Monday, October 18, 2004

Heather Duby, United State of Electronica / Gigantic Brand Store / Oct. 16, 2004

The whole Gigantic enterprise is a really good idea. It’s a record label, clothing line, art gallery, film production company, and maybe some other things, all rolled up into one. Sort of like Roc-a-Fella. Or Vice. Or something. To celebrate the opening of their store, they threw a free, open-to-the-public party complete with complimentary drinks, music and useless goodie bags (anybody want a Fuse TV t-shirt or armband?) The store is one of those obnoxious little white boxes in Tribeca, but the video screens broadcasting emo videos (courtesy of Fuse) made it more tolerable.

Heather Duby sounds like Seattle—or at least mass media stereotypes of the city: Rainy. Gray. Glum. Arty. In need of coffee. Her songs were so sullen that it was surprising to hear her perk up in between and make comments about this being the first time she’s played in New York City and enjoyed it. Wow, really?

United State of Electronica, on the other hand, do not sound like stereotypical Seattle, though they proudly hail from the “Emerald City” (which they fete in a song of the same name). They sound like Disneyland. Or Junior Senior meets Daft Punk, if you’re into comparing music to other music and not to places. Sugar-high melodies bounce bounce bouncing on fun fun fun disco rhythms and pop-punk riffs. Lyrics about partying and dancing and going to the beach and more partying and dancing. Relentless happiness all around. These guys n gals could send the Polyphonic Spree into group therapy. Somehow, all seven of them managed to fit on the tiny stage without bumping into each other, no small feat considering how much everybody was moving. Both Michaelangelo and Matthew assured me that U.S.E. was the most enthusiastic band they’d ever seen, and I found that to be true for the most part, though Brian Wilson’s backing orchestra [see Friday’s post] might give them a run for their money. But the poor bass player looked miserable. Maybe he should join Heather Duby’s band.