all words and photos: Julian Vu
DC-based Lenorable claims to create “Gothwave to the max.” I’m probably the last person qualified to write any sort of review on gothwave, let alone anything “to the max”, but as a fan of local music, I figured it was worth a shot to check out Lenorable. I would concur with their claim in that they are definitely gothwave, whatever that is.
They are definitely other things as well; adorable, abrasive, catchy, energetic, stoic, often all at the same time. Ian Graham’s drum patterns and synthesizer programming do a great job of laying foundation to their sound. In most two-person/backing-track setups, so much is carried on the beat and basslines, all of which Graham does well.
Add on top of that, Graham’s luscious chorussed 12-string guitar that is equal parts shoegaze and post-punk. The songs are all across the board, straying from super-dark love/hate songs to the faster and catchy jams involving hugging dinosaurs. To keep said genre-hopping at bay, vocalist Lisa Reed brings it all together with a consistently feel-good energy, despite the music’s dark undertones. Reed doesn’t just sing straightforward however. Using the magic tricks of synthesis, Reed pitches her voice an octave lower on some songs, perhaps channeling her inner Luther Vandross, but more likely it actually sounds like she got a Talkboy for Christmas.
See what I mean?
All in all, the duo of Graham and Reed work. If their sound is indicative of what gothwave is, then I think I might actually warm up to the genre. Maybe.
Auckland, New Zealand-based Street Chant are a young bunch who came out of nowhere and surprised half the crowd. Why only half? Because the other half consisted of NPR, DCist, and Washington Post journalists who had already seen them at SXSW a week ago, and just had to come back for seconds or thirds even. They were THAT good.
In fact, this morning, Valerie Paschall of DCist (@vivalaphoenix) tweeted that “sounds even better here than they did in Austin. The speed-demon drumming seems more obvious tonight.”
There was definitely light-speed demon drumming, but there were also two young females unafraid of playing aggressive post-punk and blowing away the audience. For a three piece, the sound was incredibly full; due in-part to thick and crunchy guitar and bass, but primarily to incredible harmonies.
If you look at the photos, you’d almost swear that you’re bearing witness to an alternate 1996-Hanson who had chosen an alternate route to pop success. Photos don’t do justice, hopefully video will: