As the number of worthwhile music venues in Santa Fe continues to dwindle and the city's concert-going public braces itself for yet another stale night of Americana and/or blues, one local gallery has stepped up to provide some much-needed change. Though it's officially a visual arts beat, Eggman & Walrus has sporadically hosted music events for the past eight months and now hosts Underground Series No. 3, an evening featuring three indie-rock/pop music projects. Local acoustic singer-songwriter Chinatown Bakeries joins collaborating San Francisco acts Girl Named T & Mr. Andrew and The Yellow Dress for this romp, and you'd be wise to stop by. Fair warning: The gallery doesn't serve food or alcohol, so grab something beforehand or between acts.
"For a town that has so much of everything, Santa Fe is really lacking in the music scene department," Eggman & Walrus owner Evan Glassman tells SFR. "I'm not really looking to make music my first line of work, but if people want to experience something different in the City Different, I'll do what I can to help out."
Though there are similarities between No. 3's three acts, each brings different elements. Girl Named T cites Weezer's self-titled 1994 debut as the catalyst for her foray into music, but you'll hear more radio-rock than nerdcore here. Compared to female indie contemporaries such as Ingrid Michaelson or Mirah, T employs a mainstream sound. Commercial aspects aside, these tunes are catchy as hell. T's vocals can be incredibly powerful and, thanks to some Beatles-esque harmonies, beautiful now and again. Fellow San Francisco musician Mr. Andrew joins T as musical backup. Creating music similar to Ben Gibbard's more stripped-down work, Mr. Andrew lends soft, sweet vocals (and a bit of indie street-cred) to the proceedings.
The Yellow Dress' quirky sound is reminiscent of acts such as The Huxtables or Andrew Jackson Jihad. The band's silly songs about wanting to be a buffalo and cuddling during The Hills Have Eyes create a sound you'd expect if The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt got over his apparent self-loathing and developed a sense of humor. A sing-song sense of melody and lo-fi recording quality add to the sextet's oddball charm. Clever implementation of nonrock instruments such as the glockenspiel, accordion and toy piano makes The Yellow Dress an airy, funny band%uFFFD—easily accessible while still achieving musical depth.
Solo acoustic project Chinatown Bakeries is the brainchild of local singer-songwriter Jon Pitt. Originally from San Francisco himself, Pitt delves deep into eerie, reverb-heavy finger-picking and whispery vocal work akin to Iron & Wine. Pitt is like an even sadder Jeff Mangum, and his mellow songs spin tales of personal difficulty and heartache. Well-worn thematic elements are at work, and online recordings reveal an apparent problem with proper guitar tuning, too, but with Pitt's one-of-a-kind vocals, sometimes intricate guitar work and off-kilter songwriting style, Chinatown Bakeries is a strange indie experiment worthy of at least one listen.
Here's hoping the show's turnout is decent so that Santa Fe may add Eggman & Walrus to its list of live music venues.
"It would be nice to have shows, say, once a month, but in order for me to continue hosting bands, I'll need people to show up and throw in a couple bucks or so," Glassman says. "There are plenty of bands coming through the area, and I'd love to be a part of that."
UNDERGROUND SERIES NO. 3 WITH GIRL NAMED T & MR. ANDREW, The YELLOW DRESS AND CHINATOWN BAKERIES
Thursday, Aug. 4
$5 suggested donation
Eggman & Walrus
130 Palace Ave.
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