Voxtrot @ Mercury Lounge, NYC 4/9/06 (And KEXP MP3s)

“Of course it’s limp. It’s twee!” Ramesh joked. He was talking about an uncooperative mic stand and not his music, but Srivastava’s self-effacing banter is a sign of his confidence. And it’s well placed. Take in two taut EPs and an hour of their live set, you’ll feel the same. Last night, Voxtrot offered up another dose of their melodic and succinct pop with personality, presencem and Ramesh’s indefatigable hop.

We made for a sleepy Sunday crowd, but our applause compensated for tired head-bopping. Didn’t take much, with Voxtrot’s infectious twee shimmer and drive. For ‘shimmer’ see Mitch Calvert’s guitar work: all tastefully arpeggiated chord inversions and trebly staccato jangle. The ‘drive’ comes courtesy of the rest.

“Rise Up In The Dirt” was one of the band’s most rocking moments, moving from a smooth chorus to that great, jittery eighth-note bass-drum lock up. Watching bassist Jason Chronis swing his semi-acoustic bass in time with his inflections, and seeing Jared Van Fleet clap and shake behind the keyboard, I always had something to watch while drinking in their tunes…

But the band has to be tight and engaging if they want to keep up with Ramesh. The Voxtrot Kid pogos around the stage like a bunny on speed, all while hitting every note of his mellifluous Moz-ish melodies. Every time I see them, I wonder how he doesn’t fall over, or knock off a string. Well, he didn’t fall over last night, but the inevitable guitar malfunction came.

And speaking of Moz, don’t feel bad about mentioning the Mopefather or Belle and Sebastian around him. I spoke with Ramesh at South By about his dedicating “Start of Something” to those who couldn’t make the Morrissey set across town that night. He laughed, saying “Can you believe that people actually write to me and say, ‘Hey, love your stuff, I think you’d really like Belle and Sebastion and The Smiths?'”

Strong songwriting. Flawless execution. It’s no wonder the blogosphere has been eating this up (and streaming this up) for months. Only in the distorted-bass chorus and ride-out of “Soft and Warm” is Voxtrot arena-sized, but the band’s pristine pop gems have the luster to brighten any room, any size.

After the show we swung down to Dark Room for the afterparty, with promises of DJ sets from Brooklyn Vegan and Aziz Ansari. Though they came by, they never did hit the stacks. [For comedic indie rock musings, check out Crash Test tonight instead . Patton Oswalt will be in-house!] I had to bounce anyway, a busy week of Wolf hunting ahead. If I’m being honest though, nothing could be finer than another night with Voxtrot. Maybe I’ll make that happen.


  • Unrecorded Song [? — “And I wouldn’t give one ugly moment /I’d wrap it up and keep it in my sock” — anyone?]
  • Raised By Wolves
  • Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives
  • Rise Up In The Dird
  • Wrecking Force
  • Long Haul
  • New Song
  • Fast Asleep
  • Soft & Warm
  • Start of Something
  • Missing Pieces
Raised By Wolves is on iTunes, and two tracks from the second EP are streaming on VoxSpace. If there’s any justice, “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives” will be all over MTV2; until then enjoy these live performance from KEXP (thanks Greg!) Stereogum can’t get enough of Voxtrot, even if we’re still not convinced Belle & Sebastian didn’t write “Soft & Warm.” Check ‘em out … you will find love. Or at least a Talking Heads cover.

Voxtrot – “Heaven (Live @ KEXP)” (MP3 Link Expired)
Voxtrot – “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives (Live @ KEXP)” (MP3 Link Expired)
Voxtrot – “Rise Up In The Dirt (Live @ KEXP)” (MP3 Link Expired)
Voxtrot – “Soft And Warm (Live @ KEXP)” (MP3 Link Expired)

Tags: Voxtrot