beets.jpg
Julia Mullen Gordon
The Beets' unusual stage setup.
The Beets, Eternal Summers

Friday, May 28th

Healthy Times Fun Club

There's a scene in Miranda July's

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The "Beachwave" Backlash: Fun, But Original?

beets.jpg
Julia Mullen Gordon
The Beets' unusual stage setup.
The Beets, Eternal Summers

Friday, May 28th

Healthy Times Fun Club

There's a scene in Miranda July's movie Me and You and Everyone We Know where a museum curator, selecting pieces for an upcoming show, tells her assistant to consider the question "Could this have been made in any era, or only now?" It's also a useful rubric to apply when seeing bands--could this music have been made any time, or is it unique to now? Friday's show at Healthy Times Fun Club was a pure exercise of the form. The touring acts, particularly Virginia's Eternal Summers, borrowed heavily from past musical traditions, in their case the lo-fi, "jangly" guitar-based C86 movement and the DIY aesthetic of The Raincoats. But did they add enough of a spin to warrant repeated listens? It's hard to say.

As Eternal Summers set up, the basement space was crowded and a bit steamy, proving there is life in Seattle during Sasquatch! A three-piece from Roanoke, their songs range from the energetic, bounding "Pogo" to droning "dream punk" (their term). Frontwoman Nicole Lun sang in a husky voice that sounded lower than her natural register, but worked on some of the more post-punk-y numbers. (My friend's one-sentence review: "It's hard to find a good singer.") But with the proliferation of bands like Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast, Beach Fossils and Seattle's own Seapony, the lo-fi, fuzzy pop card was played out, like, two years ago. There's already been plenty of "beachwave" backlash, and it seems a bit silly to add another voice to the chorus. But these bands are still touring and receiving plenty of critical attention, and we're obviously still going to see them, so it's fair to ask why.

New York's The Beets are something of another story. Their singer, Juan Wauters, originally hails from Uruguay, and he sings with a pronounced accent. Their songs have an off-kilter perspective that extends to their ethos as a whole (one recent poster states "Disco sucks! Kill all hippies!" another "No lame hipsters allowed.") Their elaborate stage props, including hand-lettered banners, a glowing Indian, and a strobe globe only added to the ambiance. While they may not have a song as good as "Killer Tofu," it's unlikely you'd hear a band in years past singing about bulimia from a male perspective (okay, maybe The Fugs). Their psychedelic leanings and sunny garage sounds remind a bit of Pet Sounds. And if nothing else, you can't see The Shop Assistants (or the Beach Boys, for that matter) live.

FYI: Locals Witch Gardens and The Pharmacy had by far the most enjoyable sets of the night. Go Seattle!

Random notebook dump: The Beets marked the third (!) standing up drummer I saw that week, all women. Mo Tucker revival or budding trend?

 
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