MUSIC REVIEW- Tonal shift: <I>You</I> bring new crowd to Corner


You (formerly Airmail) and Ted Stryker's Drinking Problem
at Jabberwocky
September 11, 2003

Thursday, September 11, marked the meeting of two worlds, two ideologies, and two vastly different takes on fashion, but rather than scoff in amusement, the two groups went about their business like ships in the night.

The Jabberwocky, that Greenskeeper-with-a-nicer-paint-job-and-more-seating, usually brings in a clientele that prefers button-ups and tight jeans, baseball caps and halter tops.

But Thursday saw a large influx of indie-rocked-out youngsters, marked separate from the Greek herd by their Dickies, Sauconys, thick-frame glasses, and tight t-shirts. The reason for this break from the norm in the Jabberwocky population? Performances by the ambient electronic band You, and the always fabulous neo-New Wave pop group Ted Stryker's Drinking Problem– two bands whom to my knowledge have never performed on the Corner before.

Chris Coello's solo electronic project You went on first, and because I've reviewed and generally talked up Ted Stryker's Drinking Problem on these pages (as well as just in general), I will focus this review mostly on the former group.

Coello began the evening with a short explanation of the need to change his project's name, due to a Japanese band copywriting "Airmail" some time in the last few months, and his announcement of his band's new name, You. Then, surrounded by three keyboards– including a vintage 1979 Korg, and backed by a sound setup bigger than yours truly– he began his first number, "Anomolus."

This song, track #3 on Coello's soon-to-be-released CD, I am you (an album recorded on eight track, without any computer controlled instruments), is slightly reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers in sonic texture– it mostly consists of a repeated three-note synth-bass-from-hell credo, with lightening fast techno drums and various ambient textures and sound effects thrown in.

Unless my ears and memory deceive me, next up was "Sound in Color," recognizable for its weaving bass line near the beginning and hard-hitting drums with a distinctively trash-can-lid like sound. The tune is exceedingly danceable, especially when, at about the minute mark, the drums switch into what might be called the standard techno drum beat-­ a constant bass drum, with a snare every other beat, and a high-hat sound laying down eighth notes in the background.

A short interlude during which a French commentator repeated the lines "It's not as big as the others," "make it as quick as possible," "make it as good as possible" (thanks to Emma, my translator) led into "Message Sent," a sparse tune on which Coello's distorted vocals made their first appearance for the evening.

A beating bass drum paired with a two-note bass line and a flanging background noise as Coello sang his simple vocal line. At about the two-minute mark, a break in the sound is filled in by a sampled "Play Music" and things start to get really interesting– nebulous tones play off the song's now eight-note bass line. Great music to either dance, or take a breather, to.

And Ted Stryker's? Brilliant as usual.