Ian Sweet, fronted by singer-songwriterJilian Medford, has started a residency at the Echo to celebrate the release of her sophomore album, ‘Crush Crusher’, and last night was a rather lo-fi affair as well as an all-woman lineup, with Gum Country, Lauren Early, and Lomelda.
Fronted by Courtney Garvin, Gum Country played a dynamic set with a driving vibe and infectious electronic melodies piercing the pedal fuzz. I may have mentioned a lo-fi night earlier, but the trio’s set did produce a full sound going in an almost white noise tone, which could have matched the soundscapes of a post-punk Mogwai song meeting the melodies of Yo La Tango. Self-described as ‘harsh twee’, this side project from one-third of the band The Courtneys, had plenty of depth with pretty ripples of shoegaze and psychedelia.
It takes some guts to play very personal songs alone on stage, and this is what Lauren Early then Lomelda successively did with some variation on the same theme. Lauren Early immediately gave me a strong Girlpool vibe, and unsurprisingly, I read that she has been a touring lead guitarist for the Smell’s house band Surf Curse and, of course, Girlpool. Playing songs off her debut EP ‘Patience’, she had a sort of peculiar bipolar style, with sparse melancholic grating lines alternating with a violent beating and shaking guitar. Her semi-grungy style suddenly turned into a dream-pop with melancholic howls during a few songs, showing her range with the same raw and honest DIY ethics.
Lomelda had gathered a large crowd, whereas she had the most delicate voice and the shiest stage presence of the night. As it is the case when you don’t know anything about a musician, I tried to locate her in the vast current music landscape and it was not a big surprise to learn she had just toured with Big Thief. Hannah Read’s soft and melodious voice surely captivated the extremely quiet and respectful crowd, as everybody was following the torrent of emotions filtering through her so-lo-fi guitar when she played songs from her 2017 album ‘Thx’ and new material. She didn’t say much, almost hiding behind her large glasses, but her short meditative pieces had the sort of desolated sadness that does not require any talking.
Ian Sweet headlined the first night of their residency with the loudest set of the evening. Medford’s saccharine and breathy vocals with occasional squeaky peaks were piercing above the music’s shining soundscapes, filled with unexpected shifts mixing dream pop and noisy rock. the music sounded intimate despite the tortuous guitars wrapping hard-to-discover melodies, and the songs had a dark side, sometimes flirting with dissonance. The noisy style was revealing a chaotic vision, something not really surprising for someone who has declared to find inspiration in Björk, Brian Eno or PJ Harvey’s work. Ian Sweet’s residency will last all July long with songs of her new album ‘Crush Crusher’ produced by Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, The War On Drugs, Soccer Mommy) and, last night, closing an all-woman show with The Cure’s ’Boys Don’t Cry’ sounded about right.
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