Monday, November 24, 2008
On Friday night, I braved the wintry temps and hiked aaaallll the way from my apartment on 15th St to the Black Cat, on 14th Street, to hear the French Kicks -- a band whose chords closely fit the textbook definition of indie rock.
While more officially from Brooklyn, I’ve learned that the band is actually quasi-local. Lead vocalist and keyboardist, Nick Stumpf, and his brother Lawrence, the bassist, are both from the area. That could explain Stumpf's love affair with DC's music venues:
We played the Rock and Roll hotel somewhat recently and it was great. Good size, great back stage room, nice folks. The Black Cat is great too though, always love playing there. Those two and 9:30 are all among the better places to play in the country actually, so D.C. wins.
The quartet knows how to put on a good show, pleasing the hipster crowd. Their dreamy pop sounds and catchy harmonies kept my head nodding, and the musical talents (and adorable indie rock star good looks) kept my eyes on the stage. The energy level hovered around 6.5 volts -- leaving me yearning for something slightly more upbeat for a live show, but at the same time reminding me why they’re great itunes companions for cooking or walking to work. Their set included mostly their newer songs, but a few of the oldies, including "You Could Not Decide." Admittedly, I was a little disappointed, as fan of their older records. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying their new sounds from their most recent album, Swimming, which got pretty good reviews, as Pitchfork describes in this illustrative adjective bomb:
Thick with both a springtime twinkle and autumnal heartache, Swimming makes good on the band's early promise. Trading layers of mood and melody and meaning for layers of Pro Tooled artifice, French Kicks have razored off the bullshit, leaving a core of beguilingly honest tunes.
From listening to Stumpf's crooning melodies, you can probably guess which vinyl records keep their turntables warm -- including 80's rockers the Pixies, The Kinks, and The Cure. So it's no wonder that their latest EP, Covers, includes their own interpretation of songs written by the late greats, such as Lindsey Buckingham, the Ramones, and the Shirelles.
Check out their website: http://www.frenchkicks.com/
Find them on Myspace here: http://www.myspace.com/frenchkicks