Monday, April 24, 2006

Voxtrot with Irving @ Hailey's

One of the last songs Irving played on Friday featured a chorus in which they called someone a "pleasant waste of time." I don't know what the song was actually called, but it serves as a good description of the band if you take away the word "pleasant" and replace it with, well, nothing. "Waste of time" does just fine.

Irving appears to be a band that is gearing up for a big commercial push, and why shouldn't they? They've got a lot of ooohs and aaahs and a "funny" keyboard player and a fake Albert Hammond Jr. guitar player and probably some of the most boring, derivative songs you'll ever hear, effectively mixing the worst of the Dandy Warhols with the worst of Elephant 6 and a shitty Beatles cover band that listens to Death Cab but is too embarrassed to tell their friends. Throw in some gross sexuality and dorky girl-kiss ass lyrics and it becomes obvious that this band could be huge. Their songs have the perfect balance of TRL accessibility and Urban Outfitters street cred to ensure that every record executive in the United States will reference their album in attempts to be hip with the kids.

We're not here to bitch about commercially viable indie pop or bands that wear their influences on their sleeves, because both can be acceptable at times if they are done right, as Voxtrot showed us later on in the evening. We just keep seeing Irving on the Insound charts and reading glowing reviews on various MP3 blogs, and we have to say: don't believe the hype. Its really hard to believe that no one has called these guys out on their shit before until you find out that they are from L.A., where no one ever calls anybody out on their shit. Its like Dallas except its the real L.A.

After the horrible experience that was Irving, Voxtrot came out and changed our moods for the better, even if they didn't completely blow us away. Voxtrot's influences also come through pretty clear from the moment you hear them: Belle and Sebastian, the Smiths, the Vaselines, etc., but the difference between them and Irving is that they actually, you know, write good songs with memorable choruses, solid vocals and decent lyrics.

We're pretty big fans of Voxtrot's two EPs, and they certainly performed the songs with a lot of energy and tight playing. But even though their performance was more than adequate, we just couldn't get completely hooked in. All the elements for a good show were there (good band, good songwriters, lots of enthusiastic fans) but there was something about it that just prevented it from being exciting most of the time. I can't tell if I'm just sick of indie pop, or if Irving created a mood that couldn't be overcome, or if it was Voxtrot's fault. But there was something just kind of boring about the whole show, something that made us feel as though writing pop songs with clear pop influences might not be a bad thing if the songs are good and a bit innovative, but that you have to do a little more if you want people to actually give a shit. We enjoyed the show, but we certainly didn't spend much time talking about afterwards. And actually, to inject a bit of local music positivity into this review, we kind of wished that we had gone to the Strange Boys/Undoing of David Wright show at Rubber Gloves instead. Yeah, we can see those bands any time, but we can also see indie pop shows just about any time too, Pitchfork approval aside. Voxtrot is good, might become great, and surely has a bright future both commercially and artistically. I'm just not sure how much I care.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that last sentence is exactly why i didn't go to that show.

2:27 PM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

That sucks about Irving, because I saw them a while back at Rubber Gloves and they were really cool. I don't even remember who they played with. I just remember Irving was exactly what I wanted to hear that night.
It's funny what you described about Irving is exactly what I think about Voxtrot.
But like I said, I saw DJ Klever that night. And he was freakin' phenomenal. I think everyone should have been at the lame Zubar that night.

2:36 PM  
Blogger brandon said...

Jon, is that you?

previous drummer jon? esther singers jon?

2:42 PM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

Si! It is me. I am going to the show on Wednesday. Laura will probably be able to go also.

2:56 PM  
Blogger brandon said...

cool. i always wondered if that was you posting.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would make it a point to go to any and every Strangeboys/Undoing show (when they play together).......... it's always a good outing.... the last time i saw the undoing it looked like they weren't taking themselves too seriously (which can be a good thing, but in this case i mean to say "lackluster")... but that last show, you could tell.... they wanted to give everyone a show.

....full outfits, protective eyewear, new equipment (apparently, i didn't notice, but it was said), floor crawling, make up, and mr. english even took a dive into the crowd to end the show (i'm not sure if the landing was spot on, but he gets a high difficulty rating).

....oh, and attractive and popular were GREAT... the lead singer (zach) is a very cool guy also and their shows have started to impact me more.

....those 3 bands are deffinately a great $5 purchase

....strange boys new organeeerrrr is growing on me... their newer songs seem a lot less wreckless than prior ones, and while i'm not sure i'm ready for it.... it seems like Ryan Sambol is growing into a more complete songwriter.... like it or not (and i'm still not sure where i stand)

....and if anyone hasn't seen the strange boys... might i suggest that you do soon. if nothing else you're going to see one of the most intense drummers you've EVER seen...... Matt Hammer can FUCKING PLAY. and he's what.... 18, maybe 19? if that guy doesn't make a living playing drums w/ the Strange Boys, he'll do it somehow.... technical, creative, explosive... how he doesn't pass the hell out after each show is beyond me.

anyway, if nothing else... get yerself a dose of some Matt Hammer. seriously the best drummer in dallas (clearly that's arguable... but as far as live drumming, i've NEVER seen better.... local or otherwise...i've seen big name drummers, but Matt Hammer stands out more in my mind than ANYONE)

3:29 PM  
Blogger tania said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:01 PM  
Blogger tania said...

i guess it is true,
everything is subjective

i really enjoyed irving,
at haileys and at good records
their set @ good records was stellar
the last song they played, crumbling mountain tops, just gave me goosebumps...

sure, they look pretty, but the harmonies are dead on, and the musicianship is solid.
perhaps i caught them before the hype, which kills it for most acts.
or, maybe it's cause they are friends, i tend to be kind of a cheerleader.

"dorky-girl kiss ass lyrics"
hmm, not sure what you mean by that other than, sure, it's nice to hear pretty boys sing feel good lyrics to the ladies,
but, if you think "i'm emotionally unavailable"
is appealing to chicks, well...
i guess you might be on to something :)

*edited for mispelling "crumbling"

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:20 PM  

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