#14 on the 2010 Musical Bacon Calendar
Wild Smile by Suckers
I don’t think I would have found Suckers were it not for my illustrious editor at Another Rainy Saturday. He gets multiple requests from multiple sources for “please review my band(s)!” and I was trying to find a way to get into the Menomena show that was happening at the Showbox back in September. Suckers were opening up for Menomena, so, after a couple of exchanged emails, I had my in.
And I am grateful. As I later wrote about the performance:
Halfway through their 45 minute set I closed my eyes and just listened. I could hear all the usual instruments — a drum machine, a sequencer, a laptop producing the sounds to fill the voids. It was all perfectly timed and incessantly rhythmic. But upon opening my eyes, an unbelievable truth emerged: they weren’t using those types of instruments. The sounds emanating from the band were being produced live. Every single synthetic-sounding one of them, and no corners were being cut to produce them, it seemed. It was exhausting, and it was exhilarating.
It’s one thing to make a drum machine mimic the individual sounds that one can make with a drum kit. But it’s something else entirely to make a live drum kit mimic the looping, complex rhythm structures of a drum machine. Percussionist/keyboardist/human drum machine Brian Aiken was a whirlwind of activity. On more than one occasion he simultaneously played drums with his right hand and both feet, played chords on a keyboard with his left hand, and sang backing vocals into a mic (how does he do that?).
Wild Smile is the band’s only CD. And it’s a doozy. In my review I described the band’s sound thusly:
Sure, “derivative” could be an apt description of the band. Animal Collective, TV on the Radio, Arcade Fire, Local Natives, Yeasayer — the influences are many, and prominent throughout. But there are some older sounds in the mix, too — Modest Mouse, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and the venerated band that created the genre, the Talking Heads. Throw them all together, and a picture of a band both easy and difficult to describe starts to form.
If any of those names resonate with you, you won’t be disappointed with Wild Smile.
15. Learning by Perfume Genius
16. Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene
17. Expo 86 by Wolf Parade
18. One Life Stand by Hot Chip
19. Big Echo by The Morning Benders
20. Here’s To Taking It Easy by Phosphorescent
21. This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
22. The Mistress by Yellow Ostrich
23. Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter
24. Been Listening by Johnny Flynn
25. The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
26. Lisbon by The Walkmen
27. Scratch My Back by Peter Gabriel
28. All Day by Girl Talk
29. A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head by Bobby Bare Jr.
30. 03 to TEN by Knathan Ryan
31. In This Light On This Evening by Editors