Indie crooner Jonny Pierce led The Drums to a performance high with his irresistible new wave hooks at Black Cat recently. The resulting concert was so damn good that the audience was struck giddy to witness it.
The Drums released Brutalism, the fifth studio album by the Jonny Pierce-fronted project, last month via Anti- Records. Jonny is on tour with a stop at the Black Cat on Saturday, May 11.
Revitalized new wavers The Drums wrapped up a successful tour last week with three sold-out shows in their hometown at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, showing the assembled crowds they still dazzle on stage.
The shows closed out extensive performances in support of the band’s third album, Encyclopedia, released in September 2014. The album finds The Drums as only a duo — founding creative forces in vocalist Jonny Pierce and keyboardist Jacob Graham — but as exciting and fresh as ever.
After a three-year break, Jonny and Jacob demonstrated their continued appeal with singles like “I Can’t Pretend,” a popular selection during their recent shows, which also included a stop at DC9 on Monday, Oct. 26.
The song is a terrific combination of elements that make The Drums so great — Jonny’s soothing voice, a synth backbone set down by Jacob, and resonant surf guitars added by the touring band. Interestingly, that surf rock sound often tends to be one of the most distinctive trademarks of a song by The Drums. To my ears, The Drums otherwise owe tremendous debts to two of their influences: The Smiths and New Order.
When Mickey first asked me to look into and preview Froth, a band I knew nothing about, I went to Spotify. In my search for the band, I found three albums, and as I often do, I chose the first album dated 2010 as my starting point. What followed was not the indie rock band I had expected as the opener for this coming Monday’s The Drums show at DC9, but rather a doodling, psychedelic jam band. This had to be wrong. And indeed it was one of those weird Spotify mix ups with two bands listed under the same artist name. A bizarre mashup of songs, albums and divergent cover art. And while the 2010 album from the band Froth wasn’t half bad, it wasn’t my assignment, so I moved to Froth’s 2014 album Patterns and their latest 2015 tracks from Bleak.
What I found on these two albums from what NPR’s Robin Hilton calls a “shoegaze” band was an entertaining combination of psych-pop and hard rock, which in stark contrast to my jam band chill prep, had me totally rocking out. While shoegaze emerged from the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, my feel for Froth went to the West Coast with a surfing music vibe, particularly found in the tracks “Lost My Mind” and “Oaxaca.” While these tracks are from Froth’s 2014 album, this distinct multi-layered, beach sound continues into the tracks from 2015’s Bleak, albeit with a much stronger presence of rock, psych-pop, and grunge along the lines of Nirvana and Hole.
In listening to Froth, I was happily reminded of my love for the similarly sounding band — the Smith Westerns whose 2013 album Soft Will and 2014 BlackCat performance blew my mind. If you enjoy a band that plays with complexity and a tight balance between all its members, then definitely show up Monday at DC9 for the opener Froth.
Oh, by the way, the show at DC9 on Monday is free to members of Jukely, a new monthly subscription service that gives its members unlimited concerts from a slate of bands every month. Check it out and see what you think!