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Netherfriends at Origami Vinyl on Sunday February 13th 2011

Any band that has a song entitled ‘Bret Easton Ellis Novel’ arises my curiosity, and since they were giving a free in-store performance on Sunday night at Origami Vinyl, I had to check them out.

In front of a synth and at the same time, playing guitar or drums or other stuff related to percussion, Shawn Rosenblatt performed complicated songs with heavily layered arrangements behind hyper-melodies full of hooks and soaring choruses. It’s a lot about these high-pitched vocals, these aa-oooos, swirling, surprising at each detour, and always harmonizing. Is it because of these harmonies that his music got the qualification of psych-pop? So many bands can be attached to this term, but Netherfriends’ bastard sound paints beautiful and epic soundscapes all over the musical landscapes of Panda Bear in the layered synths, and may be of the Flaming Lips in some vocals (‘Friends with lofts’), or even of Lord Huron I have seen recently (‘Im gonna start’). There were furious boosts of energy at times, going into all kinds of unexpected directions, and keeping me interested till the end.

During his performance, he had some kinds of problems with what it seems to be the electric outlet of his synth, but every time, he was re-plugging it with humor,.. ‘Life sucks!’, and he managed to play a full set despite the technical adversity.

Based in Chicago, Netherfriends was originally just a solo project for Shawn Rosenblatt, who recorded everything himself, but, as he was performing them live, he realized soon he needed some help. Angie Kang (synth, flute, melodica, glokenspiel & vocals) and Paul Newmann (percussion: pots, pans, snare) joined him, but at Origami on Sunday night, Rosenblatt only had help on drums. And to make things even more challenging, he has come up with an original plan, a plan to write and record a song while touring in each of the 50 US states. That makes 50 songs, and so far he has already written 42 of them, he announced at Origami at the end of his performance, next are Utah, Colorado and Oklahoma!

And what about this song about Ellis? This is what he had to say in an interview:
‘It’s a song about a handful of friends/acquaintances that I had in Chicago that were doing a lot silly things… like popping pills and snorting illegal substances. I felt like I was living a Bret Easton Ellis novel. Ellis actually posted the video on his Facebook and his fans trashed the song and the video. It was NICE!’

So listen to it:

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