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VUM At The Satellite, Sunday May 5th 2013

The noir-indie band VUM was one of the several bands which took part in the ‘Cinco de Messo’ celebration at the Satellite on Sunday night, and despite the fact I had really enjoyed their set at Vacation Vinyl a few years ago, I hadn’t never had the occasion to see them again,… but since they have become one of Henry Rollins’ favorite bands on his KCRW weekly radio show, I went to see them again.

Their last album ‘Night Sun’ was filled with noir-krautrock-y music, leading us through a lugubrious and cinematic journey, alternately evoking torrid jungles, cold deserts, mysterious temples and foreign countries, and what I heard on Sunday night wasn’t radically different. Although they almost played totally new songs, they continued to build the same darkness and paint the same foreign and mysterious soundscape. Surrounded by a lot of synths, Christopher Badger looked like the master of this enigmatic music, building synth drones over synth throbs, while drummer/percussionist Scott Spaulding was adding more sparse pounding beats into this atmospheric land habited by Jennifer Pearl’s cool and monotonous vocals.

Their music is both rather minimalist and very visual, and of course the band is clear on what influences their original sonic visions, they played a song called ‘Laura Palmer’, a slightly more upbeat than usual one for them, but also an obvious reference to David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’. The catchy tune was almost all-waltzing synth, drawing repetitive loops in your head while Jennifer Pearl’s nasal and distant vocals were haunting the scene. ‘I will Return’ was a more violent scenery with strafing drums and a crescendo building a bigger sound, while ‘Solid Waves’ had a also a rare surf guitar teasing us through this thick liquid-solid wall of synth.

After their 2011 release ‘Night Sun’, they are now preparing their 2nd full-length release. It certainly is dark music but with a reassuring monotony, and a bewitching effect that may induce a druggy state of hypnosis at the first song, but it is also much more than a potential movie soundtrack.

Setlist

I Will Return
Hong Kong
Laura Palmer
Both Sides of the wall
Solid Waves
Echo Mountain
Winds Blow

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