Lower Dens / No Joy Media Club, Vancouver BC July 7
Published Jul 09, 2012This sudden Vancouver summer came just in time for this double bill of delirious pop.
Montreal four-piece No Joy's born-stoked distort pop drips with some pretty major weed-heavy '90s beach feelings. Their wall of melodies is actually kind of abstract, in a way; where other Mexican Summer guitar counterparts' reverb riffs are at the front, No Joy pile theirs up into one wash that ends up coming off like the gnarled fog of Sloan and Dinosaur Jr. memories, all faded and seemingly more interested in exploring noise/pop than any shoegaze type of haze. Their rollicking half hour of guitar fuzz seemed to have a propensity for the more bong-ripped Californian sonics, making for super-fun and energetic set.
As for Lower Dens, the headliners started out with a couple of minor tech issues before rolling into their more classic, golden pop. It swelters and flourishes like Beach House at times, with a weirder, antiquated American lean. And even with some slightly arbitrary, not so impressive visuals, they conjured some pretty vivid landscapes with lead singer Jana Hunter's dreamy vocals and a simple instrumentation with subtle atmospherics creeping out.
Recent Kraut-y single "Brains" came out hypnotic, building slowly and steadily in a contrast to lazy porch-dwelling ballads. There's some quiet grandeur in there, when occasional not quite Pavement-style guitar solos come out of some super-personal corners.
This split between slacker indie pop proficiency and vivid, dusty folk spaces is largely the allure of their captivating, well-paced live show. In a balmy Media Club, most of their songs benefitted from the relaxed, family-jam vibe, coming off even richer than their recordings.