Aug 22, 2011

The War on Drugs and Caveman at Cameo Gallery

The War on Drugs are the Philadelphia based band remembered most as where Kurt Vile got his start (probably the reason they have recently garnered so much attention). Since the departure of Vile the band seems to have expanded further upon the ambient sounds that weren’t necessarily so dominate on any of the tracks from their debut EP “Barrel of Batteries.” However, you can hear the transition taking shape on the track “Taking the Farm” from their first sans Vile LP “Wagonwheel Blues.” According to the band their newest release “Slave Ambient” (Secretly Canadian) is “a timeless record – as familiar as it is wholly new, as vintage as it is modern.”

Well, if confusing any potential listeners is their goal… mission accomplished. The live show was a confusing mixture of mellow instrumentation, vocals and a soundscape that blends into a pseduo-abyss. There is no arguing that The War on Drugs are exceptionally talented and have an admirable and enthusiastic fanbase, but the lackadaisical song structure leaves more to be desired. I doubt you will be hearing them on the radio or garnering national notoriety anytime soon, but the live show is impressive enough to carry them further. The War on Drugs have found their niche and have enough support to hunker down in their ambient cave for as many records as Secretly Canadian is willing to put out.

Caveman is another band very similar in sound and background. Forming from the remains of The Subjects, Caveman has experienced seemingly overnight success. For Caveman’s set it seemed as if all of New York’s 20-something music professionals were there to see what the fuss was all about, but struggling to hear a single vocal.

Unlike their tourmates, Caveman’s songs have much more clarity and structure. There are honestly a few tracks that stand out as potentially ready for the masses most notably “Decide” and “Old Friends.” When their album comes out at the end of the year we will offer further analysis/critique, but refrain from obvious comparisons to The Shins until the recordings are out. Nevertheless, if they are going to include so many vocal harmonies on the recordings they either need better vocal mics or stronger projection for the live performance to reciprocate.

join our list for event notifications and artist news