Friday, September 26, 2008
Live: Aldenbarton @ Cake Shop 9.25.8
Aldenbarton are rapidly becoming my favorite local band. It's hard(er) to cry such statements from the mountaintop objectively when the band's members are your friends, but they have been kind enough not to suck, which makes repeated viewings/hearings that much more tolerable. Aldenbarton didn't suck originally, but they are really hitting their stride when it comes to live shows.
I prefer my rock in the three-piece format most of the time. It keeps things cogent, everybody has something to do, and there's that more money at the end of the night. Idle hands only breed key-tars or, even worse, the singer who just sings. No one needs that in 2008. Aldenbarton are a three-piece piano-driven franchise, with a lock-tight rhythm section and harmonies to die for. Not Beach Boys four-hundred-part harmonies or Garageband 'Choir In A Box' processing, just one guy who can handle a melody and second who knows how to match an appropriate harmony. You would think that more bands would figure out how to pull that off properly.
Aldenbarton has it's roots in the indie-pop combo Princeton Reverbs Colonial. Andrew St. Aubin sang for both bands while drummer Jim Wood kept time. While PRC was more grounded in the Elephant Six/Guided By Voices end of things, Aldenbarton takes those blueprints and blazes more of a classic songwriting path. Their debut release Exodus Of The Eldest is due to be released digitally and terrestrially in the coming weeks, an eventuality that may lead to some sleepless nights for a lot of other bands in NYC. The record positions St. Aubin with the best of the Athens and Pacific Northwest indie-poppers, with angelic harmonies from bassist Paul Bates that are the frosting on the beater.
It's great recorded, but Aldenbarton do bring it live. It's a tad less lush, but when the adrenaline kicks in and the crowd is cheering, the band is at the top of their game. St. Aubin and Wood are as powerful a combination vocally as Bates and Wood are a rhythm section. Cake Shop is far from my favorite room in the city, but I sure do end up spending a lot of time there. Kudos to Aldenbarton for making it worth the trip time and time again.
Keep an eye on JS-NYC for video of the show soon and check out the Aldenbarton web and social networking interfaces for more info on the release of Exodus Of The Eldest .