Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Learnin'

Literature, Randall Holt
Trailer Space, 7/20

Another winner of a show at Trailer Space. I have been wanting to see Literature since first I sampled their online wares, but kept just missing them. I was starting to feel guilty about it. But see them I did and I thought they were really strong. Not sure yet whether the Strokes have earned a place in permanent cultural memory (Transformers notwithstanding), but if we owe them anything it's that they've brought lead guitar back into fashion in indie rock after the late 90's wore out the welcome of trios and bands where both guitar players played the same parts together. Literature are quite original enough to earn merit as their own band, with a very sharp grasp of how song parts fit together and just the right sense for how many dramatic changes are too many. Both their guitarists are good at their main roles, and they're smart enough to switch places from time to time. Occasional second lead vocals, too, which is another welcome way of adding variety too many bands overlook. Their drummer and bass player were loose, but effective. They have an affection for placing vocal hooks on top of musical moments where everything but the kick drum drops out, and I love it.

Wasn't sure what to expect of Randall Holt, a solo cello player, but I am most glad I stayed to see all of his set. He undersells himself with the display of "DEAD CAT CELLO" on his amp. I'll admit my bias against one-man effects-assisted projects as opposed to bands. I'm a rock and roll guy. I prefer combinations of musicians, as esoteric as their choices of instrumentation might wander. Holt, however, makes music that's quite beautiful and distinctive. He doesn't improvise randomly into his loop pedal but rather executes compositions that build and crest with purpose. Each one of his pieces was entertaining on its own and quite distinct from his others. I hope to see him play again.

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