Des Tours, the Don’ts and Be Carefuls, Pleistocene Tuesday, July 14, 2008 Larimer Lounge Better Than: The generic Mariachi music I hear in my mom’s neighborhood.
Due to a prior commitment, I missed all but the tail end of the final Pleistocene song. Too bad, because the group sounded especially good tonight with its mixture of non-Western folk and the avant garde. I did make it in time to catch the Don'ts and Be Carefuls again, who had a less noisy and more composed set than the night before opening for HEALTH. Then again, this show, only the outfit’s fourth ever, was probably a lot less pressured than that one.
The subsequent relaxed atmosphere allowed the act’s pop craftsmanship to shine through. Recalling the Swell Maps’ more coherent moments, mixed with the feeling of youthful exuberance and innocence you get listening to Modern Lovers first record, the catchy pop of Don’ts and Be Carefuls merges indie rock with funkier post-punk elements while trying not to be too polished. The group isn’t great yet, but it’s easy to see how it will continue to get better, especially considering that the band is already writing solid songs that keep your attention. On top of that, the members possess a great energy and maintain a vibe that makes them instantly likeable. The only downside was probably the dancing girls, which were a bit distracting (I mean, they’re attractive and all, but… ). Within a year or two, if these guys keep up their pace of development, expect impressive things from them.
Des Tours, hailing from the unlikely city of Aurora, was up next and performed songs sung in Spanish with titles to match. At times, the act’s new wavey, gritty post-punk bordered the Comsat Angels and the Sound. Otherwise, the band sounded like they had listened to a lot of the Cure and the Rapture -- which is to say Gang of Four and Public Image Limited. Overall, the outfit was pretty rough around the edges, but its melding of simple, fluid rhythms with angular guitar and shimmering, almost aggressive synths suggested that, with more confidence, Des Tours would soon be carving out its own distinctive musical identity.
Sometimes it’s nice to take in a show where the bands involved are nowhere near their peak but show enough early promise to be worth following their development. These two bands certainly fit that bill.
-- Tom Murphy
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I categorically like new bands who aim for a different kind of sound than what’s popular. Random Detail: A group of three guys were moshing during Des Tours’ set as though they were getting to see Fugazi for the first time. By the Way: There are a number of cool, embryonic bands that most people don’t go and see, much less write about until they’ve been around for a few years.
This is the ninth in a series of thirty-five consecutive shows that Tom Murphy is planning on attending. His whole idea is to prove that there's cool stuff going on any night of the week in Denver, if you bother to make any effort whatsoever to find it. He suggested naming this series, "This Band Could Be Your Life," a fitting designation to be sure. Since there's already a similarly titled book, however, we opted to file these entries under Last Night's Show -- you know, to avoid being sued an all. (Sorry, Tom.)