Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Live Review: Annuals @ Subterranean 9/19/06

Annuals are a six piece from North Carolina, though Annuals' brainchild appears to be Adam Baker, the 20 year old singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who recorded much of their album by himself. However, Baker's lush compositions would not translate so well live if it were not for the group of fine musicians that surround him. Due to a time crunch, their set was limited to 30 minutes, but this did not deter them from unleashing some hardcore aural pleasure. With only a EP released at the moment, I have only heard a few tracks but I was thoroughly impressed with their live sound. Ace Fu, home of Man Man, has found themselves another winner, as they will be releasing Annuals full length Be He Me this fall. Their sound is gripping, loaded with emotion, and can be likened to that of Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. This was most apparent on their song "Brother", which has a delicate opening, almost a spacey Elliott Smith vocal. Then, the barrage of grinding guitars and barreling drums power up the instrumentation to a new plateau, as Baker's screams rip through so perfectly. Their live sound was incredibly tight and engaging, and that is all due to the sum of their parts. Kenny Florence with his oversized curly fro is a freakish dynamo on guitar. Bass player Mike Robinson, who barely stood still, layered his bass lines and additional vocals so eloquently. Anna Spence, who played one of the largest KORGs I've seen on the SubT stage, added the softer elements to their powerful sound. The presence of two drumsets was definitely known with Nick Radford and Zack Oden (occasional guitar) pounding away with such intensity that never seemed to clash or feel forced. Finally, Adam Baker who orchestrated the set behind samplers, synths, and misc. percussions, completed their sound with his rich, explosive vocals. It is pretty obvious that the Annuals have the skill, energy, and creative juices to make a name for themselves, it helps that they can translate their sound to stage so successfully. Download: Annuals - "Brother" - (MP3) Download: Annuals - "Bleary Eyed" - (MP3) Download: Annuals - "Dry Clothes" - (MP3)


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