Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Liars @ The Tea Room

Anyone that wasn't part of the sizeable crowd that attended the Liars show at the Tea Room on Saturday night missed what was easily one of the best shows so far this year in the Metroplex. And although I can't say that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, I should say that as much as I like all of the Liars recorded material, I had never seen them live before Saturday and honestly didn't know what to expect. Bands like Liars that play rather non-traditional and noise driven rock music are usually completely hit or miss in a live setting for me, and I would guess that most people reading this would probably agree, no matter how much they enjoy talking about music that is "too difficult" for most people to "get."

The thing that stands out to me the most about Liars' music, and their new material in particular, is how much they are able to do with so little. Their music is all about rhythm, repetition and space, and although they are probably one of those bands that Sudgefan fans enjoy pointing to with their "too pretentious" flags at full mast, I would say that those basic elements are probably more in line with primitive American blues and rock n' roll than most of the commercially viable "new rock" that we would hear all the time if we actually listened to rock radio anymore. At the end of the day, Liars obviously don't sound anything like traditional blues based rock, but they do seem to tap into some of the same things, and in some way, appeal to listeners on a similarly basic level, albeit with extraordinarily different results. Take any song on Drums Not Dead, for instance. Pretty much all of them feature a pounding rhythm as a centerpiece (hence the album title I suppose) with minimal tones of distorted and nervous noise buzzing around in the immediate background, and patches of mantra-like vocals thrown in to sort of tie the songs together when they are about to come undone. The driving force behind all of them, to me, is the silent space that exists in between all of these elements. The emptiness creates a good deal of anticipation for what is coming next, and it is the use of space that seems to keep Liars' songs unpredictable and somewhat chaotic, even if most of them are in fact built on extremely simple and often repetitious sounds. Basically, it seems that they are able to strip rock music to absolute bare essentials and still create songs that don't really sound like anything else, especially rock n roll.

The live show captured these qualities, I think, but more importantly: it was just fun to watch. Angus is a pretty charismatic frontman, and seemed much cooler and more easy going on stage than I would have imagined. The band played several songs from the new record, as well as one or two old ones thrown in here and there, and a bunch of stuff I hadn't heard before (which I assume is new, although I could be wrong). Everything seemed to work quite well for them on stage, and the live drumming was completely captivating throughout. The sound probably could have been louder at times, but given the band's somewhat unusual setup, I would have to say that the sound was about as good as it could be, and certainly didn't take away from the show in any way. And by the way, they closed the show with a rather strange and completely kick ass cover of Nirvana's "Territorial Pissings" that really seemed to serve as a good example of why Liars are so compelling (as well as one of the night's highlights). Their music might be hard to swallow at first, but its obvious that they know why people listen to rock music, and they are clearly able to utilize that knowledge to create songs that are challenging and different but never boring or overly academic, which might be explained by simply saying that they never seem to do more than they have to. And you don't have to be a hipster, a record collection asshole or a wanna be music journalist to appreciate that.

48 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeez, guys...

you've written a novel on the liars in the last week.

let's move on now..

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dang, they were just giving a review of the show.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

true, but that isn't a bad point. this is the 3rd or 4th HUGE article (huge may be an exageration) written on them. this has to be the only out-of-town band that has gotten an interview (granted, it's cool that they would do one), AND a concert review... and it's all been in a span of a few days.

that and a long write-up before the Liars show.

i'm not saying cool it, but i am saying that i understand why someone would be in favor of moving on. especially since this IS the dallas/denton music blog. To my knowledge there haven't been any huge concert reviews of any other international act.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fall

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im just glad we've moved away from Wanz and Undoing of David Wright for 48 hrs... NOTHING against them.. just happy to see something else.. (insert 24 page Wanz post here)

11:43 AM  
Anonymous DFW MUSIC FAN #1 said...

I heard that Wanz JOINED Undoing!

Undoing of David Wanz II!


I keed...

11:55 AM  
Anonymous zak said...

well, considering that Liars show was one of the best shows going on this weekend, let alone the year, here in Dallas/North TX I think the attention is warranted. May not be a local act, but my impression of this blog is to discuss all things happening in music in this area... touring acts included.

One cool thing about the show that surprised me a bit was them playing at least 3-4 (maybe more?) from the critically dissed second album... and the crowd singing along on whatever song that was ('They Don't Want Your Kids...' I think?) from it. That gave me a greater appreciation of those songs and that album hearing it all in context with the new stuff.

12:11 PM  
Blogger james said...

I wouldnt have minded seeing the liars show, but we actually had around a hundred people at the metrognome both friday and saturday night for the Theater Fire and Top Secret release parties.

the theater fire show was like a sort of homecoming of a fort worth band who is finally getting its due.

The Top Secret Show was a great display of community, and it was thrilling to see so many talented people from so many different bands coming together.

Thanks to everybody who showed up, it reaffirmed my faith that fort worth has people who care about good music.

oh, and Robin tweaked our sound system on saturday, and its WAY better than ever. That guy is the ninja master of sound engineers. in 10 minutes of listening to our system he noticed that our mains were out of phase. he also gave us some valuable pointers about repositioning our main cabinets and baffling the room, and as soon as we can afford to, it's gonna be on.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love the liars and i love wsjr too! i just think that these stories could have been consolidated, yet still effective.

now, it's starting to sound like the dallas chapter of the liars fan club around here.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous threadjack overlord said...

Here's something new
to be excited about/bitch about!

SECRET HEADQUARTERS
210 E. Hickory
Every Saturday
8pm to 10pm
2 bands for $3
BYOB

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We are psyched to be providing
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Start your night at SHQ,
don’t blow your whole paycheck, and then go party somewhere else into the night!
Check out a band you’ve been hearing about without spending your wad and being out til forever…

Every Saturday,
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2 great acts
3 measly dollars
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And starting this weekend,
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$30 worth of music!
Use your card at any show,
on any Saturday!

Here’s the skinny so far…
We have lots of new
confirmations coming soon,
with bands from all over Texas…

6/3
Grand Opening Party!
3 bands for $3
(Show starts at 7pm)
The Angelus
shiny around the edges
Fra Pandolf

6/10
Brent Best (The Drams/ex-Slobberbone)
Saw Wheel (Austin folk/punk)

6/17
The Pebble that Saved the World
The Tah Dahs

6/24
Hand of Onan (CD RELEASE)
Mescalero
(There will be MAD grilling for this one!)

7/1
Woozyhelmet
TBA

7/8
Super Love Attack
Man Factory

+ Movie Screenings, Art Shows,
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Lords
Ed Gein
White Drugs
Blues

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1:03 PM  
Anonymous threadjack mofo said...

We're attempting to move the Woozyhelmet show to another date. Not wanting to comete with the other two early shows that day, Field Day and Strategies of Beauty. More soon...

1:23 PM  
Anonymous zak said...

james, that metrognome show for the theater fire was good times. That was our first time to get out there and it sounded great... cool, roomy stage too. We'll be back for sure.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dfw music fan #1, you are priceless, keep it coming! and hey, mr. written a novel, let's say you move on. right then.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous threadjack novelist mutha said...

Aw, come on, it was a lot of info!

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just curious..
i wonder how well recieved liars would be if they were..ahem..women?
i'm not a femme nazi type but It's starting to look like james brown was right.i've just noticed on this blog most of the bands written about are... well..dudes.
i probably don't blame you considering there aren't alot of women musicians i respect nowadays..

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Local Music that includes the Lady Players:

Jetscreamer
Shiny Around the Edges
Record Hop
Eat Avery's Bones
Happy Bullets
The Bracelets

Good Blog for Scoping the Hotties:
Gorilla vs. Bear

2:32 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

yeah, we definitely respect the ladies. especially the hot ones.

2:35 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

thats an interesting point, even though there are in fact a couple of women that help us out with stuff for this blog (mostly baking cookies and stuff.)

But seriously, I don't listen to a lot of female musicians/bands. Don't know why. And we really don't talk about female musicians on here, thats true (other than including Broadcast in our 2005 top 10 records; Shiny Around the Edges and Bosque Brown have been discussed too). That might have to do with the fact that this is mostly a local music blog in a town where there doesn't seem to be that much great local music period, and even less great local music that is made by women.

2:36 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

hmmm... I would agree that the list above is mostly made up of good bands that have women in them. I would throw Tree Wave in there too.

2:38 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

and Teenage Symphony.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jetscreamer
Shiny Around the Edges
Record Hop
Eat Avery's Bones
Happy Bullets
The Bracelets
Tree Wave
Bosque Brown
Teenage Symphony
Pebble That Ate the World
Audrey Lapraik

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for all the great responses.
now give me the list that's good

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-Jetscreamer
-Shiny Around the Edges
-Record Hop
-Eat Avery's Bones
-Happy Bullets
-The Bracelets
-Tree Wave
-Bosque Brown
-Teenage Symphony
-Pebble That Ate the World
-Audrey Lapraik
-Warren Jackson Hearne and the merrie murdre of gloomadeers
-Robert Gomez's Band
-Is Jack With One Eye any good?

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people/bands (with women) that have been mentioned on wsjr or made the it list:

shoplifting
finally punk
neko case
nouns group
the fall

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
thanks for all the great responses.
now give me the list that's good
12:47 PM

Jessica Simpson?

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Undoing?

2:49 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

hmmm... maybe we listen to more bands with women in them than we thought at first. I guess I was trying to think of bands fronted by women earlier, but that doesn't come close to covering it.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would probably listen to the liars if they were women.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stonedranger proved it .
don't listen to female bands,don't know why..
i think that female bands are often douchy and don't appeal to men.therefore,james brown WAS right.it will always be the case.women are not taken seriously-

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

iwould probably listen to the liars if they were women

probably?at what point would you not?when they start doing topless pics or when they protest woman''s day mag?they've ruined it for us all,goddammit

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't say things like this often, but, man, anon. 1:04, you really must be an idiot.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would only listen to the liars if they were nude women. hot nude women.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lesbians
In
Artfully
Ripped
Sweaters

!

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys!?!? We are leaving out Black Tie Dynasty!! They have to be on the list!

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nono, we're not talking about "amount of 18 to 21 year old females w/ prada bags in the audience" we're talking about band members (i agree... they are very girly, but... if they WERE girls they'd have so many chicks in the audience that they'd most deffinately get booked on lilith fair.... well... ok, maybe they are girls and should go on tour w/ natalie merchant NOW before she "goes out of style" (ha, out of style))

5:09 PM  
Blogger brooks said...

bob white and the f-electrics had a girl singing for them for like two days... The guitar players sex is questionable as well... Does that count for anything?

6:07 PM  
Blogger wakka-wakka said...

Add Silk Stocking to the list of good music that just so happens to be made by bands with at least one female member.

Chris: Please post more pictures of the Carrots' lead singer. Thank you.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bob white and the f-electrics should count as a girl band cuz they suck balls... like every good girl should. but that would mean they're off the list of good bands with girls on them.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who's this guy that keeps insulting us on here? what's his deal? more importantly, where does he sleep?

nick f-electric

1:14 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

Guessing about stuff like that is half the fun of the WSJR comment threads silly!

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this guy sleeps in your ass. perhaps you should go find him with your penis?

and his summer home is in his balls. i'm surprised you haven't sucked my summer home away yet.

Because, seriously...you guys suck lots and lots of juicy hairy balls...I mean you could at least shave them before or after the suckage, but no... you don't. But, hey, whatever man. If that's the balls you prefer to suck then leave them sweaty/juicy/hairy.


your music sucks just as much as you suck balls.

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummmm.... no givsey's backseys?

or should i go w/ the more appropriate "i'm rubber you're glue" retort?

if we're going to be insulting on here... lets at least be, you know...good at it!!??!!

cause if i wanna hear people take a ball-sucking metaphor too far, i'll spend a couple of days hanging out w/ my sister @ the elementary school she teaches at.

p.s.: pooooooooooooo poooooooooo

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Trevor - Age 7 said...

"pooooooooooooo poooooooooo"

THat's GoOD stuf!!!

10:56 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

trevor age 7 wins the anon name of the day award!

1:05 PM  
Anonymous tREVOR! said...

tHANKS!

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha. poops.

3:04 PM  
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8:37 AM  

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