In 2009 one of the best albums out in indie land, or any land, was Arms Kids Aflame, a masterful melodic indie rock by one man band and former Harlem Shakes Todd Goldstein. It was the culmination of five yearsof writing by himself and playing in his bedroom.
If you read rock nyc back then, you would have read plenty of raves over the album and rightly so, songwriting this strong doesn’t come about every day but Todd never seemed to playing around town so when some four years later I noted the Tiger Tamer himself was playing a CMJ gig at the Studio At Webster Hall, Tuesday October 15th, 2013, it went to the top of my must see list and man did I call that one.
No longer a one man band, lead singer and guitarist Todd was joined by Matty Fasano on bass, tlacael esparza -on drums, and dave harrington on keyboards. The band aesthetic opens it up and playing songs off their superb EP2, in a live setting the band evolve into a masterclass in tempo and dashed expectations.
Opening with “Up & Up”, the songs are being seriously re-arranged so they sound as though they are running along a parallel existence with Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. On record, on EP2, is a high melodic quotient closer with fake ending, on stage it is a metallic jam out wall of sound with fake end. Both work, one is a better song, the other is a better sound.
The 20 minute (way way way too short) is a complete triumph, it doesn’t build, it spins, words come at you: “cold hands , warm hearts, lalalala…” what does Todd mean? Is he a failed romantic, is he out of the bedsit forever? The band is really good, in 20 minutes every song makes itself felt and it is loud enough o grab your attention as it goes for extended (if you can call two minutes extended) jams against the rhythm and not along the melody line.
The penultimate song of the night is “Comfort” -a highlight of the EP is just another highlight on stage. It starts by strapping on the melody and emerges into another jam, somewhere after the first verse the sound breaks away and returns. It is a helter skelter stop stop tempo, don’t try dancing to it, but none the worse. By the time the band reaches the end they are taking the song and damning it round our way.
“They’ll be a time to cover your eyes” Todd warns towards the end.
This ain’t it.
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