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Show Review: Say Hi/Caverns @ the Black Cat, DC

There isn’t much more to be said about Say Hi. Eric Elbogen is an excellent songsmith. You will never find anything too technically complex or musically challenging to listen to. What you will find, is carefully crafted and enjoyable indie-pop.

The value of his live show, other than the promise of another live member or two to fill out the band, is that he adds another dimension to the music and provides a heightened sense of immediacy to every song. So much so that each song feels like a musical kamikaze-run that starts with often timid beginnings, crescendoing over the course of the song into near-explosive whirls of Eric’s guitar hook of choice, loaded with tension. Highlights of the night included a soaring performance of “Snowcones and Puppies,” “Toil and Trouble,” and the endearing, set-closing rally-cry for the shy kid in all of us “Let’s Talk About Spaceships.”

But the best part of the night for me was the discovery of DC’s Caverns. Now I must preface this with some disclosure: I have an affinity for progressive metal, post-hardcore, hardcore, metalcore, all those sub-genres with oft-screaming vocalists and blistering instrumental work. Damn if I don’t love a good breakdown. Too bad that more often than not, talented and creative musicians are undercut by a vocalist with a cookie-monster scream/growl that just ruins everything.

Caverns seemed to read my mind on that point, forgoing vocals and just steaming straight ahead with instrumental breakdown tracks. Drummer, shred-and-chug math-guitarist, electronics guy and pianist. Guitar work trudges all around the hard rock gamut, at times having the chug of metalcore, then switching over to prog/math mode with runs that melt your face. Their balance places the piano to the fore giving their sound a more dramatic, operatic feel.

Most direct influences seem to be Converge (a few tracks probably could have fit right on a Converge album) and Dillinger Escape Plan, or basically any math-core band. I’m pretty sure I heard a re-tuned Deftones riff in there somewhere and I’d like to think King Diamond and Dream Theater informed their sound a bit too.

More to come on them in the future…they play Lo-Fi on March 21 with Imperial China. Not to be missed.

Say Hi (To Your Mom) Interview (w/ Eric Elbogen)

Here, I present to you, dear reader, our latest exclusive interview with Eric Elbogen aka Say Hi (To Your Mom). Say Hi produce some of the most endearing glitch-pop to be gleaned from Casio equipment. Elbogen’s patented, slightly off-key vocals combined with his impeccable sense of melody make for many beautiful moments…even if a large proportion of his back-catalog is about topics that are generally perceived as less-than-serious (vampires, robots, Star Trek).

Currently, he is on tour supporting his 2007 release The Wishes and the Glitches, and took some time out on Thursday to chat with us a bit.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to catch his show Backstage at the Black Cat in DC next week, Tues Mar4. $10, 9:00PM doors.
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Another great Daytrotter session…

Great Daytrotter session with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone released this week. Casiotone is the solo project of Redwood City, California’s Owen Ashworth.

Started in 1997 after he dropped out of film school, he has become one of the foremost names in lo-fi, indie toy-tronica, specializing in affectuous songwriting and remarkably warm, emotional music produced from cheap toy keyboards.

I have quite an affinity for artists who endeavor to make personal, affecting music from traditionally cold and sterile sound sources like the presets on cheap Casio keyboards or more broadly, any electronics. More to come on this in our interview with Say Hi (To Your Mom).

In the meantime, check out Casiotone’s Daytrotter session here. And enjoy these vids of Casiotone and Say Hi.

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