Saturday, October 17, 2015

Braids at 529 Atlanta, October 16, 2015

In a truly inspired pairing of two Canadian bands, Montreal's Braids is touring with Toronto's Tasseomancy, and last night that tour brought them to the 529 in Atlanta. 

Tasseomancy is the band of twin sisters Sari and Romy Lightman, who we've seen a few times before as Austra's backing singers (we've also seen Austra perform without the Lightmans).  Their music is a psychedelic form of folk rock with both sisters singing and one also playing mandolin, guitar, and keypads.  They're backed by a keyboardist and drummer.   

Their music was hypnotic and gently trippy, and their stage banter revealed the sisters to be open and engaging persons.  Tasseomancy hits a perfect groove somewhere between laid-back but dark folk rock and electro-pop, sort of like a less dance-oriented Prince Rama or a tranced-out Joanna Newsom. They can seamlessly trade vocal lines during a song, like two twins completing each others' thoughts, and vocalize like two hearts beating as one.  Good stuff, and a great start to the evening. 

Braids, as always, put on a great show, playing everything from near-ambient electronica to electro-pop to soulful ballads to anthemic rock, without once falling completely into any classifiable genre. Singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston is a more than capable bandleader and frontperson, at times charming the audience with her songs and personality and at other times scolding some noisy patrons for talking too loudly in the back of the club.  And just like  their lead singer, the band never settled in one place or one mood for long before taking a sharp turn to some new and wholly unexpected direction.  

We've seen Braids twice before, once opening for Wye Oak at Terminal West and once opening for Purity Ring at Buckhead Theater, and both times they blew us away.  At Terminal West, we were impressed by the band's genre-transcending songwriting, balanced as they are between experimentalism and popularism, and at Buckhead Theater, we were particularly struck by Standell-Preston's impressive singing abilities.  Last night, we got a good chance to see the whole band interacting and contributing to the sound, and we were impressed by all three of the members, particularly their powerful but artful drummer (who also contributed on keypads and vocals).      

We've come to appreciate Braids through their live performances.  We hadn't heard them before we saw them open for Wye Oak, when they made quite an impression, and we almost forgot them before we saw them again when they totally blew us away opening for Purity Ring.  We strongly encourage you to see this band perform if you ever get the chance. As great as their recordings sound, they're even better live - more powerful and more dynamic -  and they're fast becoming one of our favorite bands.  We can't wait to hear what they come up with next.

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