REVERBfest at Salmon Bay Eagles Club

Panda & Angel, Black Wales, BOAT...

10 p.m.AqueductThe brainchild of Oklahoma transplant David Terry—who does the bulk of his recording in a bedroom studio—Aqueduct is melodic indie pop done both upbeat and bittersweet, with Terry exploring love's triumphs and pitfalls with a gaggle of synthesizers, piano, drum machines, and the occasional chewy guitar line. Terry possesses a sweet voice (sometimes reminiscent of Grandaddy's Jason Lytle, though more ebullient), and his tunes can make you feel good even when he's singing about feeling crappy. Live, Terry's usually accompanied by several of Seattle's finest players, who make his lush and appealing songs that much more so on stage. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG9 p.m.Mono in VCFMono in VCF is the kind of band record geeks fantasize about. Crafting dreamy cinematic pop that falls somewhere around Portishead, Dusty Springfield, and even Madonna (her "Something's Coming Over Me" era, that is), this Tacoma group has no real contemporaries in the local scene—though they wouldn't be out of place on a retro-tastic label like Light in the Attic. Somehow they manage to sound both vintage and futuristic, which makes sense considering their name is derived from Phil Spector (or rather, his innovative use of only mono) and Moog synthesizers ("VCF" is a feature on Moogs, meaning "voltage-controlled filter"). One gets the sense that this five-piece enjoys getting stoned and discussing high-end Rega turntables and speakers, the type of people who would feel at home in Hawthorne Stereo on Roosevelt Way. Yet the music they make is seductive and alluring, qualities most audiophiles and studio wonks do not possess (myself included). "Escape City Scrapers" is sweeping and luxurious like an early James Bond theme (or maybe a Cadillac Escalade commercial), while "Masha" and "In Los Angeles" recall the dark romanticism of Scott Walker. The songs begin in a smoky, loungey haze with lazy beats that slowly get caught up in swells of pupil-dilating retro space pop. The latter befits lyrics like "Love is all I seek/but it's gone/it's lost at sea," but what distinguishes Mono in VCF from other groups is that no matter how big the sonic waves, they never drown the pop hooks. BRIAN J. BARR8 p.m.BOATIf BOAT has a lot of songs about history and proper English ("Period Backslash Colon"), that's because D. Crane is a sixth-grade social studies teacher. And if BOAT's songs always sound happy, even when the lyrics belie some personal strife or deep existential crisis, it's because that is the nature of pop music, and that is what BOAT is: pop. But unlike cotton-candy pop that's super-sweet for five seconds and then dissolves, leaving you with nothing but a weird sugar aftertaste that compels you to brush your teeth, BOAT's got some real substance to back up the instant catchiness of the instrumentals. Like "Four Beds for BOAT," a track from BOAT's most recent offering, an EP called Topps that came out this June. It's such a bouncy song that at first you don't even notice what it's about: the uncertain future of BOAT itself. "You get real big and then you take a fall/Look at all the bands on the ground," D. Crane sings about his band, which has only just begun playing big venues like the Showbox. And you have to wonder: How far can BOAT go? Could this vessel of humble origins make it all the way to the ivory towers of Top-40 fame—and stay there for a while—without springing a leak? No one, least of all D. Crane, can say for sure. But so long as BOAT sustains its beautiful balance of soul and shuffle, that golden ratio that makes the lyrics relatable and the music fit for dancing, this BOAT should stay afloat even in the rough waters of the major leagues. SARA BRICKNER7 p.m.Black WhalesThe Tall Birds were one of my favorite local bands, but they didn't last long enough to become everyone else's. Let's hope that fate doesn't befall Black Whales, which features at least one member of that band, as well as members of Tourist and Spacesuit. With strummy guitars, echoey psych vocals, and an overall indie-rock aesthetic, Black Whales are a new local favorite waiting to be heard. Imagine the Cave Singers as informed by the Nuggets box set, or the Tall Birds more informed by '60s folk: They are essentially a jangle-pop band possessed of a lot more depth than is usually found in the genre. There is something dark and moody about them, but their hooks are just candy-coated enough to give them a broad appeal. BJB6 p.m.The Lonely ForestFor three dudes in their early 20s, Anacortes trio The Lonely Forest possesses a remarkably sophisticated songwriting acumen and a knack for delivering interesting, winning melodies mainly via piano, bass, and drums. In their lusher moments, the band—led by John Van Deusen and his passionate vocals—combines the pop majesty of the Long Winters with the quirkiness of XTC, but when Van Deusen busts out his guitar, the thrust becomes punkish. Still, on a song like "Centennial," the chugging guitars and occasional strings rub up against lovely three-part harmonies to especially unique and compelling ends. These guys have been working with Jack Endino on a new album, and they're absolutely poised to be one of Seattle's next breakout acts. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG5 p.m.Panda & AngelFor a while there, I feared the worst for Jade Tree pop group Panda & Angel, who released a brilliant self-titled EP in July 2006, toured in 2007, and then disappeared from the scene completely (no shows, no touring, no nothing) for nearly a year before re-emerging with some new songs that should be available on the band's first full-length. The band's named for a drug dealer (Panda) and his girlfriend (Angel) with whom guitarist Josh Wackerly was acquainted in his hometown, and this concept extends to the music as well, which loosely examines the intense nature of life as a drug addict. Still, pretty harmonies and electronic accents lend the tremulous, melancholy vocals and heavy instrumentals some buoyancy. The music community's been feening for this album for a long time. So please, Jade Tree, hurry up and deliver the goods! Or do you want us to start having withdrawals? SB4 p.m.The Monday MorningsSumptuous folk harmonies and plucked strings dominate the Monday Mornings' recent debut release, Swallow Down the Days, a melancholy record that could only have been created by people who live under a blanket of clouds most of the time. Even though Seattle doesn't exactly want for these sorts of bands, it's a sound we can't get enough of (Fleet Foxes, hello?!), and there's something quite compelling about Michael Mearns' vocals, which resemble the Weakerthans' John Samson. Plus, while the music's roots stretch into folk, pop, and country territory, the band doesn't hunker down for too long in any one of those adjoining styles. SB3 p.m.C-leb & A-broC-leb & A-bro play synth-heavy electronica out of necessity. Allegedly, C-leb himself was disappointed in the lack of good electronica coming out of Seattle, and—as one should when disappointed with anything—did something about it. So he started his own group. With a drum machine, a synth/sampler, a guitarist (A-bro), and a featured dancer named Jerome, C-leb's group is like Depeche Mode or Pet Shop Boys gone hipster DIY. The instrumentation is all very clicky and upbeat, but marked by the strain of loneliness in C-leb's vocals. Overall, it's stylish stuff, yet it comes off as very back-to-basics synth-pop, as if the genre's pioneers never went out of fashion to begin with. BJB

 
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