Just the other day, I was at the Rock Shop to catch a night of electronica music in the form of Teen Commandments and House of Blondes.
Teen Commandments set was a little raw and I got the sense that it was maybe one of a limited number of live sets the duo had done together – unlike most bands playing throughout the New York metropolitan area, they didn’t have anything finalized that they could sell. I remember thinking that such an occurrence was rare and kind of odd. Still they had a affable, goofy charm and their sound reminded me quite a bit of New Order and Cut Copy. Even with their rawness, they were endearing and I think that with more live shows, they’ll be on their way to something.
This was the third time I caught House of Blondes, and the second full set that I’ve caught them and with each time I’ve noticed an increasing level of nuance to the material. There’s almost always something I’ve caught that i hadn’t previous caught before. As I’ve mentioned, a critic properly described the band’s sound as headphone music for astronauts but I also see it as a describing a utopian world where everything is efficient and orderly but the stench and rot is bubbling at the seams… Interestingly, the band introduced some unfamiliar material to me during the first part of their set that played a bit with drone, and it was at times psychedelic and hypnotic. They also played one of the strangest but coolest covers of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” I’ve heard – it brought a familiar song to the space age. And instead of the familiar neuroses within the original version, House of Blondes cover had an icy sheen that created a sense of menace; after all, the song is about a psycho killer, right? About half the set came from their excellent, Clean Cuts – they played a couple of my favorites from that album, which was pretty cool. As much as I’ve noted that the band owes a debt to Kraftwerk, I couldn’t help but notice a Brian Eno influence, as their sound struck me as having ambient elements to it. With both bands, I had to admit I was pretty impressed.
House of Blondes
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