Let's focus on the one with a name so long it won't even fit on the line. I first heard Margot & the Nuclear So and So's two years ago when my friend Lauren sent m : e a track of theirs. I liked it very much and played it on every road trip I went on that summer. Why I never investigated more is beyond me: last year I heard another one of their songs (Skeleton Key) on a friend of a friend's MySpace page and was blown away (and finally downloaded their album, The Dust of Retreat). If you've never listened to this band, please do so right now. They are in the middle of a tour and you'll probably have an opportunity to see them live; they put on an amazing show.
I got to see Margot this week at Bowery Ballroom (last time I saw them, it was at Mercury Lounge when it was very cold out). I was happy to see the crowd at Bowery this week more than twice the size of that one! I immediately stopped by the merch table to see if their new album was out on vinyl yet. I got to chat with Erik (he plays guitar, violin and lap steel guitar), and he told me that two albums are coming out in September within two weeks of each other called – ready for this? – Animal and Not Animal. Amazing! To hold me over, I got their latest EP, The Daytrotter Sessions.
The show itself was super, as I expected. About 60% of it was new stuff that I had not heard; it made me really excited for September. Some guy proposed to his girlfriend, Roxanne, halfway through it via the band. We never found out her answer, which was sad but it was a cute moment nonetheless.
Something I really like about this band is that every single person in it – there are eight – looks like a caricature to me, with a completely different look and a seemingly different personality; when coming together to play music though, they blend together perfectly. As you could probably guess from the instruments Erik plays, they have an interesting sound that brings in trumpets, keys, the lap steel, there are cellos on the album, a variety of percussion instruments, and more into their songs.
Things seem to be expanding a little, too: the tracks they played from The Dust of Retreat seemed a little more upbeat than the recording (which has so many beautiful melodic layers it literally makes one want to turn the music into liquid and float in it). On the other hand, the EP I bought is a very quiet and pretty interlude that I can picture waking up to if you're the only one in your house and the sun is streaming in through the plants on your windowsill. I can't wait to hear Animal and Not Animal, to say the least.