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June 15, 2009


School of Seven Bells, Rock and Roll

School of Seven Bells at Bowery Ballroom

[photos by tammylo]

I first saw the Deheza sisters when they were part of On! Air! Library! back at the now-defunct Rothko in October 2004. I liked them--dreamy, atmospheric programmed rock with some guitars, and beautiful vocal harmonies. They were better live than on their album (I think they only ever did one)--harder, louder, and I didn't mind the repetitive droning aspects of their music that got a little tedious when listening at home. On the album, some songs felt like they were 2-3 minutes too long, prompting one non-fan friend to make an ingenious play on their name: I! Hate! Them!

Anyway, they've since regrouped as School of Seven Bells, and have been touring like crazy for the last couple of years in support of their album Alpinisms. I got to see them Friday night at the Bowery Ballroom.

They've moved up in the world of New York venues, and they've really jumped ahead in their sound. Those same gorgeous harmonized voices from gorgeous twin sisters Claudia and Alejandra, on top of some searing guitars with tons of effects, tight keyboard melody lines, and some big big beats. They sound like the harder early Lush tunes (think "De-Luxe" and the louder version of "Thoughtforms") with some noodly MBV-style shredding. And then Orbital or Underworld's drums programmer doing some kick-ass electro-techno beats.

Their album doesn't always sound like it, but School of Seven Bells live are an abstract-rock party band, something less blowsy than dream pop. Dream Rock? They also had cool video at the show, including one visual effect that I still can't figure out, which involved a bright light creating a shadow of the band on a white backdrop, then smaller and smaller versions of that same shadow image moving in flashes up the screen. It was pretty wild.

Their first album is out on Ghostly International, the Michigan label that also has Matthew Dear and some other dancy stuff. The next one will be big, I bet.

Here are some more photos of the show from Time Out, and some videos, which are OK, but they're a lot better live.

categories: Music, NYC, Robot-on-the-Spot
posted by amy at 1:24 PM | #

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