Cheer Up Charlies in Austin, TX put on a free show with Crxmbs, Blushing, Muff, and Soda Lilies. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch Crxmbs and couldn’t talk to them given my busy schedule with the other bands. I hope to catch them at another show. However, I did get to see the other three bands’ sets and I also interviewed all three (interviews are forthcoming). Before getting to the bands’ performances, I would like to say a bit about Cheer Up Charlies. It’s an intimate, small club but very clean and the sound is amazing for the size. It was like being in a friend’s very large living room but your friend has an incredible sound system and a rather deep stage. Your friend also has a fully stocked bar, which is always nice. If you have the chance to see some live music there, I recommend it.
Blushing went on first of the three. They are a shoegaze/dream-pop band and, on this night, it was their first live show. The band consists of Christina Carmona (lead vox, bass), Michelle Soto (guitar, backing vox, and principle songwriter), Noe Carmona (guitar, backing vox), and Jake Soto (drums). Yes, the band is made up of two married couples and, because of this, I will be using first names when discussing members instead of the usual last names. Their brand of shoegaze channels the best of bands like Slowdive with all the glitter and bliss they offer coupled with the wonderful haziness of bands like Cocteau Twins. Their live performance was tight and professional, which is remarkable given that this was their first outing. Christina has a gorgeous, dreamy voice live, perfect for that Cocteau Twins-esque vibe. Noe is an incredible guitar player, giving subtle tones and textures to songs while never overpowering the rest of the vibe. Michelle played rhythm guitar and provided background vocals, filling out the walls of sound and giving depth to some of the shimmering vocals. Jake was consummate on the drums, giving an impressive performance while adding a lot of crash and open high hat to add to the shimmering wall of sound. Their set list consisted of the tracks on their newly release EP Tether and one new, never before heard song.
Why Can’t We? (Tether)
Protect You (Tether)
Love You Twice (new)
While the set was brief, it was memorable and is an indication that this band is something special. When it was over, I wanted to hear more and I truly can’t wait for them to release more songs for the rest of us to enjoy.
Muff is made up of members Nic Valenzuela (guitar, keys, backing vox), Taylor Wallace (bass), Scott Lowe (drums), and Rachel LaCoss (rhythm guitar, lead vox, and principle songwriter). They play a blistering brand of noise rock, wall of sound-esque, low-fi music. From the beginning of the set, it was clear that Valenzuela was going to wow. He moves from guitars that are sweltering walls of sound to leads that are reminiscent of the best classic rock leads. He really is fun to watch play and he makes it look effortless. Wallace’s fuzzed out bass was huge sounding and adds this incredible texture to the music while bolstering the melodies. With Wallace, the bass-growl is real. Lowe is a solid drummer and LaCoss an intense front-person in all the right ways. The band members clearly have come around the core songs that LaCoss has written and added a number of elements to create this beautiful mash-up of noise, rock, grunge, punk, and classic rock fully loaded with dollops of angst. They played eight songs, mostly from their album Muff, but also included their new single as well as a couple of tracks not yet released.
Go Gently (new)
With You (Muff)
I’ll Tell You Soon (Muff)
You Let Your Life Slip Past You (Muff)
Follow (new single)
East Side Love (Muff)
Go see Muff live! Their songs are at home in the live space and they really have an incredible vibe with all the right elements.
Soda Lilies closed the night with gigantically epic walls of sound, feedback, and no holds bar surf pop structures. As Ryan, the principal mastermind behind Soda Lilies, describes his sound, it’s definitely slackergaze. There is a DIY, almost garage band feel to the whole endeavor and it’s glorious live. Ryan plays the guitar like a man on a mission to blow out the speakers, with layers of looped sounds building to gigantic walls of sound. In the midst of the walls, he breaks into these incredibly placed surf-pop riffs that give shape to the louder more raucous compositions. Jake and Alex play fast and loose, holding onto the beat and the melody, but only just such. There is a sense that everything is about to go over the edge but, holding back just enough, it never really does. It’s controlled mania and it’s brilliant. They played a number of tracks off of Love Cemetary Tapes with a few tracks from a prior release as well as something new.
The Bees in My Stomach are Dead and Getting Used to It (Love Cemetery Tapes)
Honey Wire (Love Cemetery Tapes)
At Night (Love Cemetery Tapes)
Not Like Honey (Live Recordings from The Mouse on the Motorcycle World Tour)
Lazy Susan (Love Cemetery Tapes)
Let Me Sleep (Live Recordings from The Mouse on the Motorcycle World Tour)
Their brand of lo-fi, garage band aesthetic with the My Bloody Valentine surf-rock is a killer combination but it really is a treat to hear live. Love Cemetery Tapes is a great album but I recommend you see them live. They take the tunes to a whole other level.