Food Court

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Food Court and Edgar Clinks taken from @foodcourtpvd instagram

After not having been to a show for two months, I finally happened to come across what looked like an interesting one in Harrisburg.

Food Court is a band from Providence, Rhode Island who just completed a tour with Edgar Clinks (also from Providence). Their final stop was in Harrisburg, PA, so after hearing their album on Bandcamp, we (all two of us) felt compelled to attend.

The venue, a small coffee shop called Little Amps, was packed with people, and it felt fantastic to once again be surrounded by bands and live music.

Food Court played second after a local band called Porklord opened up with their very first set ever.

The first Food Court song I listened to after discovering them was Dog, so it was very exciting when they began playing that. It’s a slow song at first with quiet vocals that give way to a lot of noise from the guitar.

This band does a good job of incorporating noise into what is often a melodic approach. Singing duties seem to be shared throughout the band, but on Dog they are tackled by guitarist Lily Zwaan in a soft and intriguing manner.

Gravel also begins with soft vocals that are then followed by a loud guitar. Food Court plays a lot with dynamics and uses them very skillfully. Their songs often explode and progress into experimental guitar meanderings that never stop being interesting.

The song Sour interests me partly because of the lyrics that focus on the isolation brought on by current technology. The line “Kept awake in the dark on the internet” is sung by drummer Mikey Bullister in a tired and jaded tone. “We grow and die but leave a mark on the internet” discusses this generation’s relationship to technology in a way I have not heard anywhere else. The loud guitar also periodically gives the bass room to be heard, which is something I always enjoy, so that makes it even better.

Bullister then sings “Keep your head up you sour dog. Live your life inside a fog.” It’s always exciting to hear a song address something that is not often mentioned. I interpreted the “keep your head up” part as advice coming from an older generation that faced much different circumstances than we do. Finding a job and just communicating in general have changed significantly in a few decades.

Living one’s life inside a fog seems to relate to those two things. Many of us can’t see where we’re headed, and it often might look as though we’re headed nowhere as we sit in the dark on the internet trying to figure things out and trying to keep in touch with people through the haze that is social media.

The name Food Court itself evokes a familiar setting in which we have grown up. We have been living much of our lives in environments designed and maintained by massive companies who have no real personal concern for their inhabitants. The food court is emblematic of our time because of the lack of connection between the customer and the business owner and the sharp focus on profit that it suggests.

The technological innovations that were supposed to advance our society instead attempt to force us into a consumer mindset and give us the illusion that we are connected to our peers when we are really just sitting alone in the dark. To come across a band that actually discusses these circumstances is very meaningful.

They are also just a really great band who seem to have found their own sound. They put on a great show in Harrisburg, and hopefully they can come back to this area soon.

https://foodcourtspacefort.bandcamp.com/

See Through Dresses

http://newnoisemagazine.com/
http://newnoisemagazine.com/

I saw See Through Dresses (from Omaha, Nebraska) at a really great show in August at the Skid Row Garage in York, PA. It was definitely the best show since Pope played there two months before (also reviewed on this site).

This band has songs that have been stuck in my head for weeks. Drag Scene is one such song due to its highly catchy nature. I have also skated while listening to this song many times, so that’s probably another reason it’s been in there.

The first song I ever heard when I checked them out on bandcamp before the show was Haircut. It immediately made me excited for the show because it reminded me of a certain sound heard possibly in bands such as Pavement or maybe Speedy Ortiz. It’s melodic in a way you wouldn’t expect or think is even possible. The bass also plays a prominent role in certain parts, which I love. The effect of having the loud guitars suddenly quiet down or stop altogether to make the bass stand out is something I will always appreciate very much. I also have to mention the song’s beginning or hook. When I heard it live, I got really excited because I recognized it immediately and already loved the song. The muted guitar and the vocals give way to a thunderous explosion that brings the rest of the song with it.

The song Johnny (the chorus in particular) reminds me of Slowdive with its dreamlike vocals. I had one of those instances with this song where I could remember how part of it went from the show, but I didn’t know the name of the song. After finding it, I listened to it many times because of its strangely haunting feel that is somewhat reminiscent of Slowdive’s Machine Gun.

I guess there are too many great songs to talk about, but I also want to say that the vocals on So Long, Charlie are fantastic. The bass and drums really power it forward too and make the almost four and a half minute long song feel like only a minute.

See Through Dresses put on pretty much exactly the kind of show I was hoping for that night. It was an energetic set that kept my head moving without me really needing to think about it, and it also included a Dinosaur Jr. cover.

I’d love to see this band again sometime, and I hope the rest of their tour went well.

https://seethroughdresses.bandcamp.com/

 

Pope

http://communityrecords.org/
http://communityrecords.org/

I saw Pope this past June at the Skid Row Garage in York, PA, and they pretty much immediately blew my mind.

It was my first time at the garage, and to all of a sudden hear this fucking powerhouse of a band launch into their set in a tiny garage in York was mesmerizing. I think it was the first time I actually felt ‘transported’ at a live show. Sometimes I would regain my self-awareness and notice that I was moving my head uncontrollably to the music, and it felt right.

Everything works with this band. They are extremely tight, and I remember thinking exactly that as I saw them. The riffs are catchy as hell, and the drums back them up with precision and intensity.

The song Red on Known Weed Smoker stands out with powerful vocals and urgent guitar and drums reminiscent of Joy Division. Maybe it’s what would have happened if Ian Curtis and J Mascis had collaborated.

When I saw them, I remember noticing their pedal boards, which play a key role in their sound. The riffs are fuzzed out to the max creating some sort of heavy melodic explosion all while retaining that precision.

One last memory I have from that show is that the guitarist and bassist switched instruments mid set and declared that we had now reached ‘part two’ of the performance. I just found that really impressive especially because there was no noticeable shift in the sound or precision.

This show basically opened up a whole new world for me. I hadn’t really come across this sort of sound before but have since discovered many other bands who share some similarities. They are on the label Community Records (out of New Orleans), which has an abundance of good shit and is very worth checking out.

As I said before, that was my first show at the garage, and it could not have been a better introduction. Hopefully Pope will be back in this area sometime soon to blow more minds.

https://popeband.bandcamp.com/