Who knew cute cuddly kittens on fire could rock so hard? The Brooklyn-based band Kittens Ablaze truly affirmed that "looks can be deceiving." An outfit of six—including a cellist, violinist, guitarists who played on top of one of another and a drummer who also doubled as the main vocalist—could have been mistakenly judged a musical disaster waiting to happen. But all those doubts were quickly dispelled from the audience (and me). Instead, Kittens Ablaze played an energetic and rambunctiously great set last Wednesday night at the Bowery Ballroom.
Despite the jampacked stage, the group was able to turn the frantic scene into a "string-orchestra meets jamboree meets dance party" set full of darn good indie rock songs. One band member wore a hoe-down bandanna around the neck, while the drummer bore a slight, far-away resemblance to hipster Michael Cera (maybe because of the headband thing), and the way the entire entourage—how ever quirky they each might have seemed—came together was entertaining and marked them as a band you don't want to miss live.
After them, the Canadian indie band The Rural Alberta Advantage took the stage. Although only made up of three musicians the group know how to play songs that sonically sound as though they were far more than just a trio. The band, who just released their Saddle Creek debut, Hometowns, this summer, seemed to coo the crowd like they were hometown heroes of New York City.
Their songs are at times mellow and filled with lo-fi goodness, complete with kitschy synths and beats that sound like the clinging of pots and pans. But The RAA are at their absolute best when channeling a modern version of indie-folksters Neutral Milk Hotel. Lead vocalist Nils Edenloff, with his nasal, howling vocals sounds so much like Jeff Magnum it's a little eerie— especially on "Frank AB," a dark track framed by Edenloff's pained and strained voice. Their songs are sincere, somber and simplistic, making their music seamlessly accessible and easily enjoyable, while Magnum's haunting influences were certainly put to good use.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / Cassette / MP3
LP / CD / MP3
7" / MP3