Friday, March 09, 2007

Primordial Undermind/Oveo at J&Js



I'm often unsure of what I should say about bands like Primordial Undermind and Oveo. I mean really, what is there to talk about? Sure, you can partially describe the music Oveo creates by discussing the equipment they use: guitar, live drum, reel to reel tape manipulation, etc. And while this might provide a reader with some basic idea of how the different parts of their compositions sound, such a description doesn't get you very far if you're trying to convey the experience of hearing this music live. And of course, you could probably tell people about Primordial Undermind by comparing them to other guitar heavy psyche rock bands from past and present, but that really doesn't touch on what the band is actually trying to do, even if it does provide a loose set of parameters for imagining what their music might sound like. No, to get to the heart of what either of these bands do well, you probably just have to accept the fact that they are attempting to engage the audience on such a highly personal level that its hard to convey exactly what you find appealing about them, even if their missteps are a bit easier to point out.

Oveo's music is generally tense, repetitive and fragile, sounding simultaneously like a challenge to the audience, a cry for help, a statement of vulnerability and a celebration of all things unsettling. On Wednesday at J&Js, Oveo's set started like the others I've seen from them in the past couple of months: trickles of swirling electro noise and manipulated tape began to rise from their amps, sounding rather formless at first but eventually developing an impressively coherent and unique texture that eventually started to command attention to the details. As these sounds continued to repeat and slowly change, it became clear that with all the talk of Denton "noise" bands just getting up on stage and freaking out, Oveo's compositions are really quite deliberate (in purpose if not in detail), and rhythm is much more of a focal point than one might guess. At about the seven or eight minute mark, just as the audience was starting to settle into the overwhelming musical space the band had created, a rather sharp, alarming bass sound started to pump from one corner of the stage area, sending the set to an entirely new place where the band attempted to control and manipulate the rhythmic atmosphere that had already taken a life of its own. As one member began banging on a drum with a tribal intensity, the commanding bass part continued to pulsate and transform, and a weakness in the band's set was revealed: the live drums, though a great way to add something raw to a highly processed set, sometimes took away from the otherwise mesmerizing nature of the band's music, as the seemingly improvisational live rhythms occasionally undermined and threw off the rest of the composition a bit. However, this misstep was a very small one, and the band was able to end their set doing what they seem to be so good at: creating an atmosphere and allowing the minds of audience members to wander a bit while maintaining a noticeable level of control over the mood in the room.

Primordial Undermind did something similar, albeit in a very different manner. Instead of presenting fragments of sounds and allowing listeners to wrap their thoughts around them, the band took relatively straight forward, bluesy psychedelic rock and infused it with sprawling, hazy instrumental passages that made their song oriented moments all the more exciting. Whereas Oveo succeeded in slowly building certain moods throughout their entire set, Primordial Undermind utilized contrasts between fuzzy blues riffs and wandering, jazz influenced breakdowns to pull the audience back and forth between head nodding trad psyche and loose but compelling improv. At certain points, the band could probably be said to share qualities with bands like Comets on Fire and Dungen, but they also seemed to approach their music in a manner similar to Ariel Pink, providing enough of a basis in traditional rock and blues to make the stranger passages seem more purposeful, and the more traditional passages more, um, strange. And with an out of this world drummer holding everything together, there was hardly a time when the band was anything but completely in control of their sound and presentation, even if the control was rather laissez faire compared to that of most guitar based rock bands.

While there were moments in both sets where the bands lost focus or failed to pull off everything they wanted to, both were quite good because they left the audience so much mental space to take what they wanted from the sets. While I enjoy house music and pop as much as the next guy, bands like Oveo and Primordial Undermind are so enjoyable to see live because they give you some space to breathe. Instead of playing "sad" songs or "happy" songs or "fun" songs, they just played, attempted to set moods, and gave the audience the freedom to move in and out of the spaces they created. In the first sentence of this review, I talked about how hard it is to describe what is appealing about these bands, which must now seem like an absurd proposition four paragraphs into a mostly positive review. But even if I can't tell you exactly why I enjoy this music with much precision, I figured I should at least try. After all, shows like these are just too much fun to ignore simply because they're a bit tough to write about.

48 Comments:

Anonymous oveo said...

wow! this was totally unexpected! thanks.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Childress Reynolds said...

I'd like to address Teenage Symphony's disturbing performance in Euless a few weeks back.

Walter Rahitas, Mud Trap, Bunker, and I were leaving the Roadhouse Sizzler after three steak sandwiches and four root beers when we spotted the band we were to see later that night uploading content to this very site from a Starbuck's hotspot.

That band was Teenage Symphony, and they are shooting JR. everyday and thensome. There was an Asian kid, some lawn jockey with a shirt on, and a fair-skinned lady who, as I would learn later, seemed better suited as a freelance cellist for the Presbyterian Church Sunday choir, not the co-leader of a fourth tier death metal band.

I was thoroughly unimpressed by the band's inability to hide their anonymity. Their performance was also lackluster. The band is Teenage Symphony.

And the frontman kid kept farting and giggling under his breath. That's when Mud Trap stepped in.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

salame

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So don't write about them, idiot. Just show that they're playing, where they're playing, and come to terms with the fact that you are an idiot with no writing talents whatsoever. As in...you CAN'T WRITE. We all know that you want to fit in somehow, since you can't perform either, but, you know, just be content with your lack of artistic knack and find your true calling. Or learn a little more about ethics.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and you were farting dust, eh childebags..
Mmmm... sizzler!
that's a reynolds wrap!
bang bang
rob that bank
put'em in jail, put'em in jail...

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ethics???
i'm from east LA!
geoff or samuel, i'm guessing. perhaps not.
HERE SHE COMES...
win win
shoot that spin
hit'em again, hit'em again

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh farah: what has become of YOU?
does anybody else here feel the way i do?

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:45

What the fuck do you care if this dude actually goes to see a band he previews and then writes about them? I'm sorry that nobody gives a shit about your band and that your wife/girlfriend and boss are probably both pissed at you for being on this site 24 hours a day. Fuckchop. And what the fuck is unethical about this? People like you are why North Texas is shit.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah I wanna know who wrote this secret rule book that anon 2:45 has crammed up his ass.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

doctors say chaotic sleeping patterns cause chaotic eating habits.

CASH FROM CHAOS

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the part where i killed myself:
"a cry for help, a statement of vulnerability and a celebration of all things unsettling."


OHHHHkay.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice write up.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you, or can you not, Mmmmm.... pop rocks....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

co'ra. snake!!

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm often unsure of what I should say about bands like (insert random band wsjr is trying to crawl up said butt)"

Then don't. Don't say anything. You're unsure. You have no confidence in what you are about to write and it shows with every long, rambling, boring-ass, overly described minutiae you type.

"provide a loose set of parameters for imagining what their music might sound like."

Uh? Uh! Imagining a sound. Imagining a band. What they must sound like. What the hell are you trying to get at? Someone already touched on this one but...

"----music is generally tense, repetitive and fragile, sounding simultaneously like a challenge to the audience, a cry for help, a statement of vulnerability and a celebration of all things unsettling."

Comma, comma, comma, comma, come on. Get, to, the, point, you, are, writing, like, defensive, douchebag, now, where, everything, must, be described, using, at least, 600, words, from, a, Thesaurus.

The point is, write when you have something to say not just when you're trying to get a foothold in some bands ass. Otherwise you are very reminiscient of the ex music editor of that forsaken paper called the dallas observer.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Mitch said...

i don't think it was bad. if you don't like the blog then why do you read it? the same criticism could be said for you. dick cheese.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oveo is really great. saw them recently and enjoyed it very much. look forward to more growth and shows outta that band.

3:59 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

you needed a thesaurus for those words? Did you fail the TAAS test?

4:08 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

"Comma, comma, comma, comma, come on. Get, to, the, point, you, are, writing, like, defensive, douchebag, now, where, everything, must, be described, using, at least, 600, words, from, a, Thesaurus."

Do you use a Thesaurus? That's strange. Should we dumb things down for you? This shit just comes to me. I actually read books and use the "big words" I write in my daily life when I speak. Some people really do "know stuff". Believe it. And your advice is laughable at best, and completely as muddled as what you're accusing Stonedranger of at worst. Your criticism is all over the blog lately and your pedantic stream of shit is indicative of a person with something up his ass who knows very little yet has a very large axe to grind with how little you know as your sole resource. I almost feel sorry for you.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you failed life SR, hence why you waste your time on this...brilliant manifestation of slime.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh and of course we can't forget defensive douchdiddle

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't almost feel sorry for me feel sorry for yo mama!

4:16 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

"you failed life SR, hence why you waste your time on this...brilliant manifestation of slime".

Poetic. What do you read more? Keats or 'Ranger?

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a list of commonly misused words:

Accept, Except - Accept means to receive, while except means to exclude.

Affect, Effect - An Effect is a result, Affect usually means to alter.

Alright - This just isn't a word. You should use all right.

Assure, Ensure, Insure - Assure means to guarantee, Ensure means to make sure, and Insure should only be used when talking about insurance.

Compliment, Complement - A Compliment is praise, to Complement is to go well with something else.

Could Of - This doesn't make sense. Use Could Have.

Discreet, Discrete - Discreet is to be careful, Discrete means distinct.

Farther, Further - Farther refers to distance, Further means more.

Foreword, Forward - A Foreword is the beginning of a book, Forward is a direction.

i.e , e.g - In Latin i.e means "that is", while e.g means "for example".

Its, It's - Its is possessive - something that belongs to someone, It's is short for it is.

Labtop, Laptop - Labtop is not a word. The computer sits on your Lap, not your Lab.

Like - Don't Say Like fifteen times in a sentence. Like is not a placeholder.

Loose, Lose - Loose is the opposite of tight, Lose is the opposite of win.

Precede, Proceed - something Precedes if it comes first, Proceeds if it follows.

No, Know - No is the opposite of yes, Know refers to something you've learned. (or in this case haven't learned)

Than, Then - Than is used for comparisons, Then means it came next.

There, Their, They're - There is a place, Their is something that belongs to them, They're is short for They Are

To, Two, Too - Two is a number, Too means also, To is used with verbs (going to).

Weather, Whether - Weather is what the meteorologist always predicts wrong, Whether is used when making a choice.

Who's, Whose - Whose is possessive, Who's is short for who is.

Your, You're - Your is something that belongs to you, You're is short for you are.

4:20 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

I wonder if you'd like to point out some of the times we've made those mistakes (I know I use "its" incorrectly all the time). Sounds like we've got a "writer" on our hands. Curious.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

curious because you're not one

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry SR and DD got their little feelings hurt because I called them out on sucking. You guys look really stupid trying to defend yourselves. It's just a comment thread.If you don't like it don't read it. I bet you'll be back reading it every day though.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

like all the famous gypsies?
women in the nude
simple bowl of fruit

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so are any bands playing tonight???

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, that dudes not a writer. Writers write. This guy seems just fresh out out of high school and clearly very young.

4:33 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

hey dad, I can't see too well, is that Bill Shakespeare over there?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

young writers writin'
thems not fightin'
cuz thems delightin'
in cussin' an wipin'

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Liberace said...

This is starting to look like my bed sheets -- high thread count! Fabulous!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous oveo said...

The writing style of this blog is totally irrelevant. My experience has shown me that music writers are usually beyond terrible, SR and DL are far better than music journalists that get paid for it. But that's just my opinion, it doesn't matter.

As for bands playing tonight:

FUCKING NOUNS GROUP, KABOOM, and CHIEF DEATH RAGE at SHQ is your best bet. I'm sure of this.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah thanks, it's fun pulling the strings.
it's a hell of a lot more fun behind the curtains, that's fo sho!

4:43 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

oh yeah, it was all a big joke!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whats REALLY funny is that EXTREME ANON CRITIC is just DYING for some ATTN or to be RECOGNIZED .......GEt some balls and claim YO SHIT if you really got something to say.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when cameron was in jr's land...

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cameron was really good in ferris buellers day off

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

indeed

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that you're bad writers. It's that you're complete assholes.

3:48 AM  
Anonymous mc said...

Thanks for the review. 42 comments of BS. Who cares. It takes balls to write for public consumption, just like it takes balls to play music for public consumption. Neither one is going to come out perfect. You're here reading it anyway.

Anyways, how was Ethereal Planes Indian? Did Primordial have their triwave picogenerator out? How many people were there?

10:39 AM  
Anonymous m samantha m said...

i was really excited about the fact that 43 comments were about this review, but now i am sad, very sad.

i missed this show due to sleep, but thankfully will was able to dv it. primordial undermind are some good people who play hella good music.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous mc said...

dv eh? Awesome ... You Tube it!

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"when cameron was in jr's land..."

wasnt' cameron in bobby ewing's land?

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what happened to bobby ewings dreams? what happened to blackhart society?

11:40 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

i just got to see a bit of primordial undermind but they were pretty sweet & the drummer was bod oss. <- my very informative and nondramatic review.

3:51 PM  

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