Sinkane and Tanlines live in New York
- By Hazel Sheffield -
- Aug 22, 2012
“Our manager said to us that if we play really well tonight, they might let us play at CMJ,” sniggered Jesse Cohen of Tanlines to the industry crowd assembled at Mercury Lounge for a CMJ warm up show. “Only joking! That’s an in-joke, we’ve played CMJ like seven times already! And we don’t actually have a manager.”
It was the first time the band had played Mercury Lounge, and its pitch-black back room was the perfect space for Tanlines’s blend of ravey looped beats and reverberating slacker vocals. They kept it short with set made mostly of songs from their debut album ‘Mixed Emotions’, which came out in March.
Jesse was on form. He bobbing excitedly through ‘Yes Way’, the one-song explainer for comparisons to Vampire Weekend, with its xylophone sounds and vaguely tropical feel. During ‘Brothers’, Jesse tried to get the audience to “ah” the synth refrain over Eric Emm’s indecipherable lyrics. But it was ‘Real Life’, the single that first came out in 2010, that brought people out the shadows and onto the dancefloor.
“This one is a new one! So you won’t have heard it before, unless you’ve seen us play live in the last three months. You might have heard this a maximum of four times,” Jesse rambled before bashing out the unmistakable synths from Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ on one of many keyboards. It turned out not to be the massive nineties rave tune half way through. Jesse waved his drumsticks side to side over his keyboard and encouraged the audience to join in the waving. “That was called ‘Window Wiper’,” he smiled afterwards.
Support came from DFA signing Sinkane, stage name of one Ahmed Gallab. Ahmed has already toured with Yeasayer and Caribou as a percussionist (no mean feat in the latter case) and is now embarking on a solo career with help of a three-piece band. The handful of tracks they played was enough to establish his extraordinarily light touch with rhythm. At one point the guitarist was hitting strings with one hand and playing keys with the other. ‘Jeeper Creeper’, which first hit the blogs last November, is still representative of Sinkane’s tight, looped riffs, clean production, and impeccable mixing. No hiding behind reverb here.
Sinkane will play CMJ when the music media circus hits town again in September, as announced in the initial line up on Tuesday. He joins New Orlean’s bounce sensation Vockah Redu, blues bitches Deap Vally and Virgin Red Room favourites DIIV on the bill. No sign of Tanlines – maybe Jesse was right, and the band will have to play a little harder to make the cut after all.
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