Shoegaze and slowcore, two genres that had seemed to have nearly disappeared from the musical landscape in the last decade, are making a comeback. On the British side, recent reunions by My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Swervedriver have proven that there is still a market for slow, introspective music. On the American side, artists such as Mark Eitzel and Mark Kozelek have somewhat continued in the tradition of their old bands (American Music Club and Red House Painters, respectively), but have taken on more of a singer-songwriter style in their more recent projects. Spain, a band from Los Angeles whose original career spanned three albums released between 1995 and 2001, may not have been as well known (despite their song “Spiritual” being covered by no less than Johnny Cash), but amongst fans of the genre they were no less beloved. Led by Josh Haden, son of the late great jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Spain melded elements of slowcore with jazz, blues, and Americana to form their own unique take on the genre.
On Monday night in Vienna, Haden and his band (for this tour, Haden on bass, Kenny Lyon on guitar, and Joel Virgel-Vierset on drums and backing vocals) brought their second album since reuniting, Sargent Place, to the stage at Jammin’ Java. The three-piece lineup made for stripped-down versions of many of the lush arrangements from the recorded versions of the songs, yet this served only to create an open space in the music that felt entirely appropriate to the songs. Their 14-song set, consisting of seven of the ten tracks on Sargent Place and seven tracks culled from each of their previous releases, felt both nostalgic and timeless, as old and new blended seamlessly together to showcase a band who found their sound with their first album, but may still have yet to reach their peak.
Folk-pop duo The Sea The Sea opened the show, with multi-instrumentalists Chuck E. Costa and Mira Stanley’s vocal harmonies and often upbeat songs providing a strong contrast to the more somber tone of the set which followed them.
All photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.
(See more photos from this show/Matt's work HERE)