Since I’ve been hanging out on the scene, there have been a handful of bands that have completely charmed me with their live sound. The Can’t Kids, who play at Hunter-Gatherer tonight, are the most recent.
Rock bands usually reserve wit for veiled lyrics about veiled topics, but Can’t Kids can’t contain its sly tendencies. At Mardi Gras Columbia, in the midst of a cogent set, guitarist and singer Adam Cullum sang the first verse to “Cowboy Dan,” a Modest Mouse song. But the band wasn’t playing a cover; it was playing its own song.
Drummer Jessica Oliver, who usually harmonizes with Cullum, sang along as bassist Henry Thomas and cellist Amy Cuthbertson continued as planned, maintaining austerity. Order was restored by the second verse, but a growling undercurrent, a feeling of inevitable agitation remained in place throughout the set’s entirety. The music is like a once-ugly gash that has scarred beautifully, adding character.
And I can’t get enough. “Gimme A Grab,” the first song on the band’s “Shreadquarters Demo,” a download that has been in regular rotation at home, precisely captures The Can’t Kids: sing-song/chanting/ screeching guy-girl vocals, fuzzed-out guitar and bass, a swaying cello and a capricious presentation. A new favorite? For sure. (Listen at thecantkids. bandcamp.com)
Here are 10 other bands that have affected me similarly over the years.
Others with instantaneous love: Orgone Accumulator, Love Apple, ...for science!, basically all of the Arnold Taylor Situation shows, Chemical Peel, Woodwork Roadshow, Hot Lava Monster, Perfect Sleeper, Vinyl Are My Pants, Suck, Captain Easy, Beat Junction Project, Justin Smith & The Folk Hop Band, The Lovely Few, The Restoration, The Rachel Nevadas, Bear Romantic, Venice is Sinking — the list could go on.