, bass guitar, piano lines, and way more of the band than expected. The drummer kept things varied with frequent accents over the beat, constantly shifting and distinctly funky, swinging throughout. The male vocals can only be described as swank. Take a listen and figure out what that means for yourself. At times, the band was reminiscent of Broken Social Scene, including dual horn harmony sections a la “Pacific Theme”.
Image above of DRLNG.
One cannot talk about DRLNG’s set without talking about their singer, Eliza Brown. With eyes closed, one hears her control over the melody delivered by her unusual yet entirely soothing voice. Her vocals regularly break out into rich and perfect vibrato, while lilting effortlessly between near-husky low notes and high notes reminiscent of birdsong. Eyes open, one sees her sing while joyously challenging gravity, always with at least one foot off the ground. Her rambunctious energy literally moved the audience, charmed by the combination of talent and excitement. DRLNG were in fact as excited to play as the audience was to hear them, and their inter-personal chemistry was unmistakable. The vocals were accompanied by Martin Newman’s often chiming, sometimes submarine, reverb-laden guitar work. The bass (James Newman) and drums (Mickey Vershbow) plodded steadily forward, providing solidity beneath the ethereal vocals and guitars. The band revealed rhythmic echoes of a post-punk past, while maintaining a sophisticated pop style.
P.S. For the little we heard, The Milling Gowns sounded amazing. Maybe it’s just the little bit of goth in us, but we’re going to have to see them again. Check them out here.