Test Patterns, 5

Post Author: Impose Automaton

With A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Pterodactyl, Grooms, and Boogie Boarder.

You could not find a better litmus test of the health of noisy, song-based rock music than June's Test patterns, temporarily relocated to Death by Audio from its normal Don Pedro's homebase.

A few brains reported hostage situations post-Boogie Boarder set, the band's melodies keeping said craniums stuck in (well-ventilated, sunny) holes for days, where they hummed four notes mutilated by feedback with Cyrus Lubin's drum marathon hammering away in the background. Grooms (ex-Muggabears) followed with a set that included a Chris Isaac cover (“That was fun,” noted guitarist/singer Travis Johnson) and four guitars and flowed as smoothly as a Sonic Youth show without all the roadies. Also noteworthy was Emily Ambruso's U.S. Girls moment behind the pedals 'n mic, which layered ambient sheets over Johnson's choppy thicket of detuned guitar riffage.

It was A Sunny Day in Glasgow's first performance in New York since their appearance last year at the Whitney, and this time they came up from Philly with an incredible, re-calibrated lineup that brought to life recordings from Scribble Mural Comic Journal better than we'd ever heard them. The band also previewed a few tastes of their upcoming sophomore release, which promises (on cursory, drunken listening) to match the unsettling combination of indie pop with that big, warbling question mark of texture and dissonance that made the first album so good.

And at this point, Pterodactyl are well on their way towards that small camp of bands that can claim legendary live shows. They might only have two albums in two years, but on the heels of Worldwild, their sophomore release, Pterodactyl caters in a blend of noise and rock that shares much with its cousin band Ex Models, but has branched out towards blissed-out hyper-melodies ala Marnie Stern that are distinctly of this time and place (the past two years, New York), and translate superbly to a live setting, where the kids lap it up and crowd against the stage.

You may think of us as a website that caters in pretty, sharp pictures, but sometimes we just use our cell phones. For testing your viewing tolerance, some splendid shots by Derek Evers and Brian Paragas.