Holograms (Captured Tracks)
& TV Ghost (In the Red)
@ Soda Bar San Diego, CA.
I found myself at the Soda Bar last night, looking at Instagram photos of the label head of Captured Tracks, Mike Sniper, hanging out in NYC with my partners in Zoo Music, watching one of his bands play, a band from Sweden, thinking about the recent glut of Bergman films I've watched in the last few weeks, and the fact that I had August Strindberg's By The Open Sea waiting to be completed upon my return home. It's all...interconnected.
Parked over at the formerly The Void parking lot- The Void is definitely closed- next time I'll check the front door to see if a formal announcement has been posted. Soooo mysterious- want to hear what happened?
Opening band TV Ghost is from Indiana and on In The Red- another Revolver/Midheaven distributed label. They have an LP out that didn't quite make it to Pitchfork (track review, but no album review.) TV Ghost performed as a five piece and had a trad goth-rock sound: keyboards/synths and howling, stylized vocals on top of a basic rock line up. Considering they come from Indiana I'd say they've done pretty well- and the crowd was into it, but they are a bit to clunky for my taste- particularly the drumming, which needs an upgrade. They'll never be Pitchfork darlings and the five piece look is daunting, but they aren't wasting their time.
Watching Holograms to see why Captured Tracks locked them up so fast, I could see it. Personally- and I say this as someone who released a 7" from a UK band last year and is releasing a 7" from a Danish band next year, and as someone who produced and distributed an LP in EU/UK only this year, I have my issues with bands from the EU. The US is SUCH a huge market, and it is SUCH a stretch for a UK/EU indie band to make any sort of impression in the US. You almost need to have a major label backing you to make the leap- add in the lack of a booking agent or prior touring experience and the hurdles can seem overwhelming.
Holograms fight those issues with an appealing goth pop sound that recalls, who else, Joy Division. Although their PR narrative typically involves a discussion of the privation they've experienced growing up on the rough streets of Stockholm, Sweden, they looks to be healthy and happy, with equipment befitting a touring band in the US. I don't know if Captured Tracks is supporting them on the road, but they were hardly the clad in rags waifs you would expect if you've read anything about them online.
They pulled a very good crowd- I was expecting low turn out but it was crowded at the Soda Bar- who almost seemed caught by surprise by the turn out (only had one bartender working.)