By: Chris Gedos
Upon arriving to the Bootleg Theater I stepped out immediately to make a phone call and missed the first several minutes of Ryan Traster’s set. According to my friends, he started playing as a four piece before his band retired due to technical difficulties. He continued solo. We preferred his material stripped down and acoustic, how he wasn’t out of step with the best of 90’s college rock. Ryan is a Minneapolis native currently stationed in Brooklyn and has a song which was featured on Keeping Up With The Kardashians (!) that was “hijacked by Starbucks without him knowing”. Seeing him live while never having heard of him before reminded me of that never-ending cycle of talented unknowns which take a ride on the LA carousel night after night. Fortunately for Mr. Traster, this isn’t his first rodeo – his songs are too well-developed for him to still be wet around the ears. He can croon like Elvis Costello and sing from the throat like Matt Sharp. I’m also reminded of some of Ian McCullough’s solo work (especially Candleland, sans dated synths producing wind noise). Like him on Facebook and you can stream several deep cuts. His new record, Good Hearts, was released yesterday and celebrated with an online concert which was streamed to all. #toogoodtogounnoticedRyan Traster – Gutter Truth (Facebook)
We next caught The Peach Kings. It’s surprising they haven’t received more buzz since their EP, Trip Wop, is fierce and available for free download via their website. I guess trip wop is a valid enough oxymoron. Per their website: “It’s a new breakthrough in The Peach Kings’ hypnotic science of sound that fuses the melodic and vocal elements of doo-wop with the droning thump and choked up percussion of a trip-hop beat.” Singer Paige Wood’s powerful voice hits a wide array of cadences, emotions and decibel levels. Because she doesn’t go big constantly, it’s even more effective when she does. Also interesting is that she doesn’t conform to typical gender roles i.e. she isn’t dressed like Kesha or even play the emotional leverage card like Feist. Her singing approaches this feeling of androgyny which is highly sexualized and genderless at the same time. The guitarist, Steven Trezevant, provides classic licks and a capable back-up / secondary vocal. The instrumentation is rambling and sloppy and that’s how they like it, but Wood’s vocal is so strong I think it could be maximized more. All they need is a little time, and maybe a bit more urgency. But they’ve already proven they can make a record.
Reviewed by b3