Autolux Return with New Music at The Bowery BallroomApril 6th, 2016
Autolux – The Bowery Ballroom – April 5, 2016
Releasing an album once every six years is a great way to keep your band under the radar. Intentionally or not, this has been Autolux’s approach since 2004, and the easiest answer to the question “Why isn’t this band bigger? They’re so good!” The six-year album cycle also allows them to evolve their sound considerably between releases. This year marks the release of their third album, Pussy’s Dead, produced by Run the Jewels collaborator Boots, and it’s easily their most experimental to date. If there’s one big takeaway from the LP, it’s that Carla Azar is one hell of a drummer. And if listening to the album doesn’t drive the point home, seeing Autolux live certainly will.
Their setup at The Bowery Ballroom last night reflected this, with Azar—center stage between Eugene Goreshter (bass) and Greg Edwards (guitar)—wearing bright pink, against a backdrop of black-and-white visuals. She was the only band member wearing color (or in the venue for that matter, New Yorkers really aren’t big on wearing bright colors). The show kicked off with her standing, singing “Soft Scene,” before sitting down and drumming her way into the beat. The group worked within some complex rhythms, and Azar commanded them with ease, holding her drumsticks in the seldom seen traditional grip and never appearing all that challenged by the shifting time signatures.
Autolux are big on contrast, all three band members singing in a tender way with voices that can slip through the cracks of some seriously noisy instrumentals. “Subzero Fun” could pass as a hook-filled pop song without its menacing, dissonant snarl. Their set ended with “Blanket,” which sideswipes you with its bursts of intensity, before keeping things there with an extended noisy jam at the intensity high-water mark. Autolux’s encore featured the crowd-pleasing riffs of “Turnstile Blues,” and then the show ended much like it had begun, with just Azar onstage, drumming out the last bars of “Reappearing.”
—Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks