“Now wait a minute. Now wait a minute—wait a, wait a, wait a minute. Wait—wait a minute.”
“If you book it, they will come.” Tommy Lee Costner delivered that iconic line in 1989’s Field of Wolves, and it has never rung more true: Wesleyan’s upcoming booty–poppin’ concert lineup has got the back to make the beat go boom.
Seriously, though: while you were catching some sun in Bermuda over break (or Bergen County, as the case may be), a small army of
chimpanzees committed Wesleyan concert-bookers was working day and night to put together a spring concert calendar fit to set a New Orleans-based sissy-bounce queen on fire. (And fresh off a semester whose warmest pleasures included Wye Oak and Dodos, Wild Flag and Balam Acab, Julianna Barwick and The Generationals, it probably says something that this schedule is arguably better.) If you missed Ty Segall or AraabMuzik, rest assured: that was the prologue. The insanity continues tonight, with Dustin Wong’s loop-driven guitar hypnosis at Eclectic Hauuuuus.
In conjunction with Aural Wes’s own concert preview, here’s a glance at everything you’re gonna miss while you’re abroad. It’s certainly not comprehensive—this only really covers the next month or so, and particularly excludes usual-suspect Wesleyan performers—but is pure, uncut bouncalicious. Cuz, like, uptown is trying to shake, nahmean?
What it sounds like: Loopy loopy, echo echo, loopy bloopy, echo echo. If you enjoyed Juliana Barwick last semester but wish she knew how to play guitar, this note’s for you: Dustin Wong feeds deceptively simple chord patterns through a dizzying array of loop/reverb/delay processors and lets it bleed. Sorta like Glassworks as interpreted by some guitar effects smorgasbord wizard in a bedroom somewhere in Baltimore. (Wong used to perform with acclaimed art-punk weirdos Ponytail, but neither his former band nor arsenal of effects pedals can mask how lonely and intensely stationary his solo performances are.)
Why you should go: Though stylistically limited in recorded form, Wong’s schtick is often quite hypnotic live. I had the pleasure of seeing Wong open for Akron/Family in Brooklyn last month, I plan to catch him again this weekend, and if you have even the faintest interest in loop- and drone-based music, there is no reason why you should not do the same.
Why you should go: Seriously? Y’all better stop all this foolishness because uptown is trying to shake.
What else? Get to the Eclectic Ballroom at 5 pm to participate in a hands-on workshop on bounce music with bounce queen Big Freedia. Also, support homegrown DJ talent Sankofa (Luke Turner-Owens ’12) and Kilbourne (Jason Kilbourne ’14).
Weird but true: It’s pronounced “free-da.” Now you know.
What it sounds like: Dirty Projectors, without the guitars, drums, hooks, or sweeping psychedelic vocal harmony acrobatics. That’s not really a bad thing.
Why you should go: The Anthony Braxton-trained Dirty Projectors bassist has played at Wes approximately 629 times (most memorably, in WestCo on 4/20 my freshman year and then three weeks later at Spring Fling with Dirty Projectors), and there’s a good chance he’ll be here again. That doesn’t mean he isn’t worth checking out each time he makes an appearance—particularly if you dig Dirty Projectors and enjoy hearing that group’s twisted unique melodic impulses taken in a more intimate, bass- and cello-based direction. Plus, Point Reyes is Asa Horvitz ’10‘s new project. Remember Duchampion? Remember how good they are? Yeah.
What it sounds like: Earthy soulful bluesy funky raaaaaawww jammmz, led by soul singer J Pope. Checkitout.
Why you should go: There isn’t enough funk on this list, and there isn’t enough BuHo on this list. Plus, J Pope is a pretty legit “emcee songstress skilled in the art of blending hip hop elements with soul sounds.”
What it sounds like: Not to be confirmed with other Run DMTs (what??), this is the genre-bending, sample-heavy project of Baltimore’s Mike Collins: lots of tinny ’70s guitars, chillwavey vocals, nods to ’60s psych-pop. Listen here, or read more here.
Why you should go: According to Daniel Krow over at The Decibel Tolls, “sped up African guitar solos, hazy, ghostly Hawaiian luau music, overdriven tropical psych, and mournful drone music cohere together because it’s easy to imagine that this is the soundtrack to the world of a pop-culture addicted, sarcastic-about-some-things-painfully-earnest-about-others, polyglot stoner.” So, yeah. Plus, “Spruce Bringsteen” pretty much lives up to its title.
What it sounds like: Not to be confused with EBM pioneer/acclaimed producer Dive, DIVE is the side project of guitarist Z. Cole Smith, better known for his work with Beach Fossils. So yeah, this project could easily be mistaken for that band: hazy, lo-fi, guitar-heavy, and melodic in all the right places.
Why you should go: If you’re not already convinced, Texas lo-poppers Teenage Cool Kids are
opening the show nope, actually they’re headlining! My bad. They play noisy, poppy, lo-fi fun, and they’re coming all the way from Denton, TX, so you may as well come all the way from the Nics or whatever.
Significant correction: DIVE is opening for Teenage Cool Kids, not the other way around. Band descriptions above still apply.
Friday, 3/2, Eclectic
What it sounds like: Fuzzy, shoegazy, reverb-heavy indie pop straight outta Baltimore. Downkey, but not morose; guitar-heavy, but not noisy.
Why you should go: The early buzz is that upcoming LP Nootropics will be the band’s biggest yet. And if you’ve read this far, there’s a pretty good chance you’re into fuzzy, shoegazy, reverb-heavy indie pop straight outta Baltimore. Plus, I think maybe they were going to play here last year, but the deal fell through?
Why you should go: “Ungirthed” was totally Pitchfork’s 38th Best Track of 2011, but the early buzz is that Purity Ring might even be the 37th best show of the semester.
What it sounds like: Like Drive Like Jehu covering “Where The Street Have No Name” in late 1992. Lots of stray ambient squalls, too. EULA is a new trio; they are loud, weird, and frantic—a bit like a sped-up Shellac backing Patti Smith. I found them opening for Mission of Burma at MuHo Williamsburg last month.
Why you should go: This will be big, in more ways than one. No Age is as sweeping, grandiose, and huge as noise rock really gets these days. And what EULA lacks in name recognition is more than compensated for with live spastic assault and twisted melodic instincts. [Disclosure: I booked this show; I am more than biased.]
What it sounds like: “Like the time you saw a Mexican dude and a Chinese dude arguing in Spanish while a garbage truck backed up and someone drove by blasting the bass line of ‘Grindin,'” reports the rapper’s Bandcamp. This is gritty, scraggly-voiced Crown Heights rap, bursting at the greasy seams with odes to subway-ride urine and Kennedy Fried Chicken. As MME himself puts it, “I’m not a singer/rapper or wizard or whatever the fuck dudes doing with themselves now. I’m just a fucking rapper . . . and I don’t drink coffee, I drink liquor.” El-P and Danny Brown drop by for shits and giggles, too.
Why you should go: Because we’re not getting gourmet-Bronx-chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson after all, and this campus doesn’t get enough left-field hippity hoppity. Because Harvard hip hop artist Silky Johnson is opening, and his mixtape, Hater of the Year, is almost strange enough to warrant this billing. Because of “Cockmeat Sandwich” and “Pissin’ Between Train Cars” and this album cover.