Elvis Depressedly With Alex G, the Vliets and Eyes, Wings and Many Other Things Prophet Bar, Dallas Monday, August 28, 2014
Among other endless phenomena, the Internet has prompted the breeding of a new generation of bedroom auteurs. Traditionally, the house garage was the cocoon from which great bands emerged--something about the proximity to oil cans and trash bags possibly triggered the uncontrollable outpouring of rock music. In contrast, the intimacy of bedroom recordings has been a catalyst for a new wave of idealized indie sounds, those of the lowest-fi, deliberately remote and DIY audio. At the Prophet Bar on Monday night a collection of Internet-famous bands came together to play in 3D.
The door behind the Prophet Bar, referred to as the Door -- a dark and bare warehouse, archetypically Deep Ellum -- had a great turnout of Abercrombie college (or possibly high school) kids. Local band Eyes, Wings and Many Other Things opened, and despite certain technical difficulties, created a haze like the darkest moments of the song "The End" by the Doors. If blindfolded, the room would have evoked nothing but lava lamps and naked people. To follow up, The Vliets, another Internet-only Indie band, shone with their usual flawless polish.
The two visiting artists, who belong to the impossibly cool Orchid Tapes label from Brooklyn, Alex G and Elvis Depressedly, are in the midst of a 30-day national tour. The pairing is uncannily ideal: Both bands share moody lyrics and schizophrenic changes in tone, a crude voice, as well as a repetitive use of uncomplicated yet clever wordplay.
Alex G, whose stage and real name (Alex Giannascoli) both sound like Jersey Shore cast member's names, is an online music veteran on his eighth album, his first backed by a label. Except for the drummer, who was wearing a T-shirt of Miley Cyrus before she discovered porn, the five-piece entered the stage dressed modestly as if they were getting ready to go mow the lawn.
The group, an organized mess of disparate melody, looked at Alex G for approval and followed the lead of his teenaged-sounding voice, which spontaneously morphed into a scream of lyrics about wanting to be someone else and somebody famous, with honest angst and uncalculated aloofness. The instruments came together in bursts of well-produced harmony, ending satisfactorily with "After Ur Gone."
Elvis Depressedly is fronted by Mat Cothran, who is better known for his solo project Coma Cinema. Cochran is undeniably a man of words. It turns out the name, besides being as clever as "Marilyn Manson", is also very telling. It would at first seem just a witty pun, but melancholy and despair are recurring themes in Cothran's music. He was joined by a drummer, bass and guitar player, plus his girlfriend Delaney Mills, who plays keyboards and tambourine. They recall a more rebellious Jenny and Johnny, and sound much like a very early Modest Mouse had the latter been singing in the hippie corner of Haight and Ashbury, and had motifs that included using Satan and suicide as metaphors.
The band started off strong and got an appreciative crowd reaction. Mid-set they made the brilliantly odd choice of covering (or more precisely expanding on) Alice DJ's "Better Off Alone". Their own "U Angel U" was a show of pure emotion. Cothran's softness fronted a 1950s type of sweetness, which countered well his screams of, "There's no such thing as rock 'n'roll" over and over.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.