Catherine persuaded me to go to the Rock & Roll Hotel last night to catch Mother Mother. Based on a few listens to their MySpace page, I'd judged them sufficiently catchy to warrant a few live songs. Let me just say this: their recordings, while fairly great, do them no justice whatsoever. This band was tremendous. Five members, all clad in red pants and black tops, took the stage and the energy in the room spiked through the ceiling. The lead singer/guitarist, a guy who looks so much like Billy Idol that even if he were his son it would still be creepy, was flanked by two lovely lady singers (who each also played keys and a few other odds and ends), and supported by a drummer and bassist/horn player. They played raucous songs with amazingly tight precision. I caught moments that reminded me of a million things -- the Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, Slick Rick, David Bowie -- but really, these guys aren't comparable to anything as a whole. Which makes them really really exciting.
As Julian noted, as much as we love Pavement & Nirvana, they put this idea into the heads of so many rock bands that nothing needs to be clear (vocals, notes). And while that kind of fuzzed up sound has done a lot of great things, it's ok to diverge. And diverge Mother Mother does. There are about 7,000,000 Candian (or "Canadian") bands out there that traffic in multiple-vocalist walls of sound. But these guys sing together and match every note, every beat, every enunciation with each other to sharp and impressive perfection. Their voices are all impossibly high and if they were just lolling along little love songs, it would be twee as fuck. But they take those pixie-dusted vox and turn them into something clear and strong and truly exciting. Mother Mother put on an absolutely great show. I can't wait to see them headline instead of open. And if given the chance to see these guys play, do it. Do it immediately.