May 26, 2005

Pinback w/ Aqueduct @ The Black Cat

On May 22, Pinback graced the stage of The Black Cat in Washington, DC in order to promote their most recent studio album, Summer in Abaddon, released by Touch and Go Records on Oct. 12, 2004. Opening the show was Dudley Corporation, a group of Dubliners mixing heavy rock and screeching guitar with sweet tenor vocals and atmospheric bass. Although their talent is apparent, their attempt to avoid predictability in the movement of each song by using breaks and sudden changes created a somewhat random and unsatisfying sound.

However, the second act, Aqueduct, was pleasantly surprising. Aqueduct is the brainchild of David Terry, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native who found Seattle had a more fitting music culture. After recording with the help of label Barsuk Records, Terry is now touring with Andrew Rudd (drums) and Matt Nader (bass), bringing lighthearted music to venues across the country.The band opened the show with a cover The Geto Boys' "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta" confirmed Terry's guarantee to the audience that they were "all about fun." It was the most slapstick yet functional cover I have heard since The Eels' cover of Missy Elliot's "Get Your Freak On" during the Soul Jacker tour. They followed this attention-grabber with songs off of their first full-length album, i Sold Gold, including "Growing Up With G'N'R" (MP3) and "Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights." This band has already had some major exposure, including a performance on the Conan O'Brien show, but somehow they slipped by me until now.

Since I am a Tulsa native and have scoured the Tulsa scene, I understand how rare and how fabulous it is to find great rock music from that part of the country. They are being lumped in with fellow Oklahomans The Flaming Lips and The Slarlight Mints for their shared heritage as well as their sound.

Click here to buy i Sold Gold.

Pinback took the stage at around 10:30 PM, and they could hardly disappoint. I had heard only a few of the tracks from the newest album, but they blended the new and the old songs seamlessly. They played a mixture of songs from all three full-length albums, including the self-titled album and Blue Screen Life. Zach Smith and Rob Crow continue to reinvent their catalogue, jamming and ad-libbing within the structures of existing songs. Even though I have listened to "Seville" countless times, Crow disguised the opening, even to the surprise of his bandmates. After strumming away, he looked up, saw Zach watching and explained, "It sounded good."

It continued to sound good, through the ups and downs of the old and new. The combination of Pinback's sweetness and melancholy is echoed in the title of the newest album, Summer in Abaddon. Despite its apparent sunny title, Abaddon is the Hebrew name for "the angel of the bottomless pit," and literally means destruction, ruin, or perdition. This paradox, however, is nothing new for Pinback, and they will continue to hide surprises around every corner.

Click here to buy Summer in Abaddon.