Calla and palomar are like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
March 02, 2005
Brooklyn's Calla are much more interesting live than on record. Not that I don't like their albums. I certainly do, but I also like sleeping a whole lot, too (ok they're not THAT slow... but they're pretty slow). Calla's essence and true powers are most accurately captured when they intimately play a few feet from your face. Granted, there wasn't much intimacy when they recently opened for friends, Interpol, at Hammerstein Ballroom. But that big show was an exception to the Calla rule: the smaller the venue, the better they sound.

Something strange has been happening to Calla at several recent gigs. They keep turning up their amps. Still firmly in place is their patented dark, minimalist repetition that casts shadows around their moody sound, but they've added a new level of intensity to their repertoire, incorporating more loud, driving rhythms and increased tempos. Singer Aurelio Valle's whispered vocals are just as delicate as ever, effortlessly displaying versatility as he navigates songs through both the depths of darkness and the climax of crescendo. Scattered sonic spasms and jerks of guitars add a new layer to these "pop" songs. Dissonance has rarely sounded so melodic.

The tension in Calla's songs hasn't disappeared. Listening to Calla you always wonder when they are going to break free from subtlety, bust out from boredom, and let their noisy atmospherics fly. Inevitably their music finds a delayed, roundabout way to soar. But these days Calla's sound soars sooner, higher, and more often. It appears they have awakened. Good. We can sleep when we're dead.

Also on the bill is another Brooklyn band, Palomar. Calla and Palomar sharing the same stage is definitely an odd-couple pairing. There's nothing "moody" about the sugary-sweetness of Palomar (unless that "mood" is unequivocal happiness). I hope you all have dental insurance, because you're going to have major cavities when these guys are done playing. Let's just call them "power poptastic" and leave it at that.

Calla and Palomar play Mercury Lounge, Friday, March 4th.

Palomar afterparty at Orchard Bar (200 Orchard Street) -- Free Red Stripe from 10PM - 1AM!!


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