Soundwavves / DearDarkHead / Panophonic / Ars Phoenix
Posted on June 14, 2013 by digital girl
Wednesday night, the upstairs at Kung Fu Necktie became a shoegaze collective, when locals Deardarkhead, Soundwavves, and Panophonic played host to Florida-based Ars Phoenix. While Deardarkhead calls New Jersey their home, they are regulars of the Philly gazer community. For those who haven’t been upstairs at KFN, it’s like walking into the living room of an eccentric artist who surrounds himself with the cool kids who don’t even know whose house they’re at. When I walked in, I didn’t know the cool kids either, but they didn’t miss a beat in welcoming this outsider. This wasn’t a show; it was a laid-back party. As a scene that celebrates itself, this one does so enthusiastically. First up was Deardarkhead, a band that’s been around since 1988 (though only drummer Robert Weiss is an original member) and has been without a singer since 2009. They’ve either got insanely high standards or prefer to be an instrumental band. Either way, they’re doing just fine without a singer. Guitarist Kevin Harrington (with DDH since 1992) pulls off what sounds like playing several guitars with his quick pedal changes between the clean lead and the distorted rhythm, creating a lush texture. With Kevin McCauley playing bass, DDH have a hypnotic melody. If you’re not familiar with them, you should be. Check them out at Soundcloud. Captured Tracks also released Oceanside 1991-1993, a compilation of the early sounds, available on LP and CD. Or if you really want to be cool, you can snap up their 1991 release, Spiral Down and Vibrate, on cassette. Next up was Soundwavves. These three have a vocalist in guitarist Rod Smith, but dispense with the bass. The music of Soundwavves is deceptive, starting out with some basic sounds, a good beat that can get your head nodding and foot tapping. As the song progresses, the intensity builds slowly, almost without notice. Smith turns his rhythm guitar to the speakers, increasing the noise, which is met by lead guitarist Gary Mancini staying above the noise and then it becomes apparent that Mike MacDonald has been pounding the fuck out of the drums for several minutes, and then they keep this going for several more. You can check out Blurry Nights and other songs on Soundcloud. They’re planning on heading into the studio soon to record a full length album. Florida duo Ars Phoenix took the stage next, now reducing the instrumentation down to voice, keys, guitar and a whole lot of electronics. A board at his feet wasn’t enough for Jon Glover, who has another in front of him to control the rest, using a drum machine for the beats. Glover and Caitlin Ollinger provide the synth sound for the evening. Unfortunately, I had to leave during Ars Phoenix’s set, so missed hearing Tom Lugo, the architect for the evening, hit the stage as Panophonic. On top of his solo work, he’s also part of Under the Wire, ShiShi, Drowning Dreams, Stellarscope, and SUPER TOYS. And if that’s not enough for you, he also runs Patetico Recordings, regularly organizes and promotes shows (like this one), and has another job unrelated to music altogether. It’s reasonable for one to question whether this man is actually part of a cloning experiment. Listen to the 2011 Panophonic release, End Game, then follow that up with Lugo’s recent release as part of ShiShi (with Jamie Lugo), Eternal Bliss, available for download at Bandcamp.