Pair of Arrows, The Saint James Society, Nightmare Air And Sea Ghouls At The Satellite, Monday August 14th 2017
There was another Nightmare Air residency presented by KROQ locals only, at the Satellite on Monday, and it is always a good opportunity to discover new young bands,… as if we were in shortage of them! The Los Angeles music scene is truly incredible in diversity and abundance, and Monday night was another example of this.
First there was Pair of Arrows, a trio running a dark wave with electronic beats and Swan Palermo’s haunting and emotive vocals. The result was rather plaintive and hurting, as cold as an icy wind in the tundra, while her vocals were strangely soothing, bringing a lot of mystery and sensuality. At one point, her voice even gave me a Lana Del Rey meets Cat Power vibe, while the music was moving with a modern pure-electronica dynamic, slowly and elegantly sprawling while following her sad complaint. The overall melancholia was dynamic and cinematic, transporting you elsewhere as everything in the room was combining into a chilly dream. Pair of Arrows will be releasing a debut EP on Blank City Records in September 2017.
The Saint James Society, a much larger band, kept this darkness wide open, although their sound was far more expensive and aggressive, walking on an almost gothic edge. Actually the band could be qualified of super indie band since the members belong to other bands, guitarist Marc Sallis played with The Duke Spirit and The Bulls, bassist Noah Harmon with The Airborne Toxic Event, Summer Moon and Dhani Harrison, and Giselle Reiber played with Ice Balloons and Midnight Masses… frontman Brandon Burkart told us they were going to release their first EP ‘Covered in Blood’ in a few days, a collection featuring covers that have inspired them. Drenched in reverb with thunder in the guitars, they had an arena rock loudness mixed with a punk rock fury and a touch of psychedelia. Interestingly, the band has already shared the stage with Faith No More and the Black Angels, which could well be a good summary of their explosive sound.
August is Nightmare Air residency at the Satellite and it’s always nice to listen to songs for a second time, as you get more familiar with the sound. Once again, they got loud, very loud and their big sound was somehow contrasting with Swaan Miller’s honeyed-eerie vocals. But, first of all, they were very dance-y, and soon, the place became a disco floor bathing in loudness and guitar fuzz. ‘High in the Lasers’, their debut release, was mixed by Dave Schiffman (Nine Inch Nails, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Mars Volta) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Sonic Youth, The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) which means high standards for this young band. Thanks to Dave Dupuis’ powerful guitar play, My Bloody Valentine came to mind at times, as there was a lot of shoegaze in what they did, but they were also head banging a lot, and I should not forget the synth on the side which added another layer to their already thick wall of sound.
It’s always hard to start your set past midnight on a school night/week night, because who is gonna stay? I am happy I did stay because the ghetto surf cowboys of Sea Ghouls played a mean 50s-inspired garage rock. There were covers (‘Peggy Sue’, ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’) and original songs I guess, although it was difficult to tell then apart and I got visions of young Johnny Cash in front of Sun Records with a strong surf spirit on the guitar. The guitar-drums duo had punch and fire, even at a such late hour, and that’s why you always need to stay till the end of the story.