Last night’s bill at the Bowery Ballroom was pretty close to perfect. The night started with a swaying, Carribean Island-influenced electronic pop set by Tanlines. Next up was the shoulder-pad-wearing one-man band Pictureplane. Last was the utterly vicious aural assault band HEALTH. Each act was different- but they all had the crowd moving. In different ways, of course.
Tanlines is Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm. The duo has been getting lots of buzz lately for their infectious and light-bright dance sounds. This is music to get lost to. Cohen builds a hazy jam expertly, and Emm accompanies with pretty vocals and a jangly guitar: all resulting in music that you move to, without even thinking about it. That’s not to say this is spacey music- it isn’t. It’s well planned out pop. Tanlines played a new song, “Real Life,” which was likely the best of the set. That’s a good sign.
Pictureplane is Travis Egedy, who hails from Denver. (When he mentioned this last night the whole crowd laughed.) Egedy set up a table with various electronics on top of it and proceeded to surround it in tin foil. This created a wholly disorienting light show once he started playing- which worked well with his tribal beats. Egedy mashed up different tempos and textures like that’s how life is supposed to be- rapidly changing and shifting but never with an ill step.
While Tanlines and Pictureplane have electronics in common, they actually live on opposite sides of a coin.
HEALTH are an electronic metal band. That’s how my friend described it, which sounds about right to me. What is so killer about HEALTH is the full-on attack they deliver. This is a band that is so used to grime, grit and exhaust fumes (they hail from the City of Angels), they have nothing else to do but get it off their backs through music. And they certainly do it well.
HEALTH inspires, or rather, provokes movement, too. But it’s not like the other bands that make music in order to make others dance. With HEALTH you have to move- there’s no other option. The music is so visceral that standing still is basically impossible.