Friday, April 22, 2005

Out Hud reminds me of Neneh Cherry riding a bike down some completely gentrified Brooklyn street on a breezy spring day, chewing Bubble Yum and blowing bubbles, gray hoodie halfway off her shoulder, the Trax box set on her discman, no helmet. It's almost too perfect. The new album is just about everything I want from a bunch of people who used to be in indie-rock bands and now make poppy house music: gorgeous Middle-Eastern cello washes, ravey blips, echoed-out drums, shivering glistening keyboards, floating bells, flangey guitars. It's pretty, happy music, and it makes my work day fly by a whole lot faster, but I didn't really expect them to be as great as they were at the Ottobar last night. These songs make great background music when they're trickling out of your tinny office-computer speakers, but they sound amazing loud and coming out of big speakers. Everyone in this band seems to love the fucking hell out of being in this band, dancing all goofy when there aren't any instruments to be played, leaning over and lazily plinking out the one-handed synth riffs when they have to. They're playing at the Pitchfork-curated Intonation Festival in Chicago, which is otherwise dominated by indie-pop stuff that I don't care bout (Decemberists, etc.), and they are going to be such a fucking breath of fresh air.

For some reason, they're touring with Hella, a noisey noise band who were pretty boring when I saw them open for Quasi a while ago. The guitar guy from the band didn't play the show because his father is sick, so Zach Hill, the drummer, played an improv set with a few other people. Some guy I didn't recognize played bass while Rjyan Kidwell, who just moved back to Baltimore, did some electronic-manipulation stuff and he and his wife Roby screamed a bunch. Improv noise is So Not My Thing. But it was nice to see Rjyan and meet Roby. And it's worth noting that Zach Hill is seriously diesel; from the neck down, he looks like the guy from the Bowflex commercials.