Frankly, I was too busy furiously typing the then-just-announced Sasquatch! line-up out on my phone when Florida band Surfer Blood first went on to really absorb much of anything. By the time I pulled myself away from the blog, the really young looking band's keyboardist was attempting a rather unsupported crowd surf. Apparently the singer tried one while I wasn't looking. (Crowd Surfer Blood more like it, amirite?) Anyway, prior to last night, I'd only heard one song by these guys and noted their Best New Music accolade on Pitchfork, and neither had really swayed me. Live, they seemed like fun, poppy guitar rock with just a little taste for roughing it up around the edges. Nice, but I couldn't hum you a song this morning—although that may have more to do with the blogging/general excitement/couple drink tickets that damn Radjaw gave me. (Free sitcom idea: "That Damn Radjaw!" You guys feel free to use that.)
As far as I can tell, Atlas Sound, the sometimes-solo side project of Deerhunter frontman/scarecrow Bradford Cox, has like two really killer songs, live or on record: the breezy, bad-dreamy 'til-death-do-we-part love song "Sheila" ("and when we die we'll bury ourselves") and the loopy, funhousey twirl "Walkabout," a collaboration with Animal Collective's Panda Bear that still works surprisingly well as a solo acoustic song. The rest of Atlas Sound's set was rather a drag, though. A lot of long, drawn-out droning songs, with Cox slowly building his acoustic/electric guitar loops into crescendos that, while fairly impressive coming from just one guy his guitar and his pedals, often felt like too little too late. Still, Cox is a amiable entertainer, joking with the crowd between songs about the X-Box-related raffle that preceded his set, telling how he'd spent the like the whole damn day flying here from Georgia only to forget the pedal that "makes [his] voice sound weird," saying how much Seattle music meant to him growing up (and hence the flannel). And there was one song that featured a cool effect where he seemed to trigger whole little echoing melodic lines just by plucking single strings. So, a stripped-down set good for any hardcore Atlas Sound fans in the house, and at least two really outstanding joints for everyone else.
Caught just the last half of Fresh Espresso and found them to be as sharp and shiny and entertaining as ever. Mad Rad may have all the hype (and all the backlash) but these guys are just as seriously "out for stardom." And the live drumming never hurts, either (who the fuck was that guy?).
Photos by Josh Bis, many more after the jump.