Amazing Baby, Chairlift, Apache Beat
Four of 2009’s most exciting American acts rock our little NYC shindig. Oh, and our man Dev...Club NME @ CMJ, The Annex, New York (October 21)
Less overtly ambitious at making girls wiggle, Violens may have been plagued by sound problems, but their ’60s pop harmonies wrung through speakers from hell is still enough to paint the crowd scared NME readers may have known about Chairlift for months but, out here, they’re best known for soundtracking an advert for what we used to call a Walkman. Opening with the iconic ‘Planet Health’, Caroline’s voice instantly rises above the gloom of this dive bar, a wailing and epic cumulonimbus, only to be demolished by her surprising bursts into titanic roars. Live, it seems, Chairlift have sharper teeth than anyone could have imagined. If anyone thought ‘Bruises’ signalled that they were going to be another twee Apple house band, then they’re having to reappraise quickly. As magical sounds burn from her throat, Caroline’s hands pound and prance across her keys while Aaron’s guitar is equally intent on outraging preconceptions. Far from the astral visions of the album, his strings are growling, spiting beasts.
Amazing Baby are sitting on top of the pile tonight. They were one of the first bands to embrace the spectral acid ethos now flowing through Brooklyn’s veins. They may have been reduced in number since their conception as a rolling cult of millions of nude hipsters, but their sound has not suffered. Like Chairlift, theirs is a tauter, more muscular rock than their MySpace fans could have predicted; they’ve brought their own sound man tonight and it seems his job is to turn it up. ‘Head Dress’ boils the ceiling while a guitarist of Slash proportions solos into galactic eternity. There’s not a psychamerican in sight tonight – this is a rock band. Yes, New York’s full of suprises. New York’s fucking great. In fact, New York’s so bloody good its enough to make you hope Obama loses, just to see the look on their talented faces.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday