Tanlines headlined a trio of dreamy indie-pop bands for the latest Red Bull Sound Select show, which happened Aug. 20 at Sayers Club in Hollywood, curated by Amoeba.
L.A. trio Roses came out bouncing around on stage with a set of new wavey tracks, about half of which could be found on their new EP, Dreamlover. After a couple of upbeat new ones, they got slow and dreamy for “The Fog” before returning to a bobbing dance beat for “Florence Girls.” Guitarist Juan Velasquez remarked that the couch-laden venue felt like MTV Unplugged, something I’d noticed upon entering (or perhaps “VH1 Storytellers”?), and the band finished with a new song that combined Cars-style palm-muted guitars with frontman Marc Steinberg’s intoning vocals.
SISU came on next, the project from Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu. In SISU, she’s on guitar and vocals, singing “stash a secret deep in you heart” like it’s a command over thumping krautrock on “Blood Tears,” the title track to her excellent album. Sometimes sultry and hazy, other times crushing with pulverizing guitars, SISU struck the right balance on songs like “Harpoons,” which pairs a grim tone and eerie effects in its verses with a sweetly sung, romantic chorus. A friend said it reminded him a bit of Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins sung by a woman, while I was thinking a lot of Curve—both great comparisons in my book! A flute by the mic was the cause of much speculation/excitement, which Vu brought out for a quick flute solo before returning to more tasty shoegaze crunch.
Tanlines gave fans a nice preview of what to expect for their as yet unannounced new album, as well as a sweet alternative to anyone who can’t catch them at FYF Fest this weekend. It was also a nice reminder of how well their 2012 album, Mixed Emotions, holds up amid a hell of a lot of electro-pop competition. That’s probably because their songs, like the spare, sparkling, “Fall to Pieces,” are really well-written, placing just as much emphasis on songwriting as aesthetics and style. Not only did the songs sound better in person, especially on Sayers Club’s terrific sound system, the band looked pretty good playing them, too, as they balanced the digital elements by playing guitar live and banging around on an electronic drum set, which made all the difference in terms of getting people moving. It definitely left me anxious to hear their next album and rewriting my FYF Fest schedule in order to see them again.