Sunday, August 7, 2011

Troubled Sleep from Brooklyn

Troubled Sleep from Brooklyn played a matinee show today in the basement of the Corpse Fortress. I sat on the stairs and, unfortunately, while I could see the singer's lips moving, I heard no vocals. A friend, who stood in the middle of the room, relayed to me that the singer did make a sound, which he didn't like. He criticized the singer's pitch and timing. Ouch.

Joe Mitra recorded Troubled Sleep in Baltimore and describes them as reminiscent of Sonic Youth. I agree with the Sonic Youth/Ciccone Youth comparison somewhat. Their songs showcase pretty melodies as well as a few harsh, dissonant chords. One of their songs contains blues riffs. So, musical variety.

At times, hiss or static overlays their melodies, creating an eerie sense of nostalgia like the crackle in a warbling tune as an old phonographic needle hits lint on a vinyl record. The melody remains discernible but, still, less than fully present. The band deserves points for their style and a mastery of multimeasure rests. Abrupt stops and starts give the audience a chance to absorb the musical activity and adds suspense before the song resumes full force.

Troubled Sleep sold their songs on cassette tapes, a retro medium that is difficult to digitize - denying the point-and-click status quo. Once upon a time, people compiled mixed tapes to share songs with friends. Now, there are fewer cassette tape players in most areas of the country than goats in New York City (at least based on what I've heard about goats on NPR).

I should check with other show attendees. I hope what I heard was not just a weird quirk of where I sat. Anyway, I enjoyed hearing Troubled Sleep and hope to see them play again with a properly functioning PA, microphone, and amplifiers.

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