Thu Apr 9 2009
Photograph: Pavla Kopecna
Music Hall of Williamsburg; Sun 12
“We started as a joke,” Comet Gain ringleader David Feck writes in the booklet to his band's recent compilation, Broken Record Prayers. "We played broken songs on broken amps and cardboard drums and it never got much more professional. We believe in obsolete things." Feck, the sole constant in the British band, is his own best critic. Subsisting at various levels of obscurity since 1992, Comet Gain appears before contemporary audiences as an unblemished fossil from an earlier rock underground. The group's work has trickled out through a smattering of labels, mini magnum opuses on limited-edition vinyl.
The hour-plus Broken Record Prayers (on What's Your Rupture?) gathers singles released over the past decade, plus Peel Sessions and two new tracks. The 20 sloppy, lo-fi recordings make a strong case for Comet Gain as one of indie rock's great unheralded acts, a kind of unacknowledged London foil to Yo La Tengo.
Feck may be the only remaining original member but, as with many British indie acts, Comet Gain has the distinct whiff of a socialist collective. Such communalism grants its music a ragtag sense of grandeur, but it renders the practical aspects of band life difficult: This week's show marks the group's first local appearance since 2001. At least one current member will be absent: Guitarist Jon Slade is unable to make the concert because "the QE2 port date didn't coincide with the shows." And people thought a penchant for vinyl is what rendered this gloriously obstinate band old-fashioned!—Jay Ruttenberg
Download Broken Record Prayers from iTunes | Buy it on Amazon.com | Buy it on BN.com
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