A few times a week, Gothamist publishes music reviews by our contributor Jeff Baum. The opinions below belong entirely to the author.
It's been a little while since I've been out to a show. The live music scene went on a pre-New Years hibernation of sorts which left me out of the clubs for a few weeks. But with the New Year, we have a new crop of bands coming through town with all their internet hype and promise in tow. The first such band of the year is Minnesota four-piece Tapes n' Tapes. They packed the basement of the Delancey last night for the first of four New York appearances.
They have a handful of incredibly infectious songs coming from a variety of influences. Most seem to fall somewhere between the hectic post punk of Thunderbirds are Now! and the Spencer Krug half of Wolf Parade, but there was also a hint of bluesy alt-country rock as well. As with many other of the indie bands that have recently become successful, it was a worthy mix of familiar themes and unique qualities that made them identifiable as their own. Imagewise, these guys look especially...ordinary. No fancy haircuts or gaudy dress. They stood on stage in worn out t-shirts with their boxers hanging out of their Gap jeans. The wild drummer showed a bit of character with his blue oxford shirt buttoned completely to the top for most of the set, but the the rest of them had a very hometown look. This may have been their first time in New York since the critics have taken notice, but they remained confident and unwavering for the whole set. The multi-instrumentalist keyboard/percussion/tuba player occasionally was able to steal the show, pacing around the stage banging on the cymbals with a tambourine on his head. Aside from his amusing hysterics, the band mainly stayed on the level by simply knocking out song after song of inspired music.
These guys definitely showed some promise, but the set seemed more of a preview of what we could expect to come with some touring and experience under their belt. It's hard for a band that goes from spazz to sedate so effortlessly to settle down with a cohesive image, but in time I expect them to fully come into their own.
There are three more chances to catch them in NYC this week. Tonight they'll be at Pianos, Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge, and Thursday at Rothko.