The Dodos + Phosphorescent
Wed Jan 30 2008
Photograph: Elizabeth Weinberg
Union Pool; Sat 2
The Dodos are Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, two San Francisco men seemingly christened by S.J. Perelman. Long sings and plays guitar while Kroeber drums; unlike most such duos, the Dodos do not sound like an autocracy. Rather, their songs pivot and shuffle around Kroeber’s percussion, which at times augments the calming lilt of Long’s singing but just as often undermines that mood. On Visiter, the band’s second album (due next month on Frenchkiss), Long’s voice—the kind of romantic croon that decades ago might have been accompanied by accordion—is backed by quick, hectic pounding (“Fools”) or eerily muted rolls (“Winter”). The record’s production touches are striking, with the sudden entrance of a lonely horn or a burbling texture invoking electronic music. Yet in concert, the pair performs unaccompanied, Long strumming a guitar and keeping a nervous pulse with his body while Kroeber, a former metal drummer, rises from his stool as he plays, like Robin Williams on a talk-show couch.
Sharing this bill is Phosphorescent, a Brooklyn (by way of Athens, Georgia) band featuring singer-songwriter Matthew Houck and a rotating cast. Houck’s voice cracks and moans in ways reminiscent of Will Oldham, yet over the course of four albums—most recently Pride (Dead Oceans)—he has quietly distinguished himself. Both on record and onstage, much of Phosphorescent’s appeal lies in its shambolic aura. Oftentimes, what seems slipshod jells into the band’s cathartic peaks.