Out: If a hook falls in a forest, does it make a melody?

From Cambridge to Camden town
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  September 20, 2011


It was too late to be a matinee, and far too early in the day to be considered nightlife. But at T.T. the Bear's Place in Cambridge sometime around dusk last Saturday, on stage at the awkward rock hour of 6 pm was Camden, a young-ish Boston/New Jersey band finally finding its pop-drunk rhythm.

The late Factory Records and Hacienda nightclub co-founder Tony Wilson used to compare poorly attended live shows to two things: the mythified Sex Pistols gig at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976, and the amount of heads present at the Last Supper. He'd likely remark "the smaller the crowd, the greater the legend," or some brilliant bullshit like that. So let's just say Camden's gig will be long remembered by the half-dozen who put down the dinner fork and showed up.

After a few different line-ups and sounds and styles, this particular Camden outfit, the one heard on July's intoxicating three-song EP Totally Fine, seems poised for and deserving of . . . well, a larger crowd. With scratchy, bratty vocals plastered over stinging dual guitarwork, Camden delivers turbo-charged indie-pop, making otherwise pretty noises sound gritty and playfully hung over. The 150-second-long "Mustangs" is a jangle-pop ripper that recalls the early 2000s but only if the early 2000s happened backwards and Belle and Sebastian played the role of the Strokes.

By the time Camden wrapped, a small crowd had wiped the Brookline Street sun from their eyes and assembled inside for the touring acts, Virginia's Eternal Summers and Pennsylvania's Reading Rainbow. Both bands earned their respective state designation as Best New Band in our 50 Bands 50 States summer feature.

Eternal Summers' rumble-strip "dream-punk" was buoyed by the redonkulous drumming of Daniel Cardiff, and Phoenix writer Liz Pelly quipped they reminded her of a "Southern, stoned Screaming Females." Reading Rainbow closed the pre-night out in similar fashion, thumping with distorted garage pop. The handful in the room seemed to dig it; too bad they didn't roll up earlier.

Related: Class of 2012: Boston's 12 best new bands, Review: Magnetic Fields at the Wilbur Theatre, Changing rooms, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Music, Camden, Camden,  More more >
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