The Front Bottoms: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert Reviewed Take Two
In 2011 the Front Bottoms were signed by New Jersey indie label Bar/None and three years two albums later, the emoish indie duo broke through with original band members Brian Sella – Vocals, Guitar and Mathew Uychich – Drums, Bullhorn, Megaphone joined by Tom Warren – Bass, Backing Vocals and Ciaran O’Donnell – Guitar, Trumpet, Keys. The trumpet on “The Feud” is mucho goodie.
The Front Bottoms deep feel acoustic folkie with wordy wordy heart wrenching words that spill out like Tourettes of the heart first came to Mary Magpie’s attention (you can read her review right above mine) and she passed it along to me, but they were in the process of upping onto a national level from NJ at the time and maybe it is Mary’s internship, where they played at NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert”, that caught her eye.
I like em a lot but I worship “Twin Size Mattress” where a friend escapes from a sanitorium and shows up at Brian Sella’s door. Brian begs him to stay and on one of the most uplifting lines of 2014 the friend replies Hey man I love you but no fucking way”. The story, about not spending your life living in attics on twin size mattresses, is their finest moment and the album Talon Of The Hawk can’t maintain it… for me.
For the Greatest Generation there may well be a deep seated connection. Sella would tell The Key here “I think that there’s definitely a mindset amongst younger people in this country … a very unsure feeling of what’s going to happen next in their lives and what they’re going to do. It’s very universal and it’s nothing new. I feel like the songs that we make just sort of express that we feel the same way, too. I think that people were able to say ‘Oh, OK. These kids feel the same way that I feel.’ That is a connection a lot of people seem to be getting out of the songs.”
This concert will give you a taste. It is a part of NPR’s come and play our office promotion, Rolling Stone and Spin do the same thing, and the atmosphere feels a little off. NPR’s Bob Boilen wrote: “When I first saw The Front Bottoms, I was stunned, as 350-plus singing/shouting clubgoers repeating compassionate verse after complicated verse back at singer Brian Sella. And then it happened again at a hot sweaty club in Philadelphia, and later in D.C., and then again in Baltimore. The community that’s formed around these songs, total strangers purging deep emotions in a public space. It’s a beautiful phenomena, a testament to the passion and compassion that this band radiates.”
That isn’t what you will find here for sure, but hey, since I missed em opening for Manchester Orchestra last year and can’t be bothered finding Shea Stadium where the Front Bottoms played a benefit for Brooklynvegan (who have ignored us for years and wouldn’t know how to write a review if it sat on their knee and gave them a lap dance. I read em religiously for local gigs info which they excel at and I have read exactly one well written review in FIVE YEARS). who gotr the jump here for sure. Sela is 25 years old so these guys have skipped the teen years in semi-obscurity but should 2014, following a heavy sold out national tour, a more welcoming place.
So the Front Bottoms beg to be checked out live but start here.