Damon + Naomi's house party
Damon & Naomi
“This is weird,” commented Naomi Yang, as she looked out from behind her Nord Electro keyboard at the couple of dozen friends and critics, as well as a neighbor named Carol, who’d crowded into the living room of the apartment she shares with bandmate and husband Damon Krukowski. It was an appropriate way for Damon & Naomi (the name they record under) to celebrate the release of Within These Walls (20/20/20), their sixth studio album since restarting their careers in the wake of the break-up of Galaxie 500, where they got their start as the rhythm section behind a pre-Luna Dean Wareham. As Krukowski explained between songs, they’ve been recording those albums in their living room for the past half-decade. Thus the shout-out to Carol for putting up with the noise.
Not that Damon & Naomi have ever been particularly loud. Although Krukowski started out as a drummer, he now favors softly strummed acoustic-guitar textures, and he and Yang generally sing in hushed tones. But as on the new album, they were flanked by soprano-saxist Bhob Rainey, trumpeter Greg Kelley, cellist Helena Espvall, and electric-guitarist Michio Kurihara. That brought an avant-folk edge to the reflective opener, “Lilac Land,” and by the end of the short set, Kurihara was injecting some psychedelic guitar fuzz into the mix.
All but Kelley were preparing to depart early the next morning for a month of touring with Kurihara’s other outfit, the Japanese grunge-metal band Boris, who are as loud as Damon & Naomi are quiet. It made for some amusing banter. Krukowski pondered the possible ramifications of playing in front of Boris’s leather-clad fans. And he joked that by the time the tour arrives back in Cambridge for an October 29 date at the Middle East, he too would be wearing leather.
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