Tree Wave performs Wednesday, March 17, at Curtain Club, with the Polyphonic Spree.
Among the instruments in Tree Wave's arsenal are: an old beige Commodore computer, a 1985 Epson dot matrix printer and an Atari console that hasn't been in fashion since Knots Landing ruled prime time. Tree Wave makes music with these clunky ancients and--believe it or not--it's good. This isn't a cacophony of tedious bleeps and bloops; Dallas' Paul Slocum coaxes melody out of the equipment's familiar stuttering, using some hard-core techno-wizardry we can't hope to understand, far less convey. All we know is that it's damn cool. Singer Lauren Gray adds a cool, breathy alto, but the music is central here--the soundtrack to games like Pitfall and Pac-Man transposed and reinvented. Live shows also have the added visual element of color patterns programmed on the Atari and Commodore. (Again: Don't ask how. We can't even balance our checkbook, for Christ's sake.) After recent shows at SXSW Interactive and the New York Underground Film Festival, Tree Wave has landed this high-profile gig, opening for some band called the Polyphonic Spree. We figure it's only a matter of time before Tree Wave catches on, and everyone starts replacing their Fenders with dusty Mac II's and Wang monitors from the basement. Now that's garage rock.