with Bartees Strange and The Rememberables
Upstairs, All ages
DOORS: 8:30 PM // SHOW: 9:00 PM
Saturday June 29, 2019
Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge
With the energy and sound of a full four-piece band, Carly Comando and Tom Patterson –– the husband and wife team that make up Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Slingshot Dakota –– craft unapologetic, heavy pop tracks that showcase their years of experience and punk influences. Although Carly is on the keyboard and Tom is behind the beats, to define the band as a keys-and-drums duo isn’t quite right. Carly writes songs as if there were a guitar and a bass present and translates how to mimic the sounds on the keys. Combining a robust low-end with sweet and delicate melodies, Carly makes full use of her heavily effected keyboard while also providing vocals that are, in turn, sweet and polished or earnest and raw. Tom fills out the sonic middle ground with his drum kit, knowing just when to hold back, and when to let loose and wail away. It’s a little bit pop; it’s a little bit punk; but it’s 100% fun.
Bartees Cox’s strict Christian upbringing in tiny Yukon, Oklahoma, prevented him from learning about rock until his teens. It took coming across El Paso’s predominantly Brown quintet At the Drive-In to turn him on to the genre. “I thought, ‘Man, these Latino kids are from nowhere, just like I’m from nowhere,’” he explains. “That was my introduction to hard rock music—I didn’t know at the time that it was really something just White boys did.”
He grew up primarily around rural, country-loving White people and learned guitar so that he could play with those musicians. “That’s how you could make money, if you could play and keep up with the old guys,” he says. “Oklahoma didn’t have the budding music scene that it might have now.”
Cox joined an acquaintance’s punk band while attending college in southern Kansas on a football scholarship. He kept his blissful ignorance of rock’s race dynamics for only a little while, eventually realizing that the group “was a legit Neo-Nazi punk band.” “I went to one of those high schools that didn’t talk about slavery,” he explains about not initially grasping the band’s context. “My understanding of how I was supposed to act around White people was totally different than how it is now. I kept my head down.”
Confronting the weight of that experience, Cox immediately left that band, and Kansas, for home, playing in other hard rock bands while studying journalism at University of Oklahoma. But music took a backseat when he moved to Washington D.C. after graduation to intern with media justice organizations Free Pressand Public Knowledge, the latter of which he later joined as a staffer. “I fell in love with the people leading the movement, and it was very diverse,” he says about his earliest professional experiences. But the precarious life of a D.C. intern forced him to take a hiatus from music and sell “every instrument I had” to pay bills.
He channeled his passions into a stint as the Federal Communications Commission’s deputy press secretary, where he developed messaging around public protections like the 2015 net neutrality order. “I was really excited about the prospect of being a lobbyist or media relations director,” he says. “But I realized that I wasn’t as happy, even at what I thought the ‘top’ was, without music. So I moved to New York and started a band.”
The Rememberables (members of Coke Bust, Walk the Plank, etc.), from Washington D.C., deliver a modern blend of grunge, power pop and fuzzy 90s alternative, reminiscent of Superchunk, Weezer, & Dinosaur Jr., on their infectious debut album. Seven blistering tracks serve as a perfect accompaniment for your summer drive -- windows down, hair blowing, engine roaring fast down endless highways.
In other words - loud, refreshing and catchy as hell.