Friday, April 8, 2011
Xaddad - Samuel Locke Ward Vs. Manhorse - Joe Jack Talcum Cakeshop 4-7-11
I caught Samuel Locke Ward versus Manhorse last night at Cakeshop, the perfect venue to get up close and personal with his latest pop punk tracks, playing almost the entire split with the Mumfords and a bunch more that's equally as great. Manhorse destroyed the drums and the bassist had a table of mixers and cables. They would rocked through inspiring guitar based anthems and then even got experimental, feedback style, busting out a distorted ukulele and high pitch sine waves while Sam broke strings and crouched on the floor turning knobs, setting the high school on fire. But watching him create an songs out of the most minimal instrumentation at all the right points, with a single high note against sludgy basslines, or a delicate fingerpicked strum you could barely hear were all he had backing a vocal. He's completely got this effortless comfortable style that makes for a great live show. They reminded me of randomly catching So Cow at Monster Island and instantly becoming a fan of his brief power pop.
But first up last night was Xaddax, a duo from Bushwick, or East Williamsburg, take your pick, and I was immediately into their stuttered, minimal, post punk sound. Chrissy on drums would create these great primal fill patterns with electronic cymbals wired to the crash stands. It made for a really weird, alien, sound, half organic and electronic, adding some bizarre synth tones from some kind of box underneath the distortions. Nick has that Steve Albini vocal delivery and raw guitar start stop tone. All with a Gang of Four off timing and complex changes that made me headed off to track down more of their recorded stuff at their soundcloud page.
Finally Joe Jack took the stage with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica neck rack to play totally classic stuff from 'Punk Rock Girl' to 'Dean's Dream', it was fucking amazing totally blew me away to hear these nostalgic tracks that inspired many an alienated teen in the cafeteria to pick up a guitar and sing about the most ridiculous things they could think of. Sam told me they have a split 12" coming out with Joe on Grotto Records coming out soon where they both play on each others sides. That's amazing, it's easy to see the connection now, both of their classic, grounded songwriting and getting to play with a legend like Joe probably is one of those moments where you think it's really not going to get any better.
Get this split single with Toby Goodshank from Sam himself on tour or at his blogspot page. The tracks from it were great live, great punk pop rock in the thread of his Boo Hoos single and he told me it's some of his personal favorite work.